What is the right orchid soil?

There are countless variations of orchids, but they can generally be classified into two groups.

On one side, there are terrestrial orchids, which grow in soil, and on the other side, there are epiphytic orchids, meaning they grow on other plants and not in the soil.

These differences result in varying requirements for orchid soil.

Epiphytic Orchids

Among the epiphytic orchid species:

  • Phalaenopsis (Moth Orchid)
  • Dendrobium
  • Cattleya
  • Oncidium
  • Vanda

Terrestrial Orchids

Among the terrestrial orchid species:

  • Paphiopedilum (Lady’s Slipper Orchid)
  • Cymbidium
  • Calanthe
  • Bletilla (Japanese Forest Orchid)
  • Jewel Orchid

In case your orchid is not listed, we have two tips for you:

Look for the label with the plant designation on the pot where you purchased your orchid. Search online for the “Latin plant name + epiphytic or terrestrial?” – you should quickly find a clear answer.

Check the substrate in which you bought the plant. If it’s in a very chunky substrate like bark mulch and/or in a transparent pot, it is highly likely to be an epiphytic orchid. If you purchased your orchid in a finer substrate like coconut fiber and in a non-transparent pot, it is quite likely to be a terrestrial orchid.

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