Orchid Haul

Hi guys! A bit of a different post today. I know it’s a bit off topic, but I really wanted to show my new orchids that I got from Hortes garden centre. Hortes had a really good discount on orchids that where at the end of their blooming stage and I was lucky enough to pick up so many different species. All the orchids were on offer for 5€, which is a bargain as some of these orchids cost 40€ usually.

So I thought that I’d show you what I picked up and tell you more about them. Also give you some tips what to look for in an orchid before buying it, to make sure that it’s a healthy one, and some growing tips as well. 🙂

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Left to right: Phalaenopsis aphrodite, Burrageara Nelly Isler, Miltonidium Bartley Schwarz Highland White, Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Polar Fire

Let’s start with the most common orchid – Phalaenopsis aphrodite. I have a weakness towards white orchids and I have own them before, but unfortunately they died of a crown rot. Not to make the same mistakes again, I studied the orchid thoroughly and made sure that the leaves are fleshy and plump, that there are a lot of healthy, thick roots and that there aren’t any pests. Yes, the orchid has lost most of its blooms, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a healthy plant. It still has some extra buds on it and additional branches growing, so I can expect some more fantastic blooms in the near future.

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What else indicated that the plant is healthy was that besides new buds and branches, it also had a new leaf growing.

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Phalaenopsis orchids are the easiest to care for. It’s important to understand that in nature they grow on top of trees, so planting it in the soil will kill it. Its roots need air and plenty of it. Which is why I recommend you to make extra holes into your clear plastic pot when repotting it, for extra ventilation. This way you can make sure that the roots get extra air and won’t go soggy. Or worse – get a root rot. For planting media it’s recommended to use bark chips, some mixtures include coconut husk and even charcoal, but I’d recommend just plain bark chips as it won’t suffocate the roots. Regarding the pots, I like to use clear ones as I can see the root system and I can detect when it needs watering.

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Burrageara Nelly Isler was the one that I struggled to identify at first. Thing what confused me was its colour. What I learned was that if it’s grown in cooler temperatures then its blooms will be bright red, but when it grows in a warmer temperature its blooms will have less of a red pigment and they might seem even orange. I picked it up because I have spotted it before and it’s quite a popular orchid. It’s fragrant and colourful, but can be tricky to grow.

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As you can see – my Nelly Isler’s blooms don’t have a lot of red pigment to them. I hope that the next blooms will be prettier as my conditions are more on the cooler side. It’s a complex cross between Oncidopsis Stefan Isler and Miltoniopsis Kensington. Compared to Phalaenopsis orchids it likes moisture, so you can’t let it go bone dry as you can with Phalaenopsis orchids. This is the main reason why this orchid is considered to be one of the fussiest orchid to grow.

It’s a fragranced orchid, which fragrance reminds of a lemon fruit. The scent is quite strong and has the potential to fill up a room if not properly ventilated. The orchid releases the strongest scent in the morning hours and by evening the fragrance is gone. The flowers last about 4 to 6 weeks, depending on environment, and are quite striking and majestic. It can bloom multiple times in one year. Usually, with every maturing pseudo bulb a flower spike can be produced.

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Overall the Oncidopsis Nelly Isler is a moderately hard orchid to grow. In humid environments with cool temperatures it can thrive, while in dry environments, or high temperatures it can be a nightmare. We’ll see how well I get on with this one. Hope it survives 😀

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Next up is Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Polar Fire. I own one Dendrobium Nobile orchid so I wanted to try out the Phalaenopsis one as well. Man, it was so hard to pick. They had so many wonderful colours to choose from and I’d probably have bought them all, if I’d live alone 😀

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It’s a great orchid for beginners, enjoys quite a bit of moisture, but isn’t as fussy as the Nelly Isler. The flowers aren’t fragrant but they are so beautiful that I couldn’t leave it behind. The flower spikes submerge from the top of the cane, but you can have some even between the leaves. And what’s great about this orchid is that it flowers twice in a year!

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On my first trip to Hortes I left with those three orchids and thought that I’ve had enough. But I was wrong, two days later I found myself again in Hortes between the aisles picking up next one. I’m turning into orchid lady 😀 😀

The one that I picked up on that time was a Miltonidium Bartley Schwarz Highland White. It’s not as common as a Miltonidium Bartley Schwarz Highland orchid, which makes it more special to me. The main thing that sold it to me was its scent. This orchid smells divine! Just like Lily of the Walley – if you know how good it smells then you can imagine why I’m so blown away with this orchid. The smell is powerful and fills the whole first floor of my house. Really really pleased with this one. This very easy to care for orchid is a wonderful addition to orchid beginners who want to try the wonderful Oncidium family, as it is one of the most floriferous and forgiving hybrids.

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The flowers last about 4 to 6 weeks, depending on environment. After the blooms fall, usually the orchid starts to produce new pseudo bulbs. The spikes can be cut near the base after the blooms drop, as they will not rebloom, or produce plantlets.

This orchid can bloom multiple times in one year. Usually, with every maturing pseudo bulb a flower spike can be produced. In some cases the orchid can produce 2 flower spikes emerging from each side of the pseudo bulb.

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So, what to look for when buying an orchid?

  • Look at the leaves/ canes – make sure that they are fleshy and plump, without any dark spots.
  • Look at the roots – Phalaenopsis roots should be green and fleshy, without any black spots. 1 to 3 brown roots are manageable, but if most of the roots are brown, then the plant might be suffering root rot. Other orchids usually have white fine roots and usually aren’t potted in clear pots, which makes it hard to detect if the roots are healthy.  In that case I tend to check its pseudo bulbs, to make sure they are plump and don’t move around in the pot – with that I can be sure that the plant has enough roots.
  • Check under the leaves and look for pests. Spider mites are something you really don’t want to deal with. And snails are also harmful, but easier to get rid off than spider mites.
  • It’s also a good sign if the plant has a new leaf sprouting or new growths peeking through the medium.
  • Keep in mind that if the orchid has flowers on it, it doesn’t mean that it’s healthy. Look at the plant first, then check the flowers and buds 😉

How to care for a Phalaenopsis orchid?

I already covered the potting medium and the pot type I prefer to use with my orchids. Now let’s talk about watering the orchid. I’ve read about very weird methods people use to water Phalaenopsis orchids. Some people think that the less you give water to your orchid, the better. But actually they do prefer a lot of water, what you should be careful is how often you water it. If the roots look green then your orchid is hydrated and you don’t need to water it. But if the roots look light green or silvery, then you are safe to water it. For me this is the easiest way to make sure when the orchid needs watering. I prefer soaking my orchids in a luke warm water for about 15min and then let them drain before putting the plant back to its decorative pot. They like to be in light shade and temperature wise it Phalaenopsis orchid like to be around 18°C at night to 25°C in the day time.

How to care for Nelly Isler, Bartley Schwarz Highland White, and Polar Fire?

I use the same potting media, as with the Phalaenopsis orchids, and also the clear pots with holes with these orchids. I also water them the same way I do with Phalaenopsis orchids, only more often to keep the moisture in the pot. Nelly Isler is not so picky about the light, so it can be grown in low light conditions, but surely you should avoid direct sun light! Temperature wise Nelly Isler likes around 13°C at night to 23°C in the day time. Bartley Schwarz Highland White, and Polar Fire like to be in light shade and temperature wise they like to be in around 18°C at night to 25°C in the day time.

What are your thoughts on orchids? Do you have some at home? Should I do more orchid related posts to keep you updated?

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3 comments so far.

3 responses to “Orchid Haul”

  1. Suvi says:

    Wow what a great post on orchids! I love them to bits and yours are very beautiful. I’m terrible with plants but I did something right when my orchid at work started blooming this summer. I thought it was good as dead before that 😛 Sadly I don’t know what species it is..

    • Madli says:

      Orchids are quite resistant plants aren’t they? 😀 What I do recommend you is to repot it after it’s done with blooming. Usually if you get your orchid from the shops and garden centres then the media doesn’t only contain bark chips. I have noticed that many of them have sphagnum moss or coconut husk in the middle of the roots – “to keep the plant hydrated” – which can cause quite a trouble. You think that the media is dry but actually the middle part isn’t and then you end up with root rot or even crown rot. Besides, if you are using bark chips as your potting media then you do need to repot the orchid after every 2 years. I personally repot my orchids straight away as I want to know in which state the roots are and sometimes the plant needs a bigger pot. 😉
      Before repotting it water the plant so the roots get more flexible, carefully remove everything from the roots , cut the dead roots and repot it into new media 🙂 Your new big friend in orchid growing is going to be hydrogen peroxide. If you see anything strange growing in your media then use it straight away – it won’t hurt the plant, so no need to worry 🙂
      Good luck with your orchid! If you still can’t identify your orchid then you can always send me pictures and I can look into it 😉

      Madli
      xx

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