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Phalaenopsis Questions

This is a discussion on Phalaenopsis Questions within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I intend to get a Phalaenopsis, so it can live in my room with me. ...

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  1. #1
    Styx is offline Senior Member
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    Default Phalaenopsis Questions

    I intend to get a Phalaenopsis, so it can live in my room with me. It's fairly dark in here, since I don't care for sunlight myself, and if I do have sunlight, it's always diffused a great deal. Nice and shady, never bright. So I feel that a Phalaenopsis and I would better get along in here than my cattleya. I live in Utah, so it's usually quite dry, though I have many fish tanks in my room, so I suspect my room's humidity might be slightly higher than usual. Either way, I have an overhead fan that's usually going. What else do I need to know? Mostly about the watering thing and what do they like to be potted in? Could I use that Schultx Orchid Mix, or no? How can I prevent crown rot? That worries me.

  2. #2
    MikeWA's Avatar
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    You might want to check out the area about Semi-hydro. It seems to be the best mix for Phals. It is impossible to overwater with this. Everyone waters differently and has different conditions but this technique seems to work in many different environments. Otherwise you could try a bark mix or Sphagnum moss and possibly the Schultz mix but it really depends on your conditions.

  3. #3
    sadie's Avatar
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    Default Phal Help

    Well, there are certainly folks who know lots more about orchids than I do, but maybe I can help.

    If you are worried about crown rot there is one simple solution -- don't get water into the crown of the plant. I know, I know that is easier said than done. I water mine in the sink and put the faucet up close to the potting material, rather than just hosing them down. If I do get a little water either in the crown or down one of the leaves toward the plants, I take a paper towel and twist it so i can get down in there to soak up the water. (I don't leave the paper towel there of course.)

    As for growing material, that depends a lot on personal preference. I pot mine with the bottom 2/3 of the pot a bark/charcoal mix that you can buy at box store or Lowes made by BetterGro and the top 1/3 with spangum moss. Some people hate mixed medium, but I like the moss because it keeps in a little more moisture, meaning I don't have to water my phals as often. (which is a bonus given that some other orchids are a little higher maintenance -- I can't be watering the entire collection three times a week.)

    As for light, while phals do need less light than other orchids, they do need some light. I'd say as a rough measurement, put your hand up in front of the plant if your hand doesn't cast a shadow you probably don't have enough light. Your plant will also tell you in about two weeks if it doesn't have enough light by dropping its buds.

    You will read a lot about orchids needing humidity, humidity trays and etc. All of that is true, but you don't want to leave a phal sitting in a tray of water. Their roots like to breath. If you want to use a humidity tray raise the pot above the water level. For some of my bigger phals, I went to Lowes and bought little tripod plant stands; I set the pot on the stand and then the stand in a saucer of water. That way there humidity, but the plant's pot doesn't sit in or touch the water.

    I hope that is helpful. You may find something else works better for you. Good luck.

  4. #4
    Styx is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    I mean, do they like their roots to be wet or... what?

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    evenly barely damp. In other words, don't let them dry out completely before rewatering, but don't keep them soggy or they'll start to rot.

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    sadie's Avatar
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    Default Sorry Too Much Info

    Quote Originally Posted by Styx
    I mean, do they like their roots to be wet or... what?
    Sorry info overload. They don't like to be soggy -- that is why I overloaded you with information about keeping the pot out of the water.

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    Styx is offline Senior Member
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    Okay, thanks for all the info, I do want to raise a lovely plant. :3

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    sadie's Avatar
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    The fact that you have even thought about all of this BEFORE getting the phal is impressive. I am sure your plant will thrive.

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    Styx is offline Senior Member
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    I hope so! :3

  10. #10
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    Are you using fluorescent lights in your room? If not, and your room is "fairly dark" and "nice and shady, never bright," it sounds like there isn't enough light for even a phal. In the few cold months I have, I bring them inside under fluorescents, 4x40 watt "daylight" bulbs. There are three shelves, with the plants about 6" from the bulbs, and it's really quite bright. In the summer, they're outside under shade cloth, right alongside my oncids and dends, etc. In my experience, phals do better with more light than you'd think "low light" means. When they are getting the most light they can use -- but not so much light as to burn them -- some hybrids get a hint of darkish reddish on the edges of the leaves.

    As to potting material, it depends on what works for you, as well as what kind of pot you're using. I use terra cotta pots, some with extra holes and some without. Plain packaged medium orchid bark doesn't work real well for my phals. I've used straight sphagnum moss for a couple of years with good results, but I've started experimenting with bark mixed with a bit of sphagnum and I think I like that even better. It really all depends on what works for you.

    To avoid crown rot, don't allow water to remain in the crown; water early in the day, so whatever has collected in the crown evaporates.

    Phals are my favorites... Good luck!

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