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Saving Store Bought Orchids

Orchid Disaster?
Phalaenopsis Needing Repotting

Mother's Day Orchid Disaster?

The grocery and box stores often have proud displays of blooming orchids for prices that are competitive with, or even less than, cut flowers. This particular double spiked miniature Phal, pictured below, was on sale for Mother's Day weekend at the grocery store. These orchids are indeed beautiful but are unfortunately often destined to be short lived. They are being sold as potted plants, intended to be enjoyed and then thrown away in the same way that a Mum or Poinsettia might be.

In fact, these orchids can live for many Mothers Days to come if properly cared for!

Potted Plant Phalaenopsis

Orchids on Death Row?

Potted plant orchids are all about appearance and not about the practical reality of caring for the plant over the long term. Looking over at the Mother's Day array of orchids, one wonders how many of them will still be alive next year on Mother's Day. The container that this particular yellow spotted Phal is planted in has no drainage hole. Obviously this is a recipe for disaster because they require great drainage. Unfortunately, someone is apt to buy this orchid, drown it, and then conclude that orchids are finicky plants that are impossible to grow.

Display Pot With No Drainage

Digging Deeper

Inside The Display Pot

Pulling the plant out of the closed container we can see that the orchid is in a smaller clear plastic sleeve hiding under a bed of additional sphagnum moss. Our highest priority is to get this plant out of its outer pot that has no drainage hole. After that we are left with the reality that this plant is going to be top heavy relative to the flimsy clear plastic sleeve that it is in. Also, from a display perspective, it will not be as pretty as it was in its original ceramic container.

A New Pot (Disaster averted)

Removing Plastic Liner

This little miniature Phalaenopsis is a perfect size for a small ceramic orchid pot, or one of our innovative small Carousel pots. Because the orchid is in bloom, we don't want to disturb its roots now or the bloom may prematurely fall. Still, if we are careful, we can move the orchid into a new pot. Take the pot that it is in and gently ease the orchid out and down into its new display pot. This technique of moving an orchid from one pot to another with minimal root disturbance, is called 'drop potting'. Best practice would be to select a display pot that will easily accommodate the plant and the liner it is in for minimal root disturbance before repotting in fresh mix after the bloom. See our ceramic display pots and our innovative Carousel pots for a wide variety of display pots.

A Beautiful Plant with a Bright Future

Repotted And Happy

Now that it is in a pot with proper drainage, this orchid has a new lease on life. The drainage will allow it to bloom happily for months. Once the bloom is complete we will remove the old moss and repot in fresh Phalaenopsis mix and probably a new larger pot with a liner. Most all of our ceramic pots come with a free plastic liner inside. Orchids like light at the root zone. Ceramic pots with holes in the sides allow light to enter. Clear liners with holes in the bottom allow for great drainage. Potting in fresh mix every year is critical for orchid health because old mix breaks down and do not drain well. We make several different mixes for Phals:  Imperial Gold, Imperial Dark, Classic Gold, and Imperial AAA.

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