genus which includes some species of epiphytic or lithophytic orchids, spread in Australia and Asia. They form ample tufts of linear leaves, erect or slightly curved, fleshy, of pale green colour; in some species, the leaves are broad, ribbon-like; from the centre of the bush develop long thin stems, erect, on which bloom 10-15 small flowers, with a diameter of 2-5 cm, of white, pink or lilac colour, with the centre of the flower in contrasting colours.
They have five enlarged petals, at the centre of which we can see a small labellum; many species are delicately perfumed, and can produce up to 3-4 floral stems. These orchids can be admired from the end of winter until late spring. Most of the species belonging to this genus are fairly easy to grow, although they are not always available on the market, which often prefers plants with larger flowers.
Sarcochilus orchids are grown in medium sized containers, preferably earthenware, or mounted on pieces of bark; they prefer semi-shaded positions, not directly affected by sunlight. As with all other orchid varieties, direct exposure to sunlight could be harmful to our plants as the intense heat could burn the leaves and petals of the orchid.
They need a good exchange of air; even if they can bear short periods of intense cold, they develop best if cultivated at a minimum temperature of 8-10°C.
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The substratum should be kept constantly moist, but not particularly wet; we suggest watering regularly, avoiding water stagnations and excessive watering, especially during the cold months, when the plant does not need abundant irrigation. To increase the ambient humidity, it is best to vaporize the plant periodically, using demineralized water. Every 15-20 days provide a small dose of specific fertilizer for orchids to be diluted in irrigation water.
They do not have pseudobulbs and therefore suffer greatly from drought and particularly high temperatures.
Very important for the cultivation of our orchids is the type of soil to be preferred. The soil is in fact a real resource for our plants because it is from the soil that they acquire the nutrients they need to grow and develop. The Sarcochilus need a loose and light soil, very well aerated, usually using a mixture consisting of a part of expanded clay, a part of plant fibers and a part of bark shredded.
They are repotted every 2-3 years, in order to allow an adequate development of the vegetation and to allow the root system to develop easily and without constraints.
Sarcochilus: Parasites and diseases
To best cultivate our Sarcochilus, be very careful with the development of aphids. These are particularly harmful parasites for our plant which could weaken it and make growth difficult. These parasites, feeding on the sap contained in the leaves of the orchid, deprive it of its main source of livelihood. It is possible to rely on specific pesticide products to eliminate the problem at its root.