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  #1  
Old 01-01-2021, 01:43 PM
Rhonda Svoboda Rhonda Svoboda is offline
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Default Phalaenopsis Bellina not growing

I got this orchid last spring. Its not really doing anything. I expected it to grow faster in the summer-fall but it didn't.
This is the first species orchid that I've tried to grow.
I am not sure what I am doing wrong. I treat it the same as my other phal's. I will say that I had a hard time potting it. Because of its downward growth pattern, I couldn't get the stem, or crown, positioned right. It took me several tries to get it right.
I thought about mounting it on a wood slab but I've no idea how to do that. It would also require daily watering.
Should I try to mount it?
Is there a big difference in phal. care for species vs hybrids?
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  #2  
Old 01-01-2021, 01:45 PM
rbarata rbarata is offline
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Depending on the species but, in general, species are harder to grow. It means the tolerance for their requirements are narrower than for hybrids.
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Old 01-01-2021, 02:00 PM
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Bellina is really demanding about being warm and moist. Your leaves look healthy, so maybe the heat mat you mentioned in another post will be helpful.
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Old 01-01-2021, 02:12 PM
Orchidtinkerer Orchidtinkerer is offline
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I wouldn't say the Bellina is harder than other phals aslong as you keep to the temp range it likes, nothing under 20 degrees C ideally. My other phals can handle 14 C
It can be very slow growing but I find phals generally slow growing also.
Yours only has 2 leaves and probably not a great root system so I know from experience that is still 2 years away from flowering under good care. Under good care it should produce at least 1 new leaf per year.

I've got some phals here that are real strugglers, I can't compare it to yours as I know too little but sometimes when a phal has a poor root system it can take it years to recover whether it is a species or not. I have been lucky that I have received very good examples of Bellina's but I have a Bellina hybrid from another shop for example that has not grown a new leaf in one whole year so if nothing happens this year that will have to go in the bin and I will put it down to a virus or something. Not saying there is anything wrong with yours that is why I can't compare! just pointing out it can happen that an orchid seedling just never flourishes properly like it should.
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Old 01-01-2021, 02:35 PM
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Phal. bellina is not really happy until it's 80 degrees F / 35C. If Phals are growing slowly they're being kept too cool. Yes, they survive and flower in many homes, but they grow far better as temperature rises.

Edit, now that I'm at a keyboard...

Most Phals sold are in one of two groups.

Those with flowers very round in outline, usually with a base color of white to pink, trace ancestry to species like Phal. amabilis, aphrodite, schilleriana, stuartiana. Parent species typically lack bars or spots, but hybrids have been developed to have spots. Most are not fragrant; a few with schilleriana ancestry are. Leaves tend to be dark to very dark green, sometimes with silver spotting and streaking, and sometimes with reddish tones under the leaf. Leaves have a dull matte finish or may be shiny. They tend to make flower spikes in winter. There are usually many flowers, eventually all open at the same time. Spikes tend to make a certain number of flowers in one year, then die. Sometimes a spike with bracts near the base may make another branch with flowers in future years, but this is not routine. This group comprises most of the hybrids sold en masse in markets. They prefer warm temperatures for best growth, but tolerate typical home temperatures. If you are comfortable in a home wearing a short-sleeved shirt and short pants they will be fine. If you need more clothing to keep from shivering the plants will feel chilled. These also do pretty well in the humidity of most homes. These may survive if you forget them outside in fall so long as they don't freeze, but they will probably be damaged.

The other group commonly sold traces ancestry to species like Phal. amboinensis, bellina, cornucervi, gigantea, lueddemaniana, venosa, violacea. Flowers don't have the round outline of the other group. The parent species have star shaped flowers, usually with plenty of space between flower segments. Flower parts may come to points rather than being rounded. They are often in shades of white, green, yellow or red, and frequently very fragrant. These have very pale green leaves, very shiny and succulent when healthy. They become less shiny when water or cold stressed. They tend to flower in summer. Spikes tend to open one or a few flowers at a time, but will continue producing flowers from the tip of the spike for more than one growing season. When larger and conditions are suitable they can be in near-constant bloom for many years. This group prefers warm jungle conditions: hot temperatures, high humidity. They may die if temperatures fall below 50 F / 10C. Many growers recommend never letting them fall below 70 F / 21C for best results. Many survive in the lower humidity of homes, but they are happier with higher humidity. Phal. bellina and gigantea are intolerant of cool temperatures and low humidity.

Phal. pulcherrima was formerly in a different genus, Doritis. It tolerates lower humidity, cooler temperatures and more light than other Phals. This is where the deeply saturated pinks come from in round-flowered Phals. This kind of Phal can tolerate cooler winter temperatures better than the white and light pink flowered hybrids.

Miniatures are being bred from Phal. equestris and similar species. They prefer warmer temperatures than most of the large, round-flowered hybrids, but don't need as much warmth as the star flowered jungle species. They accept the lower humidity of homes.

There are a few deciduous Phal. species from areas with very cool (but frost-free) winters. I'm not aware of them being used much in hybridization, but they might bring more cool tolerance.

To cut to recommendations -
If you run your house cool in winter, stick with the round-flowered larger hybrids, especially those with plenty of Phal. pulcherrima in the ancestry. A heat mat will be a big help.

If you like it warm in the house all winter, you can grow those, plus the Phal. equestris related species and hybrids. If your house is cool in winter, get a heat mat.

If you like it warm, and have some way of increasing the humidity, you can grow the star-flowered jungle species. If your house is cool and dry, put these into humid terrariums with some heat.
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Last edited by estación seca; 01-01-2021 at 03:29 PM..
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Old 01-01-2021, 02:57 PM
JungleJo JungleJo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estación seca View Post
It's not really happy until it's 80 degrees F / 35C. If Phals are growing slowly they're being kept too cool. Yes, they survive and flower in many homes, but they grow far better as temperature rises.
Yup, I think bellina loves it hot. Got a small one that at the same time grew leaves, a new mini plant and sent out a spike. It is now flowering on two small spikes with one flower on each, but leaves are no longer than max 7cm-10cm long. A mini plant doing everything at once. It is warm here though. Min 22-24 during night and often topping 34-36 during a sunny day.
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Old 01-01-2021, 04:50 PM
Rhonda Svoboda Rhonda Svoboda is offline
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Thanks for the advice. Would a heat mat help or do I need to consider a space heater? There are some good heaters out there that oscillate.
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Old 01-01-2021, 09:40 PM
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The problem with space heaters in a room is they lower humidity. Warm with low humidity will dry out this kind of Phal. They like weather like August in Michigan. I have a Phal gigantea seedling. My house can get quite cool in winter at night. My sunroom is sometimes down near 60 F or a little lower, too cold for this species. I put the Phal into a very large glass vase with a reptile heater underneath the glass. I covered the vase with plastic wrap so it stays very humid.
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Old 01-02-2021, 06:06 AM
Orchidtinkerer Orchidtinkerer is offline
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always be aware of how much a space heater uses in electricity.

I know this is completely inaccurate but to give people a sense of "cost" you should realize a space heater uses as much electricity as the biggest power guzzler in a house - the kettle, 2000Watts and if you were to run a kettle or a space heater for 24 hours a day it would cost you in the region of 2000 dollars in a year. It might not be accurate but you should just have that in your head - roughly 1w(all day) = 1 dollar per year

A 5w led lightbulb on all day long will use 5 dollars
An Iphone uses 1 dollar of electricity per year
a 2000w space heater will use 2000 dollars.

Now you never run it all day, mostly you run it half the day and only for 4 months in winter, so divide it by 6 and you end up with a yearly bill of 330 dollars - for one orchid

The heat mat can be compared just as easily, a good size is 20 watts, on during the day for 4 months a year comes to 3.3 dollars per year.

So I'd pick the heat mat every day.

Last edited by Orchidtinkerer; 01-02-2021 at 06:14 AM..
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Old 01-02-2021, 08:56 AM
Rhonda Svoboda Rhonda Svoboda is offline
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I always love it when you two reply. You've give me some of the best advice.
First off, estación seca, could you send me a picture of the orchid your talking about? I am having trouble picturing it.
Orchidtinkerer, wow!! I had no idea how much electricity space heaters used. Thanks for the info!!
Maybe I'll keep my eyes out for an affordable terrarium.
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