Friday, February 13, 2015

The ever blooming phal

After I was able to get the Home Depot Orchid to send up a new spike a couple of years ago, I happily went off to the annual NCOS Orchid Society Show in 2011 and bought another phalaenopsis, P. Baldan's Kaleidoscope. This was also my first (successful) experience with an orchid planted in moss. I asked the vendor about the moss medium since I knew my problem in the past had been over watering and death by drowning and I knew that you can easily drown an orchid planted in moss. The vendor explained that she liked to plant her orchids in moss and she determines whether or not they need watering based on the weight. She recommended that I go home and water the guy so that he is fully soaked and weigh him. Then, just leave him alone and weigh as the moss dries out to get a feel for when I need to water. I went home, weighed him, and labeled the pot with the watered weight.

P. Baldan's Kaleidoscope

Within a couple of months, I could feel when the moss is all dried out and needed a good watering. Orchids are resilient. If they dry out a little bit, it's okay, as long as they're not bone dry for months at a time.

When I bought this guy, he had two spikes that had started to bloom. To my surprise, those blooms lasted for quite a few months and as the flowers dropped and only a couple of flowers remained, he started growing side spikes. This went on for two years. Everyone in all the books and on the internet recommend re-potting an orchid only after it is done with flowering. So I stared at it for two years, admiring the flowers and wondering when I could repot and check out the roots.

Last fall, I went back to the NCOS annual show. I attended the lecture on orchids for beginner's an asked, "When is a good time to repot this orchid since he's been blooming for 2 years". Since the last of the flowers were dying off and I was getting a new spike, it was recommended that it was a good time to repot. The roots looked great! There were no rotting or mushy roots. We were both happy.

The spike has grown and you can see the blooms developing. I do wonder when they flowers will actually open. I did run into some trouble as the spike grew. I staked the tip in the wrong place. I've done this before and basically cut the tip off with the clips. On this one, once I moved the clip a little lower, it developed a side spike off the tip and kept growing.

Original first spike that I broke, looks good from this side

The other side, doesn't look so good here