Newly Acquired Phalaenopsis

Wildstripe(9)January 30, 2012

I just bought my first [phalaenopsis] orchid at Lowe's the other day. I love to research everything I can possible about the plants I own, but I'm rather at a loss, and I have many questions that I just can't seem to find the answer for...

1. The ceramic pot is /really/ small (about the size of a soda can, as seen in the picture below). I know that orchids generally don't have to be repotted but every one to two years, but should I repot it after buying it from the store?

2. A lot of the aerial roots look dried-out/dead except for maybe one, and I'm kinda' worried about that. Should I clip them off? Will it start to grow new ones soon? =/

3. When the blooms begin to shrivel, do I clip them off or just let them wilt away?

4. Is there an easy way/product I can purchase to tell when to water it? I'm so worried about over-watering it.

And, thank you. I've only ever grown succulents, so I have no idea what to do. I know that a lot of people don't have success with their first orchid (or first few, for that matter), but I'm determined to keep it alive and healthy. =)

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Well you are off to a great start for one thing. You, general speaking purchased an easy orchid to raise. You have many valid questions for a beginner. I have atleast 9 phal orchids only because thats about the only orchid I can grow up my way that will work with the light and enviroment that I can provide. Half of my phals came from Lowes in my area as well. Usually the first thing I do once I get an orchid home from Lowes is plan to repot it into a bigger pot. I repot those size orchids into a 4 inch clay pot. Ive tried various pots over the years and I find that the plain jane clay pots work best for me. I repot for two reasons, first reason is because I see that the orchid has overgrwon the pot its in and second, most of the plants at the Lowes I shop at are infested with bugs. So I remove the plant and completely remove all the moss and then spray the leaves and roots down with insecticidal soap. Dont spray the flowers at all, any water or any spray will wilt the flowers and fall off within a few days.
The aerial roots, only cut off the dead stuff. As long as the roots are green coming from the plant leave that part alone. But the brown dead roots can be cut off.
As for the blooms once they begin to wilt. I usually just allow the flowers to die away and fall off on there own. Every once in awhile as once they completely wilt down, I pull them off the spike just to keep the plant looking nice.
Well next to buying a moisture meter and trying to monitor the dryness of the mix. Ive found that the moss is so hard to maintain a semi dry condition and yet keep the mix moist. Upon repotting the orchid, I invest in Orchid Bark at Lowes. The bark mix works great for phals. Now Ive learned a very important lesson over the years that cost me alot of time and effort. If you decide to buy the orchid bark. Be sure to soak the bark in a water and insect killer mix for 24 hours before potting your orchid with the bark. I found out the hard way that the bark right from Lowes and other places like that contain bugs in the mix. Within a short period of time I had the biggest bug outbreak within my orchid collection that I was afraid I could lose my entire collection. But I find that using the bark mix, I water once every seven days and Ive never once had a problem with over watering any of the orchids that are in my collection. This all comes from my personal experience and this is what works best for me. Its not to say that other suggestions will work just as well. Best of luck in any choices you decide to grow your phal with, and happy growing.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 10:03PM
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I too just bought a phal at Lowes. It had finished blooming and looks very healthy. I decided to repot and used a new 6 inch clay orchid pot, which was the same size as the old pot. I cleaned off the original moss and used Lowes bark mix. I am hoping I did not make a huge mistake by cuttting the flower spike all the way down; there are no nodes left on the stalk that is remaining. Will it make a new stalk? Any advice on what to do in the future? The stalk tip was dead and light brown for about 6 inches and the remainder was very healthy dark green. Should it be completely brown before cutting off? Should it have some nodes left on the stalk for future growth?

I have 2 others that I bought that are still in the original 6 inch clay pots. They are making new shoots on the stalk and look very healthy all the way to the tip. I'd like to repot these also. Any advice on whether to cut the stalk and how to judge where and if it should be cut? Any advice on mistakes made on my first try? Thanks for any advice!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 1:55PM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

There's a good, short, beginner video clip on the site showing how to repot a phal.

Here is a link that might be useful: Repotting Orchids

    Bookmark   February 3, 2012 at 4:03PM
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Just MO, a 6" pot is mighty big unless the orchid you bought is HUGE! I personally prefer the clear plastic pots with an "aircone" in the bottom to help the roots breathe. Also, you can see when the roots are growing well. With clay pots, you have to unpot the orchid to check it out.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 8:35AM
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Thank you for the feedback, it's much appreciated.

I'm also a bit worried about the very bottom leaves of the orchid. On the left side, the smallest and lowest leave seems to be yellow-ish, but only really on the edges. The one above is just a very light green, but I'm afraid it might start to turn yellow like the bottom...

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 10:54PM
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I bought an orchid ebook from that helped me with my new phal I bought 6 months ago. I bought my orchid at Walmart and it seemed to be not doing very well with droopy flowers and dried out roots. I decided to repot it after the flowers fell off, cutting off all the dead stuff and it is doing really well. It's already reblooming! This ebook was cheaper than most I've seen and though I couldn't preview the info I'm happy with the content and instructions. Hope this helps :)

Here is a link that might be useful: OrchidCare

    Bookmark   February 8, 2012 at 3:29PM
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