Articles About Orchids
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Articles About Orchids
   Bees, butterflies, and other insects are all busy going about their daily lives pollinating the summer flowers. If you have a window open, they would also be paying visits to your orchids blooming on the windowsill. Soon after a visit by a busy bee or other insect, the orchid blossoms will close and a seed pod will form. I am sure the first thing many of you may want to do is collect and plant the resulting seeds so you can have lots of free orchids!
    Unfortunately, it is not that easy to grow orchids from seed. Orchids are not your average common house plant and that includes their reproduction methods. The seeds of orchids are not like the seeds of most other plants in that they may require a symbiotic fungus to germinate. This means you can not just sow orchid seeds in a pot like you would a Petunia.
Orchid seedlings germinating on sterile media
   I strongly suggest before you get in a big hurry to grow orchids from seeds you first consider the length of time it can take to produce your first blooming plant. It will be anywhere from 3 to 5 years from the time you get the seed to germinate before you will see a resulting blooming plant. If you are ready to care for the plants for that length of time, then you should have blooming orchids in a few years (with a bit of luck and if you do everything right, that is).

   The first thing is to make sure you know what you are growing. If an insect has come along and pollinated your plant, it could be crossed with the pollen of another orchid you do not want to grow.
To avoid such surprises, you will need to hand-pollinate your plants.
   If you do not know how to do this, there are many books available that cover pollination procedures for orchids.
   Considering the large investment in time it takes to grow an orchid from seed, you do not want to spend all those years growing something that is not of good quality. I would strongly suggest that you know the parentage of the plants you will be crossing and recommend only crossing pure species or award wining hybrids. This means you may have to make a significant investment in purchasing the parent plants from reputable orchidists or suppliers.
   You should not start with plants obtained from your local discount super store.
You need to understand the plants you raise will not necessarily all have the same flowers as its parents. You can even end up with many different variations of flowers out of the same seed pod. Because of this unknown factor, professional hybridizers prefer to use stem propagation whereever possible to keep all new plants consistent in blossom characteristics.
   For information about stem propagation, I suggest you read my article here. Many of the techniques and materials used for stem propagation are the somewhat similar to materials and methods used for growing orchids from seed.