A couple of Orchid questions

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by Krista2882, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    I bought a new Orchid two weeks ago from Lowe's. According to the Internet, it's a Phal Hualien Spotlight (Golden Buddha 'Leucadia' X gigantea 'Buena Best') variety. Yellow flowers with pinkish-red speckles. It's gorgeous. When I bought it it had 4 flowers and a few buds. So I was excited to watch it grow. Two buds opened since then, but this weekend I was away. I watered it before I left, but when I returned, the oldest flower had begun to shrivel up. :o( Its potting situation is not very good right now. When I brought it home I went to water it, and I could see a plastic pot inside the decorative one, so I went to pull it out with the inside pot, but the entire plant came out instead. It's basically all roots with old-looking moss shoved in the middle. The pot is totally stuck in there. So it's really hard to water without having standing water in the pot. The moss is damp and I did water it once since I got it, but I can only water it a tiny bit at a time. I'm afraid that maybe that's the reason the oldest flower is falling off... I read that it's not good to repot while in bloom because there's a chance that it could shock the plant into dropping its flowers. But in this case would it be worth it to take the risk? Do you think its potting situation is bad enough now that all the flowers will fall off prematurely if I don't repot? Or could the flower be falling off for a different reason?

    Also, my mini Phal that I've posted about here a couple of times still hasn't bloomed again since it finished flowering over a year ago. It's really healthy. In the spring I repotted it in an Orchid pot in bark instead of moss and it grew a new leaf without the oldest one falling off like last time, so it has 5 leaves now. It grew a lot of aerial roots for a while, too. I read that giving it cooler temps at night might make it spike, so I've had it in a window that gets sun (not direct) during the day, and cooler temps at night but it still hasn't spiked yet, and it's been about a month of doing this. I just noticed this morning a new aerial root. But usually Phals just do one kind of growth at a time, right? If it's expending energy to grow a new leaf, you won't see much root growth or flower spiking. Likewise if there's root growth, there won't be flower spiking or leaf growth, right? So why is it doing so well but it's growing in all other ways except for spiking? I do admit that I don't fertilize my Orchids. Does it really make a big difference in causing them to bloom?

    I just want a blooming, thriving Orchid! LOL. I've gotten really into Orchids recently, but most of them are not blooming because I saved them from the bargain rack at Lowe's at a discount price because they either looked sick or their flowers were in the process of falling off. So I was like, "Ooh, fun- I can get Orchids for cheap and nurse the sick ones back to health and just take care of the other ones until they bloom again." So right now, I have 2 phals that I'm waiting for to bloom again, a Dendrobium that just finished blooming - it had one flower left when I bought it from the bargain rack, and I have a sick mini phal which I got for $4 that I'm trying to bring back to health. I also have a Cattelya Orchid that I've never seen flowers on yet, and I have a huge Phal that I bought at Home depot that got bud blast about a week after I bought it, so all the buds fell off, and it has like 5 random flowers right now that were already open when I bought it, so it's kind of stupid looking. LOL. So my yellow one with the shriveling flower is the only one that looks really pretty right now, and I don't want it to be dropping its flowers, too!

    Sorry that was so long.
     
  2. Sea Witch

    Sea Witch Active Member

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    Hi Krista2882,

    I'm sure other orchid experts will chime in, but I'll give you my 2 cents.

    I smiled when I read your post. 1) Orchids are often tricky to make bloom. Some people own orchids for years and never see them bloom. So you'll have to be patient. and 2) nursing a sick plant back to health is always a gamble, and especially so with orchids. So you'll have to be *extra* patient with the ones that don't look great.

    I'm not familiar with all the genera you mention, but regarding the stubborn phal, my first guess is that it's not getting enough light. Indirect light for you is not the same as indirect light in the tropics. Personally, I'd be inclined to move it to where it will get a little morning sun or more all day light in a north window.

    About the one that you have difficulty watering, I would repot it, flowers or no. In my experience orchids should be thoroughly watered and then should drain freely. If your orchid can't have that, then I'd repot it. When repotting, it's important that it's in the right size pot. An orchid in a too-big pot will be very unhappy--so be careful.

    Depending on your genera, if you're going to start keeping a lot of orchids, humidity is going to be an issue. I don't know how dry your house is, but sometimes even having the orchids sitting on big shallow tray filled with pebbles and water can help with the humidity. (not *in* the water, but *above* the water.) But that's in general; the humidity is not likely the cause of not flowering. So you'll have to be aware of each orchid's light and humidity requirements.

    I used to grow (and flower) orchids in Calgary, an extremely cold and dry climate. I had all of my Cattleya and Encyclia orchids sitting on an open freshwater planted or dutch aquarium under artificial (high intensity) lights. I watered them with aquarium water that drained freely back into the tank.

    My last suggestion is, if possible, to join a local orchid club. You will learn more from hanging out with folks like that than anywhere else. I hope this helps,
     
  3. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Krista, I agree with Sea Witch that Phals like north windows for light. The phal that I mentioned in one of your previous threads has been blooming continuously since Christmas in a north window, and it keeps producing more flower buds at the end of the spike. Regarding the other orchid varieties that you mentioned, I used to grow the same types in south windows; and they all bloomed successfully.

    I also agree that humidity is the key to successful orchid growing. If your house is not well sealed, the air will be very dry during the heating season, and you will have to take special measures to increase the humidity around the plants. A south facing bathroom window is a good location for orchids.
     
  4. Krista2882

    Krista2882 Active Member

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    I don't really have a North or South window in my apartment! :o( I have kind of a Northwest side with windows and a Southeast side with windows. Right now some of them are in the bedroom with the southeast windows, right near the windows, and some of them are in the living room which has the sun in the very late evening. But they're not at the windows. I'll try setting them near the northwest window. I bought my Grandma a Phal for Easter, which was at the beginning of April, right? She has it in a north window and it looks amazing. It's over 10 weeks later and it's still developing new buds and flowers. It looks like she will need a taller stake soon. lol
    I might try bringing one into work- the one that hasn't bloomed since last year. Plants seem to thrive in my cubicle because I'm right at a window- and it's not a regular-sized window. It's like the whole wall is a window. So it's really bright in here all day, and it gets direct sunlight through the window starting at about 2 PM.
    I repotted the new one that has a drooping flower. the moss was sooooo compacted in there and the roots were just totally tangled around it, so it took about 15 minutes to just get all the moss out of there. Once the roots got to do what they wanted, you could really see how many roots it had- A LOT. And they were all very healthy looking. So I repotted it in an orchid pot that was about 3 times the size of the one that it had been it, but I know it was the right size because the roots filled out the whole space comfortably. I used Phal Orchid Bark Mix which I've found that I like more than moss, so hopefully it will adjust well and not drop the rest of its flowers prematurely.

    Thanks, both of you.
    And anyone else, feel free to chime in.
     

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