Orchids forum: Can I Pot a Phalo in Hemlock Bark?

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Northwest Connecticut (Zone 6b)
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LeeMiro
Jun 18, 2017 7:23 PM CST
Hi all,

I inherited my first orchid from a neighbor. The plant has put out new roots and a new leaf. The bark is starting to deteriorate. Rather than buy the tiny overpriced bag of orchid bark at the store, I thought why not take some from outdoors. I took some bark off a dead hemlock. Can I use it? I plan to sterilize it first (I thought perhaps putting it in the oven around 250 degrees for an hour or so).

Thanks for your advice. I've always been afraid of orchids, but so far the phalos has been easy to please.

Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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 Spiders!
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Ursula
Jun 19, 2017 7:39 AM CST

Moderator

Lee, welcome!
By Phalo I assume you are talking about a Phalaenopsis.
I am hesitant to tell you that pieces of bark from a Hemlock tree is suitable. This is your first Orchid, perhaps it would be better to follow the traditional route the first time around? If this plant declines on you, it might be difficult to pinpoint the reason.
Here is a thread with lots of info regarding Phals
The thread "Starting out with Phals/Supermarket Orchids" in Orchids forum
Northwest Connecticut (Zone 6b)
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LeeMiro
Jun 19, 2017 9:25 PM CST
Thanks for the friendly welcome! And yes, I meant to type Phal. . .it's a grocery store orchid passed along from a neighbor. She was giving it a shot-glass worth of water weekly and it was dying. Happily, I was able to revive it with an hour-long soak. I will follow your advice and get the store-bought orchid bark. I'm sure my snake plant will appreciate the hemlock bark.
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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 Spiders!
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Ursula
Jun 20, 2017 6:49 AM CST

Moderator

Lee, eventually down the road, when you are on Phal #10 or so Smiling , by all means, try to grow them in other media, grow them mounted vertically, place them on a raft, pot them in Coconut fiber (that stuff which lines metal baskets or is also available by the foot), whatever fits your watering habits. In nature these plants grow tilted so that the rain wouldn't collect in the crown of the plant. Many of us pot or mount them slightly tilted for that reason.
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid Nut!
Region: United States of America Echinacea Hostas Clematis Region: Michigan Adeniums
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BigBill
Jul 1, 2017 5:27 AM CST
Hemlock bark breaks down much too quickly to be suitable for orchids. Fir bark (douglas fir) or 'orchiata' bark would be better choices.
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