Synthetic materials have recently become more important. The search for an optimal plant material is as old as the orchid culture itself. Over the course of about 100 A constant change has taken place over the years; it should continue to exist and never come to a final conclusion. Foamed POLYSTYRENE is of particular interest at the moment. It's an easy one, chemically neutral, plant-compatible material, which has already gained great importance for orchid culture and is known as STYROMULL or POLYSTYROL. The individual small flakes are composed of a large number of small, closed cells, their air content up to 98 Volume percent can be. The flakes can only handle a little water – and this only superficially – to tie. As a result, they have a draining effect in the plant material, ventilating and contribute to a large extent by the reduced water storage capacity to ensure the correct watering or. stable bale moisture. The material is far more durable than organic substances can be. It is not subject to decomposition; only the additives of other material rot and thus have an unfavorable effect on the plant material. STYROMULL or. POLYSTYRENE can be about too 25-75% be added to the plant material, the traditional components of which are sphagnum or peat and possibly some sand. The processing is much cheaper than hard plant materials – like Osmunda. The high air flow of the STYROMULL flakes means that the temperature of the material is significantly higher than that of conventional plant materials. It benefits the roots directly and is thus transferred to the overall condition of the plant. STYROMULL does not contain any nutrients. Is its proportion in the planting material high, so fertilization seems indispensable. During the growing season, it takes place every two weeks in the same way as explained in the “Nutrition” section.
Biolaston is a waste product of plastic bristles and is therefore practically non-rotting; this is the only noticeable benefit. Disadvantages are the lack of water holding capacity and other deficiencies, resulting from use, so also the aversion of some species to Biolaston, which is clearly visible.
The search for substances that are difficult to rot also included coke in corresponding experiments. It fulfills other required properties, like good ventilation, sufficient water holding capacity, low price etc.. The combination with sphagnum is of course necessary.
Brick chippings, Pumice and other similar substances have already been used with more or less good success. You are especially authorized there, where a completely constant planting material is fertilized systematically.
In addition to these plant substances, new ones will be added in the future. The historical development since the beginning of the orchid culture shows a constant search for the "ideal" plant material, which however will never exist. The required properties cannot be met by a medium alone.
The “recipes” listed below are intended to illuminate the possible combinations. Nothing stands in the way of an individual modification based on your own observations or local conditions.