OT- Orchids (Phalaenopsis)

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Chickerdoodle13, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Phoenix, AZ
    I just have a few questions about orchids. I recently found them on sale at Walmart for $8! I have always wanted one of these, but they were either reeally expensive or on sale because they looked sickly. These ones were actually very nice and healthy.

    I did a little bit of research on them, but I would like some personal advice. The one I got has a leaf "span" of about a foot at the bottom and a stalk with four large white flowers with purple spots and a yellow center. It's very pretty! The stalk is still growing, so it looks like there are more flowers to come!

    Now, I read that it needs a humid environment, which isn't really a problem because my dorm room is pretty humid. I read that spraying it will increase the humidity as well, so I plan to do that. However, I was planning on sticking it on my window sill, but read that phalaenopsis don't do well in direct sunlight. Around 3:00pm I get pretty strong sun for a few hours in my window. I guess my plant would not do well there? I've been keeping it in a darker place now to reduce it's stress and so it can settle, but should I put it in the window sill after a few days...or leave it in indirect sunlight off to the side?

    Also, what kind of pot do I need for it? I bought a pot, but it is just a regular decorative flower pot. my lab teacher here at school said orchids need a special pot with holes in the sides. However, the orchids in our green house don't seem to have any special pots that they are in. What should I do? I can still return the pot I got from walmart and buy a different one (Or get a different plant for it!)

    Any other info I should know? I will get a picture of my new plant ASAP. I just want to make sure I don't kill it! I would love to build a collection of orchids once I settle this one in and learn the proper care. This particular species is supposed to be a good beginner plant from what I have read.
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Time to subscribe to www.theeasygarden.com [​IMG]

    While it doesn't want much direct sunlight it does need *bright*. If your room is small and white-painted with not too much dark furniture, wall art, etc then you may well be ok. My parents have some Phal's that get a coupla hours of direct sunlight each day, for whatever that's worth, but if you are worried you could tape something very thin and sheer (kleenexes would be ideal, you want something like that) to the window glass where it would 'shade' the leaves from direct sunbeams. You don't want to cover any more of the window than necessary though b/c the plant needs lots of light.

    Also, what kind of pot do I need for it? I bought a pot, but it is just a regular decorative flower pot. my lab teacher here at school said orchids need a special pot with holes in the sides. However, the orchids in our green house don't seem to have any special pots that they are in. What should I do? I can still return the pot I got from walmart and buy a different one (Or get a different plant for it!)

    What orchids (well, the common ones) need is brisk drainage. The type pot your teacher describes is not necessary for this plant (at least my parents, who have a greenhouse full o orchids, don't use that for all their Phal's and they do just fine).

    Hopefully it is planted in a very non water-retentive medium rather than anything that seems like plain ole potting soil...? Look at the bottom of the pot, does the drainage hole seem normal sized or is it very big (or are there several very big holes). If they've got it in a regular plant pot, you are going to have to either repot it into something with more/bigger holes, or install more/bigger holes in its current pot, whichever seems more feasible. If you repot it, an unglazed clay pot may be helpful.

    If you enlarge the hole(s) you may need to put in something to use as crocking to keep all the soil/medium from whooshing out the hole when you water. The traditional material is curved shards of broken-up clay pots, but things like big irregular (not smooth) rocks, or those plastic scrubbies you use in the kitchen (new not used) work ok too.

    Have fun,

    Pat​
     
  3. seismic wonder2

    seismic wonder2 I got mad ninja skills

    Feb 3, 2007
    san diego ca
    don't over water you'll get root rot super quick.

    Check to see if it is "double potted" I. E. the orchid is planted in a small ugly plastic pot which is then placed in a simi decorative pot with moss or some such nonsence to make it look pretty for sale. If it is doublepotted, get a small bag of orchid bark and repot from the small pot to the decorative pot-with LOTS of drainage.

    best humidity is to have a wide, shallow, pan or dish with a layer of pebbles. Then a little water in the pan. The rocks increase the surface area for evaporation place the pot in the middle of it.

    Regardless of the potting medium it should drain really fast and not soak up too much water.
    Let it dryout between waterings then fill the sink with water and dunk it and let it drain a few times and return to the rocks.

    Don't keep it near any vents or drafts. Keep the temp around 70. Bright light NOT direct light. Tape thin tissue to the window as mentioned before but not too much.

    hopefully the morning light will be bright enough. if not it will live but not bloom well in the future.
     
  4. cknmom

    cknmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All the advice sounds good. When the flowers die off cut the stem back just above the leaves and it will grow and flower again. We used to get our phaly to bloom 4-5 times a year! Our orchids were on a window sill that got direct sunlight for 2-3 hrs. a day, the rest of the time it was just bright light, they loved it there.

    Monica
     
  5. Subirdban Farm

    Subirdban Farm Out Of The Brooder

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    Hay chickerdoodle I just went to Longwood Gardens two weeks ago for their orchid display. I have TONS of pics on my My Space if you are interested. They were all so beautiful. The place looked amazing.

    Good luck with your new plant.
     
  6. doc_gonzo

    doc_gonzo Out Of The Brooder

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    Evening Shade, Ar
    phals are an excelent beginner orchid, with mall wart orchids you have to watch for what seismic mentioned. ww imports all of their orchids from asia and they tend to use new zealand sphagum moss as a potting medium. the nz moss stays way too wet for the roots of a phal. find a good orchid bark mix (lowes has it around here for about $7 a bag) and repot. i'll have to check with dawn 'caus i think she has a repotting pic gallery set up. i'll get her to put up a link if we can find it. we've been raising orchids together for over 10 yrs and have well over 100 in our collection.
    cheers
    doc
     
  7. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks for all the advice guys! I will be picking up some orchid mix soon so I can replant the orchid. I'm still not sure if the pot will have enough drainage, but I figure if I stick rocks or broken terra cotta pieces int he bottom, it should be fine. I know the plant will quickly outgrow the pot, but that's ok because I have plenty of others!

    What kind of fertilizer should I buy, if any? I do have african violet fertilizer, but I have to check what is in it. I forge tthe ratio. However, it may just work.

    Sunbird, Where is longwood gardens? I have never heard of it! I will definitely take a look at those pics when I get a chance.

    I absolutely LOVE exotic plants! I often pick up the sickly ones on sale at lowe's and walmart and revive them back to health. I have some beautiful LARGE plants at home that were on their way out when I got them. I also love african violets, and we have a few primroses in the special violet pots. I also have an avacado plant growing. I can't wait to go back home and see it! I was really sad to leave my plants at home.

    Thanks again! Pics to come shortly!
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Sunbird, Where is longwood gardens? I have never heard of it!

    You're kidding! Chickerdoodle! It is just a little W of Philly -- in Kennett Square (google for it). You HAVE TO go, preferably once now to see all the stuff in the indoor conservatories and then once (at least) in June or July to see the verrrry extensive outdoor gardens etc. It is an awful lot to properly take in in one day. Seriously, you HAVE TO GO THERE [​IMG]

    Pat, who grew up about 45 minutes away and practically lived there when I was a little kid and admission was free, and still goes once a year when I'm back visiting my family, although I think admission is now something like $16 or so (it's worth it).​
     
  9. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Oh wow! Philly is only like an hour away from me here at school! (A little further when I'm at home) I will definitely look it up and try to stop there before summer break!
     
  10. Dawn419

    Dawn419 Lost in the Woods

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    Evening Shade, AR
    Found the pix that Skip was talking about...

    Repotting Orchids

    And here's an album of some of our O'kids. There are also pix from when we worked part-time at the orchid greenhouse ...

    Orchids


    Dawn
     

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