Friday, January 9, 2009

Phalaenopsis

Four years ago Hubby bought me an orchid for my birthday. Every year it knocks itself out producing a stemful of beautiful blooms. This is the first bloom just starting to open this morning.

Before this plant I was afraid to buy an orchid because I had heard that they were so difficult to grow. I can't speak for the other varieties, but this one is a piece of cake! It sits in my bathroom just off of an east facing wall of glass block. I think the secret to successful blooms is this particular light.
To water, once a week I put the whole pot in a sinkful of lukewarm water and let it sit and soak for a couple of hours. Easy!

The little pot was at one time a huge orchid that our home's previous owners left for me. The appearance of
Wee Willy Wilson reduced that plant to shreds. (Good thing he was so cute)
But I shoved the pieces back in the pot and have continued to water it for a couple of years and, lo and behold, it has sprouted leaves. Maybe in a couple more years it, too, will bloom.
Here's what I found online for the official care and feeding of these wonderful plants.
Caring for Orchids
Phalaenopsis (fal-en-OPP-sis)
Phalaenopsis are among the easiest and most rewarding orchids to grow. An American Orchid Society demographic survey showed that Phalaenopsis have become America~s favorite orchid. The plants adapt well to the environment of the home or office. From the time that the first flower bud opens, the sprays will remain in bloom for the next 2 to 3 months.

LIGHTING: Sufficient lighting is a must for successful cultivation. Phalaenopsis prefer either an east or a lightly shaded south facing window. West windows should be used with caution. Depending upon the location of the home, the west window may become very hot during the late spring through early fall. The foliage on your Phalaenopsis may burn.

TEMPERATURE: Phalaenopsis thrive under normal household temperatures. For the best results, provide nighttime temperatures between 60 to 65°F and daytime temperatures between 75 to 85°F.

WATERING: Depending upon the temperature, Phalaenopsis potted in bark should be watered about once or twice a week. During the summer, the plants may need to be watered every 4-5 days. The rule of thumb for watering should be as followed : More heat more water, less heat less water.
Phalaenopsis potted in New Zealand sphagnum moss should be watered less often, about every 7 to 10 days.
Phalaenopsis prefer to be kept on the moist side. This does not mean that they like to be left in standing water,however try to water the plants early in the day so that the foliage will be dry by nightfall. To prevent bacterial and fungal disease use Physan 20 once a month.

HUMIDITY: Phalaenopsis prefer 50% humidity. Often a kitchen or bathroom will provide sufficient humidity. Humidity Trays may be needed for other locations in the house.

FERTILIZER: Phalaenopsis must be fertilized on a regular basis! For best results, use Norman's Optimal Orchid Nutrients every other week. It is recommended to pre-water the plants before applying the diluted nutrient solution if the potting media is dry.

POTTING: Phalaenopsis may be grown in either New Zealand Sphagnum Moss or Medium Orchid Bark Mix. Phalaenopsis should be repotted once every two years. Ideally Phalaenopsis should be repotted immediately after flowering.

PESTS: Common pests associated with Phalaenopsis are scales, mealy bugs and spider mites. X-CLUDE, an encapsulated pyrethrum time-release insecticide is the most efficient method of pest control.

FLOWERING: Phalaenopsis plants may flower again for a second time. After the plant goes out of bloom, cut the stem just under the the first flower on the spray. A new spray of flowers may emerge from the node below.

Flora & Fauna

Books I have known & loved

  • Life of Pi
  • A Hundred Years of Solitude
  • Kite Runner
  • The Way the Crow Flies
  • Fall on Your Knees
  • Poisonwood Bible
  • East of Eden
  • Shantaram
  • I Know This Much is True

Illegal Immigration