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Watering Phalaenopsis

This is a discussion on Watering Phalaenopsis within the Phalaenopsis ('moth orchid') Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; "I recently purchased a couple orchids, both of which have been re-potted in wire baskets ...

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  1. #1
    douglas is offline Member
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    Default Watering Phalaenopsis

    "I recently purchased a couple orchids, both of which have been re-potted in wire baskets with glass pebbles as a potting medium. My theory for this potting technique is that the wire basket would allow air flow to the roots, and light as well. The transparent glass pebbles were chosen to allow the roots to photosynthesize. In this medium, I water the orchids frequently (every other day at least, sometimes more) and the medium is dry within 6 hours since glass will not retain water. Also the wire baskets drain completely in seconds. The roots appear to be doing quite well, they are green and plump.

    Because I water my orchid so frequently, I am uncertain about the use of orchid food in the water. I use a 20-14-13 nitrate nitrogen based orchid food (no urea), but I dilute a very weak mixture of this when I water my orchid, since I water it so frequently. The package suggests 1 teaspoon per gallon of water every 14 days, but I use 1/8 of a teaspoon per gallon. Is this potentially a problem, and should I feed the plants less often?

    I also wonder how long I should let the potted roots remain submerged in the water when I am feeding the plant. Is 1/2 hour too long? I let the entire wire basket with glass and roots sit in a larger pot of water each time I water or feed my orchid.
    Thanks for any helpful advice on this, I'm clueless!
    Douglas

  2. #2
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    clintdawley is offline Wrapped in metal..wrapped in ivy...
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    Douglas,

    Welcome! If the roots are healthy you must be doing something right! Soaking the plant in said set up for half an hour will present no problems. I think it's best to fertilize at a lesser strength on a greater frequency as well.

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    douglas is offline Member
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    I do read a lot about the danger of "burning" the roots from too much feeding- that's why I asked. I guess I will just wait and see.

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    Burning is caused from too strong a concentration and not frequency with a weak solution.


    Quote Originally Posted by douglas View Post
    I do read a lot about the danger of "burning" the roots from too much feeding- that's why I asked. I guess I will just wait and see.

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    I have heard you can grow orchids even in bottle caps--so why not glass pebbles. I agree with Clint--reduce teh concentration of fertilizer. Some big commercial greenhouses are always fertilizing--everyday with their automatic systems, but they use lesser concentrations of fertilizer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sadie View Post
    I have heard you can grow orchids even in bottle caps--so why not glass pebbles. I agree with Clint--reduce the concentration of fertilizer. Some big commercial greenhouses are always fertilizing--everyday with their automatic systems, but they use lesser concentrations of fertilizer.
    I have to agree here too. Less strength and once a week.

    Cheers,
    BD

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