Orchids forum: Broke down and got my first orchid

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Name: Betsy
Texas (Zone 9a)
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piksihk
Jan 22, 2015 2:28 PM CST
Every time I go to the grocery store - orchids beckons...well, I finally broke down and got one - it was marked down - a little on the dry side - came home and gave it a drink and it perked up. Here's the bloom - perhaps someone can identify it.
Thumb of 2015-01-22/piksihk/890eac
Thumb of 2015-01-22/piksihk/996b1c
Thumb of 2015-01-22/piksihk/4f9dd4 (what's going on here?)

Please give me advice on how to keep it happy, happy, happy...

I just looked at the 'blooms 2015' - those are some beautiful blooms! Drooling
Isn't there a saying 'you can't stop at just one' or was that for Lay's potato chips?


God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Jan 22, 2015 3:40 PM CST
Phalaenopsis will lose their lower leaves, one at a time. Though Phal. is not my "regular" plant, it seems that I see this leaf loss more when new leaves and roots are forming. If I grew more than a handful, I might see it on a regular basis though. I believe the tip of this leaf was damaged long before the leaf started to wilt and yellow though. Others may say it is diseased, but I think it was physical or perhaps chemical damage. I removed two well-yellowed leaves (two Phal.) today. I gently cut them away from the base when the entire leaf has yellowed.

IF there is not a label with a specific name, you will probably never know what this one is. The commercial growers have developed hundreds if not thousands of hybrids, and many dozen varieties may look almost exactly alike.

It looks like your plant is in orchid media, right? Be sure that outer, cosmetic pot has drainage.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 22, 2015 4:13 PM CST
Nice one, Betsy! Love the colors. As Ken said other than being a Phalaenopsis type, we really can't guess at the name. But that much will tell you how to take care of it. It will most likely only bloom once a year, but the flowers often last for months!

The biggest mistake most people make is keeping them too wet! Orchid roots need air, that's why the medium they're usually potted in is so coarse and chunky. So as Ken also said, be sure the pot drains freely, and let the roots dry out completely between waterings, although it will appreciate a spritz with a spray bottle of plain water to just mist the leaves every day. Only water the root area a good douse once a week. Get a little package of soluble fert (anything that says "orchid" on it) and mix it in the spray bottle at a very weak rate, about 1/4 the strength it says on the box. (for one orchid, a little box will last you a year or two)

Keep in mind that orchids are epiphytes that take a lot of their moisture and nutrients from the air. A whole different animal from your usual terrestrial plants. So when that plant starts sticking new roots out of the pot and up into the air, don't worry, and don't feel you need to bury them. It's doing what it needs to do. The other thing mine do from time to time is the leaves will wrinkle up and look really terrible sometimes. Most people think "I've killed it" and throw the plant away at this point, but they almost always recover from this, and live to bloom and grow another year. Just spritz, don't water until it comes back.

Yes, you will want more once you start with orchids. Just like potato chips. My daughter bought me two Phals some years ago for my birthday, saying "But you live in Florida, why don't you grow orchids . ..??" and I have around 100 now. It was "well,if I'm taking care of two orchids, I may as well have one more . .". Enjoy!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 22, 2015 6:44 PM CST
I would consider pulling out the orchid from the container it is in, just to check exactly the condition of the roots below and the media it came with. The leaf damage could be a combination of mechanical damage during handling and careless watering wherever it was before. You may try and cut off up to point there is a bad part on that leaf, or just cut off the entire leaf. Since we do not know how long that plant has been in bloom, do not be surprised if some blooms start to fade. Either it is just time, or the plant is still acclimating to your home environment.

Personally, I do not spritz on the leaves of my Phals. I try to avoid that, but I do water thoroughly the root zone, with greater intervals during cold season. I also run the ceiling fan to help in overall ventilation around the plant. I try not to get water on the crown of the plant, that is oftentimes how this plant dies, getting too wet there, not drying up and crown rot sets in. During summertime, when it is just too hot and dry here, I dunk the root zone, and my intervals of watering is lesser, sometimes every 3 or 4 days vs. 7 days interval during winter. So you have to adjust your watering regimen as the seasons change. At times too, collar rot happens, that is rotting happening at the base of the plant to just where the roots and leaves connect, maybe due to the plant being too wet there, so it is important for this plant to get good ventilation.

Phals love making aerial roots, and I just let them be. It is just for our convenience that these roots are inside containers, in nature they are found hanging on trees. Eventually that plant will try to grow more to the edge..it likes it that way.

As the blooms die off, the spike may remain green. Some would let it be, and sometimes Phals will rebloom on an old spike. If it starts to yellow, just cut it off, that will allow the plant to redirect its energy to producing more roots and foliage. It will go to a rest mode of sorts, so it seems the plant is doing nothing. But it is just gathering up more energy. Dilute to half recommended the fertilizer you will use; some would do it weakly weekly, some at whatever pace they want..whichever way you choose, make sure you wet the media first before you apply the fertilizer solution. Typically in my area, Phals start to do its next flower spike during late Fall to early Spring.

Enjoy your Phal! Oh btw, there are lots of choices for media..some are comfortable with sphagnum moss...personally I hate that for my Phals..some would use orchid bark mix, some uses lava rock, some would just mount the plant. Whichever one you choose or method you follow...keep the root zone well draining, well aerated.
Name: Betsy
Texas (Zone 9a)
Christmas time is here!
Region: Texas Daylilies Native Plants and Wildflowers Amaryllis Cottage Gardener Container Gardener
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piksihk
Jan 26, 2015 3:27 PM CST
Thanks, all for the advice.

Here are pics of the roots: many dried ones inside the clear plastic pot and the ariel roots are dried out. Don't see many green healthy roots.
Thumb of 2015-01-26/piksihk/2bee9f

Thumb of 2015-01-26/piksihk/413402

Another leaf that's underneath the yellow leaf has turned yellow.

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 26, 2015 3:55 PM CST
Betsy, those white roots are healthy and not dried out. When you water them they will turn green. Orchid roots have a spongy coating on them called (I think) velamen and it absorbs water. Dried out, dead roots are brown or beige.

That plant looks fine, and I wouldn't worry about the lower leaves yellowing. Orchids are slow growers but do shed the old leaves periodically. It will grow new ones over the summer after the flowers are finished.

I would take a knife or a can opener or something and make some more holes in the sides of the clear plastic pot. The one thing above all that Phals like is for their roots to be able to breathe, and dry out after they're watered. Be sure there's no water sitting in the outer pot, too.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 26, 2015 4:03 PM CST
I agree with Elaine
Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Jan 26, 2015 5:05 PM CST
I agree also. Those roots look good to my old eyes! Big Grin I think you've got a goodie there! Smiling
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 26, 2015 5:16 PM CST
However, it would be really nice to pull it out to see the middle roots...sometimes, the outer ones are okay, but the middle ones are not. I just like pulling them out, so I can also see if there are any hitchikers lurking below or to get a better assessment of the media.
But so far what is easily visible to our eyes looks like good roots.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Jan 26, 2015 5:45 PM CST
I agree with everything said. For all my Phal., I will either have them mounted, in unglazed clay with lots of big holes drilled along the side-walls, or in mesh-pots. I want maximum air-flow for these plants. I no longer use any solid plastic pots, clear or opaque.
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Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Jan 27, 2015 6:23 AM CST
I'm always looking for clear/opaque pots...But I can't seem to find them. Glare Where do you find them Ken? Am I just not looking in the right places?
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Jan 27, 2015 6:59 AM CST
I don't know, Tara. What size do you want? I have a lot of 3 1/2" opaque ones with the raised, cone bottom. That's popular with the commercial growers. I also have some clear ones, maybe 4"-6", but I don't know how many of those I have. Perhaps we can do a deal of some sort?
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: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Jan 27, 2015 8:22 AM CST
Thumbs up Sending you a T-mail! Thumbs up
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 27, 2015 9:50 AM CST
Try Kellys Korner orchid supplies: http://www.kkorchid.com/pots-and-containers
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Jan 30, 2015 4:04 PM CST
Did you get your pots, Tara? They shipped out on the 27th.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Organic Gardener Garden Sages Birds Frogs and Toads Plant Identifier
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terrafirma
Jan 30, 2015 4:18 PM CST
Thumbs up They came today! Thank You! I'l be able to put them to good use! Much appreciated, Ken!
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
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drdawg
Jan 30, 2015 5:13 PM CST
Good deal, Tara. 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: Kate
Holmes Beach, FL (Zone 10a)
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karmatree
Jan 31, 2015 6:20 AM CST
Eek, I don't like that clear plastic pot at all. It couldn't be further from an orchid's natural habitat....I would get rid of that right away!
"A garden isn't meant to be useful. It's for joy." - Rumer Godden
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Jan 31, 2015 7:05 AM CST
Kate, lots of people love them because they can monitor the moisture (to some degree) and can see the roots. Many also believe that getting light to the roots is a plus. Unless you are mounting all your orchids, what's the difference between a translucent plastic pot and an opaque plastic pot?
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: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
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hawkarica
Jan 31, 2015 7:52 AM CST
It all depends on the type of orchid you are growing. I grow Bulbos in those all the time but would never grow a Catt in one. As for Phals, they seem to do pretty well in them. It also depends on how heavy handed you are with the watering can.

Jim

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