Orchids forum: Orchid Advice

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Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
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TexasPlumeria87
Nov 7, 2012 2:25 PM CST
Currently I have two Doritaenopsis orchids that I bought from Lowes. I've killed a few moth orchids in the past, but I've managed to keep the two alive for several months. I was wondering which orchids are easy to care for and are fragrant?
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Nov 7, 2012 2:45 PM CST

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Personally I think many of the fall-flowering Cattleyas are probably the easiest Orchids to grow and bloom. Many of them are fragrant, but that really has to be checked on a single basis. There are just too many in that category to list. I usually post that info along with my pictures.
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Birds Annuals Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Foliage Fan
Houseplants Xeriscape Orchids Clematis Salvias Seed Starter
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TexasPlumeria87
Nov 7, 2012 4:14 PM CST
Thanks Ursula. I think I've seen cattleyas for sale at Lowes. I'll see if they are the fragrant variety.
Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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sugarcane
Nov 7, 2012 4:15 PM CST
Cameron, I work at Lowe's and have had some success with the Phals. and Dtps. that they sell....I will tell you though that if your plants are in a tightly packed sphagnum moss you probably should only water them
once a month or so. If they are in a bark mix then once a week or so.I used to just hold the plant under the faucet and let the water run through the potting mix . . making sure that when you are finished watering there's no water sitting in the crown of the leaves as that might rot the whole plant. I generally immediately repot my plants to get them out of the moss, and sometimes I loose one or two in the process. I used to find them incredibly easy to grow when I only had a few and kept them on the window sill. Now that I have a greenhouse and lots of plants , I am finding them harder to grow. So go figure! They typically send out their flower spikes in December- February and because yours probably were forced to bloom out of that time period it may take them a year to settle back. Mine got the same sort of light that African Violets prefer, if you have more sun available then you can grow different varieties.. and I think the Cattleya group is my favorite. There are lots that are fragrant and many that bloom on each new growth, which for me, is 2 or 3 times a year. Good luck and happy growing!
lindsey
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Birds Annuals Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Foliage Fan
Houseplants Xeriscape Orchids Clematis Salvias Seed Starter
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TexasPlumeria87
Nov 7, 2012 4:56 PM CST
Thank you Lindsey for that information. It gives me a little more confidence to start growing other kinds of orchids. I took both of my Dtps out of the moss and one is in bark and the other is lava rock. I also have both in clay pots. I'll remember to water them once a week, when I had them outdoors in Summer I forgot to water them a few times, but surprisingly they still lived through the 100+ temperatures. I'll definitely keep an out for cattelyas. I have my 2 Dtps in a south facing window and they get a little humidity from the kitchen sink nearby. I didn't know cattleyas bloomed that many times a year. That's definitely a plus.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Nov 7, 2012 5:11 PM CST
Sugarcane, I could not have answered TexasP any better. Your experience at Lowe's is the same that would one would find at any other big-box store. They all purchase their orchids from huge commercial growers, and these growers have arrays of grow lights, so that there is 24hr light, seven days a week. They also use automatic timers to mist, water, and fertilize the heck out of the "baby" orchids to force not only fast growth but fast blooming. Add to that the fact that these plants could have been sitting in a warehouse for days if not weeks, and could have spent addtional days in transit. Once in Lowe's, at least the Lowe's here, the orchids go inside and are never watered or misted. These are the reasons that so many people have failed in growing their big-box orchids. The home enviornment is nothing like the commercial grower's enviornment.

I don't really know which species is the easiest to grow inside the house. I grow a large number of Cattleyas but also grow Dendrobiums, Vandas, and Phalaenopis. They all grow well but each has a little bit of difference in growing needs, at least they do from my observations. I would not leave any orchid with sphagnum moss as its growing medium. Orchids don't like wet feet and sphagnum simply hold water too long. You might get away using moss in a net basket or net pot but you would need excellent air movement to make it work.

Like Jim, when listing my Catt's, I say whether they are fragrant or not. Most of what I grow are very fragrant. I am not sure you will ever see that listed on a commercial growers label. Ken
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Birds Annuals Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Foliage Fan
Houseplants Xeriscape Orchids Clematis Salvias Seed Starter
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TexasPlumeria87
Nov 7, 2012 5:36 PM CST
Thanks Ken. Maybe next year I will look for orchids at the local nurseries. I rescued my two orchids from a Lowes Clearance rack, its the first place I go to when I'm in the Garden Center lol.
Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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sugarcane
Nov 7, 2012 6:25 PM CST
I've been shocked at how many of the Catt. family are fragrant. Some only in the morning or afternoon or early evening..but it's amazing
and rarely is it listed on the tag or bag or pot. At one time I had about 50 Phals...Lowe's was giving them to me for a dollar rather than
throwing them in the dumpster for nothing. I got smart and put a mark on the bottom of the ones that I wanted..when they first came in...
then when they ended up on the clearance cart I would look for my mark and take only those ones home...I mean , how many purple
NOID Phals. does a girl need? Cameron, my experience with the Phals. is they do not enjoy summer outside. I keep mine on a porch.
I think it's mostly because they get too much water , or the water sits in the crown and rot sets in. Check out what Ken has for sale ( he's got
some nice plants!) I've also had great experiences with Kawamoto Orchids from Ebay. Kathy or Ursula have some lovely buying shoes..that
they probably will loan you.. welcome to the club!
lindsey
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Birds Annuals Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Foliage Fan
Houseplants Xeriscape Orchids Clematis Salvias Seed Starter
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TexasPlumeria87
Nov 7, 2012 6:56 PM CST
I'm learning more and more about orchids. Wow 50 phals?! My sister also works at Lowes and she always tells me which plants are going on clearance. I kept my phals in full shade but one nearly died from the heat. On really hot days I would bring them indoors and put them back outside once the temps dropped. I think my previous moth orchids died from water sitting in the crown. Next year I'll definitely talk to Ken, Kathy or Ursula about buying orchids.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Nov 7, 2012 9:10 PM CST
In my opinion, Phals are house plants. They resent any changes in light, temps, or humidity. I have experimented with potting medium, and found they do best in a chunky bark mix. They do fine in long fiber spagnum for awhile, but need to be changed when the moss starts breaking down. Our weather has been yoyo this year, and all my orchids have suffered outside, but none as much as the Phals. They like steady intermediate temps, and the heat really made them suffer.
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Birds Annuals Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Foliage Fan
Houseplants Xeriscape Orchids Clematis Salvias Seed Starter
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TexasPlumeria87
Nov 8, 2012 5:30 AM CST
Thanks Carol. Next year I'll leave my phals indoors. When I removed them from the moss some months ago, I saw several dead roots. I'm glad I switched to lava rock and orchid bark.
Name: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
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hawkarica
Nov 8, 2012 4:25 PM CST
I agree with Carol. Phals hate change and thus make a good house plant.

Jim
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Birds Annuals Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Foliage Fan
Houseplants Xeriscape Orchids Clematis Salvias Seed Starter
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TexasPlumeria87
Nov 8, 2012 5:48 PM CST
Thanks Jim. I'll keep my phals indoors from now on. Here is a picture of my phals
Thumb of 2012-11-08/TexasPlumeria87/da6800
Name: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
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hawkarica
Nov 8, 2012 6:06 PM CST
They look good. Be sure not to allow water to sit in the crown. I grow mine on a slant by either potting them that way or putting a piece of wood under one side of the pot.

Jim
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Birds Annuals Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Foliage Fan
Houseplants Xeriscape Orchids Clematis Salvias Seed Starter
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TexasPlumeria87
Nov 8, 2012 6:25 PM CST
Thanks for telling me that Jim. I learned something new. I'll get a piece of wood tomorrow to slant them.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Nov 8, 2012 8:01 PM CST
Unlike Jim, I have to water manually, so I just be careful not to get water in the crown. As they grow, they tend to lean anyway.
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Birds Annuals Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Foliage Fan
Houseplants Xeriscape Orchids Clematis Salvias Seed Starter
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TexasPlumeria87
Nov 9, 2012 6:06 AM CST
I accidentally got water in the crown the other day. Luckily I watered them in the morning so they had time to dry out. I'll be more careful next time. I think one phal is leaning towards the side
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Nov 9, 2012 3:12 PM CST
When that happens you can absorb it with a Kleenex or paper towel, or you can use a drinking straw to blow it out.
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Birds Annuals Region: United States of America Native Plants and Wildflowers Foliage Fan
Houseplants Xeriscape Orchids Clematis Salvias Seed Starter
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TexasPlumeria87
Nov 9, 2012 3:50 PM CST
Thanks for the tips Carol. I saw a large moth orchid on clearance today but I think it was too far gone to save. I hate seeing plants in that condition Sad
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 9, 2012 5:22 PM CST
I rescued a couple from Death Row at Lowe's a month ago. Both looked pretty iffy, but they were cheap, and I had the supplies already to re-pot them.

Both have survived so far, and one is still blooming despite being re-potted abruptly while in bloom. Sometimes it's worth the gamble. I think the trick is not to fuss over them after you re-pot. They need to dry out and heal up from the rot and disease that is happening when they are mistreated at the store. I quarantine them in low light, away from everybody else for about a month, then bring them into the family if they are perking up. No water at all until I can stick my finger 'way down into the medium and not feel any moisture.

All my orchids live outdoors, except occasionally when one is in bloom I will bring it in to admire. Only when I have the windows open so the temp and humidity in the house is the same as outside and there is no shock for them. My Phals seem to have adjusted pretty well to the summer heat here. They live outside a glass patio door that keeps them a little bit cooler than the rest of the garden, but that's the only special care they get.You are hotter in summer and colder in winter than we are, of course.

Thumb of 2012-11-09/dyzzypyxxy/6d57de Thumb of 2012-11-09/dyzzypyxxy/ee69d7
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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