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Old 10-31-2011, 04:20 AM   #1
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Caring for Orchids?

A friend gave me an orchid today. I don't have a lot of windows left (the herbs) and I heat with wood so the house is s/what dry. Any orchid growers out there who would like to share how to keep this alive through the winter. Can I put it outside (in a pot) in the summer?
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:49 PM   #2
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I've grown orchids for many years. What kind is it? Most common are phalenopis (moth orchid) and cattlya. There are a gazillion different kinds. Most grow best in bright filtered light, in bark, not soil, though some will grow in other media. Water in the sink weekly, let drain. Depending on what kind it is, some can be put outside in semi shade.

I used to grow many under lights in the basement, but have cut back to about 15 plants now.
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:10 PM   #3
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It is a moth orchid. It is in that "moss" stuff. I soaked it in the sink today and will do that again every Monday. I haven't quite decided where to put it. I think it might go on the table (but first I have to clear off the table--all this stuff my friend gave me has yet to be put away).
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CWS4322
It is a moth orchid. It is in that "moss" stuff. I soaked it in the sink today and will do that again every Monday. I haven't quite decided where to put it. I think it might go on the table (but first I have to clear off the table--all this stuff my friend gave me has yet to be put away).
CWS, they're pretty indestructable. Maybe fertilize once a month. Try not to get water in the center of the leaves, which can cause rot, but if you do, you can blow on it to get the water out. You can also set it on a tray of pebbles with water to humidify it, I don't, but some folks do. Phals do fine either under grow lights or in bright, diffused light from the window. The flowers last a long time, I had one that would last 6 months! though they usually bloom only once or twice a year. Sometimes they'll form another flower stalk when, after blooms have died, you cut the stalk back just above a node. When I had catts, I would hang them outside in the summer, but I would probably keep your phal inside unless your weather is warm.

Probably TMI, but orchids can be very rewarding! We have a few clumps of wild Showy Orchis growing under our pines, they're considered rare and very fussy, needing perfect soil conditions.
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:10 PM   #5
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I was told to trim back the stalk, so it will probably be awhile before it blooms <g>. Hopefully I can keep it alive until then! Hmmm...are orchids as rewarding as chickens?
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:23 PM   #6
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I was told to trim back the stalk, so it will probably be awhile before it blooms <g>. Hopefully I can keep it alive until then! Hmmm...are orchids as rewarding as chickens?
Mine don't ride on my shoulder very well, and I don't think the eggs are quite as tasty!

One more thing, with moss, you don't want it soaked all the time. You might want to look into repotting in orchid bark, soak the bark first.
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:58 PM   #7
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Mine don't ride on my shoulder very well, and I don't think the eggs are quite as tasty!

One more thing, with moss, you don't want it soaked all the time. You might want to look into repotting in orchid bark, soak the bark first.
I didn't know orchids laid eggs <G>. She bought it a florist shop. You would think it would have been potted in the right stuff. What makes orchid bark special? I have lots of oak, ash, and pine bark <g>.
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:22 PM   #8
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I didn't know orchids laid eggs <G>. She bought it a florist shop. You would think it would have been potted in the right stuff. What makes orchid bark special? I have lots of oak, ash, and pine bark <g>.
Vanilla beans! (orchid eggs).

I'm not saying moss is bad, but I've always used bark. Wood doesn't break down as quickly. Most orchids are epiphytes, meaning they don't take nutrients from the growing medium, but from the air. In the wild, many are found growing nekkid on trees. The roots poke out of the pot, and that's OK. I think the purchased bark is sterilized and bagged with stuff like lava rock. I have also used coconut fiber. When your moss starts to break down, you may want to think about dedicated orchid bark, which can be found at Lowes or other garden stores.

Though it might not hurt to try to sterilize your own, even though we live in a wooded area, I just never bothered.
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:44 PM   #9
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I'll have to ask her if the medium is coconut fiber--it is tannish in color.
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:53 PM   #10
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It's probably Spanish/Florist's moss. You should be fine until the moss starts to break down. The potting medium is only for support of the plant, unlike, say, an impatiens or daisy, which need to grow in soil.
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