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the orchid fairy came to my house

Wayland, MA(Zone 6a)

We have a man in our town who chooses to live outside. He has been doing so for over 35 years and is now in his 60's . every now and then he needs something like aa batteries and such and he knows he can ask us . We sort of look out for him and chat with him rather than shun him as some do. He is a harmless soul who gets lonely . Occasionally , because he knows I garden he will drop off a plant he comes across while picking through dumpsters . About a week ago I found 4 orchids on my back steps ! I am a gardener but have very little experience with phalenopsis ( sp ) I just had the time to check them out and when I took them out of the pots they were packed with peatmoss and orchid bark soaked the roots were rooting so I trimmed off the dead roots and stuck them in the branches of a star magnolia for now ( I know enough about them to know they grow in trees and rely on their roots being foot loose and fancy free ) for now they are happily perched up there but I live in new england zone 6 they are going to have to come in heres my question would I be better off potting them up now so they will be acclimated to their pots before the weather turns or let'em enjoy the freedom of the wild ! lol ? by the way there were alot of good viable roots too. What do you think ?

Thumbnail by laurawege Thumbnail by laurawege
Marco Island, FL(Zone 10b)

POt them up, leave them outside in the lovely air until it cools down and then bring them into the house and enjoy them. An east facing window would be grand, on a tray full of stones for humidity. Air circulation is a must for the inside period! Water once a week.

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

How lucky you are to have an orchid fairy! They look really healthy, too. I agree with Debi, though, you should get a bag of phal mix and pot them. Otherwise, if you leave them in the magnolia branches, you'll have to water (spray/mist) them every single day if it doesn't rain.

Phals can grow bare-root like that in warm, humid places, but up there I kind of doubt your cool nights and lower humidity will support them for long. When you pot them, make sure the crowns of the plants are facing (slanted) sideways so they don't hold water in the rosette of leaves. Most people want to pot phals with the crown upright, but this is asking for a deadly case of crown rot.

Hey, Debi how nice to see you back! We've sure missed seeing pics of your beautiful orchids.


Wayland, MA(Zone 6a)

thank you both I will pot them up today , I have some clay pots with no extra holes will that do ? and must yo anchor them with wire ?

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

The clay orchid pots with extra holes are very inexpensive at Lowe's or Home Depot, Laura. Small ones are $1.50, larger ones are $2.50 or so last time I bought them. If you have to buy a bag of Phal mix anyway, I'd spring for pots with holes, just for the sake of air circulation. Or, if you have a Dremel tool, you can make extra holes in the pots you have. Clean them well if they've been used before. Also don't put the orchids in too big pots, or they'll spend a year or two just growing roots, and won't bloom. Use the smallest pot you can fit the roots into.

As for the ugly wire retainers, Phals will tend to uproot because you need them to sit with the leaves slanted sideways. Eventually the roots will attach to the pot and after that you'll be fine. But you do need to do something to keep them in the pots until that happens. I've used a few rocks on top of the bark medium, instead of the wires. I've also tied pieces of string and netting over the pots when I didn't have rocks or wire. Lots of options. The medium is so light sometimes it's not enough to balance the leaf rosette and keep it in the pot.

Btw, you might see signs at those stores on their orchid displays saying "3 ice cubes a week, easy care" . This is absolute idiocy. They are encouraging people to buy their dying orchids and kill them off even faster. Use the hose when they're outdoors in summer, or a spray bottle of (room temp) water in winter when the humidity is low to mist your orchids whenever you think of it. Ice cold water is never a good idea. Especially Phals don't like the shock of sudden temperature change.

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