6 Best Potting Soils For Orchids

Orchids produce some of the most stunning flowers on the planet. If you want to grow orchids effectively at home, you must respect their natural surroundings.

Growing orchids is challenging for many individuals, which is unsurprising considering that the plants will only develop if their native habitat is replicated.

So, what’s the key to cultivating healthy orchids in your own home?

You must use the appropriate potting mix. 

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Don’t let the name “soil” fool you into thinking you can use regular garden soil to grow orchids. Finding the correct orchid soil is one of the most difficult aspects of cultivating orchids.

And orchids silently judge lazy gardeners (Hey, don’t be mad at the messenger!).

Orchids, unlike terrestrial plants, do not grow in ordinary soil.

Orchids will perish in a few days if you use the wrong kind of soil. That is why, before putting on your overalls and getting your hands dirty, it is extremely important to learn a few things about how to properly cultivate orchids. 

Factors to consider when purchasing the best potting soil for orchids

Choosing the best potting soil for orchids can be a bit overwhelming, even if you know the basics on the ideal conditions for orchid roots to flourish.

The following is a checklist of some of the factors to examine in order to ensure that you only buy the best orchid potting soil:

Types of orchids & Their soil preferences

There are over 2,000 orchid species in the world, and because they all belong to the same plant family, they have a lot in common. However, there are certain distinctions to be noted.

While certain orchids require special types of orchid soil to thrive, the great majority have a profile that is fairly similar.

Organic vs Inorganic orchid soil

You have the option of using either organic or inorganic orchid soil. Though both serve the same purpose, there are always additional benefits in going organic.

Organic orchid soil has the advantage of being nutrient-dense.

However, orchids do not do well in decomposing materials, unlike terrestrial plants. Orchids are “not like other girls”.

As a result, you should avoid using organic components that decompose quickly, and repot the orchid as soon as it shows signs of decomposition.

Region might make interfere with the orchid soil

Orchids are extremely adaptable plants; as long as the roots are well-cared for, the plant will thrive in almost any environment. So, what does region have to do with finding the best orchid potting soil? 

In areas with very defined seasons, not every orchid soil will be suitable for usage in the winter or summer.

The price of orchid soil

If you want healthy orchids, don’t limit your choices solely on the basis of pricing. It is undeniable that the price of different orchid soils varies.

The term “expensive” does not always imply “excellent quality.” Here you’ll find orchid soil options in different price ranges.

What makes orchid soil so special?

Time to get nerdy! Orchid soil is not the same as regular garden soil. Most of the time, it is a blend of different materials. What are some of the components that go into making orchid soil?

 

Fir barks

The most popular growing medium is fir bark, which is widely available and affordable. They are organic, which means they feed the plants necessary nutrients.

The bark of the fir tree is well aerated and drains efficiently. Because little moisture is retained, you will need to water the orchids on a regular basis. And because fir barks decompose quickly, you should repot once every one or two years.

Perlite

This is volcanic glass that looks like little sugar granules. Because perlite is inorganic, it does not disintegrate or compress. It’s combined with organic materials that disintegrate quickly for maximum efficiency.

Sphagnum moss

If you’ve ever grown orchids, you’re probably familiar with the term sphagnum moss. Because of its high-water retention and great aeration, sphagnum moss is quite popular.

However, because it decomposes quickly, combining it with a non-organic substance is the smarter move when cultivating orchids.

Lava rocks

Lava rocks are great for drainage, because they don’t decay or disintegrate. They also come in various sizes. Larger rocks provide more air gaps, but they hold less moisture.

For best results, in general it’s best to use medium-sized lava rocks.

Coconut husks and fiber

Coconut husks and fiber, unlike the other grow mediums on this list, are lightweight. They’re also among the few organic molecules that takes a long time to breakdown.

Coconut husks are well aerated, and they’re mixed with coconut fiber to achieve the perfect water retention capacity for orchids.

The best potting soil for orchids

There are many brands selling a variety of orchid potting soils, each claiming to have the greatest product. But leaving the marketing experts aside for just a moment, in this article we’ll go over 6 of the actual best orchid potting soils.

Sun Bulb 50000 Better GRO Special Orchid Mix

Sun Bulb 50000 Better GRO – Amazon.com

There was no one better than Sun Bulb 50000 Better GRO Special Orchid Mix to take the number one spot.

Only a few potting combinations are suited for use with all orchids, and Sub Bulb is one among them. It can be used to grow phalaenopsis, cattleyas, oncidiums, dendrobiums, paphiopedilums, and epiphytic orchids.

The Sub Bulb 50000 Better Grow Special Orchid Mix is made of Hardwood charcoal, sponge rock, and west fir barks. There is no need to add anything to the mixture because it is ready to use. The drainage is great, and the roots will be thoroughly aerated.

Phalaenopsis Monterey Bark Imperial Orchid Mix

Phalaenopsis Monterey Bark Imperial Orchid Mix – Amazon.com

The Phalaenopsis Monterey Bark Imperial Orchid Mix is composed of of large sponge rocks, sphagnum moss from New Zealand, hydroton and Monterey pine bark. The color comes from Orchiata Monterey, which is responsible for the dark color.

The mixture retains enough moisture and if the roots are well aerated, the orchid will be able to survive and thrive. The medium-sized particles work well for both young and mature orchids.

BesGrow Orchiata Orchid Bark

BesGrow Orchiata Orchid Bark – Amazon.com

Consider purchasing BesGrow Orchiata Orchid Bark if you want a potting combination that is suitable for both novice and experienced orchid growers.

To begin, the potting mixture maintains a constant PH level. Some barks, according to basic science, produce acidity, however this will not be the case with BesGrow Orchiata Orchid Bark. It’s made to get rid of that kind of acidity.

It’s composed entirely (100% percent) of pure New Zealand Pinus Radiata bark, which contains living microorganisms that will help protect your precious orchids from infections, which is literally a life-or-death situation for orchids.

Two bonus advantages of this orchid soil are: 1) there will be less need to repot, because the mixture doesn’t decompose; 2) the potting mixture doesn’t accumulate salt, therefore flushing will be less of a concern.

Orchiata New Zealand Pinus Radiata Bark

Orchiata New Zealand Pinus Radiata Bark – Amazon.com

The Orchiata New Zealand Pinus Radiata Bark is no exception to New Zealand’s reputation for producing high-quality products.

This is one of the few very nutrient-rich orchid potting soils available.

The surface is slightly rough to aid in the anchoring and stability of the orchid’s roots. Compared to other brands Orchiata New Zealand Pinus Radiata Bark is expensive.

It is available in five different sizes.

rePotme All Purpose Orchid Mix

rePotme All Purpose Orchid Mix – Amazon.com

As the name suggests, the rePotme All Purpose Orchid Mix is suitable for all orchid species.

This quality is uncommon even among the best orchid potting soils, making it a favorite among the moms and dads of all kinds of orchids.

Perlite, fresh coconut husks, and coir make up the rePotme mixture, which is 100 percent organic and contains no soil medium.

The drainage and water retention capability of rePotme All Purpose Orchid Mix is exceptional. All of this is required to guarantee that your orchids produce strong roots that won’t rot or die.

There is no need to add anything; once purchased, the combination is ready to use.

Espoma OR4 Organic Orchid Potting Soil

Espoma OR4 Organic – Amazon.com

The Espoma OR4 Organic Orchid Potting Soil is the last but not least on our list of the finest potting soil for orchids.

If you’re interested in organic gardening and, in particular, growing orchids, this is the potting medium to use.

The Espoma OR4 Organic Orchid Potting Soil contains naturally occurring fungus that have been scientifically demonstrated to aid in the growth of plants.

But why use orchid soil and not normal soil for growing orchids?

When it comes to moisture, aeration, and stability, orchids are quite sensitive. Ordinary soil drains slowly, which is an issue for orchids because the roots begin to rot and die as a result.

Orchids naturally develop in areas with a lot of rain, so when growing orchids indoors, you should water them a lot.

The main issue here is that orchids need a lot of water, but not stagnant water. But don’t sigh just yet, there’s more.

The ideal orchid soil should have adequate drainage while still retaining moisture. Watering orchids is one of the most difficult things to do right, particularly because you must strike a balance between too much and too little moisture.

It’s arguable that garden soil is well aerated. But when it comes to orchids, however, it falls short. To put it simply, regular soil is well aerated, but not good enough to grow our demanding orchids in. 

Orchid roots are usually shallow but compact. The orchid soil you choose should be capable of providing stability to your orchids. When the roots bloom, the plant should grow robust and vigorous, just like any other plant.

How to sterilize orchid potting mix in 1 easy step

Despite their adaptability, orchids are sensitive to illnesses, bacteria, and viruses. The plants might actually die if you make a mistake.

Whether you’re repotting, received an orchid as a birthday present, or bought it in the supermarket, one thing is certain: the potting mix must be sterilized.

But how to disinfect orchid potting soil? It’s so simple!

Just follow the steps:

  1. After soaking the mixture in boiling water for 2-3 hours, it’s ready to use.

Oh yeah, there is only one step. Yes, it is that simple!

Photo: Kelly.

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