How To Cross Breed Orchids Successfully

Understanding how to cross breed orchids means learning how to cross-pollinate or use the laboratory. Cross-breeding orchids or any plants for that matter is not something all gardeners are confident to try. After all, it’s not as simple as propagating or breeding them from a single parent plant.

However, the only way you’ll achieve unique orchids is by using different parent plants. There are more than 24,000 hybrid species, but you still have plenty of room to be creative and achieve unique combinations. As a gardener, you need to be open to expanding your skillset, such as cross-breeding prolific plants like orchids. 

How To Cross Breed Orchids Successfully

Comprehensive Guide On How To Cross Breed Orchids

Creating your very own orchid hybrids is possible as long as you do your research and follow the recommendations actively. Whichever of the two methods you choose, it would be best to plan the plants you want to cross ahead of time. Additionally, the resulting flower will benefit well if the environment is optimal for its growth, so consider growing it in a greenhouse. 

 

Cross-pollination

Cross-pollination is perhaps the most straightforward technique to create hybrid orchids. Additionally, cross-pollination or sexual reproduction is the only way to create variations in orchids. Whether you’re cross-breeding orchids for hobby or commercial use, cross-pollination is going to be the easier way between the two methods.

 

When to start?

So how does one cross-pollinate orchids? Check your flowers if their seed pod is ripening. At this point, you must remove the flower spikes or the group of flowers without stalk growing on an upright stem. 

 

How to prepare?

This way, the seed pod will have no competition for the energy of the plant. Once you have prepared the orchids, remember that you need to use pollen from a different orchid type. The two varieties you’ve selected will represent the female and male plants.

 

How to cross-pollinate orchids?

One orchid variety will provide the pistil and act as the female plant while the other will give the stamen or pollen as a male plant. To collect the pollen, find the petal column at the center of the flower. There should be an anther cap under the upper end that you can push aside to get the pollen. 

You can then pollinate manually with the pollen and pistil. To be successful, you need to know orchid anatomy since there’s a high chance your orchid is both female and male. This knowledge in orchid parts will make it easier for you to collect pollen and cross-pollinate. 

 

How to know if cross pollination is successful?

Cross-pollination is as straightforward as it sounds, making it beginner-friendly if you’re just starting with cross breeding orchids. With success, the opening at the stigma should close, and the petals will begin to dry. The flower stem or pedicel will then turn into the seed capsule. 

 

In the laboratory

The first method of cross breeding orchids is relatively easy as long as you know orchid anatomy. However, you can go the extra mile and create hybrids in the laboratory. While this method is more meticulous, it is an excellent choice to make unique combinations among species and genera. 

One of the things that make cross breeding in the laboratory difficult is you’re producing orchids from seeds. Orchid seeds are very tiny and picky in the growing environment. Experienced growers use sterile flasks on a clean substrate to grow these seeds. 

 

What makes this method complicated?

The process requires specific materials and methodology, but you will start by sowing orchid seeds in a mother flask to give you a general idea. After some time, you can spread the orchid protocorm-like bodies from this flask to another mother flask. Once the seedlings develop, you can transfer these seedlings protocorms to a new flask.

 

The most significant requirement

It’s crucial to emphasize that this is the simplified explanation and that consistent sterilization of the materials is necessary throughout the steps. You will also need to use additional materials as you go through the cross breeding process. Lastly, move the green blobs to another flask before the final step, which is deflasking. 

Overall, using a laboratory to cross breed orchids is not for someone without the proper environment and materials. However, this method is ideal if you eventually want to apply and try to register your new hybrid with the Royal Horticultural Society

 

Conclusion

While propagation is an excellent way to clone orchids, one might be interested in creating their own hybrids. Therefore, you can research how to cross breed orchids, whether via cross-pollination or the use of a laboratory. As you can expect, the first method would be the easiest and more ideal for beginners.

Its main requirement would be knowledge in orchid anatomy so that you can allocate male and female plants. Additionally, you have to be familiar with orchid parts to collect pollen and check if the hybridization was successful. But what if you want to register your orchid hybrid?

You can cross breed orchid seeds in the laboratory. But due to their tiny size and meticulous sterile environment for success, this method is reserved for breeders who are willing to dive into the procedures and requirements to guarantee success. Nonetheless, it’s safe to say that breeding and cross breeding orchids are doable and comfortable for those going to put in the work.  

 

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How To Prevent Root Rot In Hydroponics: 3 Useful Tips

If you’re a newbie gardener who’s looking to find ways to hone your skills, you’d want to learn how to prevent root rot in hydroponics even before this problem affects your plants.

Hydroponics can be advantageous to crops in more ways than one. However, it also comes with risks of diseases, such as root rot, which can be destructive or even lethal to your plants.

Unfortunately, there are no effective methods to recover the wilted parts that were affected by the root rot once it hits your plants. The only thing you can do if you do not want this catastrophe to befall your crops is to prevent it before it happens. Read on to learn more about this subject.

 

What is Root Rot?

Root rot is a disease that attacks the plant roots and causes them to suffer decay. This usually happens when a lack of oxygen supply occurs in the substrate.

To give you an idea, think about plant roots that are submerged in water that only has a little oxygen in it. Over time, the plant suffocates and dies.

Aside from rot and decay, this disease also leads to the proliferation of fungi that are naturally present in the soil. These include Rhizoctonia, Alternaria, Pythium, Botrytis, Fusarium, or Phytophthora. As soon as fungi colonies start to grow, they tend to target the weakened roots and infect your precious plant babies.

Once the plant becomes infected, they won’t be able to take in what they need to grow – water, oxygen, and other nutrients. When this happens, it won’t be long before the plant dies.

 

What is Hydroponics?

In case you’re not aware, the term hydroponic is derived from a Latin word that means “working water”. To put it simply, hydroponics is an art that involves growing various types of plants without soil. If you’re like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when somebody talks about hydroponics would be a picture of plants with roots suspended into the water without using any type of growing medium.

 

Avoiding Root Rot in Hydroponic Systems

Detecting and identifying root rot can be tricky. When your plants get infected, their leaves and roots gradually wither until the whole crop itself dies from the lack of nutrients, which is a common symptom of many diseases.

 

What causes root rot in hydroponics?

One of the requirements in hydroponics systems is oxygen. Without it, your plants are basically on the road to death. On the other hand, lack of such is one of the major triggers for root rot, and it must be avoided at all costs.

Just like when planting in soil, you loosen up the ground so that your plants’ roots can have their required intake of oxygen. That is the case for crops grown in aqueous solutions as well. If they cannot breathe, they would not be able to grow.

Another agent for root rot is the temperature. The last thing you would want in your system are parasites that leech nutrients intended for your plants and infect the water during the process. In common terms, these fungi are called molds.

One of the best breeding grounds for these is warm and moist areas. For this reason, if the water temperature inside your reservoir is high, then you are susceptible to it. Something as minor as letting the solutions exposed to sunlight can already be a risk factor.

 

3 Useful Tips on How to prevent root rot in hydroponics

There is good news! Root rot in hydroponics can be prevented! Just follow these tips:

Tip#1: Use the right air pump

If you do not want root rot to affect your plants, you merely have to avoid its causes. If you need oxygen, keep the water bubbling by providing an air pump of appropriate size, and also give importance to proper ventilation in the room.

 

Tip #2: Maintain the temperature

The temperature should be maintained within the 70 to 80 degrees F range. Get rid of any materials that can make your system vulnerable to infections, and make sure not to disturb your crops while they are trying to grow.

 

Tip #3: Get rid of the rotten parts

However, if you failed in preventing the disease, then the rotten parts should be removed immediately. Cut them off as there is no chance of reviving them, and focus on the potential new growth instead. Fix your hydroponics system and eliminate the risks.

 

Why Give Greenhouse Gardening a Try?

Greenhouse gardening offers numerous benefits to greens aficionados who dare to take their gardening experience to the next level. Aside from acting as a shield against the effects of inclement weather, a mini, hobby, or semi-pro greenhouse can also serve as a protective layer that keeps harmful bugs and critters at bay.

What’s more, its enclosed structure allows you to control your plants’ growing conditions including the temperature, light, moisture, and ventilation of the greenhouse’s internal environment. With a controlled environment, you’ll be able to extend growing seasons and grow plants that aren’t native to your area.

 

Conclusion

No matter how well-informed you are about how to prevent root rot in hydroponics, you cannot completely eradicate the risks. Therefore, to avoid the worst-case scenario, you should be prepared to sacrifice the infected for the sake of others. While you’re at it, consider trying your hand at greenhouse gardening as well.

 

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