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themoonhowl wrote: Karen, those plastic pots are used so the retailers don't have to worry about watering overmuch
. I use pretty much the same mix for all of my orchids, an equal part mix of bark, perlite, charcoal and sphagnum moss. i also use plastic pots with holes for drainage. To "fancy" them up, I slip the plastic pot into a pretty container...just tell your neighbor to be sure everything drains well. When she re-pots, she can allow the orchid to sit out exposed for an hour or so to let the crown dry out some.
Humidity is the key to keeping them happy. Oftentimes orchids grown inside don't get enough moisture in the air around them. Dianne has her's in a perfect place...great bright light and moisture from the bath. None of my Phaels are blooming right now, but the Cattleyas and Cat crosses are starting to take off