Pine Needles

Pine needles are used only in the cultivation of Terrestrial Orchids.

Nobody really knows exactly why they are so useful. It is a fact that the best edible fungi grow in pine forests, so, we can assume that it has something to do with the fungi found in soil and the soil.

The needles are not used in potting mixes, because when decaying, they are too acidic. Pine needles also contain “Terpenes” (oils with a “scent”) these oils significantly slow down the germination of seeds and the decay of the needles.

It is possible that the needles “shade” the soil (mostly sandy loam soils) in summer and help the soil to retain its moisture.

It is also possible that the needles prevent the lower leaves touching the soil (thus preventing the leaves from rotting) and also improve the air circulation above the ground.

To use the needles, the needles must be chopped up to a few mm in length. A layer of 3-5 mm on the top of the mix used in Terrestrial orchids should be fine. The needles will slowly decay on the top and are harmless if mixed in with soil.