Orchids forum: Good Beginners Orchid besides the Moth Orchid

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Name: Donna
Mid Shore, Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Shy_gardener
Jun 20, 2016 6:23 PM CST
Hi Folks,

What's a good Orchid for beginners besides the Moth Orchid.

* One that will be kept as a tropical in home when cold and
outdoors when warm.

* One that is manageable in size.

* One that does not require bright/high light (other than window sill)

* One that blooms, often.

Is there such an orchid? beside the Moth (Phalaenopsis) Orchid?

"If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live." ~ Albert Einstein
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Jun 21, 2016 7:47 AM CST

Moderator

Donna, welcome to the Orchid Forum!
Now to answer your question, which is really a very tough question to answer.
First of all, I don't think Moth Orchids/Phalaenopsis are a beginner's Orchid, at least not in my hands.... .
Seriously, I wouldn't know where to begin. How would you grow them?
How do you water your plants/ ease of watering inside.
How about you start by looking through our monthly bloom threads? Many times we will mention if a particular Orchid is easy to grow and bloom.
In the meanwhile - speaking for myself, I always find that the Orchids choose me, not the other way around.... Smiling

I know, I am not doing a good job here trying to come up with the Orchid of your choice, but it really isn't that clear cut. The easiest Orchids that fit SEVERAL of your descriptions/criteria are some of the Cattleya hybrids, but they need bright light.

I keep editing my post.....
[Last edited by Ursula - Jun 21, 2016 8:31 AM (+)]
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Name: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
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hawkarica
Jun 21, 2016 9:34 AM CST
Donna, find yourself a good orchid club in your area and go to a meeting. Ask your questions there and be sure to ask about local growers. Beef up your knowledge before spending your money. I have found orchid folks to be a friendly lot and eager to share information.

Jim
Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
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sugarcane
Jun 21, 2016 10:44 AM CST
Donna, when you ask for a plant that blooms often. Some orchids bloom once a year and stay in bloom from a few days to a few weeks.. ( the Phal. Is an exception!) . Some orchids bloom on every new growth ( if they are happy) which could be 2 or 3 times a year.
Growing outside is no problem for you.. But moving them inside presents all kinds of issues.. Unless you have a greenhouse or a REALLY sunny space available to you.. Or you are willing to rig up grow lights in an area where getting the floor and walls wet!
If you have a window sill that gets full sun in the winter, that will work.. But will limit you to just a couple of plants...and I can tell you that's REALLY HARD TO DO!
I try to have a few plants in bloom at any given time... And this is what it takes for me.

Thumb of 2016-06-21/sugarcane/02794b
Thumb of 2016-06-21/sugarcane/779f7f

lindsey
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 21, 2016 1:25 PM CST
We may be scaring Donna away, folks! But it IS a difficult question because everyone's growing situation is different, and it's hard to know what will work for you. Also an orchid that happily grows inside your house won't necessarily grow well if it's suddenly put outside for the summer months. Where it always had temperatures in the 60's at night and 70's day, suddenly it's exposed to wind and bugs, 80's or 90's in the daytime and as cool as 50 at night. That's a big change for an orchid and they can be very sensitive.

My method of trial and error involved trying a few different kinds of orchids and waiting patiently to see what "worked" for me. In order to not invest too much money in plants that might die, I sourced orchids as cheaply as I could - Trader Joe's has been a favorite source and they almost always have a selection that includes types other than Phals for around $13 each.

The one situation that's close to yours is my daughter's. She lives in Utah and for years I've been telling her that orchids really won't grow there because of the dry air. Well, I finally broke down and bought her a little Oncidium called 'Sharry Baby' that has an amazing chocolate/vanilla fragrance. I didn't expect it to survive long but she really loves it, and is growing it in a large, deep glass vase in her bathroom. So Shrug! Hilarious! you never know until you try but that's one I'd try.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Donna
Mid Shore, Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Shy_gardener
Jun 21, 2016 1:53 PM CST
Hi Ursula, Jim & Lindsey,

Thank you all for your input, and welcome. Guess it's not as easy a question as I'd thought.

I purchased (cheap) a few sad looking left over Phalaenopsis from a big box store
this spring. They were trying their hardest to keep their blooms, they were wilted, and spotted
from far too much water, sun fried in the plastic sleeves exposed to who knows what and this
was during the cold spring.

They have been challenging & fun at the same time, mostly I'm still not sure that I'm doing
them right. But all the leaves except on one have come back, thick, green and appear to be thriving.
I'm starting to repot them, one really needed it, another appears that it's roots are dark
and damaged, but new growth is forming at the crown, along with the others.

One thing I have now realized, that I'm pretty sure I did wrong, was cut their stems off. At the time
I thought that would help the plant. Any input on that, I've been reading some cut it off, others say
should be left on to rebloom??

Anyway, in doing the research for these, I've fallen in love with the orchids flowers. They are just
breath taking. I sure can see why they have such a strong following..

Thanks again for your posts, your experience really helps... Thank You!
"If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live." ~ Albert Einstein
Name: Donna
Mid Shore, Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Shy_gardener
Jun 21, 2016 1:58 PM CST
HI Elaine,

Thanks for your post, I've not been around an orchid that has a fragrance yet.
Should have put that on the list.... I will check it out... Thanks

I'll be sure to check out the orchid show in our area next spring.
"If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live." ~ Albert Einstein
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 21, 2016 2:09 PM CST
Donna, I would look and make notes of orchids you like at the show near you, but you'll pay a lot more buying orchids at a show. The growers bring their very best plants, in bloom and they charge twice as much as if you buy elsewhere.

IF you know what you want, you can buy a plant not in bloom and grow it yourself to blooming stage. This is much more economical and you will learn more as well. Buying a premium blooming orchid for a lot of money and having it slowly decline while you learn how to take care of it is discouraging to say the least.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Jun 21, 2016 2:24 PM CST
Hi Donna! Welcome!

I wouldn't worry too much about cutting off the flower spike, especially if the plant is/was stressed. A flower spike that has finished blooming, may indeed, put out more blooms, but I feel that the most important thing is to get the plant well established with good roots. More spikes will follow, when the plant is strong, and ready. Thumbs up
Now that you're starting to see good leaf, and root growth, and when it blooms for you again, then that spike could remain after blooming. To then give you another beautiful show!
This is one of mine that is about ready to "pop" again! ( I need to get out there and cut of the old part. *Blush* )
Thumb of 2016-06-21/terrafirma/23d697

Name: Donna
Mid Shore, Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Shy_gardener
Jun 21, 2016 2:35 PM CST
Tara & Elaine,

Thanks again for a wealth of advice from experience.... Thumbs up
"If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live." ~ Albert Einstein
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Jun 22, 2016 8:19 PM CST
Donna, I am not an orchid expert, not even a hobbyist because I only have a handful but, having lived previously on the Lower Shore for many years, I do know you are sort of in a rural area not unlike where I am living now in SC. Probably no orchid clubs nearby although there is one that meets in downtown Baltimore. http://marylandorchids.org/index.html

This place is over towards Rehoboth and sells orchid supplies. http://www.repotme.com/ I would be tempted to call them and ask if there are any local orchid growers. Sometimes there are some hidden away that only plant nerds know about.

Many years ago I used to work for a large wholesale fern grower in Salisbury and I knew of many small backyard nurseries then, I suspect there are still little out of the way places.

You certainly are not in an arid area, the Chesapeake watershed is very humid so that part is perfect.

Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Donna
Mid Shore, Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Shy_gardener
Jun 23, 2016 4:21 AM CST
Hi Alice,

Thanks for the info.... I'll look into them.

I did just order a Maxillaria Tenuifolia, Coconut Orchid
Looking forward to trying it.
"If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live." ~ Albert Einstein
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Jun 23, 2016 7:59 AM CST
The "Coconut Orchids" are some of the easier to grow orchids and usually bloom twice a year for me.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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Name: Ted
Brea, CA (Zone 10b)
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Ted5310
Jun 23, 2016 12:53 PM CST
Sometimes I get a second flush, but not near as many as this time of year
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Jun 23, 2016 12:54 PM CST
Thumbs up
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: Donna
Mid Shore, Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Shy_gardener
Jun 23, 2016 1:35 PM CST
Hi Ken & Ted,

Thanks for your posts, I'm excited,
These look so cool, and fragrant too..... Hurray!
Elaine thanks for steering me in that direction.

I just ordered a very small one, I suspect it will be a quite a while
before it starts showing off, If I can manage it well. Crossing Fingers!
"If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live." ~ Albert Einstein
Name: Rick Moses
Derwood, MD (Zone 7b)
Region: Mid-Atlantic Region: Maryland Hostas Ferns
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RickM
Aug 7, 2016 5:02 PM CST
Hey Donna! I'm going to throw my 2¢ . . .

I currently have close to a dozen phalenopsis orchids, ranging in age (with me) from 4 years to last spring.. I keep all of them outside during the late spring/summer/early fall months. For the cold season, we have a garden window that gets quite a bit of light in the winter as the leaves are off of the trees. The orchids go either there, or in front of the patio door 'in' the ficus. In both locations, they're mixed with every other non-hardy plant that we bring in. They usually start to get growth on the spikes in January, and start blooming in late February. The last few flowers are just now starting to wilt, so they've had a good run this year. I pick them up at big box stores, usually Home Depot when they're on sale. I have several different colors. I'm trying my hand at some mini's again. (See my avatar pic). When I tried them last year, I totally ignored them and they croaked.

What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it. Charles Dudley Warner
[Last edited by RickM - Sep 26, 2016 4:47 PM (+)]
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Aug 7, 2016 5:13 PM CST
That's the only Phal. I will now grow, Rick. They are all mounted and seem to grow better (for me) mounted than potted.
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: Missy
SC (Zone 8a)
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Zazinnia
Aug 7, 2016 5:41 PM CST
Donna, I am so glad you asked this question and got so many good responses. I want to buy an orchid so bad!!! But have been too afraid to try one. Confused Confused
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and the story never ends." Lyrics by Bill and Gloria Gaither

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Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
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ctcarol
Aug 7, 2016 7:06 PM CST
I would suggest to both of you...Find one that appeals to you, then do your research on that one before you buy. Experimenting is fun IF you're not on a tight budget. If it has a name, you will probably fine cultural info on it. I'm not on a budget, so I prefer to buy at shows, so I can see what I'm buying, but not all will survive in my environment, while some thrive. For me, Phals are house plants. The minute I put one outside, it starts dieing. On the other hand I feel anything that will stay in bloom for months in the house is worth it. Always consider your weather. For me, the cool growers won't make it, unless I keep them indoors and run the swamp cooler. My unheated green house rarely gets below 50, but here we can get heat waves in Feb. I've lost a lot of plants that way...not just orchids. Hilarious!

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