Flowers and Plants

Making Bark Potting Mix for Orchids

In order to grow your Phalaenopsis orchid properly, you need to provide it with a good medium. Many orchid nurseries choose what is sometimes called “solite” This is LECA- Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate. It looks like a volcanic rock and it’s a good medium for young orchids.

Another excellent growing medium, especially suitable for Phalaenopsis orchids, is a bark mix. Remember, there is never one exact way to grow your plants so you might try different potting mixes until you find the one that really works for your orchids.

It’s very important that you find a suitable potting medium, though, because it can have a significant effect on your orchid’s health and it will sure dictate your plant’s water requirements. Ideally, a potting medium should be the one that allows quick drainage and ample air movement around the roots.

Bark Mix

Bark Mix is a great growing medium for Phalaenopsis orchids. There is a wide range of various potting mixes and materials that can be used for growing this type of orchids and bark mix is sure one of the most popular and effective choices.

When they grow in the wild, Phalaenopsis orchids are epiphytes, which means that they grow on trees instead of soil. By using bark mix for growing your orchid, you actually create a suitable growing environment that is very similar to its natural habitat. This is one of the main reasons why bark mix is an excellent choice for growing Phalaenopsis orchids.

Orchids outdoors

How to Make Bark Mix

You can easily make bark mix for your orchid. Follow these simple instructions:

  • Gather all the necessary materials. Bark mix consists of tree bark and water-retaining material. For your main potting material, you can use either ground coastal redwood bark, Osmunda tree fern fiber or ground Douglas fir bark. All of them are coarse and they will allow air to circulate around the roots of your orchid in a natural way.
  • Prepare your secondary potting material, the one needed for retaining water. Popular water-retaining materials are perlite, peat moss and coconut husk chips. It’s important to use them in combination with tree bark to improve your orchid’s growth. Prepare all these materials before you start making your mix.
  • Mix the materials. Carefully, mix the tree bark with water-retaining material at a ratio of 5:1 respectively. If you want to use Osmunda tree fern fiber, it’s important to soak it in the water for about 12 hours before you start planting. Combine it with redwood bark at a ratio of 3:1 to create a good, healthy potting mix for your orchid.

How do you know when to replace the potting mix? Watch it carefully and when you notice it becoming soggy constantly, it’s the time to replace it. Simply make a new potting mix and use it for your orchids.

Photo credit: Adventures of KM&G-Morris via photopin cc