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Thread: Don't know what i'm doing

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2022
    Posts
    1

    Default Don't know what i'm doing

    I bought a Phalaenopsis orchid from a nursery a week ago on a bit whim had what I think are nice roots, leaves and plenty of bulbs. Sadly, I don't have prior flower/gardening experience and I have many things I'm trying to figure out while not killing my orchid. (The flower spike is gone I accidently broke it while trying to position the bamboo shoot/support beam while repotting.) My current set up:
    Water: Distilled
    Potting medium: Phalaenopsis Monterey Dark Imperial Orchid Mix
    Fertilizer: FEED ME! MSU Fertilizer
    Light: I have an east facing window (I heard ideal for orchids) with blinds and I open the blinds partially so its not in direct sunlight, the indoor light is generally off in my room but comes on for small bursts on some days
    Pot: 4" clear plastic slotted pot
    Saucer: Plastic, I always keep dry of water (Not sure if i'm suppose to keep the water there and let the plant/potting medium wick it up over time?)
    Environment: Inside my house in nebraska outside weather changes quite a bit but house is kept between 70-75
    Goal for me: Grow up a healthy orchid with big leaves, lots of roots, beautiful flowers (leaves and roots>flowers but flowers are cool)

    1)Is there any variable in my current setup i'm missing that's important to account for? (I know the ph of my water is not gonna be acidic but hopefully that's not the end of the world)
    2)Would a humidity tray increase the well-being of my orchid?
    3)If I got a humidity tray do I ditch the saucer?
    4)Would a grow light help the well being of my orchid?
    5)If a grow light would help what do I look for in a grow light for a phalaenopsis orchid?
    6)If get a grow light, do I keep the blinds of my window closed or...? (I don't have a room I can dedicate solely to this flower)
    7)If I get a grow light what is the on/off schedule I should use with it?
    8)Anything wrong/not ideal with using a mix of monterey bark and sphagnum moss for potting medium? (I feel like my current mix doesn't have enough sphagnum moss as I'm watering like every 3 days)
    9)Am I doing something wrong with having to water after 3 days? I am trying to "feel" the moisture in the pot and look at all the roots to see if their silvery-green (meaning their dry)
    10)Do products such as Wash Me! Natural Leaf Cleaner help the health of an orchid? Ie help the leaves photo synthesis? I've seen videos of missorchidgirl and her leaves are so shiny and picture perfect I like the idea of cleaning the leaves but don't know if it actually hleps the plant
    11)If leaf cleaners do help how often should I clean the leaves?
    12)What are the pros/cons of time release fertilizer? (I have fantasies of using my current fertilizer in a semi hydronponic system and using time release fertilizer in my plastic pot)

  2. #2
    Real Name
    Bruce Brown
    My Grow Area
    Greenhouse
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Cattleyas & Slippers
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    35,051
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    First, welcome!

    I'll see if I can answer your questions:

    )Is there any variable in my current setup i'm missing that's important to account for? (I know the ph of my water is not gonna be acidic but hopefully that's not the end of the world)
    Air movement and temperature are also important for healthy orchids.

    2)Would a humidity tray increase the well-being of my orchid?

    Yes. If the orchid humidity gets to low, mites could take over and harm your orchid.

    3)If I got a humidity tray do I ditch the saucer?
    Yes, ditch the saucer. The pot should be free draining and the roots should have the opportunity to dry off between watering. (not dry out, but dry off)

    4)Would a grow light help the well being of my orchid?

    This depends on the quality of that light. It sounds like your orchid would benefit from a grow light since it is indoors and only gets limited light through your window blinds.

    5)If a grow light would help what do I look for in a grow light for a phalaenopsis orchid?
    Any type of grow light suitable for orchids would work. I would recommend an LED type light to reduce heat.

    6)If get a grow light, do I keep the blinds of my window closed or...? (I don't have a room I can dedicate solely to this flower)

    The grow light should be on a timer, you can set it for 'daylight' hours and open your blinds as you normally do.

    7)If I get a grow light what is the on/off schedule I should use with it?

    Daylight hours on. Evening and night hours off. The plant needs a cycle.

    8)Anything wrong/not ideal with using a mix of monterey bark and sphagnum moss for potting medium? (I feel like my current mix doesn't have enough sphagnum moss as I'm watering like every 3 days)
    Too much Sphagnum will cause your orchid roots to stay wet too much and the roots will not be able to exchange gases. Phal orchids grow on wires, trees, rocks, etc.. we grow them in pots for our convenience. The roots must be able to breath, or they will rot and die.

    9)Am I doing something wrong with having to water after 3 days? I am trying to "feel" the moisture in the pot and look at all the roots to see if their silvery-green (meaning their dry)

    Nope, sounds good to me. Remember, dry off, not dry out. The roots appreciate water running through their pot until they turn green, and then letting them go back to their silvery-green as they dry off.

    10)Do products such as Wash Me! Natural Leaf Cleaner help the health of an orchid? Ie help the leaves photo synthesis? I've seen videos of missorchidgirl and her leaves are so shiny and picture perfect I like the idea of cleaning the leaves but don't know if it actually hleps the plant

    You can rinse the leaves with water, no fancy product needed. You can also wipe away water spots with a paper towel - or not.

    11)If leaf cleaners do help how often should I clean the leaves?
    Cleaning the leaves is up to you, your orchid will not care too much unless dust starts blocking out light. Normal watering/spraying should keep your orchid leaves clean.

    12)What are the pros/cons of time release fertilizer? (I have fantasies of using my current fertilizer in a semi hydronponic system and using time release fertilizer in my plastic pot)

    I would not do that. Feed your orchid once a week with a very weak mixture of fertilizer water. Then the next time your water, flush the pot and wash away any remaining fertilizer salts that can build up on the roots and plant and damage or kill it.

    Good luck to you!

    cheers,
    BD

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