Orchids forum→Recommendations for second orchid type after phals?

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Name: Empress of India
Hatfield MA (Zone 5b)
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EmpressOfIndia
Nov 11, 2019 7:05 AM CST
My phals are doing well, they're two years old (aince adopted) but haven't bloomed since the first season....I think they are focusing on their roots and leaves and I'm not worried about them. They seem happy.

Pretty sure this is exactly one of my phals, though I'd be going to the local garden store to pick out my next one....(It was a gift.)
https://www.whiteflowerfarm.co...

The other one is a little purple phal I picked up at a health food store two years ago.

I think I'm ready for a second type....what do you recommend for someone graduating to sophomore orchid newbie?

I'm in zone 5b; long winters, bright indirect light. Mostly get humidity by grouping plants together but it does get dry in the winter in New England. My care routine has been: unglazed clay orchid pots with an even bark/moss mixture, when pots are light and dry, I soak them for an hour-ish, let them drain, and put them back in their spots. They have been vigorous since I ditched their plastic pots and threw out the old medium about a year ago...so something about it works.

If it matters, I'm a fan of red in the winter but any color is appreciated. (Secondarily, orange. After that, anything is good.)

So that was probably more information than needed so........what's a good second addition to the orchid family here? What do you love?

Thank you orchid experts.

For a time. I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Barry
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Plumerias Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers
Greenhouse Ponds Keeper of Koi Forum moderator Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Adeniums
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Ursula
Nov 11, 2019 7:51 AM CST

Moderator

I would like to ask a couple of questions before recommending -
Can you place Orchids in Summer outside?
Would you be able to use a grow light ( cheap clamp lamp with grow light bulb) above the plants in Winter?
Do you have any sunny window sill ?
What is the temperature in those areas in Winter, do you have a cool bright spot somewhere in the Fall and early Winter?
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Plumerias Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers
Greenhouse Ponds Keeper of Koi Forum moderator Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Adeniums
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Ursula
Nov 11, 2019 9:09 AM CST

Moderator

.....going into this direction......
https://www.sborchid.com/plant...

or a bit easier, because it is Summer blooming
https://www.sborchid.com/plant...
[Last edited by Ursula - Nov 11, 2019 9:11 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2103631 (3)
Name: Glenn Graham
Memphis (Zone 7b)
Plumerias Butterflies Dog Lover Birds Growing under artificial light Amaryllis
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BBQNBLUES
Nov 11, 2019 10:51 AM CST
@EmpressOfIndia Welcome!

One of my Favorites is a smaller growing Cattleya type:
Thumb of 2019-11-11/BBQNBLUES/93d4e0

https://www.orchidsbyhauserman...

Easy to maintain under lights in the Winter & the color packs a Punch when blooming (several times a year).
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
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BigBill
Nov 11, 2019 1:07 PM CST
The fact that your Phalaenopsis is growing and you feel that it is happy is good news. But when you consider the fact that they are not blooming now is an indication that something is wrong. It is probably minor, but an adjustment in your growing culture is needed. Please read through all of the stickies and threads in our Orchid Forums to learn more.
There are wonderful, knowledgeable people here just dying to help you!
I think that Ursula has a great plan for you to consider, growing indoors underlights in the winter and move them outdoors in the summer. I have grown orchids for 45 years and I currently grow underlights. My orchids go outside for the summer.

I think that Cattleyas might be out of your experience level right now. I would like to suggest an Oncidium Alliance plant like Oncidium Sharry Baby. It needs just a bright spot in the home. A couple of hours of sun each day and regular watering. It makes tall, branched bloom spikes with dozens of 1 1/2" reddish flowers that smell like chocolate!! Lovey dubby
When you grow orchids, it is all about the ROOTS!!!
[Last edited by BigBill - Nov 11, 2019 1:10 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #2103773 (5)
Name: Empress of India
Hatfield MA (Zone 5b)
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EmpressOfIndia
Nov 11, 2019 3:20 PM CST
I'm hoping for something besides amaryllis and African violets to lighten the mood in the winter.

I move most houseplants out in the summer but not orchids. The summer is a busy time in the garden and I'm not in the market for anything higher-need than some of the needy tropical plants I'm already overwintering, if that makes sense, and I have a vegetable garden and other beds and borders. All the house plants go into a shady grove of trees except the lemon trees, which go in the vegetable garden in containers.

I'm basing the 'not worry about rebloom for the first season or two' on a comment Margaret Roach made about new orchids needing a year or two to adjust but maybe I'll try the western window instead of the eastern one. Maybe I'm mis-remembering to console myself. They do look like they are adding roots and should be--as if if they were going to spike, they will need a better grip and structure and more leaves to support & nourish blooms...but I don't know. The house temp is 62 at night, 68-70 during the day. They are in one of the two most humid rooms--lots of fellow houseplants and a fountain that runs all the time.

Maybe I should just buy a new phalenopsis every year and eventually have a floppy leaved collection of foliage.

I'm surprised so many people have orchids summering outdoors. You're tempting me a little.

For a time. I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Barry
Name: Empress of India
Hatfield MA (Zone 5b)
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EmpressOfIndia
Nov 11, 2019 3:25 PM CST
I just read this:

https://www.finegardening.com/...

I'm moving the phals to the western window. (They do look like the ones in the images attached to the article, color-wise etc.)
For a time. I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Barry
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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BigBill
Nov 11, 2019 3:32 PM CST
Phalaenopsis are easy to bloom and don't not need months or years to adjust.
Your problem can be temperatures that are even year round. 62-70 is very boring for some Phalaenopsis. A lot of them will bloom like that but some require a greater night time temperature drop. Days of 72-75 and nights of 62 would be better.
A few pictures of your plants would help. Phalaenopsis orchids should be repotted every 2 years. The media that they grow in can break down and kill the roots.
They should have drainage holes in their pots. They do not do well in closed containers. When they are repotted they quickly respond by making new roots. New roots lead to healthier roots and healthy roots lead to flowers.
Phalaenopsis do not need sunshine on their leaves, just a bright windowsill.
When you grow orchids, it is all about the ROOTS!!!
Name: Empress of India
Hatfield MA (Zone 5b)
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EmpressOfIndia
Nov 11, 2019 3:38 PM CST
Thumb of 2019-11-11/EmpressOfIndia/fe086a
Thumb of 2019-11-11/EmpressOfIndia/950b89

The first one is actually what seemed like the mini when I bought it. The second is the regular-sized.

The first one, the smaller one, does have a yellowing leaf but I thought they shed those now and then and that in itself it wasn't problematic?

For a time. I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Barry
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
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BigBill
Nov 11, 2019 3:44 PM CST
Yes, shedding leaves is normal.
The trick is you always want new leaves to grow and replace the older ones that are lost.
If you buy it with 4 leaves, you should try to keep it at four leaves. Hopefully good growing by you gives you 5 leaves. That's a healthy plant.
If you get it with 4 leaves and then it has three for quite some time, that is not a good sign. If they lose another leaf, it will have only two.
The happy orchid is one with good roots and it is growing a bit larger with every year. If the gradually get smaller and smaller, that is a bad sign.
Your plants look good.
When you grow orchids, it is all about the ROOTS!!!
[Last edited by BigBill - Nov 11, 2019 3:45 PM (+)]
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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Plumerias Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers
Greenhouse Ponds Keeper of Koi Forum moderator Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Adeniums
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Ursula
Nov 11, 2019 4:45 PM CST

Moderator

If I may -
Orchids do not need a year or two to adjust!
If you bought a mature, blooming size Orchid, it should bloom that year in its season, unless conditions are not quite right.

You are not growing Orchids outside, since you have at the moment only Phals. Many people treat those as house plants. You CAN take them outside in Summer, perhaps hanging in a tree, provided they are slightly tilted in their pots, so water doesn't collect in the crown and causes problem. After all they are growing in nature outside. Smiling

Now if you want to branch out somewhat, one might expect some concessions from you, the grower?
The reason I mentioned Cymbidiums, they come in many colors! AND if you keep them outside over the Summer with your other plants ( hopefully moving the Cymbidiums into full sun after a few weeks) fertilize and water along with your other pots outside, then when they come inside in the Fall as night temps hit ca the fifties F to perhaps into upper forties, find a cool and bright spot in the house. At this point one might see spikes for Winter blooming. The cool spot should help the spikes develop, if kept too hot, they might abort.

Your climate is great for growing many Cymbidiums, see my link above.
or here to show all
https://www.sborchid.com/maste...

And they are easy to water in place during the indoor season, you don't have to take them to the sink to soak.
[Last edited by Ursula - Nov 11, 2019 5:28 PM (+)]
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Name: Alice
St. Johns, FL (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Master Gardener: Florida Organic Gardener Enjoys or suffers hot summers Dog Lover Hibiscus
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ardesia
Nov 11, 2019 5:09 PM CST
Ursula and Bill, what would you say to a Dendrobium kingianum? I have had one for years and it just thrives on neglect and blooms often whether it is indoors or out in the garden.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Plumerias Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers
Greenhouse Ponds Keeper of Koi Forum moderator Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Adeniums
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Ursula
Nov 11, 2019 5:12 PM CST

Moderator

One can keep it in the company of Cymbidiums? Smiling
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
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BigBill
Nov 11, 2019 5:25 PM CST
Dendrobium kingianum and it's hybrids would be a good choice. They are cooler growing orchids and would also be a good idea. Excellent suggestion ardesia!
Ursula makes another good suggestion with Cymbidiums.

I think that you have three good possibilities for your next orchid.
When you grow orchids, it is all about the ROOTS!!!
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
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Australis
Nov 11, 2019 7:31 PM CST

Plants SuperMod

Another vote for Cymbidiums... They're generally tough and (in my opinion) easier than Phals.

All mine grow outside all year round, although my temperatures are more mild than yours.
Plant Authorities: Catalogue of Life (Species) --- International Cultivar Registration Authorities (Cultivars) --- RHS Orchid Register --- RHS Lilium Register
My Notes: Orchid Genera HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Traits HTML PDF --- Lilium Species Crosses HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Species Diagram
The current profile image is that of Iris 'Volcanic Glow'.
Name: Empress of India
Hatfield MA (Zone 5b)
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EmpressOfIndia
Nov 12, 2019 2:20 AM CST
Thanks so much everyone. These look great. I look forward to researching them, and maybe I'll look into summering my Phil's outside.

re temperature I thought us keeping the heat to 62. While sleeping was colder than than most houses. Or maybe not?

I'll also look into a grow lamp,,,if anyone knows a model that seems aesthetically pleasing let me know...my other grow lights are office shop lights and used mostly for my seedlings and rosemary.,

Thanks so much!
For a time. I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Barry
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Orchids Cat Lover Birds Bee Lover
Image
BigBill
Nov 12, 2019 2:50 AM CST
Welcome!
When you grow orchids, it is all about the ROOTS!!!
Name: Joshua
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (Zone 10b)
Köppen Climate Zone Cfb
Region: Australia Bookworm Cat Lover Lilies Orchids Irises
Seed Starter Annuals Container Gardener Garden Photography Forum moderator Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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Australis
Nov 12, 2019 4:32 AM CST

Plants SuperMod

How much space do you have for Orchids? Given your zone, you probably want to consider only the cool-growing Cymbidiums, but if space is an issue, you'll need to focus on the miniature and (maybe) intermediates. Happy to give suggestions on this front.
Plant Authorities: Catalogue of Life (Species) --- International Cultivar Registration Authorities (Cultivars) --- RHS Orchid Register --- RHS Lilium Register
My Notes: Orchid Genera HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Traits HTML PDF --- Lilium Species Crosses HTML PDF Excel --- Lilium Species Diagram
The current profile image is that of Iris 'Volcanic Glow'.
Name: Empress of India
Hatfield MA (Zone 5b)
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EmpressOfIndia
Nov 12, 2019 6:17 AM CST
Would 18" by 24" be sufficient for three in three separate pots? I think that would let them enjoy each other's humidity.

If I found a grow light on a stand or clip that looked okay in the living room I could buy several and disperse the plants to other places. If my best option is a single multi-light set up with orchids underneath, then 18" x 24" is about the the table that I can spare for them and the most likely not-super attractive light above them.

I get confused about grow lights because I'm currently on fluorescents but want to move on to LEDs and I'm never sure of the capability of, for instance, screwing an LED into a desk lamp and calling it a day.

My fluorescent set up is four 48" T9s in a shop light housing, two cool bulbs, two warm. I think 3000's and 6500's but I got them a long time ago. It's in my office at home which is a colorful, informal room with a ton of ephemera and art and plants, so it just reads as one more weird thing in an eclectic room. It's a little industrial but less so with winter herbs growing beneath it. Integrating plant lights into the main part of the house is a bit more of a challenge unless I can find some that aren't eyesores. We're kind of particular about lighting and lighting colors....put it this way: everything is on a dimmer switch.

I do like the daylight blast from the grow lights in my office but the it gives the Mr the willies.
For a time. I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Barry
Name: Empress of India
Hatfield MA (Zone 5b)
Image
EmpressOfIndia
Nov 12, 2019 6:18 AM CST
BigBill said:
Your plants look good.


Yayyyyyy!

For a time. I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Barry

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