Caring for orchids requires a bit of knowledge about the pests that tend to attack them, as well as proper fertilization techniques to help them grow. The stronger your plants, the better they will be able to resist common diseases and insects and the best way to keep orchids healthy and strong is to fertilize them.
Orchid plant care is an area that has been heavily studied, particularly as many of the tropical species grow on tree branches, anchoring themselves to a host and appearing to thrive on thin air. While the more terrestrial orchid species tend to be easier to grow, they still require special care.
Orchids have many natural enemies and anyone attempting orchid care at home will need to be aware of these. Some of the most common pests include slugs and snails, which are usually not difficult to eliminate. But others, however, are and they include mealybugs, whitefly and mites. There is also an aphid called the orchid aphid which attacks these plants. Aphids exist everywhere that orchids do and because of this, they are a great threat to the flowering plants.
Orchid care includes watching for these tiny pests, which are often not much bigger than a speck. They can multiply rapidly, but like most pests, they can be banished if caught early on when there are only a few. For this reason, its just good sense to check your plants for insects on a regular basis.
For many interested in orchid care, biocontrol is the preferred method of keeping nasty insects at bay. This includes using friendly insects that eat the pests but don’t hurt the orchid and can be a good way to go if you don’t want to use chemical sprays. However, orchid plant care also requires proper feeding and fertilization to ensure the hardiness of the plant.
Most orchid plant care guides will tell you that the fertilization depends on the species of orchid and this is true to an extent. While various species have their preferences, the majority do well with soluble fertilizers or plant food. There are actually fertilizers specially formulated for growing orchids and these provide just the right balance of nutrients for the plants. If you choose to go with a more generic type of fertilizer, use a brand with a 20-20-20 balance.
Orchids tend to grow in the wild where little nutrition is found. Understanding this, it is best to keep your orchid plant care efforts to a minimum. Many orchids are killed by giving them too much fertilizer or by over watering them. So, when feeding orchids, it is best to use about half the recommended dosage on the package and to use the fertilizer in place of water. Orchids only need to be fed once a month or so.
While orchids are not quite as delicate as many people assume, they do still require some special care. Making sure that you don’t over-fertilize the orchids and that you immediately deal with any pests, before they get out of hand, is the best way to ensure top notch orchid plant health.
Want more information? Read these articles: