Adopted an Orchid...Need care tips.

cardarlin(5)August 24, 2010

I was at the store today looking at all of their magnificent orchids that were on display and then I saw this poor little guy. Of course he was marked down so I figured what the hay? He does not come with instructions nor do I know what type of Orchid this is. Any tips on how to make him rebloom? Also what type of light is best? I have an eastern window and 3 sliding glass doors that face the south. Right now he is sitting on my deck under the roof which is also faceing south but getting some sun. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

He is a Phalaenopsis and he is in very good condition, Go down the page a bit and read the post "phalaenopsis care tips".
Read past posts about Phalaenopsis on this site. Put Phalaenopsis in the search box on top of this discusssion page to find them them.
Find some complete culture notes on the net especially those that relate to Zone 5 or similar by googling Phalaenopsis, culture or Phalaenopsis, growing.
Good luck with your first orchid!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 3:21PM
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GOOD LUCK, cardarlin!

You have support.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 4:48PM
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Thanks for the support and feedback. I did some research and am hoping like hell I'm doing this right. This actually is my second orchid in my life. The first one I killed from what I believe was overwatering. That was a few years ago. Since then I've learned a bit more about horticulture so we will see where that gets me.

The orchid itself is in a plastic tub sitting in a clay pot. I pulled the tub out and put rocks in the bottom of the clay pot. There is a drainage hole in the bottom of the pot so I will put a saucer underneath that to keep some water on the rocks. The velamen are grey at the tips and some are dried out. I stuck my finger down into the bark and it is not moist so we are getting some tap water at room temp and we'll saturate the plant and then add a small amount of water to the pot and then put it in one of my south facing windows. Fingers crossed.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 9:00PM
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Hi, Cardalin! The easiest way to monitor the water requirements is to put a bamboo skewer in the medium. Check it every few days and, when it is almost dry, water again. Orchids die more rapidly from over-watering than from under-watering. I don't think the extra water under the pot is really required but other people may think differently. When you water, let the water pour through the medium for several seconds. This will wet it thoroughly and remove any accumulated salts. When you fertilise, use 1/4 strength fertiliser. I favour weakly weekly.
The leaves should be a light/medium green if they are getting sufficient light. If they are dark green move them closer to the window. They seem to benefit from as much light as they will tolerate, but if the leaves get warm to the touch just move them back a little. They look lovely and healthy at the moment.
Good luck! You'll be hooked on orchid-growing very soon!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 9:39PM
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Welcome! Just be careful with southern sun, it might burn the leaves.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 12:29AM
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I agree with Jane, if you are going to put the plant in a south facing window, you might have to put a semi transparent plastic or something to diffuse the light so the leaves do not burn. It is very good that you are taking on the challenge of nurturing a unhealthy orchid! The best to you and the future orchids that you purchase! (Trust me, once you get that orchid to re-bloom, you will be hooked!)

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 1:21AM
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I'd put your phal. into your Eastern window if you want it inside this summer. Southern exposure is pretty harsh, even if for a short time. Think of african violet light requirements then add a little. During the brightest/hottest time of day you want diffused light only. Do you have anywhere outside that recieves a little morning sun and dappled at most for the rest of the day? There would be optimal. Just remember that the more light/heat you give your orchid, the more fertilizer and water it'll need. Give more fertilizer while it's growing than when not. Good luck and come back with any new questions that arise!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 5:46AM
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Oh, and a rule of thumb I give all beginners...
If it dies, too much water.
If it doesn't bloom, not enough light.
Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 7:31AM
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Thanks again for all the advice. When I was doing some research last night I was reading about the color of the leaves indicating how much light the orchid is getting. I purchased this orchid in a grocery store so I'm not sure how much actual light it was getting before it was set out for sale. The leaves are a dark green but still look very healthy but I did notice that they have a maroon tint on the backside. So I'm assuming this means it wasn't getting enough light. I'll try and take a photo to show you where it is sitting. I am directionally challenged so it could be that the windowsill it is on is NOT a south window. I'll have to ask my husband tonight.

I have been obsessed with Horticulture since this spring and over the summer have acquired over 20 houseplants. Some I have propagated myself. It all started with a sickly kalancho(sp?) I got from my mom after christmas. It was sitting in her basement and I told her I was taking it home. While cleaning off the dead leaves I accidently broke off one of the tops. So I put it in a small decorative glass jar with a little water on my kitchen windowsill. I just thought it would look pretty until it died. But three weeks later I noticed ROOTS! That's how it all got started.
I am definatly nervous about this Orchid and my husband has little faith in me ( mostly because I killed my last one) But I have been obsessed with Orchids ever since we returned from Thailand and Taiwan. My husband is from both places but of Taiwanese decent. Some of the places we would visit there would have fence rows of Orchids growing up them. Just beautiful!

I'll try and keep you all updated on the orchid on this thread.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 2:14PM
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Don't worry about the maroon tint on the underside of the leaves. This is normal, especially for plants with reddish flowers. When very well lit they often get reddish tints to the upper surfaces too.
We all started with just one orchid. They really are addictive!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 3:20PM
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I tried looking at home depot's website for some fertilizer. I was looking for the 3:1:1 mix someone mentioned but all I found was the Orchid mix and it doesnt specify on the package what the mixture is. It's the Miracle Gro Orchid fertilizer. Will this be good enough?

Can I get a transparent plastic at home depot for my south facing windows? I have on small bay window that faces the east but its in our master bathroom which we arn't using right now. I have three palms in there and I have forgot completly about them. So I want to try and use these south facing windows because I have so many of them. So far my orchid has been in the south facing window for a week and seems to be doing fine. Nothing has really changed except the leaves seemed to have perked up a bit.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 2:07PM
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any DECENT ferilizer will be satisfactory for the short term. MiracleGro is decent.

worry about the long-term next spring....


    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 2:54PM
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Well... We put some rocks below... we monitored the water... and we are sitting comfortably in a south facing window. I think my south windows do work best for ALL of my houseplants because I realized ( or atleast I'm thinking) that on the south side of my house the roof extends out about 3 ft. So the plants do not get really direct afternoon sun.

Anyways... We also fertilized with the Miracle grow Orchid fertilizer. Thanks stitz for your comment. Made me feel comfortable about using it.

Low and behold... about 5 days after fertilization.. we have some progress showing.
Not sure what's going on here because I am very new to this but I know that wasn't there when I brought this little guy home.

Here is a link that might be useful: Making strides

    Bookmark   September 3, 2010 at 9:45AM
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Well we've been having a bud forming for the last month and a half and this afternoon we finally opened up.

And we're pink!!!!

When she's done blooming I think I will cut back the spike if I don't see any other progress coming from it. Give her a rest. I've collected 3 other Phal's. I think they are differant colors. I know one is yellow because its from a trade. Its working on a new leaf so I'm hoping that I will get a spike coming sometime soon. And I picked up two more sickly looking ones that had no blooms but they have new growths on their old flower spike. One had a couple dead blooms attached so I know it's a whitish color. I'm having too much fun with these. I love the anticipation and thank you so much everyone for all of your advice!

Here is a link that might be useful: And we're PINK!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 8:30PM
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Sheila(8b SW Texas)

Pink is beautiful! I love your bloom. Congratulations, you did well by this plant!

Sheila :)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 11:34PM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

Nice growing!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 3:20PM
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