Greetings Orchid Board members,
I have been silently stalking this board for a few months, greedily consuming all of the wonderful advise posted. But now in my first post, I shall relate my experience to you.
Two orchids are now under my unlikely care. I say unlikely because I am hardly a plant enthusiast. Really, the only reason I own orchids is because my green thumbed mother gifted them to me.
Keeping my orchids alive in this environment has been a struggle from day one. My office is as dry as a bone and almost as dark as a moonlit night. My first phal struggled mainly due to the low light; its leaves were deep forest green as it struggled to soak up as much light as it could from the indirect roof mounted florescent light. Thanks to this forum, i recognized the signs and remedied the problem by placing two 100 watt equivalent 5000k CFL with reflectors on either side of the plant. ($15 total)
However, the phal, now with two sources of light each a foot away, now received too much light. The leaves gradually started developing red spots. Again, i stalked this forum and a suggestion of an electronic timer was found. The lights now operated on a 12/12 day/night cycle and the leaf color improved. ($7)
Everything went well for a time, then I noticed that the leaves were slowly beginning to become flaccid and wilt. I repotted to fresh bark and the roots were in bad condition. Most were rotted but repotting helped alot. It slowly improved and the root structure regrew only to deteriorate again. Apparently I suck at watering orchids so I investigated Deep Water Culture.
The results with DWC have been excellent. The phal was removed from the bark and placed in a glass vase full of water. I used a small aquarium pump with an air stone to aerate the water and kept the water level to just above the base of the lowest leaf by topping it off every 3 days or so. Within a week, the leaves became turgid. The new leaf forming looks very healthy and is growing faster than any leaf before it. Today i moved my second orchid into the same vase with hopes of similar success. ($8)
Here are some pics:
Feel free to ask any questions. I thank all of you for helping my with my plants.