Orchids

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

I went to Walmart last night and they had the most beautiful, healthy Phalaenopsis orchids. Yup, you guessed it. I bought 8 of them!!! LOL I noticed that the potting medium was some kind of mossy-looking stuff and they were VERY wet. I thought orchids liked to be potted in bark because they didn't like to be kept really wet. Is it okay to repot them now while they're in bloom? Help!!!

Pete2

Richfield Springs, NY(Zone 4a)

More than likely, they are potted in sphagnum moss. A lot of growers use this.Eespecially the ones that grow plants for the super stores. They were probably recently watered and that is why they are so wet. Phals, as with most orchids, do not like standing in wet medium for long. It will lead to root rot. I have never grown phals in this medium and do not know its characteristics too well. If you leave them in it, make sure you let it dry out between waterings, which will likely be about once a week or slightly less. The reason bark chips are often used is that they do not break down very fast. The worst thing is when the medium breaks down and the roots wind up in a fine, soggy mess. As a rule of thumb, you are not supposed to disturb a plant in bloom, but I have done it without bad effects, such as killing the plant! If you choose to repot, just try not to be too rough. Once the bloosoms fade, you can cut off the spike. If you cut it just above a lower node, the plant will most likely bud again. This does stress the plant, and it may have bad consequences. Orchids have been know to 'bloom themselves to death'. I will not usually try and force another bloom, but rather, cut the spike low, and let the plant gain strength. Soon enough it will spike again. A weak solution of miricle gro, once a month, is great for orchids. If you have trouble getting it to spike again, you can try a fertilizer that is high in phosphorous. You must be very careful with orchids. They mimic drugs in many ways. You can find youself addicted to them and soon your bank account dwindles as you need to own more!LOL!

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Tell me about it, Frank! You know how obsessive I am!!! ROFL That stuff does look like sphagnum moss...very GROSS sphagnum moss. I guess I should probably wait until after they finish blooming. The weather down here has warmed up so I put them in my greenhouse. Do you think I should fertilize them the next time they need water? Remember my other orchids? They have a lot of growing to do to reach the size of these new orchids. The new orchids are in a 6 inch pot and the pot is full.

Pete2

Richfield Springs, NY(Zone 4a)

Yup, go ahead and give them a weak soution of fertilizer. Some people feed them with every watering. But, with a very dilute solution. While others opt for the 'weekly-weakly' method. I only feed once a month, or there abouts, out of shear laziness.

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Thanks for your help, Frank. Why don't you go to the "Photos" forum and post some pictures of your orchids? I'd love to see them.

Pete2

Kersey, PA

I have planted some of my orchids in long fiber spaghnum moss, but only if I have the orchid planted in a basket or a clay pot. I tend to be somewhat of an underwaterer (Although I am trying to reform!) and I found that some of my plants did better in spaghnum. I have an Ascofinitia "Peaches that I have in a clay pot and sphaghnum, and I swear I can hear it cheering under the lights in my basement!

If you can find it, osmunda fiber is really the way to go. It drains quickly, yet stays damp for quite a while and is perfect for phals. Some people think it is on the expensive side, but if you are going to spend that kind of money for an orchid, the couple of bucks for a bag of osmunda is not all that much.

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Wow! Thanks karma and SherryJ! Can you order osmunda fiber?

Pete2

Kersey, PA

I order my osmunda fiber from Mellingers-www.mellingers.com

Two other great places to get orchid supplies are:

Crystal River Orchid Supplies: www.orchidsupplies.com

Calwest Tropical Supplies: www.calwesttropical.com

I thought Crystal River was especially fast to deliver.

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Thanks Sherry! I'm going to go check those places out now.:)

Pete2

Richmond Hill, GA(Zone 8b)

Sherry, besides supplies, have you ever ordered any orchids from Mellingers?

Pete2

Kersey, PA

No, I never did. I was always satisfied with the plants I got elsewhere, and never ordered orchids from Mellingers. I was also afraid that I would get plants with no ID tags from them, and call me crazy, but I like to know what I am growing. If you order orchid plants from Mellingers, please let us know what you think. :-)

Mellingers is one of my ~all time~ favorite mail order places for ALL kind of gardening needs. Seems like they have everything.

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