Are Orchids Parasites? How Orchids Grow Without Soil

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Orchids are beautiful and rare, and some of them are common. Are Orchids Parasites? Do you want to know How Orchids Grow Without Soil?

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Orchids are usually collected by plant lovers worldwide as they are most valued for their attractive blooms and the exciting way they grow. You may have known that orchids are parasites, as this flower can grow on other living things. So, Are Orchids Parasites? Learn How Orchids Grow Without Soil in our guide. 

Find out the best Homemade Plant Food for Orchids here

Are Orchids Parasites?

It is a big misconception that orchids are parasites, and many people think so when they see them growing in the wild. Some orchids grow on tree branches, cling to shrubs, or wrap themselves around the tree trunks. 

The truth is that some of these beautiful species are considered to be parasites, and others are classified as semi-parasites. However, most orchid species are air plants and epiphytes, not parasites. 

An epiphyte is a plant that grows on top of another living organism, mostly a plant. Orchids generally grow on trees and other plants, but they do not thrive on nutrients from others or harm the tree in any possible way. That is the reason why Orchids are not considered to be parasitic. 

Here are the most common growing mistakes for Orchids you need to avoid!

What are Parasitic Orchids?

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Although most orchids are not parasites, some are known as parasitic orchids as they can team up with some fungus for survival. These kinds of orchids depend on their fungi partners for food. They cannot create their food by photosynthesis, and such types are considered parasites. Also, they cause damage to the fungus in the process.

Such species belong to a botanical family called Corallorhiza and can only be found in forests. 

Follow the tips and save yellow orchid leaves here

Can Orchids Grow Without Soil?

Orchids are a kind of plant that can grow without soil. With the help of their aerial roots, they can store nutrients and water. Also, they have a unique type of root called pseudobulb that can get nutrients and water from the air. So, they do not require soil to grow like most other plants. 

Here are the best types of Orchids you can grow

How do Orchids grow Without Soil?

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Orchids are air plants that grow by absorbing moisture and nutrients from the air surrounding them. These species live healthily by taking energy from the sunlight and not from the nutrients in the soil. 

Orchids often hang on higher tree branches and gather food from bird droppings and dead leaves.

While orchids can live outside in the wild and get their daily dose of water and nutrients from the sun and air, you need to provide proper ventilation when growing them indoors. 

Check out the best orchid-growing tips here

Growing Orchids in Water

It can be a rewarding experience to grow your Orchids in water. There are two basic ways to do that. 

1. Traditional Method of Growing in Water

Grow the Orchid plant in a clear jar filled with fresh rainwater or filtered water. Change the water every 5-6 days or when you find it muddy. It is the most popular and easiest way to grow Orchids at home. 

2. Water and Dry Method

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The second option can be a little tricky. You need to place the plant in water for 2-3 days and then let it dry for 5-6 days. Keep repeating the process for the best results. 

Quick Tips for Better Plant Health

  • Keep the plant submerged in water for 4-5 days first, and then check the roots every week to keep it healthy. 
  • Add expanded clay or small pebbles at the bottom of the container for extra stability.

Check out our guide on watering orchids the right way here

Growing Orchids on a Wooden Block

Atlantic Avenue Orchid & Garden

Block is a huge chunk of bark or driftwood to which the Orchid plant is attached. Use synthetic threads to tie the plant to the block and cover the structure in sphagnum moss. You can frame the block and hang it on a wall or ceiling to create a stunning display. 

Spray water directly on the leaves and roots of the Orchid. However, avoid wetting the flowers.

Tip: You can grow these flowers in a coconut husk and bark pieces.

Have a look at the best Orchid flowering secrets here

How to Plant Orchids in Coconut Shell and Husk Chips?

Growing Orchids in an absorbent, light-medium like the coconut husk ships can help the roots stay aerated and healthy. To grow Orchids in this light medium, follow these steps:

Things You’ll Need:

  • Coconut Shell
  • Copper or synthetic wires
  • Freshly cut, young Orchid plant


  1. Use the wires to secure and hold the coconut shell.
  2. Remove the coconut husks from the shell and break them into smaller chips.
  3. Place the Orchid plant in the shell and use a piece of wire to tie it in place. Coconut shell is a water absorbent and is very good for the Orchid’s roots.
  4. Now, you can tie the other coconut shells using copper wire to form a circle around the plant.
  5. Then, place the Orchid plant at the center and close the shell.
  6. You can use a sling to hang it in your home or outdoors. Alternatively, you can place it anywhere in your backyard or home.

Check out this DIY tutorial to make this at home for more info

Tip: Depending on the kind of Orchid, you can happily grow it in fir bark, sphagnum moss, stones, dried fern roots, perlite, cork nuggets, coconut fiber, lava rock, rock wool, peat moss, or even a blend combining a few of these materials. Some Orchids can even grow on cork or tree fern slabs.

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