Orchiata is the premier standalone orchid growing medium that can be used directly from the bag. Preferred by award winning growers worldwide, Orchiata offers a variety of benefits to the orchid grower:
- pH balanced to eliminate the natural acidity of bark media
- Contains beneficial micro-organisms for protection against plant pathogens
- Does not accumulate salts reducing the need for flushing
- Aged, not composted, allowing water and nutrients to be held while retaining hard structure
- Does not break down minimizing the need for re-potting
Orchiata is a sustainable growing medium produced from the finest quality, 100% pure New Zealand Pinus radiata bark. Pinus radiata is sourced from renewable, man-made forests ensuring availability into the future.
Pinus radiata, and pine bark in general, is harder and more stable than fir based growing media – eliminating the need for frequent re-potting. What makes Orchiata unique is the proprietary aging process which results in superior performance when compared to raw pine bark. Orchiata’s aging process destroys pathogenic micro-organisms while at the same time promoting the formation of beneficial organisms such as Penicillium and Trichoderma. The outer surface of the bark is broken down, allowing it to hold water and nutrients for the plant, while the inner structure remains hard and stable. Orchiata gives consistent hydration, an ideal wet/dry cycle and provides excellent longevity.
See what others are saying
Ray Barkalow – First Rays Orchids
Robert Hamilton – Hawk Hill Nursery
Robert Hamilton – Hawk Hill Nursery (follow up)
Graham Wood - Lehua Orchids
Hadly Cash – Marriott Orchids
Paul Storm – Meke Aloha Orchids
Chuck Acker – Oak Hill Gardens
Jerry Fischer - Orchids Limited
Hawaiian Orchid Masters
Linda C. – Hobbyist
Garry Clark - Besgrow
FAQDo I need to wash Orchiata?
No! Orchiata does not need to be washed before use; it should be used straight from the bag. Unlike some other bark products, Orchiata:
- Has not been contaminated by soil or other organic matter
- Does not contain high salt
- Does not contain high amounts of bark dust as processing removes this
If you DO wash Orchiata you will wash out the dolomite, which is beneficial for plant growth and purposely added during the production process. Washing Orchiata will also unnecessarily increase labor costs while likely destroying this key benefit of the product.
Why not steam sterilize?
Orchiata should not be sterilized by any means. Often steam sterilization of bark substrate is used to kill any potentially pathogenic organisms. However, sterilization of Orchiata will destroy the beneficial micro-organisms.
When a substrate is sterilized it can quickly become colonized by new organisms from the environment. Since the substrate has no other organisms growing on it, new colonizers can grow very quickly and without obstruction. If a pathogenic organism is first to colonize a sterile substrate it could infect the plant.
By using Orchiata straight from the bag, there will be many beneficial micro-organisms already present in the substrate to prevent pathogenic organisms from growing. It is therefore strongly recommended that Orchiata is not sterilized.
What fertilizer works best?
You can use any fertilizer that is suited to orchids in combination with Orchiata.
If the Orchiata dries, is it difficult to rewet?
No; during the processing of Orchiata the outside, waxy, water repellent layer has been removed allowing the substrate to take up water easily.
Can you over-water Orchiata?
With Orchiata, the inner core of the bark is still hard so it will not absorb too much water. It is very difficult to over-water Orchiata.
How can you tell when Orchiata is dry enough to re-water?
It is important that you allow Orchiata to dry sufficiently before re-watering. These wet and dry cycles lead to stronger root growth. You can tell when Orchiata has dried sufficiently by either picking up the pot and feeling the weight (a dry pot will be very light compared to a wet pot), or by carefully digging down into the media (the media should be dry for the first inch in small pots and two inches in larger pots).
How often you water the orchid will depend on the orchid type, pot type and time of year.
Does Orchiata accumulate salts and need flushing?
No. Orchiata is not like other bark-based substrates. Pinus Radiata bark is not soft and spongy, therefore it does not absorb additional salts. It only holds enough nutrients on the outside layer of the chip for the plant. To check this you can test the EC of the Orchiata over time. There is no need for flushing; just good water and fertilizer management.
Can you re-use Orchiata?
Orchiata lasts a very long time so can easily be used in the next stage of potting. You can use the existing substrate when you move up in pot size and simply fill the remaining space with extra Orchiata. However, do not remove the material and then re-use for potting younger plants (e.g. recycling the substrate). When potting young plants, fresh Orchiata should be used.
Can you plant moss plugs into Orchiata?
Orchiata is a very stable substrate and it is recommended that you do not mix other materials with it for growth. However, many growers begin their plants in Sphagnum moss and then transplant into Orchiata. If you start growth in Sphagnum moss you can plant the plugs into Orchiata saving time and labor but you must only use high quality Sphagnum such as New Zealand Sphagnum moss. This is because lower quality Sphagnum such as Chinese moss breaks down very quickly and can contain materials that cause pathogen and water problems. NZ Sphagnum moss is more robust, does not break down and can last as long as the Orchiata.
What size pot and grade should I use for my orchids?
This will depend on the orchid type you are growing and its climate requirements. However most orchids prefer to be restricted in their pot. You must never use pots that are too big. It is also important that the pots have appropriate drain holes that allow all water to drain (no pooling) and air to reach the roots. See our sizing guide on the orchids page under the applications drop down menu for guidance on selecting an appropriate grade of Orchiata for your particular plant.
Can we mix other products like peat moss with Orchiata to increase the moisture?
Mixing substrates is definitely not recommended. Inconsistent mixing can lead to inconsistencies in watering, which may cause wet and dry spots within the pot. Orchiata is a good substrate by itself; if other substrates are used there may be pathogens present which could infect the substrate and cause problems for your plants.