Phalaenopsis Pot

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

  1. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    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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