Phalaenopsis Pot

Discussion in 'Orchidaceae (orchids)' started by vitog, Oct 25, 2021.

  1. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Burnaby, Canada
    I hope that this experience provides some useful ideas about growing Phals.

    Several years ago I was given a Phalaenopsis orchid in a nice looking slate pot. The growing medium was sphagnum moss, and the pot had no holes anywhere, which seemed rather strange because I thought that it would be prone to overwatering. The orchid seemed to bloom and grow reasonably well for a while, but eventually deteriorated until it had a single leaf with no blossoms and a mass of aerial roots. After procrastinating for a long time, in August, 2020, I finally decided to repot it back into the same pot but with drainage holes. When I pulled the plant out of the pot, I found that the sphagnum medium was kept elevated above the empty bottom section of the pot with a grill; so, water could accumulate in the bottom without wetting the moss. However, sphagnum holds water so well that, without any air holes, it would take a long time to dry out. Most of the underground roots were dead; so, I had clearly been watering it too frequently.

    I then drilled drainage holes in the bottom, stuffed all of the aerial roots into the pot, and added Douglas-fir bark chips to fill the spaces around and under the roots, with a thin layer of moss (not sphagnum) on top. The pot was placed in a tray of gravel at a north-facing window and watered thoroughly once a week. The moss on top was lightly sprayed almost daily to keep it damp and alive. The result is shown in the photo below. I'm expecting the Phal to retain some blossoms all year, because that was my experience with previous plants many years ago.

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    Alyrx_c, wcutler, Nik and 1 other person like this.
  2. Alyrx_c

    Alyrx_c Member

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    I have worked with phaleonopsis for 2 years for a houseplant care company. I have learned so far that they tend to perform better if you let the water run off right after watering and I have also done some trial and error and found that it handles heavy watering every 2 weeks better. The ice cube watering thing has never been a big hit for me. The moss tends to make a kind of moss.

    I visited an orchid farm in Quebec (for fun) and at a conference, they explained that you should not be afraid to water them, including the stem, leaves, roots, a real shower. But that drainage is the key. Then they prefer to use wood chips and they make their own mixes, same with fertilizers. But they don't seem to like moss too much because they do greenhouse growing. LE PARADIS DES ORCHID√ČES

    I have a mini orchid that never bloomed before, was supposed to be tossed and I try these trials and errors and it worked. Now, every year, I can enjoy the blooming around march! I also need to care about my bigger phal who's desperately in need of love.

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