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  • Hi I'm Jennifer Nelson, Horticulture Educator with the University of Illinois Extension

  • and today we're talking about growing Phalaenopsis Orchids at home.

  • Phalaenopsis Orchids are probably the most popular orchid found commonly for sale

  • at home without having to go to a specialty grower. Anywhere from big-box stores

  • to grocery stores and everything in between seems to be selling Phalaenopsis

  • these days. And the big questions I get are what do I do with them once they get home?

  • How do they do I keep them alive?

  • Also, what do I look for when I'm buying them? So, a couple of examples just to point out

  • things to look for when you're buying, look for plants that still have some flowers in bud that aren't totally open yet

  • Because that's going to mean more value for your purchase. You're gonna get to watch those open up the

  • and they're going to last for months and months. Another thing to keep in mind when you're shopping for

  • orchids, look at the leaves and the roots don't be shy about inspecting the

  • plant when you buy it. This plant in particular has some new green growth on the roots.

  • They look like bright green tips. You should look for that rather than

  • anything dried and shriveled up. Also the leaves should be nice and firm and glossy

  • And not drooping and wrinkled. Even though it could be tempting you might see some

  • things on the clearance rack, this is what not to purchase.

  • Anything that's looking this sad is not likely to recover.

  • The thing to remember is even though you may have the perfect spot on your dining room table

  • to display the beautiful flowers you don't want to necessarily keep it there

  • all the time, unless that space is really conducive to good growth. So first rule of

  • thumb is find a space with some good light. And the good thing about Phalaenopsis is they

  • can grow in pretty low light compared to other orchids. That's one of the reasons

  • why they're so popular. So think bright, indirect light. So generally an

  • east or western exposure or southern exposure with a sheer curtain.

  • You don't want them to be baking in direct sunlight. They're native to tropical

  • regions to rain forest so they really need that bright light but not

  • necessarily baking on the surface of the sun. In temperature wise, one of the other

  • reasons they're so popular is that they are extremely well adapted to our

  • typical indoor environment so the 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit home is perfect

  • for a phalaenopsis. Humidity will go a long way for keeping your orchids

  • looking really healthy growing and blooming. Mine in particular like it

  • in the bathroom I have a Western window and I just put them on the windowsill.

  • And they do really well. They love steamy showers. In watering and fertilizing

  • they do go hand in hand and you'll find a lot of places will have very detailed

  • fertilizing schedules for orchids, but to keep it simple I like to follow the weakly

  • weekly schedule which is basically you're using about a quarter strength

  • fertilizer according to the label directions every time you water. It may

  • not be weekly during the winter, my orchids get watered maybe twice a month

  • over the summer I do put them outside and that's very helpful for breaking

  • any kind of pest cycle that you might have some pests built up indoors but they also

  • love of summer vacation just like we do. Another question I get all the time is

  • how do you know when to repot an orchid. And basically the potting media that they're in is a bark media

  • When what you're looking at looks more like soil than like bark, it's time to repot

  • A common misconception or question people have is they see a few roots growing over the

  • side of the pot and think 'oh my gosh I have to repot it'

  • Not necessarily. Sometimes the roots grow over the side because the potting mix is

  • too wet. If you're seeing an excess of roots coming over the side it'd be a good idea to

  • take it out and check out what's inside the pot. You may find it's all breaking

  • down and it's staying way too wet and that's why so many roots are growing over the

  • side because what's in the pot is rotting.

  • A few of the biggest ones that we deal with are scale and mealie bug. They are related

  • A scale looks like little tiny droplets ranging in color from beige-ish white to black and they're easy to miss.

  • They're hard to spot especially on a dark stem so they will just

  • look like a little raised bump and they are hard with a shell which makes them a little bit

  • difficult to treat and both scale and mealy bugs like to hide out in the

  • intricacies of the flowers which also makes them hard to spot. Mealy bugs are easier

  • to spot they look like little tiny cotton pieces, little fluff, in either case the

  • best way to control them hopefully you have a few of them, q-tips or cotton swabs dipped in

  • rubbing alcohol will take care of them. If it's an ongoing problem,

  • spraying with horticultural soap, insecticidal soap, is another good way to take care of them.

  • This purple one here, lavender or purple, I bought for about $3 on the clearance table

  • and it was just a plant and I nursed it for a year and a half before it bloomed again

  • and this is what I got. It did take some time for it to revive itself, it looked pretty

  • pathetic when I bought it. Not quite as bad as what I showed you earlier

  • but it was not in the best of shape. So what did I do that made it come back into

  • bloom so beautifully? I fertilized regularly I made sure I had good light

  • and I watered consistently and I didn't overwater. I also have found that the difference

  • between the daytime temperature and the night temperature can trigger blooming so this

  • is another reason to put it outside. A lot of times our interior temperatures are

  • consistent 70 degrees day and night but having as little as a 5 to 10 degree shift

  • between day and night temperature can trigger these plants to bloom.

  • They generally bloom once a year and Phalaenopsis is the only orchid that does this

  • There are small, what we call nodes on the flowers but this whole assembly here is the flower spike

  • and behind where once all these followers are done blooming there's a

  • little triangular piece of tissue on the spike that we call a node

  • So after this is all done if I were to clip it here another spike should emerge

  • from this tiny area. So I encourage you all to try out a Phalaenopsis orchid

  • If you haven't already, as you can see here there's a lot of variety in terms of

  • color, shape, size. It's very easy to get sucked in and find that you can't just

  • keep just one. The possibilities are endless I like these little miniature ones, you can

  • collect a lot more that way. Some of them will get up to pretty large sizes and

  • 6-inch pots or more but at any rate, just find something you like

  • and enjoy growing it.

Hi I'm Jennifer Nelson, Horticulture Educator with the University of Illinois Extension

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Tips & Tricks for Phalaenopsis Orchids

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    laiying posted on 2018/08/31
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