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Wed Dec 14, 2011, 01:29 PM

So now I have an orchid...

I was trolling the 75% off houseplants racks in the back of my local Lowe's and there she was... a pretty little thing in a broken pot (the whole bottom was missing) just crying out for a home and only ONE DOLLAR (much more than 75% off!)

I couldn't resist. I bought her an orchid pot (the kind with the slits in the side) and some orchid planting mix. She's been repotted and seems happy so far.

Now what?

I've heard you must be careful not to overwater (after initially wetting the orchid growing medium) and that placing one ice cube a week on the pot to melt slowly is a good way to control the amount.

Do I really need to fertilize her once a month and is there an organic alternative to the scary "Miracle Grow Orchid Food" bottle of chemicals?

Any orchid growers out there w/some advice for me?

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Reply So now I have an orchid... (Original post)
beac Dec 2011 OP
OffWithTheirHeads Dec 2011 #1
Denninmi Dec 2011 #2
beac Dec 2011 #3
NRaleighLiberal Dec 2011 #4
beac Dec 2011 #5

Response to beac (Original post)

Wed Dec 14, 2011, 01:42 PM

1. Orchids are fussy little things.


Sunset has a booklet that is helpful. The Orchid society has a wealth of information includind a small (inexpensive) book called My first Orchid that is really good.

I've owned about a hundred but never had the correct lighting to make them bloom twice. They are beautiful, facinating things with incredible history and can be quite addicting (and expensive). Google the Orchid Society and see if they have a group near you. Good luck.

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Response to beac (Original post)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 04:08 PM

2. Well, actually, if its a Phalaenopsis, those are incredibly easy to grow.

I have mine in clay pots, and to water them, I take them to the sink about once every 4-6 weeks and submerge up to the rim in lukewarm water, then drain well. In between, I water about once every 7 days, depending upon weather, etc, with maybe a quarter cup. After you've had them a while, you learn to recognize their cycles by appearance -- when they're ready for water, the leaves droop ever so slightly and get a little dull looking. The day after a drink or a soak, they're all lush again.

Fertilize a couple of times a year with an orchid food or just regular liquid plant foot. Once a month is far too often, IMHO -- I think that manufacturers put those recommendations on the label based on plants in optimal conditions -- they don't care if its too much for a plant under household conditions, it encourages people to use more of their product -- "lather, rinse, repeat". If you don't want to use Miracle Grow type product, just use fish emulsion -- stinky but it works.

They like moderate light -- an east or west window is really good. They also do great under artificial lights.

Finally if its a Phalaenopsis, just be aware that, for the most part, they never seem to bloom in the summer months. Mine always throw blossom stalks in fall and winter, so I think they may be photoperiodic.


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Response to Denninmi (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 07:07 PM

3. It is a Phalaenopsis!

Thanks for the advice and info.

We went out of town overnight and just got home and I THINK she's trying to make a new bloom, so that gives me hope.

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Response to beac (Original post)

Fri Dec 16, 2011, 02:55 PM

4. we've got about 10 Phals - we keep them alive, but which rebloom - and why - is a mystery!

We keep them in an east facing window - there's already some great culture info for you in this thread from Denninmi. Clearly our conditions are just not what they should be for reliable rebloom...but we never give up!

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #4)

Fri Dec 16, 2011, 03:45 PM

5. Just checked, and mine is definitely trying to make some new flowers on the existing stalk

and it looks like she MIGHT be making another stalk (coming out above one of the "nodes' on the existing stem-- if that's even possible... time will tell.)

I'm guessing that her broken pot banished her to the discount rack shortly after she arrived in the store and perhaps that's why she's still blooming. She appears to have plenty of life left in her.

After further research, I am using the ice-cube method to water-- one ice cube, twice a week (based on her size.)

I've got some fish emulsion, so will use that to fertilize when the time comes.

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