Growing orchids from seed is possible if you have good conditions and are prepared for the challenge. There are many varieties of plants which produce flowers from seeds. Most of them are not easy to grow successfully.
Some species need very specific soil and temperature conditions to flourish. Other species require special kinds of water, light, and nutrients in order to thrive. Still other species cannot survive in our climate at all. However, there are some species which do well under certain conditions. These include the genus Phalaenopsis (orchid) and the family Agavaceae (the orchid family).
The orchids known as “Phalaenopsis” belong to a group of flowering plants called cacti. They are members of the family Agavaceae. The orchids known as “Agave” belong to a different family called the Echeveriae (the echeverias).
Their flowers contain a latex which they use to make a kind of medicine.
There are two main types of orchids known as “Paphiopedilum” and “Amorphophallus”. The “Paphiopedilum” are the most common type of orchid. They’re a type of “tropical orchid”.
The other orchid known as “Amorphophallus” is not a tropical orchid. Both the “Paphiopedilum” and the “Amorphophallus” tend to be easy to grow, provided that you have the right conditions.
The correct conditions for growing orchids are usually warm and humid. You can cultivate the right environment yourself, or you can buy an orchid growing kit. There are several types of orchid grow kits available online and in gardening specialty shops.
The key to success is careful and patient observation. It is important to keep a careful record of your observations. Otherwise, it will be difficult to keep track of your experiment, and it may fail to produce the desired results.
If you choose to grow an orchid from seed, it may take a while before the orchid blooms. There are several key steps involved in growing an orchid from seed. If you’ve never grown an orchid from seed before, you may want to contact your local university for assistance.
They may be able to help you with the technical details of the process. (Your local university may have a horticultural department which can assist you. If not, they may be able to refer you to an appropriate expert).
There are two different types of orchids which produce what are known as “orchid seeds”. These are the “Bletilla” and the “Phalaenopsis”. The seeds of both of these orchids look very much like the seeds of a garden flower.
They’re small and lightweight, and they have a hard shell which protects the growing plant embryo.
You can order these seeds from specialist orchid supply stores. They are often available from the same source as your orchid growing kit.
Orchid seeds need special treatment before they can be planted successfully. If you’re planning to grow an orchid from seed, do some research first. Talk to an orchid expert, and do some independent reading on the topic.
Gather all the relevant information first, before you begin. Once you begin, do not deviate from the recommended procedures.
There are several steps involved in the process of growing an orchid from seed. The first step is called “stratification”. This is a fancy word which basically means “putting the seeds to sleep”.
The seed needs a period of cold temperature in order to germinate successfully.
How do you provide this condition?
There are two options. You can either bury the seeds in soil and keep them in the fridge (or somewhere else which stays cool), or you can soak the seeds in water for a few days before you plant them, then dry the seeds off before you plant them.
The next step is to prepare the soil. Orchids like their roots to be confined to a small pot, so you need a special kind of soil for this. You can buy “seed-starting” soil from a garden supply store.
(It’s the same kind of soil you can buy for normal garden plants, but it’s lower in nutrients and higher in fiber to make sure that the growing plant’s roots are confinded to the pot)
After the soil has been prepared, you’re ready to plant the orchid seeds. Some sources recommend planting just one seed per pot, while other sources recommend planting 2 or 3 seeds per pot in the hopes that 1 or 2 will survive. You can try both methods, and see what works best for you.
It is very important to remember that orchids take a long time to grow. You cannot rush their growth by giving them extra nutrients, so only use the seed-starting soil which has lower nutrient levels to begin with.
The next step is the most difficult. You have to keep the soil moist, but not wet. Over-watering is a sure way to kill your orchid.
If your orchid is in a pot, it’s best to use pot with a drainage hole to make watering easier for you. If you’re using a cup or some other non-permanent container, just be careful when you water your seed. It’s best if you can pick the container up and judge via sight and touch whether or not the soil is wet. Over time, you’ll gain a better sense of how wet the soil can be before it starts to be a problem.
During this stage, your job is pretty easy. All you have to do is keep the soil from getting too dry for too long, and make sure that the seed doesn’t dry out. If a week goes by and you haven’t seen any sign of growth, you can try gently poking your finger into the dirt around the seed.
If the seed breaks through the dirt easily, it’s time to plant it.
If everything goes well, your new orchid will break through the soil in 2 or 3 months. You’ve now grown an orchid from seed! Congratulations!
The next steps involve taking care of your orchid until it begins to bloom. At this point, you can either choose to allow it to die after it’s finished blooming, or you can try to repot it and grow it on until next year when you can attempt to grow another orchid from seed.
If you choose to grow it on, monitor the orchid’s needs over the next year and try to provide them as best you can. If everything goes well, your orchid will produce another seed pod. You can either allow that orchid to die after it’s finished blooming, or you can try to grow that seed into a new orchid and continue the process.
As you can see, orchid seeds aren’t difficult to grow, but they do require a lot of attention and patience. However, if you’re an orchid lover with the time and resources to provide for your orchids, growing orchid seeds can be very rewarding. Good luck!
Sources & references used in this article:
Terrestrial orchids: from seed to mycotrophic plant by HN Rasmussen – 1995 – books.google.com
Terrestrial orchid conservation by symbiotic seed germination: techniques and perspectives by LW Zettler – Selbyana, 1997 – JSTOR
Tropical orchid mycorrhizae: potential applications in orchid conservation, commercialization, and beyond by JT Otero, AT Mosquera, NS Flanagan – … International Journal on …, 2013 – redalyc.org