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  #1  
Unread 02-05-2009, 11:14 AM
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Default Type of pot for Phalaenopsis

I've visited two great orchid shows [D.C. and NY Botanical] plus my son's blooming pink Phal intrigued me. Yesterday I felt sorry for and bought a "supermarket" phal [my first orchid] with a 24 inch spike and no blooms [all finished?] in a 6 inch tall, 4 1/2 inch wide ceramic pot wih no drainage hole. It is in sphagnum moss and has 5 stiff healthy leaves [but with bumpy, not smooth surfaces].

Four roots are visible going down into the sphagnum, and one 9 inch root is out of the pot. Should that be cut off? Or while still still attached should that root be placed in it's own pot to make a new plant?

I've placed the phal behind a filmy curtain at the west edge of a south window. House thermostat is 68 degF days and 64 nights. The hot air heating includes humidification.

Should I keep ithe phal in the non-drained pot? Should I re-pot immediately? Should I wait until the plant gets accustomed to my house environment before repotting? What pot size and material? Thanks in advance!
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Type of pot for Phalaenopsis-orchid-475.jpg  
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  #2  
Unread 02-05-2009, 11:25 AM
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I'm sure you'll get a variety of opinions on this, but I'll chime in with mine. But first, welcome to a wonderful obsession!

The stem may or may not be done producing. Leave it alone unless and until it begins to turn brown, at which point you can lop it off. So long as it's green it has a possibility of producing.

I'd not leave a Phal, or any other orchid, in a pot with no drainage. They like good drainage, in fact. If the roots stay constantly wet they will rot; overwatering is probably the easiest way to kill a Phalaenopsis.

I prefer to pot Phals in a bark mixture. Typically I use 75% bark and 25% Aliflor. This gives me good moisture retention and also good drainage. When you pot in bark it is a good idea to soak the media for a good 24 hours before using. I pour boiling water onto the media to start the soak. That yours is both in a non-draining pot and also in sphagnum is kind of scary. Sphagnum retains water more than any other medium, so in my opinion the roots of your plant are at risk.

Phals really prefer shallower pots. All of mine are in pots which are no deeper than the width. Well-drained clay pots are wonderful, but of late I've become a huge fan of clear plastic, which allows you to see inside and have an idea of what's happening in the pot. I'd go with about a 4 1/2 or 5 inch pot to repot this one.

The root outside of the pot is a good sign. You don't want to clip it off! Also, it won't sprout a new plant if you stick it in another pot. Happy Phals sprout aereal roots.
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  #3  
Unread 02-05-2009, 01:03 PM
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I would repot immediately into a pot with better drainage. I like clear plastic pots with slits in the sides for extra ventilation. Coarse bark is a good potting mix for phals and can be found at many garden and home improvement stores.
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  #4  
Unread 02-05-2009, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LKint View Post
I've visited two great orchid shows [D.C. and NY Botanical] plus my son's blooming pink Phal intrigued me. Yesterday I felt sorry for and bought a "supermarket" phal [my first orchid] with a 24 inch spike and no blooms [all finished?] in a 6 inch tall, 4 1/2 inch wide ceramic pot wih no drainage hole. It is in sphagnum moss and has 5 stiff healthy leaves [but with bumpy, not smooth surfaces].

Four roots are visible going down into the sphagnum, and one 9 inch root is out of the pot. Should that be cut off? Or while still still attached should that root be placed in it's own pot to make a new plant?

I've placed the phal behind a filmy curtain at the west edge of a south window. House thermostat is 68 degF days and 64 nights. The hot air heating includes humidification.

Should I keep ithe phal in the non-drained pot? Should I re-pot immediately? Should I wait until the plant gets accustomed to my house environment before repotting? What pot size and material? Thanks in advance!
I agree with both responses on so far - yes, you should repot - any orchid should have a pot with VERY GOOD drainage. As far as the medium - it depends on your cultural environment. If your air is dry and you don't water much moss would be good, but I use bark because I have high humidity and I water frequently. I also use clay pots mostly for aesthetic reasons, but I understand the desire to use the clear plastic pots.

Second, don't cut off that 9'' root! You should never cut off a root if it's healthy! It being outside of the pot is causing no problems unless it's dead. If you repot you can try to put it back in the medium - that's a personal preference. But, cutting it off and trying to make a plant out of it isn't possible as far as I know. Roots cannot grow new orchids. You need an actual part of the plant to grow a new orchid. If you do repot, check the roots that are in the medium. The ones that are limp, brown, squishy, smelly, etc. are dead and should be removed - they are rotten and can promote more rot with the other roots.

Your temperatures and light sounds good. Phals are a warmer growing species, so they would appreciate temps in the 70's during the day. If your humidity is not above 40% you could try a pebble tray with water. Just make sure the water level isn't high enough to go into the pot - orchids don't like to sit in water.

Lastly, from your photos, the flower spike looks like it is done flowering. Although a close-up picture would be helpful in determining this. If it is done, I would cut it off. It is possible to leave it on (if it's not brown and dried up) and get new flowers to grow from it. You can do a search on the board threads to find topics about this. Some prefer to cut off the spike so the plant will make a whole new spike, and others prefer to leave it in hopes that it will grow new flowers. It's a personal preference.

Good luck and can't wait to hear how your new baby does!!
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  #5  
Unread 02-05-2009, 10:25 PM
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I agree with Ethan about the temperatures. I think phals like a bigger temperature swing between day and night than four degrees. A few degrees warmer in the daytime and a bit cooler at night would help promote blooms.

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  #6  
Unread 02-07-2009, 12:15 PM
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Default Answers and more questions

Now 2 days into my "Phal parenthood", and having read many web-sites and seen a few You-tubes on re-potting, I'm feeling better, and a bit confused. I'm attaching two close-ups. The Spike shoes browning on the left and what looks like a green node at the right edge of the cardboard. I'll prune above the green for now. The root close-up shows some damage at the pot edge [plus some new air roots starting?]: worth cutting off whole root?
I've always been told that for "houseplants" dark, opaque pots keep the roots from starting to develop chlorophyll, but I now see that plants that grow up in trees couldn't care less! So the slotted clear pots seem like a good idea for visual inspection and for aeration. What about the decorative enamaled pots that have openings in the sides?
Some sites recommend osamund, most just suggest bark mix. Any difference for Phals?
The 4 degF day/night difference is at the thermostat, 13 feet away from the window [not a modern themal window, just with storm window]. My guess is that night air temp by the window and its nearby hot air vent is about 60 - 65 degF with day temp of 68 to 75 due to sun warming the air.
Thanks to all who took time to respond.
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  #7  
Unread 02-07-2009, 12:19 PM
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Default The close-ups

Trying to show close-ups.
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Type of pot for Phalaenopsis-orchid-spike-476.jpg   Type of pot for Phalaenopsis-orchid-roots-477.jpg  
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  #8  
Unread 02-07-2009, 03:17 PM
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First off the damage on the arial root is not a problem, this arial root looks fine and should be left. Phals like to grow arial roots and while you can try to tuck them in when you re-pot the plant will probably grow more.

I like to spray arial roots when I water, I spray until they turn green, but if you do this be careful not to spray the leaves too much as if water collects in the base of the leaves or in the crown it can cause rot.

Your spike looks like it's an old one which has finished flowering. Personally I would cut it off to allow the plant time to put energy into growing leaves and roots for a while before it grows a new spike to flower again. But as others have already said this is a matter of personal preference and if it's still green you may get other flowers from it.

I want to add something about watering. Phals like to have plenty of air about the roots an overwatering can lead to root rot and is a common mistake. On the other hand people who have heard that is is a danger sometimes go the other way and don't water enough.

If you pot it into a clear plastic pot then getting the balance right becomes really easy. Water it by running water through the pot until it runs out the bottom and the medium is thoroughly wet (I favour bark but it depends on your enviroment). You should be able to see the roots through the pot turn green (I can see in your pick that the tops of yours are green and wet). When the roots turn siliver (like the colour of the arial roots) then it is time to water again.

The clear pots give you a great advantage in being able to see the roots lower down, not just the top ones. The roots at the top often go sliver a lot earlier than the lower ones so you can't rely on the colour of them as an indicator as to when you should water.

Additionally Phal roots are meant to photosynthasise and this is another reason that clear pots are often used.

Finally I will say that your pot looks very like the ones I use as outer ceramic pots. You really need one which has drainage, I use a clear plastic one which is about as wide as it is deep then I put one which is more the shape of yours outside that to look nice. I don't know what yours is like inside but mine that shape have a sort of lip about an inch and half from the bottom, this is used to rest the inner plastic pot on. This works great for orchids because the inner pot is unable to sit in water (which is a killer for Phal roots).

I would advise re-potting as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of root rot, which sphag and no drainage are likely to leed to.
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  #9  
Unread 02-07-2009, 03:18 PM
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Welcome to the Orchid Board LKint!!!! This is an amazing site for learning about orchids! Before you know it you will have more orchids than you know what to do with, and yet, still want more!!

To answer your question about that root, I would still not cut it off. Unless it totally dies, it appears to be quite healthy. You have a happy looking Phal there, but I would definitely re-pot as soon as you can. I agree totally with the answers that jkofferdahl, lily, ethan and Rosie gave you. Your orchid needs a good draining pot, or you risk root rot. The decorate ceramic pots with the holes in the sides are okay, I think. I prefer to use the clear plastic pots, I really like the slotted kind. From the pictures of your flower stem, it looks like it is going to dry up. I would cut it off. Cut it as close to the base as you can, without damaging the plant. You can also dab some cinnamon on the cut, this will keep it from getting any kind of bacterial infection. Also, when you water make sure you don't get any water in the crown, the place where the leaves meet at the top. If you do get water in there dry it out with a paper towel or blow the water out. I lost a Phal to crown rot, because of water getting in there. Good Luck on your re-potting and your new baby! If you have anymore questions, this is the place to get the answers!!

Last edited by Amanda L; 02-07-2009 at 03:20 PM..
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  #10  
Unread 02-07-2009, 11:07 PM
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Default An Inner container!

I poked my finger in the sphagnum moss of my "supermarket" Phal and found a thin clear plastic container with drain hole inside the ceramic pot [with no drainage. I'll order new pots on Monday! Thanks to you all.
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