You have been cultivating orchids for some time and are very successful with them? Sooner or later the question surely comes to your mind whether two orchids can get along together in one pot. Is the space enough for them then and what about orchids of two different genera? If you have planned to repot your flowers and want to dare this experiment, first read through our hints and tips. After all, two plants living together is not always a good idea. What you should pay attention to and consider if you want to grow two orchids in one pot, we explain in the following lines.
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Two orchids in one pot – yes or no?
Under the right circumstances, two orchids can actually feel comfortable in the same container. Accordingly, you can plant 2 orchids together as long as you keep a few things in mind. You should also know what possible negative consequences this could have. We will summarize the most important things:
Planting the same orchids or combining species?
If you have ever taken a closer look at orchid care, or if you own orchids of different genera (e.g. Phalaenopsis, Oncidium and Dendrobium), you know that they all have different needs. Especially if you want to enjoy a second flowering, you should know to what extent the care of each type of orchid should change.
For this reason, it is less advisable to cultivate two orchids in one pot if they are different genera. Instead, it is better to choose two phalaenopsis, for example. They are cheaper and the loss is more bearable in case of non-success. Here, you can combine different flower colors for a more colorful bloom period or use the same colors for a more lush bloom.
Also, be sure to use plants that are about the same age. Older plants are more dominant in their growth and would simply crowd out a younger plant. This is especially true for the roots, which thus cannot reach the edge of the pot, thus do not receive enough light for photosynthesis and then, in the worst case, can decay or at least not bear flowers.
Is there enough space in the pot?
If there are two orchids in one pot, it should of course be correspondingly larger. Keep in mind, however, that the larger the container, the more difficult it is to control the humidity by watering. So the risk of root rot increases.
In addition, when two of these plants have to share a container, it becomes a little more difficult to meet the high nutrient requirements. They compete with each other, which can cause one of the plants to secrete enzymes, hormones and pheromones (called allelopathy). This effect can be beneficial in some cases. Then, in this way, the plant releases nutrients into the air, from which the other benefits. But the opposite can also occur, with one of them producing and releasing toxins instead, making the other sick.
You reduce this risk once by combining two of the same orchid species, as explained earlier, and of course by fertilizing sufficiently .
Disadvantages of growing two orchids in one pot
So it is quite possible to grow two orchids in one pot. But does this also bring certain disadvantages? Well, as you know, the roots crisscross the substrate. This sometimes makes repotting or replacing old substrate a bit more complicated as it is. If the roots of two plants now also wind into each other, you will later find it difficult or impossible to get them apart without injuring many roots. However, this in itself is not a problem if you want to leave the two plants together anyway.
However, there is also the problem that this could allow diseases and pests to spread more quickly from one plant to the other. So it’s important to keep checking your plants and act immediately in the event of a disease or pest infestation. And that also means removing the plants completely from the substrate, treating them and planting them in new substrate. Only in this way you will prevent the spread to the other plant.
Alternative idea for two orchids together in one pot.
If you like the lush arrangement of several plants, you can also put it together more simply, without all the complicated hassle. Just take a large container (e.g. a basket, a box/crate, a small tub or a bowl). Put the orchids inside, along with pots, and fill the empty spaces between them with decorative material (raffia, gravel, pine cones). Moss (Spanish moss is best, as it retains less water) is also well suited and popular.
This way you can also combine more than just two orchids in one pot at once, but have easy access and can take care of them as usual – without any competition, lack of nutrients, lack of light or the other risk factors mentioned. You can also fill in the gaps with other plants that have the same requirements for light and location.