Choosing and keeping a Phalaenopsis orchid plant healthy – Part 2

As an orchid plant lover, I recommend choosing a plant with 3 or 4 open blooms and at least as many flower buds, for the enjoyment of 8 to 12 weeks of flowering. If you are lucky, your phalaenopsis orchid plant can bloom for as long as 16 weeks or more! You will enjoy an orchid plant in full bloom for approximately 4 to 8 weeks.

Orchid plants with healthy roots and plump green leaves will also keep blooming longer, and will likely produce flower stems after its initial flowering.

Healthy roots are firm and greyish is colour. They will grow up and over the pot’s edge, around the inside of the pot, and through the pot’s drainage holes. This is an indication that a larger pot is needed. Choose a pot that is one to one and a half inches larger. A pot with drainage holes is best. A pot, without holes require clean stones or Styrofoam peanuts on the bottom, to help prevent root rot. Use Spanish moss to replace the old potting medium. If you cannot source Chilean moss, use clean spaghnum moss.

Plump vibrant green leaves are an indication of healthy roots. Blemishes or cracks on the leaves are not a worry, unless the blemishes are soft discoloured spots. The soft spots are signs of disease. Isolate this plant and take it to an orchid plant specialist for diagnosis. Limp pale leaves indicate unhealthy roots and poor growing conditions.

Phalaenopsis orchid plants are best placed in a spot with bright indirect light, such as an easterly or north or northeast exposure. They prefer to be away from window, and sources of draughts, such as, fans and open windows. Also, keep away from fireplaces which are a source of high heat.

All in all, ignoring an orchid plant produces the healthiest plant. Too much attention is the usual cause that an orchid plant deteriorates. Overwatering is the main cause for an orchid blooms to fade pre-maturely; leaves will go limp and yellow; and roots will rot. A thirsty plant will be dry two knuckles down into the potting medium, feeling warm and dry to the touch. The potting medium will feel cool to the touch, if it is still moist. If you cannot get your index finger into the potting medium, at least to the first knuckle, it is time to re-pot your orchid plant.

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