Houseplants forum: orchid tips?

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Name: Brian
Syracuse, NY (Zone 5b)
Feb 7, 2018 11:12 AM CST
I cannot keep moth orchids alive for the death of me... I cant use orchid bark because i have an ongoing fungus gnat population (they must hide somewhere and wait until they smell something decaying)... I have already tried water culture and lava rock but they always seem to die... any non-organic alternatives for potting medium?
Name: Will Creed
Professional indoor plant consultan
Feb 7, 2018 2:07 PM CST
Hi Brian - Bark chips and sphagnum moss are the most commonly used potting media for Phalaenopsis Orchids. Yes, they are both organic but the presence of fungus gnats simply means they are either coming from another nearby plant or you are not allowing the Orchid media to dry out sufficiently. These Orchids will tolerate dryness quite well - more so than gnat larvae. If the bark chips have started to decay and break down or if the sphagnum moss gets compacted, then replace with fresh media.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Lin
Florida Zone 9b, 10a

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Procrastinator Birds Butterflies Bee Lover Hummingbirder Container Gardener
Feb 7, 2018 2:16 PM CST
Fungus gnats are usually present with heavy, wet non draining soil. I doubt you'd have issues with the gnats if you used orchid bark mix which drains quickly and allows good air flow around the plants roots. Orchid (Phalaenopsis) are one of the easiest orchids to grow when given proper care. Here's the AOS culture sheet for Moth Orchids:

Sometimes garden centers sell Phal's packed in sphagnum moss but if the moss dries out, it becomes as hard as a brick and almost impossible to re-hydrate in my opinion.
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~

Name: Tara
Jacksonville, Fl. (Zone 9a)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Organic Gardener Garden Sages Birds Frogs and Toads Plant Identifier
Dragonflies Butterflies Hummingbirder Orchids Container Gardener Garden Procrastinator
Feb 7, 2018 2:19 PM CST
I agree with everything said here, and you may want to check this in the orchids forum...

Good luck!

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