Actual topic

Precious orchids

Vasily Yegoshin lives in Yoshkar-Ola and is engaged in the cultivation of orchids professionally - he propagates them in laboratory conditions using the In vitro method (in a test tube). For us, getting to know Vasily is a great success. This is an opportunity to provide readers with valuable information about the cultivation of such mysterious, unrealistically beautiful decorative leafy orchids, which are called precious.

- Vasily, what is the "jewel" of these orchids? How did they conquer you? 

- Many people ask this question only because they have not seen them up close. These are the plants that you need to see live. A photo, even professionally taken, unfortunately, does not convey the charm and charm that you will succumb to when looking at the leaves in person. Overflows, sparkling stripes ... However, this is not worth describing, I wish you all to see this miracle of nature with your own eyes.

Unusual painting on a leaf of the precious orchid anectochilus (Anoectochilus)Another representative of the genus anectochilus (Anoectochilus)

- Tell me honestly, will a non-professional florist cope with precious orchids? Are they difficult to grow? 

- This question cannot be answered unequivocally. Among the so-called precious orchids, there are both very easy to maintain and those that experienced flower growers fearfully acquire. An example of the simplest plant from this group to keep is ludisia, the old name of hemaria (Ludisia discolor)... This is a rather unpretentious plant, which is no more difficult to keep on a windowsill than a violet, you just need to know some of the features.

I must say that 30 years ago, the choice was very small both on our windowsills, and in imports too. One could see ludisia with rather unpretentious leaves with a modest color, sometimes fragrant. But in 1989, a plant with a stunning color of leaves was brought from Vietnam, and at the same time the plant was as unpretentious in maintenance as its modest sister. At present, quite a lot of highly decorative and unpretentious plants obtained from crossing several existing forms have already spread across Russia. And this means that you should not give up pleasure if there is an opportunity to acquire and grow a beautiful outlandish plant.

Ludisia multi-colored (Ludisia discolor)

- Do precious orchids bloom at all?

- They bloom, and have very interesting in their structure, but medium-sized flowers, sometimes very small, sometimes fragrant, but still the main decorativeness of plants is leaves, just sparkling leaves.

Ludisia multi-colored (Ludisia discolor)Ludisia multi-colored (Ludisia discolor)
Anoectochilus hybrid flower

- How do precious orchids differ from their more common relatives - phalaenopsis, cymbidiums and others? Do they have any special content preferences? 

- In fact, the question is poorly studied. The whole problem is that different species may require different conditions of keeping, and all will be called among themselves “precious” orchids. This is the most serious point - you cannot apply a successful care regimen for one species to another. You need to grope your approach to each species, to decide on the regime that suits him best. But if we narrow the question down to a specific type, then we can say that there will, of course, be differences in content from phalaenopsis. But at the same time, they will be able to grow on the same windowsill, and this is the main thing for us!

Macodes petola is one of the most spectacular and unique orchids from a small group of precious

- Do precious orchids have a pronounced dormant period or are they decorative all year round? 

- You need to understand their development cycle: growth, flowering, regrowth of side shoots, stretching shoots, flowering. Of course, decorativeness falls in some periods of development, but usually not for long. In the group of decorative orchids, there are plants with a pronounced dormant period, there are those in which it is hardly noticeable. By the way, in our forests there are also plants that winter under the snow. Here's an example of deep peace. And what we keep in rooms is usually kept all year round at room temperature.

- Indicate, please, the first actions of the owner of an orchid just purchased in a store or sent by mail. 

- Check the condition of the plant, plant, give light.With a long shipment (if you received an orchid by mail), give light around the clock for at least a couple of weeks (forgive me physiologists with their theory of circadian rhythms). This will compensate for the effects of a long period of darkness and improve survival by several times.

- What do they prefer to grow in? What should be the substrate for precious orchids? How often should they be replanted? 

- They are usually transplanted once every six months or a year, depending on the conditions and the substrate used.

The classic substrate for most of these plants is sphagnum moss, alternatively mixed with pine bark. They do not like earth-like store substrates. I must say, there is a small catch here: precious orchids are land-growers. And at the same time, the first thing that comes to mind is to plant it in the ground. No no and one more time no! In nature, they live in a moss cushion above the ground! At home, they can live on boulders covered with moss, in crevices, and can be covered with leaf litter. By the way, the leaves can and should also be added to the substrate. It would be nice to add a little Trichodermin. The thickness of the substrate layer in the container is only 3 cm. Some roots spread along the bottom of the container.

Our colleagues from Japan contain these orchids in inorganic substrates such as perlite, lava, and similar in their properties. At the same time, they write that they have fewer problems with diseases. But it should be borne in mind that these substrates are completely "empty" and the feeding regime will differ from substrates with decaying organic matter. You need to constantly think about the composition and concentration of fertilizers in the solution, which is absorbed by the roots. In clean water, the jewels will hurt, and you will not even be able to guess the reasons. The problems will be different, but the reason is the same - lack of nutrition. With an excess of salts (for example, when the substrate dries up, the concentration of salts increases sharply), you will also get the death of the roots and a bunch of related problems. The simplest way out suggests itself - to let nature do its own thing. That is, to allow the organic matter in the substrate to slowly decompose.

Goodyera orchid

- Where is their place in the apartment?

- The ideal place for most plants is the oriental windows. These plants need a lot of light. But many can live under artificial lighting, especially since it is quite possible to provide good light now.

- How often and how should precious orchids be watered? Do I need to spray them?

- It all depends on the conditions of detention. Spraying these plants is not recommended due to the fact that the leaves may lose their decorative effect. The watering regime is always matched to the conditions and type of substrate. It will be more useful to say - the operating mode of the roots is "constantly wet" (not to be confused with "constantly wet") with slight drying up to "slightly wet". It is not necessary to dry the substrate until it “crunches”.

- Do these orchids need feeding? And if necessary, what fertilizers can be used and with what frequency.

- When kept in inert substrates, fertilizing is always needed, even in winter, but in low concentration. From dressings, complete complex fertilizers with microelements should be used without excess nitrogen, then the plants are less sick.

The schedule is as follows - one watering with top dressing, the next watering - with washing the substrate, then you can again do watering with top dressing. For orchids, it is not recommended to give more than 1 g of fertilizer per 1 liter of water (dry salts). During periods of rest or low light, you can reduce the concentration by four times. But with peace, not everything is unambiguous: it may turn out that in our understanding, peace is winter, and they just want to grow.

- Please tell us about possible problems arising during cultivation. Are there any special pests that bother them?

- Of the diseases, the most famous are gray rot and bacterial infections... As a rule, both those and others arise with improper care.

Gray rot (Botrytis cinerea)

A plant affected by gray mold. Most jewels can be affected by this condition, including gudayera. (Goodyera), anectochilus (Anoectochilus), hybrids and many others.Even the most hassle-free ludisia (Ludisia) can get sick. The disease does not manifest itself if the plant is kept in a stable mode, for example, keeping at high humidity does not lead to disease, contrary to all expectations. Keeping at low air humidity and a stably moist substrate (applicable to ludisia) also does not lead to disease.

An orchid gets sick with a decrease in the moisture content of the substrate and moisture in general, with further sharp moistening with the presence of drip moisture on the plant. Mushroom Botrytis cinerea it sprays its spores when the humidity is reduced, and with subsequent moistening for a period of more than two hours, it is capable of infecting the plant.

Benomil, Topsin-M, copper preparations, and some others can fight infection. As a preventive measure, it is recommended to colonize the substrate with the beneficial microflora Trichoderma veride and the complex of bacteria Shine 1. The simultaneous use of fungal and bacterial cultures is allowed. Feature of application - the substrate must contain decomposing organic matter.

Red tick lesion

As for pests, one of the unpleasant guests is red tick... It is very small, visible only under a strong magnifying glass or under a microscope, but it can spoil plants decently. I recommend combating it with colloidal sulfur, which is now sold under the name Tiovit Jet. Colleagues laugh, it seems like the last century, but this drug is reliable, like a Soviet tank, and is not addictive.

But still, for reliable diagnosis, you always need to examine the leaves under magnification very carefully. If there is a tick, we destroy the tick, but if there are problems with the leaves, but there is no tick, then we look for other reasons. The leaf can turn red when it is affected by a fungal infection, and the changes noticed in time allow you to take action in time. But in fact, timely measures taken are prevention, it is the creation of conditions that are comfortable for the plant and uncomfortable for pathogens.

- Can these orchids be kept in glass florariums or do they only need to live outdoors?

- Can. And some people even need to be kept in florariums, but let me remind you especially - when the air humidity is high, you cannot water the plants with distilled water, there should always be a nutrient solution with a low concentration. They say very little about this and do not write anywhere, but practice suggests that high humidity during maintenance and watering with clean water are incompatible things.

Yes, and even when kept in closed spaces like a florarium, mollusks can turn out to be unpleasant guests, and despite their small size (a few millimeters), they can greatly spoil the collection.

Photo by the author


"Special issue of the newspaper" My favorite flowers "No. 4, 2019 -" Indoor plants with beautiful leaves. Fashionable novelties, care tricks "(Nizhny Novgorod)