Best soil/food for moth orchid?

plantasdevida(6)May 23, 2013

Hello everyone!

I just bought a moth orchid from home depot, and it is giving wonderful flowers to me.

However, I would like to get soil and food for it soon, since most of the roots seem to be in bad conditions. I am a first time orchid grower, and I have been looking on the web and I keep getting more and more confused on the "best" brand to use. I would like to be able to water my orchid once a week, but I am okay with doing it twice a week.

Thanks, and sorry if my jargon is off...

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I prefer to repot my phalaenopsis orchids in New Zealand long-strand moss in clay pots with good drainage. Never overpot an orchid. Since phalaenopsis are monopodial (meaning they grow up, not branch out with rhizomes) you don't need an oversized pot. I place plastic foam plastic peanuts in the bottom of the pot to allow better drainage. Never bury the crown of the orchid. Allow some space between the leaves and the root mass.
When using moss, soak it in clean water overnight before potting. This damp moss will accept watering better in the long run than packing in dry moss.
You can plant a phalaenopsis in a bark mixture. There are a variety of brands, but most are the same: a combination of medium fir bark, ground peat, and perlite. This stuff drains pretty well, so when I use bark mixtures, I plant in a plastic pot. I usually soak the mix first before using, straining off the water before potting. It's easier to pot with a damp mix. And again, it absorbs water better in the long run. The main thing is maintaining even moisture. Phalaenopsis have little in the way of a storage system for water like a cattleya or those plants with a pseudobulb. However, never over-water. And do not allow water to collect in the crown of leaves.
Before repotting, remove all dead roots with a sterile cutting tool. That goes for anytime you cut the plant (to remove an old flower stem...the tools need to be sterile (preferably with a blowtorch) or use a new razor blade) to avoid virus contamination. Initially, place plant in a warm, shaded area. Provide ample humidity. For any orchid to rebloom, you need amble light. Once the plant is rooting out, place it in an area preferably a southern exposure. Bright indirect light. Despite literature that says phalaenopsis "like" shade, it's more of a tolerance for it. Good, bright indirect light is key to the health of the plant. Direct light can burn the leaves. A balanced fertilizer for houseplants are fine. Miracle Grow is okay. But there are different levels of nutrients...too much nitrogen will just create leaf growth, and not necessarily promote root and flowers.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 10:49PM
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Thank you for the information!

I think I am going to go with the bark route...I should wait until my orchid is done blooming correct?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 8:10AM
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billsgarden13(5, Chicago, IL)

I personally like all of my phalaenopsis plants (moth orchid) to grow in bark. I just use a pre-mixed bark mix from Home Depot that is called "Better-Gro Special Orchid Mix". I have switched to that over the past 9 months as each of my phals have needed to be repotted and they have loved it! If you have a smaller phal, you may want to break up some of the bark chunks- too airy and you have to constantly be watering! I would also recommend repotting into a clear plastic pot so you are able to see the roots to help judge when you need to water (it has helped my growing abilities tremendously!).

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 12:26PM
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