Nine things you should know before embarking on the orchid hobby

Orchids are the most beautiful and exquisite wonders of nature. While the blooms are admired the world over, it has been over a decade since orchids have gained popularity as a hobby. But the snowball is growing bigger and bigger as it rolls and today, there are millions of orchid hobbyists in remote corners of the world, who are going to great lengths to rear orchids in their homes or hot houses.

Over the years, orchid growing has also gained a reputation of being a stress buster, leaving people happy and positive. No wonder then that the orchid hobby is gaining traction with the young and old, alike.

To know more about the connection between growing orchids and becoming patient, happy and positive, read my post on 7 Reasons why orchids can help you beat stress

However, as with every other hobby, orchid growing requires commitment  and investment of time. If you are working full time or are committed elsewhere, then it will require special consideration, since you will need to divert your time and energy towards developing this hobby.

Listed below are nine things that will prepare you for embarking on your orchid care and cultivation journey:

1.       Time

Developing the orchid hobby may sound exciting, but would be an add-on to your weekend chores. While you may put off your laundry or tidying up for later during the week, you won’t be able to do the same with your orchid watering/fertilizing schedule. So, just as you would take care of a pet, orchids demand time and attention, or could wither up due to negligence. So, given the busy work schedule, it would be best to start with a modest collection of a few hardy orchids, and add more as you get used to their culture and care requirements.

2.       Effort

While we are attracted to the exquisite beauty of orchid blooms, getting your orchids to bloom requires you to invest considerable effort. Nonetheless, this should not deter you from developing this relaxing hobby. Understanding this will prepare you to start small with a minimal number of orchids, and depending on the effort you can put in towards their regular care, you can grow your collection of orchids.

3.       Commitment

Orchids require commitment to their care and culture. While some varieties like dendrobiums and cattleyas are hardy, and can withstand draught conditions to some extent, there are other types such as phalaenopsis, vandas and oncidiums that require regular watering and care. So one needs to set aside time to cater to their culture needs. A good way is to test the waters with a few hardy ones and then move on to the more demanding types, depending on the time that you can spare.

4.       Getting to know orchids better

Fore-warned is fore-armed. So is the case with orchid culture. Before you decide to take it up as a hobby, look up for information on orchids, their varieties and culture requirements. This will make the journey more enjoyable and you will achieve better results. It will also give you an idea about the commitment required to develop this hobby and whether it will fit into your lifestyle.

5.       One rule does not fit all

While a lot of information on orchid care and culture is available online, you need to consider your local environment and accordingly modify the care requirements to get the desired results. A good way to gauge whether the care you are providing is suiting your orchid, is to watch how your orchid is responding to your care, and modify to achieve better results.

6.       Managing your expenses

Growing orchids can be a reasonably expensive hobby as the plants and growth media like pine bark and sphagnum moss are costly. As an orchid growing hobbyist, I have tried various alternative media that are less expensive and can be sourced locally. Inorganic media like LECA pebbles, river rock, charcoal and lava rock can be reused.  Using bark mounts and DIY ideas have helped me bring down the expenses considerably, thereby allowing me to channelize my savings towards buying more orchids. Moreover, sourcing orchids through local growers and hobbyists, being part of online orchid buy and sell groups on social media, buying smaller size plants and making the most of orchid discount sales as well as clearance sales in nurseries, garden centres, including orchid exhibitions cum sales, can help you bring down costs considerably.

7.       Your collection will predictably grow

Once you start looking after orchids comfortably and they begin thriving and blooming under your care, you will invariably want to diversify your collection, especially if you want blooms during every season. Before you know it, your orchid collection will start growing. So it’s worth your while to earmark a dedicated grow space in your home and keep it well-organized.

8.       Experimentation and innovation

As your collection grows and you become confident about looking after your orchids, the fun part begins. You can begin experimenting with growth media, fertilizers and different ways of growing orchids such as water culture, semi-water culture or on bark mounts, mounting on rocks and other media. There is never a dull moment and you will be amazed by the way your orchids respond to the right conditions.

9.       Taking your passion to the next level

As you get comfortable growing orchids and blooming them year after year, you could go a notch higher and focus on specialising your collection with your favourite types of orchids such as a collection of paphiopedlums, species collections, miniature orchids and the like. You can share your experiences through blogs and tutorial/care videos. You can also start selling your orchids as they grow and begin multiplying. Taking your hobby further, you can get creative with orchid flower arrangements, growing them in a terrarium and recreating the forest habitat using various substrates like bark, pebbles, rocks and other media.

A Phalaenopsis Cornu cervi hybrid

Growing orchids can be a very satisfying hobby and can contribute to your wellness. (Check out my post, Orchids and Wellness for more information.) Taking an informed call on whether you are prepared for this hobby will definitely answer a lot of questions that you may have as a beginner. Knowing about the commitment, expenditure, preparation involved and the personal growth you will eventually experience, will ensure that your passion grows with each passing year.

For more information on orchid culture and care, read my blog posts on www.orchidanu.com

Till my next, happy growing!


8 thoughts on “Nine things you should know before embarking on the orchid hobby

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