The vast majority of plants that we find for sale are grown in colored pots, why not orchids? Knowing well the needs of the species we want to buy is very important, as it will allow us to take much better care of them. And so, choosing well the container in which we are going to plant them is almost vitalIt will depend on us whether they can grow more or less.
In the specific case of orchids, the first thing to be clear about is that not all of them need the same container. In reality, only epiphytes, such as Phalaenopsis, need to be in clear pots. The question is, why?
Why should epiphytic orchids be in transparent pots?
There are several reasons, and we are going to explain all of them here. And it is necessary that the epiphytic orchids are in a suitable pot, which allows them to grow well.
The roots carry out photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is the process by which plants transform inorganic into organic matter thanks to sunlight and the carbon dioxide they absorb (you have more information here!). Normally, only the leaves are capable of carrying it out, since they are the ones that have chlorophyll, a pigment that gives them their green color; But epiphytic orchids are a bit different, as their roots also photosynthesize.
This means that the root system serves them to produce food -sugars and starches- that will be used to grow and flourish. If they weren’t in a clear pot, they couldn’t. Although it is true that they do it to a lesser extent than the leaves, since although they have chlorophyll the amount is much lower compared to what the leaves have, it all adds up.
It’s easier to see if there is a problem
A transparent pot is very useful for anyone who grows the plant, because just by looking at the roots you can see if there are any problems. For example, epiphytic orchids are very sensitive to excess water, so much so that its roots rot in a matter of days if you don’t act on time.
For this reason, if we see some brown, black and / or moldy roots, we will simply have to carefully remove them from the pot and cut them with clean scissors.
Irrigation is much better controlled
It is very easy to see if the roots of epiphytic orchids, such as those of the Phalaenopsis, they need water or not, since we just have to see if they are white or green. In the first case, what we would do is water, since the plant will be thirsty; In the second, however, we would not do anything until they changed color.
Every time you have to add water to them, you must water from above, that is, wetting the substrate. And then if you want you can leave a sheet of water on the plate, but no more; Anything that has not been absorbed can be reused later.
What substrate should be put to the orchids that are in transparent pots?
The best substrate for epiphytic orchids is one that is composed of pine bark. They need one that’s tart, light, with the big grains, and this one certainly is. In addition, it is very inexpensive and easy to find, since these are plants very loved by those of us who like to grow flowers.
We do not recommend any other type of substratebecause although there are others that could serve us at first, sooner or later they could cause problems, such as:
- Arlita: it could be worth it, since it is light and the balls are of an acceptable size, but it has a neutral and not acidic pH, which is what our plants need.
- Gravel or volcanic clay: It is heavier than pine bark, and it also has a higher pH. In fact, it is alkaline, with a pH of 7 or 8, so it is not useful for epiphytic orchids.
- Coconut fiber: it has a suitable pH, between 5 and 6, but its granulometry is very fine, so it hides all the roots, making it difficult for them to carry out photosynthesis. Also, it stays wet for a long time, and therefore could have problems due to excess moisture. In this video we talk more about her:
Do orchid pots have to have drainage holes or not?
Yes, without a doubt. It is not enough that they are transparent, but they must also have holes in their base so that the water can escape. For this reason, no matter how beautiful the pots or pots without holes are, if we want epiphytic orchids to last us many years we have to plant them in transparent pots with drainage holes.
Likewise, it is preferable that they are small and numerousand not that there are one or two big ones. The faster the unabsorbed water comes out, the better for the plant.
And by the way, speaking of water, remember that you have to use rainwater or one that has a low pH, between 4 and 6. These are acidic plants, so if they were irrigated with one that was alkaline, the pH of the substrate would soon rise, and that would cause their leaves to become chlorotic. To prevent that from happening, and if you have doubts, it is interesting to have a water pH meter, such as this, since this way you will know if it is necessary or not to raise the pH or lower it.
We hope this article has helped you.