Sarcochilus and how to grow them

Sarcochilus (Sarcs for short) are a group of naturally occurring native orchids that have their origins in the most shady rainforests of the east coast of Australia.

In the wild they are found growing on the bark of host trees or on the rocks. Native orchid enthusiasts over the last 30 years or so have been selectively breeding Sarcs to create new hybrids or simply to improve the natural species. The Sarcs grown today have better flowers, grow more easily and provide a wider range of flower forms than those living in our rainforests.

Caring for Sarcs

Sarcs will thrive in similar conditions to most ferns but without much water…

Cool, moist and shady positions such as in a fernery, a shady corner or under a tree.

They grow happily in relatively small pots that dry out rapidly after watering. My Sarcs are grown in a mixture of course pine bark(Soaked for several days) 50%, river pebbles of around the same size as the bark 40%, and a small amount of charcoal of similar size 10%. Most nurseries can supply these ingredients or a ready mixed “miscellaneous orchid mix”.

WATERING is the tricky bit and most orchids that suffer ill health do so because of too much water! Water very sparingly in winter and every few days in summer. If you think your Sarcs need watering ….DON`T…. wait for a day and water when you are sure they need water.

FERTILISING will encourage Sarcs to grow and flower better. Any basic fertilizer will do but there are two rules.

  • Weak (half the recommended rate on the pack or less).
  • Always flush out the pots at least once between each application of the fertiliser.

Keep your Sarcs inside while they are in flower then move them outside.

Reprinted with the permission of Neville Roper.