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Old 02-27-2014, 09:58 PM
jocierk jocierk is offline

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Missouri
Posts: 87
Default A few random noobie questions (Watering, light, humidity, etc…)

Now that I am able to post photos I have a few questions for the experts. Here is my setup:

Directly above the shelf is a vent so they have some air movement, and about four feet in front of the vent is a 3 bulb fixture that I have two full spectrum CF and one that is more on the warm side. That is a south facing window. The room is very large and open so it is hard to get the humidity up in just one area. I recently ordered a gauge for this but it hasn't come yet.

All the orchids are potted in medium sized bark with little chunks of charcoal and sponge rock. I have been using the stick method along with poking my finger in the mix to determine when to water them.

Question number one: It only taken about 3 days for them to completely dry out. I usually wait until day 4, and when I water I let them sit under running tepid water for 3-5 min. To fertilize (which I have only done once cause I haven't had any of them longer then a month and a half) I mix the powder in water and poured it through the pots (after they had already been under the running water for a few min). It seems like most of the liquid (water or fertilizer) just runs out and I make sure none is standing in the pot before they go back on the shelf. What am I doing wrong for them to dry out so fast? Is it going to be ok to water them this often?

Question number two: Are they going to get enough light? The window is slightly shaded by a big tree outside it. Since its sough facing everything I have read says it will be too much, but the leaves are so dark and the two I have had the longest have become droopy.

Question number 3: Are these Catts ok?

I got them from an orchid show at the Botanical Gardens in St. Louis. I can only find Phals in my area so I wanted to get something different. They look pretty much exactly like they did when I got them, now that i know more however I am worried that they were severely dried out for the Pbulbs to get like that. Since they came from a show and are my only named orchids I expected them to be in better shape but I feel like they really need some help and I am not sure what to do for them.

Final Question: Are greenish spots on the back of the phals petals normal? Is something I am doing causing these or are they just flowers that are getting ready to fall?

I think that is all for now. Thanks so much for any advice and suggestions. These plants give me so much joy, I just want to do whatever I can to keep them alive and happy.
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:11 PM
james mickelso james mickelso is offline
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Phal flower petals....no problem. Probably just it's normal coloration. The cattleyas are doing what normal catts do when they flower. they use lots of their stored energy in their pbulbs and start to wrinkle a bit. Low humidity. Normally won't hurt them a bit as long as they aren't sitting near a vent that blows dry air on them. With that large an area and the small humidifier you probably won't get the humidity up much. Orchids don't necessarily need high or even moderate humidity anyway. As long as you can keep the media around the roots damp the plants will be ok. Don't keep the roots wet. Just damp. Your set up looks very nice.
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:19 PM
jocierk jocierk is offline

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Missouri
Posts: 87

The vent is high enough over them that it is moving the air but not blowing right on them. I would like to get a bigger humidifier but they are soooo expensive and we are getting ready to move soon so our situation will be chaining anyway. Thanks so much!
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Old 02-28-2014, 03:45 PM
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Bill U. Bill U. is offline
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As for watering, I have answered some of your questions already. For fertilizing, please make sure that you are not giving them too much fertilizer. Many enthusiasts will prescribe to the "weakly, weekly" method that give orchids a small amount of fertilizer about every week, but not enough to disrupt blooming times, nor enough to burn the roots of your plants (the genera you have).

The humidifier may do you more good if it can sit on top of the rack with the phals- normally the higher the humidifier is, the easier it will be for the mist to disperse throughout the growing area/room (due to basic air movement mechanics).

The Catts seem to look okay, maybe give them a little bit more water? James is right in that when catts bloom or even put out new growths, many times they will wrinkle on the old pbulbs. ** Just because they are a named variety, does not mean that they will necessarily be a "better" or stronger plant!** Some of the named varieties are extremely fickle in their care!

For light reference for your phals, see my response on your other thread. For the Catts, they normally are in the 2000-4000 footcandle range or 20000-40000 lux. Catts and phals both normally can produce a slight reddish hue on their leaves when they are receiving close to the higher amount of light that they can tolerate.

---------- Post added at 01:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:42 PM ----------

*also, in looking at the types of pots that you have your phals potted in, that may be part of the reason they are drying out so fast. Those pots are extremely airy in the sense that they have a lot of holes for water to escape from. I am not saying that they are "Bad" per say, just that could be one of the factors that could be leading to your fast drying out rate. If you are not wanting to water as often, you could put them in a plastic pot with less air holes, that should retain water a little bit more. But, that is more of a personal growing preference
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Old 03-02-2014, 02:00 PM
No-Pro-mwa No-Pro-mwa is offline
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But don't forget that the catts will need to get dryer than the phals. My mini phals I have to water almost every day or sometimes I will wait one day. But most times it has been every day. I was waiting to long and they were going down hill till I upped the water.

I know in my area the humidity is low even though I have a humidifier. But like yours it is small so I think things dry up faster. I have to check all mine often as they all vary on the watering. I think because you have let them get very dry in the new media you need to water them then wait a day water again and perhaps it will last a few days. I have done it that way with some of mine just to get them back up to par, my words.
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orchids, phals, question, water, window, light, humidity, etc…, watering, questions, random, noobie

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