Herself's Houseplants

114 houseplants specific care, tips, and help

Archive for the ‘Orchids’ Category

Newly unflasked Dendrobiums

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Today (Aug 13, 2014) my order of Dendrobium Moschatum from eBay arrived. These were grown in a flask, unflasked by grower prior to shipping.

Much like cuttings started in water these will grow new roots to replace the ones they grew in the flask. For now they’ll stay in a terrarium to keep the humidity up. As they grow new roots and leaves I’ll start leaving the cover off eventually planting them up in pots.

I tried putting them worm castings and sphagnum moss in the terrarium and inserting the plants. They are so fragile now that wasn’t really working. I removed them and took each plant, made a ball of moss around the roots and inserted that into the terrarium.

I’m told newly unflasked plants do better when they are kept near their siblings? I don’t know, maybe so. These are closely planted in two terrariums sorted by plant size.

The terrariums have worm castings and sphagnum moss, they’ll be weakly fertilized with rooting hormone added as the terrariums need more water.

The biggest trick is to keep up the humidity but not let molds or fungus attack the new seedlings.

Aug 15th, leaving the cover off the terrariums for a while, the seedlings still look good, so I’ll start to harden them off.

Aug 26th, I’ve started leaving them outside in a mostly shaded area. So far I haven’t lost any plants. The stems are thickening up a little, no new leaves yet.

These are Dendrobium moschatum, which get as tall as 6′-7′ according to the grower.

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

August 13th, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Ghost Orchid Flasks (Dendrophylax lindenii)

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Ghost orchid 8/29/14

Ghost orchid 8/29/14

Ghost Orchid

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I decided it was time to try something more challenging. So I ordered a couple of flasks of Ghost Orchids ( Dendrophylax lindeii ) on eBay.

The flasks arrived in a few days, everything looks wonderful.

I did have to break the flasks to remove the plants, not a big deal, wrap the flask in a towel and use a hammer.

After removing the orchids, I dropped them into a container of water with fertilizer and rooting hormone while I gently untangled them and removed the agar.

So far so good.

They are currently dispersed across 4 terrariums, worm castings on the bottom, sphagnum moss, then mulch, orchids are resting on the mulch.

For now I’ll keep the light levels low. The largest trick is to keep the humidity close to 100% and keep mold and fungus from killing the seedlings.

I use a light dose of fertilizer with rooting hormone to water my orchids, these included.

I’ve lost two of the ghost orchids to fungus, I’ve dispersed a few that didn’t look good into the carnivorous terrariums.

About a half dozen have grown their baby leaves, these two leaves are temporary and will fall off once the plants get settled.

Deflasked ghost orchid about a week after deflasking

Deflasked ghost orchid about a week after deflasking

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

August 13th, 2014 at 4:50 pm


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Hanging phalaenopsis

Hanging phalaenopsis

Hanging phalaenopsis

Hanging phalaenopsis

Hanging phalaenopsis

Hanging phalaenopsis

Hanging phalaenopsis

Hanging phalaenopsis

Phalaenopsis aka Moth Orchid is a pretty orchid with flowers 2 to 3 inches in size that last for three to six months. It is easy to grow and a good choice for beginners.

Phalaenopsis like bright indirect light. Put it in an east or west window, or several feet away from a south window. Direct light will burn the leaves. If the edges of the leaves are turning red give it less light, if it is not flowering give it more light.  Too little light will give you dark green leaves instead of medium green. If your phalaenopsis plants newer leaves grow long and thin your orchid needs more light. In the winter phalaenopsis does wonderful under fluorescent lights. It also makes a great office plant because it does so well under fluorescent light.

After flowering the bottom leaves will often turn yellow and fall off, this is okay if it is only the older one or two leaves. You really want the plant to keep 6 to 8 leaves on all the time.

These plants wish to stay moist, be very careful to check them frequently. Water when the top of the growing medium is dry to the touch. Do not allow them to sit in water or the roots will turn black and rot. Air roots should be green and solid. White, shriveled ones are a sign of too little water. Leaves will wrinkle when they are not receiving enough water from the roots. Good healthy leaves will not flop or be wrinkled. They will support themselves and not touch the pot or planting medium as in the plant up top.

Humidity should be between 50% and 80%.

I’ve had my best luck planting them in shallow, clear glass dishes, Pyrex works great. I put about 2″ of cedar mulch on the bottom and an inch of sphagnum moss on top. I sit the orchid so the roots are resting on the bottom of the dish. You can visually see if the roots need water and are doing well. The bark leaves lots of air gaps and the moss keeps the water from escaping too quickly.

Be careful not to get water in the crown (fold in the top young leaves) they will rot if water is trapped in the folds or between the leaves. Often this will happen as quickly as just overnight. If you get water in the crown, use a towel or que-tip to gently dry it out.

Crown rot on phal

Crown rot on phal

While it is rare for phalaenopsis to recover from crown rot, occasionally one does. I plant them in sphagnum moss, water heavily and some times, especially ones with flowers, and or flower spikes still on them will grow a new crown like the one you see in the photo above.

Sometimes the blooming time can be extended. After the last bloom on the spike has faded, cut off the top of the spike, above the 3rd flower node from the bottom. Phalaenopsis will sometimes send out a second spike of flowers off the main one. If you do not cut the main spike sometimes a keiki will form. This is a baby phalaenopsis. It grows in much the same way as a baby spider plant. There are chemicals on the market to help form keikis off of stems if you are interested.

If you have managed to over water your phalaenopsis and find that all the roots are gone you can make an attempt to revive the plant. Cut off the old, dead roots. Put some rooting hormone on the edge of the leaves where the roots normally come out. Wrap this area in damp moss. Place the whole thing in a large plastic baggy.  The baggy is to keep the plant in a very humid environment. Blow air in so the leaves are not touching the sides of the bag and seal. With luck new roots will appear.

Phalaenopsis grow leaves when the temperature is 78′ or higher, they send out flower spikes when the temperature goes below that.

They need less light during the warm leaf growing season than they do when they are blooming.

They need more fertilizer than most plant sites recommend, I use full strength fertilizer twice a month.

Be careful not to pack the sphagnum moss too tightly, it should be loose around the plant roots.

At temperatures over 80′F the flower stem will occasionally produce a keiki ( baby orchid ) at one of the nodes.

See also:
General orchid care
Use sphagnum moss to make your plants easier to care for

Useful things:
Orchid Growing Secrets
Growing the Best Phalaenopsis 1
Growing the Best Phalaenopsis 2
Growing the Best Phalaenopsis 3
Growing the Best Phalaenopsis 4

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

April 20th, 2014 at 9:17 am