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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 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.
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.
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.
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.
“This fall I religiously followed your advice, creating an environment of shortened
days and lower temps in order to encourage blooming...I was successful. FINALLY!! Thank you, thank you!!
Both of my plants decided to bloom and they look beautiful. I wanted to share the good news and
my gratitude with you. Thanks again!”Laurie J.
“The potting medium you sent is gorgeous!! It's superior to the bark I've been
buying at Lowe's. I can't imagine what (my orchids) will do when I put them in your potting mix. It even
smells fresh!! Many, many thanks. I'll be ordering from you again.”
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