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General Care for your Orchid

  I got an orchid, what now?  
    When it comes to growing orchids, we often say that the best tip is to try to copy the environment it has in nature   However,  we have more than 35,000 species that come from all continents except the polar regions. This means that it is practically impossible for us to have the conditions to meet all of them in the same greenhouse. We should then group those that have similar requirements. An unfavorable environment in the nursery is synonymous with difficulty, since the tendency is for the installation of successive diseases until the death of many of them. So let's go to some general lines that meet the majority of orchids
          Orchids need airy place, but can't keep swinging in the vase because it hurts the roots. Good ventilation hinders the action of almost all pests and diseases on orchids. 
      It is highly advisable to protect the plants from cold winds (it can be plastic film or even a wall). In some regions of southern Brazil there is the so-called "south wind", this should be avoided.  
      The most of the orchids we grow are epiphytes (i.e. they grow clinging to tree change in nature) this in itself already  teaches us that they are not used to having very wet roots. Most orchids really need air humidity.
      Ideally, it should be planted (if you don't want to plant it on wood stumps or bark) in a substrate that dries relatively quickly, which only keeps the vase moist,  preventing the rotting of the roots and the plant. But if your orchid has fine roots (such as the Oncidium, "Chuva de Ouro", miltonias) the best thing is not to plant it in pots. See more in the topic "substrates")
A common question is "How many times a week should I give water?"
      This will depend on a few things: Type of substrate, pot, climate, ventilation.  You should water more often if you use a more ventilated substrate, if the climate is hot and dry (on rainy days, the air humidity is high and the orchid knows how to benefit from this) and in environments with lots of ventilation.   Plastic pots dry slower than clay or cachepots. 
      A general tip is to wet around three times a week throwing water until it drains down the bottom of the vase. If the days are too hot just spray the leaves in the early morning and late afternoon.  
         Do not leave dishes under orchid pots: in addition to proliferating mosquitoes, probably the roots of your plant will rot.
          An important thing is that you always observe how this substrate, if it is one, do not need to get wet.

How can air humidity be increased?
       The simplest measure for the orchid is to keep the ground wet.   An option that is also decorative is to keep a lake or water source inside or close to the orchid house.   If you prefer, you can plant ferns and bromeliads in the ground. 
       Avoid watering orchids when leaves are hot.
     If you wet the flowers, they can last less. 
      See in the Menu "secrets", how you can measure moisture at home.

Why do orchids need less water than other plants?
Throughout evolution some orchids have become capable of reducing water loss during the day, when the greatest losses would occur, developing the MAC-type photosynthetic mechanism (acid metabolism of crassulaceans). Thus,  the stomata are opened at night, losing lesser amounts of water. Orchids with the most succulent leaves have a strong tendency to be MAC, so the effectiveness of water absorption depends on the plant being wet at night. So it's better to water the plants in the afternoon, after as 16h, because then your substrates would still be wet during the night and would also remain with good humidity the next morning, where the others, which are not MAC (these are C3), would benefit from water in the substrate during the day.

        Light is critical for the orchid to make photosynthesis, a chemical process in which the plant produces its food. 
    Orchids from regions closer to the equator need more light than those from temperate regions of the Earth.
For most species, the amount of light is well known (described in LUX) and if you have a device called a luxmeter, you can measure whether the luminosity in the place where the plant is is ideal. 
         But most of the time we don't have any of that available.
        So,"How do I know if my orchid has the right amount of light?"
      The answer may be in the sheets.   Leaves with a dark green color are signs of a lack of light (although many people find plants beautiful in this color). The orchid with ideal light must have leaves in a "lettuce green" color for most of the species we cultivate. 
If there is a lack of light, it does not bloom or blooms very badly (see the item "why my orchid doesn't bloom") if there is too much light, it turns very yellow and can even burn the leaves. 
      An important tip is to avoid direct sun, only let your orchid get strong from 9 am to 4 pm. The rest of the time, you need to use a screen for shading (for most orchids, shading between 50 and 70% is ideal).
      The figure below shows that the less light, the leaves become wider and even thinner the leaves are adopting a more horizontal angulation.
Here again, the maximum of observing the temperatures of the species' habitat region is the most important. Most plants cultivated in Brazil enjoy temperatures between 15ºC and 25ºC and do not tolerate frost and temperatures close to 0ºC. A difference of around 10°C between day and night temperature favors most orchids.
** See Specific Care Page for specific gender requirements.**

luminosidade ideal para as orquideas
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