According to encyclopedic sources, in nature there are several tens of thousands of varieties of orchids. Only part of them are suitable for home growing. The most striking and often found in indoor floriculture representatives of the Orchid family are phalaenopsis, dendrobium and cymbidium. It is these decorative cultures that can be found in flower shops and horticultural stores, as well as in specialized exhibitions of indoor plants.
Many gardeners, for the first time thinking about buying an orchid, encounter certain difficulties in choosing. So, let's figure out how to choose a healthy orchid that will feel comfortable at home.
When choosing an exotic indoor flower, you must carefully examine your favorite culture. First of all, pay attention to the appearance and condition of the sheet plates. According to experts in the field of floriculture, a healthy and viable plant has an appropriate appearance. So, orchid leaves attract attention with a rich green color with a characteristic sheen, elastic and dense structure. Depending on the varietal characteristics of the selected flower, the color of the leaf plates may vary slightly: from dark green to the color of a green apple.
Have you noticed yellow, brown, black or other colored spots on the leaves? Such a plant is better not to buy. It is also not recommended to take an indoor flower, on the leaves of which there are wet spots or a sticky whitish coating.
Pay attention to the contents of the sinuses of the leaf blades. If in the places of attachment to the stalk there is a white or grayish shade of a dense web, resembling a dense ball of cotton wool, there is a high risk of buying a flower with a worm.
Drooping and wrinkled leaves are a sign of illiteracy or some kind of disease characteristic of tropical crops. But if there are creases, cracks and other mechanical damage on the sheet plate, then this situation is not dangerous for the plant. Often a flower can be injured during transportation.
Most orchids are sold in transparent plastic containers, through the walls of which you can see the root system of the plant. A healthy orchid has elastic and strong roots of green or gray color, while the tips are often painted in green, bright green or purple hue.
Airy roots are firm and elastic to the touch. If the root is hollow, soft or easily wrung, it is better to set aside this culture. The roots of the brownish color, the substrate is too wet, and the presence of signs of rot indicates the beginning of rotting of the root system, which can lead to an early death of the indoor flower.
It is equally important to carefully examine the peduncle of the orchid. It is better to refrain from buying a tropical culture with traces of mucus and decay on the peduncle.
Experienced flower growers recommend giving preference to a houseplant, in which some of the flowers have blossomed, and some at the stage of bud formation. When moving, the orchid can experience stress and lose its petals, but only the buds that are forming will open over time and will delight you with beautiful long-term flowering.
Carefully inspect the orchid petals. Sluggish, drooping, injured petals indicate a recent illness or non-compliance with the rules for caring for an exotic flower.
Features of care in the sales department
And plant hygiene is not up to standard there, all kinds of pests and fungi are constantly present in the internal flora and if the orchid has been in this place for a couple of weeks, it can not be called healthy. Therefore, in order to buy a healthy plant, you must know the date of delivery and look at the conditions in which the flower is located.
The shelf with flowers in the store should be clean and dry, there should be no water in the pallets under the pots, and the pots themselves should be transparent and with ventilation holes on the side walls. Orchid roots are clearly visible through transparent potswhich is convenient for inspection before purchase.
Buying orchids is better not watered, with a dry substrate, so they are easier to tolerate moving and adapt faster to a new place.
Another important detail is the presence of a tag with the name and conditions of the plant. Knowing the type and name of the orchid, it is easy to double-check the care information received from the seller. Together with orchids, it is better to immediately buy a substrate for transplantation, since plant breeders often put foam rubber or moss pieces in their pots for better transportation, which hold moisture for a long time and subsequently cause root and trunk decay.
What season is the best time to make a purchase?
Orchid is a delicate plant, so it will not survive the transportation in the cold season, it will be cold or freeze. If you still need the orchid in the cold weather, it is advisable to take care of the transportation in advance, and take insulation materials, for example bottles with warm water and thermal packages, with you to the store, then there is a chance to bring the flower home unscathed.
Before March 8, orchids are often sold on the street, and you should definitely not buy there. At home, such a flower will die quickly, unable to withstand a sharp temperature drop.
Inspection of roots and leaves
There is nothing complicated in choosing a healthy orchid, the main thing is to know what you need to pay attention to. The beauty and abundance of flowers attract buyers, but these are not the main indicators of health. An important organ of a plant is the root system, and first of all, it needs to be examined:
- The green and long tips of most of the roots indicate active growth, which means that the orchid is developing normally and everything suits her in care. If at the end of the roots there is simply a green dot (a rooting root) and the leaves are not sluggish, then the orchid is in a dormant period or has recently woken up.
- Roots without a green dot at the end should alert you, this is called dull pupping, and its main causes are a lack of moisture, or vice versa, its excess. If all aerial roots are tightly crowded, and the roots in the substrate are black or gray, you do not need to buy such a plant.
- A viable root is hard and elastic, it does not push when pressed, but even a small necrotic area on it can become a source of infection for the entire plant, so you need to examine the roots very carefully.
The leaves of a healthy plant are dense, bright green, with a smooth glossy surface, which is especially noticeable on the upper young leaves. The old lower ones gradually lose their luster, but they do not lose their density. A new leaf growing from the middle of the rosette indicates an active phase of plant growth, and this is a sign of good conditions. For the normal growth and development of orchids, it is necessary that there are at least 3-4 leaves.
Too bright and large leaves indicate an excess of fertilizers, which will affect the flowering of orchids. Overfed plant will not bloom for 2-3 years, and it also becomes vulnerable to diseases and pests. Dull, shriveled, moist-stained leaves are not necessarily a sign of illiteracy. It is possible that the plant is affected by a bacterial or viral infection.
Watch a video about choosing to check the roots and leaves of an orchid when buying in a store:
Should I buy a flowering plant?
Orchids strewn with flowers are very beautiful, but you should buy them with great care. At first glance, the decision to purchase a blooming orchid seems sound and logical, because you can immediately see what color it is, and you don’t really want to wait how long before the first flowers appear.
It is important to know that flowering takes a lot of strength, and it can last for several years in some species. So it is very likely to buy an old, depleted plant, long standing on the store shelf.
In nature, flower stalks in orchids grow from leaf axils, but for mass sale they brought microcloned orchids (they are also called orchids of instant distillation), the peduncle of which appears from the growth point. After flowering, this rosette will no longer grow and develop, and after 2-4 months it will give babies.
Repeated flowering is quite possible, but undesirable, as it will delay the appearance of children. Therefore, the peduncle should be cut from the growth point without waiting for the end of the first flowering.
Signs of illness or pests
Most susceptible to diseases and pests weakened by improper care plants. Low temperature and high humidity are the causes of different types of rot caused by both fungi and bacteria, as well as ideal conditions for harmful insects. Signs of the disease:
- fluffy coating on the leaves,
- black or brown spots of different sizes,
- wet sores
- soft brown roots,
- rotting point of growth.
Special attention should be paid to viruses that are in a dormant state for a long time and are actively manifested in the winter, when there is a lack of lighting. First, light dots appear on the leaves, which grow with time and become depressed stripes, circles or ovals.
Plants infected with viruses are contagious and must be destroyed.. Since there is no effective medicine for them.
Signs of damage by harmful insects:
- tubercles and growths under which scale insects live,
- thin cobweb woven by a spider mite,
- silver film and strokes on the underside of leaves damaged by thrips,
- young roots eaten up by polytails
- holes on leaves gnawed by wood lice
- cotton-like substance on peduncles and in a pot, which is secreted by mealy bugs.
The consequence of the wrong choice of orchid is its long-term treatment and often an unequal fight against diseases and pests.
Where and at what price can I buy?
Healthy plants are sold in specialized greenhouses, in which competent sellers work, who know their business. Professionals help you choose an orchid suitable for your specific home environment., and explain in detail how to care for her.
Flowers grown in greenhouses are stronger and more viable than imported ones, from birth, orchid children receive proper care in an environment as close as possible to its natural habitat. Another plus of greenhouses is a wide variety of species that are never sold in shops and shopping centers (what types of orchids exist?).
How to get home?
Orchid is afraid of drafts, both cold and hot., so you need to take her home carefully packed. For protection, wrapping paper or a newspaper folded in several layers is suitable. Heat is no less dangerous for this plant than cold, and it is worth considering the time of purchase and the method of transportation.
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How to choose a healthy orchid?
The first thing you need to pay attention to when acquiring phalaenopsis is the condition of its roots. They can easily be seen through the transparent walls of the pot. Healthy roots should be dense and resilient; their color varies from green to light gray. A green root system indicates that the plant has recently been watered, a gray one indicates a lack of moisture in the substrate.
It is worth refusing to purchase a plant if, upon examination, the following was discovered:
- Phalaenopsis sways strongly in a pot. This symptom usually indicates damage or an underdeveloped root system.
- There are brown spots on the roots. Brown color indicates the presence of dead tissue. In the future, such a plant will have to be reanimated for a sufficiently long time.
Inspect the leaves
After examining the roots, close attention should be paid to the condition of the leaves. In a healthy plant, they are glossy, saturated green. The following symptoms indicate a poor condition of phalaenopsis:
- Puckering of leaf blades. Most often indicates problems with the root system.
- Yellowing. May appear as a result of a bay plant.
- The presence of wet spots. This sign indicates the presence of rot, which is difficult to get rid of.
- The presence of dead sites may indicate the presence of pests or fungal diseases.
Advice! On sale, phalaenopsis with mechanical damage to the leaves is very common. If the edges of the lesions are dry and do not rot, then such a plant can also be acquired.
Inspect the peduncle and sinus of leaf blades
Before choosing an orchid in the store, you should definitely pay attention to the condition of the peduncle. A healthy plant has a saturated green color. Ideally, it should have both open flowers and buds.
Attention! Some plants in store conditions drop part of the buds. In this way they respond to stress. Such a reaction is not critical, in the future the remaining buds quite successfully blossom, and for a long time they please with their flowering.
After examining the peduncle, it is also worthwhile to carefully examine the leaf sinuses and the reverse side of the leaf platinum. It is in these places that various pests most often hide. The following signs indicate their presence:
- Sticky coating. It is a sign of the presence of whiteflies.
- Spider web. It occurs with a spider mite.
- Lumps of white color, very similar to pieces of cotton wool. They testify to the presence of mealybug.
All of the above pests need a very long time to remove. But their main danger lies in the fact that they are able to spread to nearby plants. By acquiring such a phalaenopsis, you risk infecting the entire home collection.
Where is the best place to buy phalaenopsis?
Phalaenopsis can be found in almost any flower shop, ranging from the smallest to large specialized greenhouses. And also they are sold in most major retail chains. In most cases, all of these outlets have several major suppliers. Therefore, initially all plants come in excellent condition. Further, it all depends on the conditions of detention.
For retail chains, phalaenopsis is the so-called non-core product, so almost no one watches the conditions of their maintenance. Most often, the cart with orchids is simply placed in a prominent place on the trading floor. No one even thinks about the level of their lighting or watering. It is worth acquiring such plants immediately after delivery, until they have time to dry out very much.
In small flower shops, orchids are treated more carefully. In addition, if necessary, the seller-consultant will tell you in detail about the conditions of cultivation, care, explain how to choose a pot for orchids.
Specialized flower greenhouses are the best option to buy. They contain plants in optimal conditions, and their health is constantly monitored.
Care immediately after purchase
From the article above we learned which orchid to choose. Now it remains to figure out how to properly adapt the plant to the conditions of the apartment. Immediately after the purchase, phalaenopsis should get used to the changed conditions. To do this, it is placed in a well-lit place without access to direct sunlight.
Watering the newly acquired plant is not necessary. The exception is those cases when the substrate in the pot is very dry, and the leaves are already beginning to lose turgor. For irrigation, it is better to use boiled or standing water at room temperature.
And also it is not worth starting an immediate transplant of phalaenopsis, the store substrate will be enough for him for six months, or even a year. An emergency transplant is allowed only in case of rotting or damage to the roots.
After 2-3 weeks, the plant can be moved to a permanent place. At the same time, do not forget about compliance with quarantine measures. Larvae and adult pests can go unnoticed for a long time. That is why immediately after the purchase, it is recommended that the orchid be treated with an insecticide solution. For example, you can use complex preparations Fitoverm or Aktara. This precaution is especially relevant for owners of large flower collections.