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New to orchids

This is a discussion on New to orchids within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; This is my first post and I am completely new to Orchids so please be ...

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  1. #1
    Jay_Madrid is offline Junior Member
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    Default New to orchids

    This is my first post and I am completely new to Orchids so please be patient with me! I have always admired orchids and after having received a couple of lovely orchid plants as gifts for my daughter's birth a couple of weeks ago I am determined to learn what needs to be done to care for them properly. I have read a bunch in the forums, but there is nothing like getting some direct input...

    Here's some information and questions on the two plants:

    Plant number one would appear to be some form of white phalaenopsis. Some of the flower buds have withered and dropped off which it appears is a result of too much change and perhaps too much watering - certainly the move from the florist to my house could account for that. However, there are quite a few healthy looking buds still so all is not lost. The plant is in a 18-20 inch wide by 6 inch deep glass "pot" which looks very nice but from what I have read is not conducive to keeping the plant alive. The medium appears to be moss. The plant is about 10 feet from a north facing window. The leaves are fairly dark so I imagine you will tell me that it needs more light. Unfortunately I'm a bit limitied as to where I can site the plant so I may need to try the current location for a while. Anyway, I think that the main question I need to answer is what to do with respect to potting!

    PHOTOS OF PLANT 1:




    From looking at photos, I believe that plant number two is a cattleya, is that correct? This plant dropped some flowers soon after coming home and the leaves had a dark green color. After reading through the forum I moved it right beside a north-facing window (the only good spot in the apartment) and the leaves have lightened quite a bit. No more flowers have dropped off but they do have some brown spots around the edges. There are also brown sheaths on the two flower stalks. I think that the plant was over-watered but I am trying to get that under control. My current plan is to water one a week, putting the plastic pot in the bath, giving a thorough watering and then returning the plastic pot to the decorative glass pot after draining. The medium looks like coconut husks. My main question is whether the current plastic pot is correct for the plant.

    PHOTOS OF PLANT 2:




    I need to read up on feeding but any initial tips would be welcome!

    Also, I live in Madrid, Spain which is very dry and quite hot in the summer. I mention it in case that affects things at all.

    Thanks a lot for any insights you can provide!

    Jay

  2. #2
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Hi Jay, welcome to our orchid community!
    Your orchids are very beautiful. The second one is a cymbidium though, and not a cattleya. It looks fine in the plastic pot in which it is currently growing.

    Enjoy the forum!

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
    Diane's Avatar
    Diane is offline Can't Re-Member
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    Plant number one is actually a lovely group of white Phals, and they do look a bit dark. Some grow theirs in sphagnum moss, some in bark, and some in mixes. I grow mine in a mix of small bark, charcol bits, perlite and chopped up moss. This means I water about once a week. You do need to get it out of that container... What a lovely gift!

    Number two is a cymbidium, and it will take a lot of light. A plastic container is just fine, and coconut chunks are a good medium for them. Once a week watering in a plastic pot should be okay indoors. That pot should be good for a year, then if you get good growth, next year you will need to repot.

    Your friends gave you lovely plants, and Welcome to the forum!

  4. #4
    Jay_Madrid is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    Thanks a lot for the comments. I understand that "plant 1" is actually a bunch of plants potted together. With so many blooms they look spectacular and I would be inclined to repot the group if that is feasible. Should I look to repot in a similar size container- i.e. wide and not very deep? Is there currently a correct quantity of medium for the size and quantity of plants?

    Thanks again...

  5. #5
    Elena's Avatar
    Elena is offline Senior Member
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    Welcome! Those orchids are lovely.

    You can have a bunch of Phals growing together, one of the members did just that recently on this thread. I'm not sure about the shallow pots though, you normally see them potted in deeper containers and they do have quite a lot of roots. Generally, you don't want a container that's too large with lots of 'unused' medium which might start rotting, better to have one just big enough for a year or two worth of growth.

  6. #6
    Mehera's Avatar
    Mehera is offline Just Another Senior Moment
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    Jay, congratulations on the birth of your baby girl and welcome to Orchid Talk! Is there any chance that under all that moss are individual nursery pots containing the orchids in the phal grouping? It is a very beautiful display, but cannot thrive for long in a pot with no drainage and so far from the light.

  7. #7
    smartie2000's Avatar
    smartie2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Whoa that is a spectaular display of white phals They are so elegant. I do recommend moving them to a pot that drains, the glass container doesn't look like it has any holes. I don't think these phals were orgininally grown in this container, perhaps the blooming plants were repotted into the glass container for display.
    You can repot them as a group in a large pot with lots of draining material like perlite, sponge rock and styrofoam peanuts, so that the large pot can dry fast enough to prevent it from being constantly moist. Or you can pot them into individual pots. They can be potted up into a standard shaped container, it doesn't have to be flat. Phals take on any container shapes and types, it's not too important as long as it is draining.

    The last plant is a cymbidium. It will grow well outside in the summer. They can handle a lot of light and require a temperature drop to initiate buds each year. Cool nights outside will be perfect for that. Looking at the size of the plant I think it has some of the chinese cymbidium's genes somewhere in its breeding making it easier to bloom (I am not 100% sure if they are in its genes because I'm not a cymbidium expert, without a label I can't to a genetic look up). Chinese cymbidiums species can bloom in almost phal like conditions and are smaller. They are used as substites for cattleya in the modern day floral industry, and many people are tricked into thinking the corsages nowadays are cattleyas when they are actually cymbidiums. This is because the blooms are cheaper to produce and come in larger numbers. In the past cattleya were the corsage orchids, but I don't think I've ever seen a cattleya used in my life, but I am very young.

  8. #8
    Diane's Avatar
    Diane is offline Can't Re-Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by smartie2000 View Post
    In the past cattleya were the corsage orchids, but I don't think I've ever seen a cattleya used in my life, but I am very young.

    Sheesh! Young isn't the word for it. Most frequently seen at weddings...

  9. #9
    smartie2000's Avatar
    smartie2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Maybe its because I'm Canadian....all they use are cymbidiums. I haven't been to many weddings with orchids anyways, but I've seen many cymbidium corsages. I'm sure if someone has the money they can get the cattleyas shipped in.
    All the orchids used in the floral designs for my local orchid show were mainly cymbidiums, and the lady who organized the florists thought they were cattleyas...

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