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   Orchid Nature

  Orchid habit and orchid care

  Before you begin reading on orchid care it is very helpful to understand the habit or nature of orchids.
  This will help you gain a better understanding of its needs and make it thrive.

  Firstly, most orchids are epiphytes, as in they grow on top of other plants.
  Most orchids are found growing on the bark of trees in wet regions. Their roots are specilized and used to grip onto
  surfaces. The roots are also covered in a fine layer of material that helps absorb and retain water from humid air or
  brief showers. Along with catching water, the roots also abosrb nutrients from the air and deacying leaf detritus that
  builds up near the plant which do not provide a lot of nutrients. The plant itself usually consists of a column of leaves
  (monopodial like vandas and phals) or several seperate psuedobulbs (sympodial like oncidiums and cattleyas) with
  leaves coming out of the top. The psuedobulbs act to store water and food for periods of no rain, those without
  psuedobulbs have very succulent leaves capable of holding lots of water (this is why it is ok to let the media dry out
  between waterings!). Most orchids can actually survive more than a month without watering because of this. Because
  they live amongst the branches of trees, they have protection from UV radiation. In their natural habitat, most
  light is blocked out by the tree leaves yearound. That is why orchids require indirect sunlight and should have 
  shade directly above them at all times. The flowering is usually initiated in winter, in anticipation of spring.
  Flowering is specialized, and most orchids have their own unique pollinator that they have evolved to accept.
  Flowers are often very hardy to withstand sudden downpours and winds, which is why they last so long indoors.
  Seed pods often take months to mature and most produce seeds by the millions the size of dust particles.
  These seeds require a symbiotic fungus found in their native habitats to initiate germination. This is often done
  in the lab via nutrient cultures.

  So now that you know how orchids grow in the wild, you can apply it to growing in the home! Remember orchids occur
  naturally and conditions outside your home are much more harsh. Most cultivated orchids are very hardy and require
  little care. In fact, the more you fret and mess with your orchids, often the worse it does. Letting an orchid become
  adjusted to its location and not overwatering or feeding will allow it to thrive. So let's get started!