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What is the best substrate for my orchid?
      By definition, substrate is the material on which the orchid will settle to grow. 
      There are many substrate options for growing orchids. Before starting, it is important to think that the substrate is part of a culture strategy. What I mean is that if you use a plastic vase, probably a more airy substrate is better, in the same way if you cultivate the orchids in a space where they are exposed to the rain. If growing inside a covered greenhouse, substrates that retain more moisture can easily be used, as you can control irrigation as you see fit. 
      A critical point for most substrates is durability: unfortunately most substrates have precisely the problem of having to be exchanged within a year or two. The problem with frequent changes, in addition to work, is that the orchid will never be able to form a good rooting and a good rooting is very important so that the plant can show all its flowering potential. 
     Never use soil in orchid pots, unless the orchid is terrestrial.
     A substrate is rarely used in isolation. Elements are normally mixed, one  which accumulates moisture and another which does not, generating a balanced mixture. The type of substrate also depends on the type of pot used.ado.
  UA good substrate should: 
- Retain fertilizing nutrients to release it little by little;
- Be cheap and available; 
- Do not contain substances that are toxic to the plant; 
- Support the plant firmly, allowing good aeration of the roots; . 
- Retain moisture in the ideal amount, without soaking; 
- Keep the pH balanced;
- Last at least from  2 to 3 years. 

 pine bark 


It is the crushed bark of a very common tree in reforestation in Brazil, the Pinus ellioti. Usually it is a residence in the woodlands, mainly in the south of the country. 

ADVANTAGES: easy to find, cheap e retains fertilizer and moisture. 
DISADVANTAGES: it has an excess of tannin and decomposes very quickly. It does not fix the plant well in the vase, requiring a tutor. 
DURABILITY: average of two years.

 PH: 4.0 to 4.5

melhor substrato para oquideas, casca de pinus
melhor substrato para orquideas, brita, pedras

 crushed stone or dolomite 


They are crushed granite stones normally used in construction.   
ADVANTAGES: easy to be found and help plants rooting. 
DISADVANTAGES: they retain fertilizer salts and burn the root tips of some species. They weigh more than organic compounds. They need a lot of fertilization because they have no nutritional value. The gravel releases a lot of calcium, which can harm some types of orchids. Low moisture retention
DURABILITY: forever. 
PH: neutral​ 



Common charcoal used in barbecues, but which must always be new, as those that have already been used harm the plant because they contain salts and fats. It is  a natural bactericide and  repellent of some pests such as snails and slugs.

ADVANTAGES: It dries quickly, in places with a dry climate must be accompanied by another substrate that retains moisture.

DISADVANTAGES: needs  frequent fertilizers. It is very light, does not hold the plant and, due to its porosity, tends to accumulate mineral salts that can burn the roots of the plants, so it needs frequent watering.

For its use, periodic washing of the vase is recommended.

DURABILITY: about 2 years.

PH: neutral

melhor substrato para orquideas
melhor substrato para orquideas, no de pinho

pine knot


It is the node and shape at the points where the branches come out na araucaria (ARAUCARIA heterophyla
ADVANTAGES: High durability and do not contain toxic substances. 
DISADVANTAGES: it is difficult to find and weight. 
DURABILITY: long and indefinite


Peroba bark

It is the rough bark of the peroba-rosa tree (ASPIDOSPERMA pyrifolium). 
ADVANTAGES: great durability, rough, retains little water. With this bark, orchids can be grown vertically, attaching the peroba sheets to a wire mesh or wall. 
DISADVANTAGES: as it is a hard substrate, you need to water the plants more often. It also does not retain fertilizer. High cost.
DURABILITY: more than 5 years. 

melhor substrato para orquideas , casca de peroba
melhor substrato para orquideas, fibra de coco

Coconut fiber

It is a product made from coconuts left over from the sale of water. To use it as a substrate, desalting and sterilization techniques are required .

ADVANTAGES: contains important macro and micro nutrients for plant growth and development. It has several options in vases and other formats for sale. There are versions sold without excess tannin, a substance that can burn the roots.
DISADVANTAGES: it does not retain much fertilizer and lacks nitrogen. It is not recommended for cold and humid regions because it retains too much water and the roots can rot. Tannin can burn roots.
DURABILITY: more than 3 years. 

PH: 5.5 to 6.0

Coconut Cushion

It is an industrialized product made from shredded coconut. O COXIM, which has caused much controversy among orchidists. Some think it's the ideal substitute, for others it's not recommended because it gets soaked.

ADVANTAGES: maintains acidity at a good level and needs little watering, as it is very absorbent. It takes longer for green crusts to appear (a kind of moss)  which, in excess, can  harm the plant. It is ideal for drier and hotter regions. 

DISADVANTAGES: it does not retain much fertilizer and lacks nitrogen. Upon absorbing water, the cushion increases a little in size and expands. When dry, it returns to its original volume. For this reason, the cubes must be placed in an untidy way and not rammed into vases, so as not to burst them. Excess tannin can burn the roots. It is not recommended for cold and humid regions because it retains too much water and the roots can rot. 

DURABILITY: more than 5 years (in dry climate regions)

melhor substrato para orquideas
como plantar orquideas em árvores

living tree

Rough bark trees.

ADVANTAGES: it is the substrate that best imitates natural conditions.

DISADVANTAGES: it makes it unfeasible to transport orchids to other places, such as exhibitions, for example.

DURABILITY: as long as the tree is alive. 


Sfagnum (moss) 


It is a moss taken from the banks of rivers. There are several species that can be used. The national ones are all of low durability which represents a DISADVANTAGE, in addition to collection being prohibited by IBAMA.   The imported option (mainly from Chile) has excellent durability. 

ADVANTAGES: Retains moisture and nutrients, ideal for indoor cultivation where you can control irrigation.

DISADVANTAGE: in regions with a lot of rain it gets soaked.

DURABILITY: National up to 2 years; Imported up to 4 years. 

If used prehensed in the vase, it will retain more moisture. Usually used mixed with other materials.

PH 3.5 A 4.2 

mellhor substrato para orquideas, musgo chileno
melhor substrato para orquideas, caroço de açai

acai pit


Seed of a palm tree  (Euterpe oleracea)
ADVANTAGES: it is cheap and plentiful;   Keeps acidity at a good level for orchids and retains the ideal amount of fertilizer and humidity. It does not contain excess tannins or other toxic substances. 
DISADVANTAGES: in humid regions, it deteriorates  very quickly. Use in covered cultivation. 
DURABILITY: 2 years 


pottery shards


Pieces of ceramic vases and tiles (always new);

ADVANTAGES: they are porous, retain acidity at a good level, in addition to retaining moisture and fertilizer. They are well ventilated and better support the plant in the pot. 

DISADVANTAGES: they have no nutrients, they can retain excess fertilizers.

DURABILITY: Replace every five years.

melhor substrato para orquideas

Cajazeira bark


Bark of the cashew fruit tree (venous SPNODIAS). Use the thick and hard ones.
ADVANTAGES: the gaps in the bark hold moisture which helps with rooting. The bark is renewable;
DISADVANTAGES: It's hard to find. It breaks down easily because of moisture, heat and bacteria. It has a lot tanino.
DURABILITY: more than 5 years. 

melhor substrato para orquideas, cajazeira

Macadamia knot bark


It is a residue (shell) of the use of the chestnut. Durability is superior to Pinus bark. Slightly less moisture retention

ADVANTAGES: facilitates aeration and rooting. Rich in phytic acid. 

Other chestnut shells can also be used: Brazil nuts, macaúba seeds,  bocaiuva, pindó, etc.

DURABILITY: around 4 years.

melhor substrato para orquideas, macadamia

Curatella bark


american curatorship, popularly known as sambaíba-de-minas-gerais, sambaíba, sambaíba-do-rio -5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_lixeira, cajueiro-bravo, cajueiro-bravo-do-campo, cajueiro-do-mato , cambarba, craibeira, penteeira, sobro emarajoara._cc781905 -5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ 
ADVANTAGES: the bark is renewable; 
DURABILITY: more than 3 years. 

melhor substrato para orquideas, curatella
melhor substrato para orquideas, isopor



Material widely used by large orchids, but normally mixed with other substrates. 

ADVANTAGES: It is very light, does not absorb water, solving an aeration problem, extremely high durability, easy to find.   It does not release any type of substance and is completely non-toxic. Super-fast drying.

DISADVANTAGE: it does not contain any nutrients and, because it is light, it can hinder the stability of the vase. 

DURABILITY: very high.

PH: neutral

melhor substrato para orquideas, casca de arroz carbonizada

charred rice husk

 ADVANTAGES: They have low density, slow biodegradation, high energy power, contain almost 80% carbon. Rich in silica (protection against diseases), great aeration, quick drying

DISADVANTAGE: Not easy to find

DURATION: maintains its original form for long periods . PH:  6.0 to 7.0

slate stone

Stone often used as a floor. Its scraps are easy to obtain. 

ADVANTAGES: Rich in iron. 

DISADVANTAGE: does not retain moisture

DURATION: Indefinite

PH:  neutral




Source material vegetal, partially decomposed, found in layers, usually in swampy regions and also under mountains (highland peat). It is mainly formed by Sphagnum (sphagnum, group of mosses) and Hypnum, but also reeds, trees, etc.
 ADVANTAGES - rich in nutrients (Humic Acid, Fulvic Acid and Humin), fertilizer retention. 

DISADVANTAGES - retains a lot of moisture, may contain toxic traces of mercury, cadmium and lead.

duration: long

pH: 3.2 - 3.7



melhor substrato para orquideas, turfa
melhor substrato para orquideas, ardosia

chestnut hedgehog


Coconut that coats Brazil nuts on the outside. 

ADVANTAGE: high durability

DISADVANTAGE: hard to find


melhor substrato para orquideas, ouriço de castanha



Plug manufactured for the development of the first stages of the plant outside the bottle. A special resin is grouped together and receives antifungal treatment for greater durability.  

ADVANTAGE: high speed in plant development

DISADVANTAGE: hard to find


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