I am new to orchids, though have read about and appreciated them for years, but was terrified to buy, so never did. Well I set up a fish tank for a mate who has a small collection, took her to the garden store to get her some fish for it, and she got me an orchid as a thank you gift for setting it all up for her! Awesome! That was about a month ago, I now have three LOL
So my first orchid, Lilla, is doing quite well. Here she is:
Spike 1 and 2, need to get coloured clips so I can track which one is doing what and facing which window lol I'll get there eventually. You can just see in this photo that she's decided she needed a second set of flowers on each spike, even though the first set hasn't finished flowering. Silly gal, must be happy!
My second orchid, Minie was a inpulse buy at Tesco because she was so pretty and tiny. I had hoped she was a proper miniature phal, but after reading how small most mini-phals are, I think she's just a very young phal.
This is the day I got her, I decided to keep her downstairs away from Lilla, just in case she had something icky I missed! More on that later
This was a night or two ago. Minie in the front, Lilla behind. Excuse my 2ltr-bottle-n-rock planter, I tried to get her a transparent orchid pot like Lilla is in, but Minie's plastic pot is so tiny and she is so top heavy she tilts and ends up in a right state lol. In fact, after combing over Minie before taking her up to my room, I found a second flower spike that had been chopped off before I got her, so I assume she was even MORE top heavy, thus the snip.
So yesterday I had lunch at Morrisons, it being Morrisons Monday and thus chicken strips for lunch to make myself feel better about having to be back in work, and I was looking for some Orchid Myst and seeing if they had cheap pots and I came across about 10 purple-ish and pink phals, at least that many again white phals, and then this lovely little lad. But alas, my husband said over the weekend that no, we were not going to get any orchids at the garden centre, and as such I decided not to go at all lol least be tempted.
So when I got home at night I bragged that I found this beauty and DID NOT BUY HIM. I was proud. He said I should have bought him and why don't I go next lunch break and do so then keep him at work. I hummmmed and haawwwwwwddddd and hummmmmmeeeeedddddd some more, as he was sold in a white solid pot, so I couldn't see his roots, he was almost done blooming, and he lad less blooms than all of the others. So yeah I ended up thinking about it all night, then noon on the spot was out the door, ALL of the coloured phals were GONE, and here were 3 white ones left. I was so sad, then I spotted him peeking out the back waiting to come home. WOO! I couldn't check his roots as he wouldn't come out of the ceramic pot, and I feared he was potted straight into that :/
So I carried him to work on crutches, fighting the wind, and enjoyed him. My coworker declared him to be Ollie the Orchid. I noticed that he'd been twisted around the support spikes and that his air roots were everywhere, but most of them alright. A few of them need crushed ends snipped, but he's had a long day. So we all awwwww'd and what not, then I took him home to see what his roots were like and to untwist him a bit etc without spending a lunch break rushing to get it done. Thats when I really noticed he's not any phal I've seen with that few flowers. I had a good look, they've not been cut.
this is what I mean ^^^ He's only got a few flowers, and it is a natural end to the flower set, clearly not cut in half or anything which I thought was weird.
Anyway when I got him home and out of the bag (to take these pictures and see to him) I noticed that he was REALLY REALLY wrapped tightly around the support stakes! Eek! He's actually supporting the support stakes, which are hardly pushed into the potting material at all, though at least he is in a clear pot, but that was tilted and squished inside the ceramic one, so when he was free, I found out he had a bit of a tilt:
Excuse the mess and the fish food tub, he was SUPER SUPER dry, but not shriveling and dead, but the bark was bone dry and floated. So he went straight into some slightly warm water, I had to hold him up for this photo as the fish food jar is slightly bigger than his plastic pot, and slightly deeper, so makes a good watering pot. I thought at first he was trying to float away on me, but he really is planted at a really laid back angle!! I ended up putting an inch of gravel at the bottom of the fish jar then stuck him in and tilted his plastic pot in the gravel so he doesn't fall over backwards, but the gravel was going in anyway to hold the pot down (like above with Minie, she has gravel in her 2ltr bottle over pot because she is so top heavy) as he is also super top heavy.
So. There are my newer kids :) Now the questions:
1.What is Ollie? My googlefu tells me he is likely a Dtps/Doritaenopsis which google also tells me is a doritis crossed with a phal. Then it says a doritis is a phal now. kk, but still doesn't look like a phal, so I googled doritis, which has the right amount of flowers for what he has, so yeah, probably a Dtps of some sort (I think doritis and phals are different due to amount of flowers, but whatever, they're the same SHAPE so I can see that they are related and go in the same group, but yeah). TLDR: do you guys think that this is right, he's a Dtps? I know this means I should treat him like a phal anyway, but am I likely to see a larger longer shoot of flowers next time or is this what he does and will always do?
2. When all these orchid sites say to use half the recommended fertilizer, do they mean half the recommended generic fertilizer or half the recommended orchid fertilizer? I am using Baby Bio Orchid, if that helps. Is Orchid Mist any good? Does anyone here use it? It sounds like a good way of feeding the air roots, which I am careful not to soak. Thoughts?
3. My house is full of fish tanks and crap windows, so does stay slightly humid. As such I have only been watering the gals once a week but checking their pots daily and misting them every morning with filtered tap water that is room temp. Is this enough? I water them by basically putting all of them in a plastic tub and filling it with room temp filtered tap water to just below the top of the plastic pots to keep the crowns dry. I leave them to soak for 15-30 minutes, depending on how distracted I get - in the "orchid room" it tends to be spot on 15, down stairs it can be 30 when I am washing dishes. Eventually they all go to the "orchid room" (I have a cockatoo and it has the best day-long indirect light) so yeah. Is this good enough?
4. I have been fishkeeping almost longer than I have been reading. Quarantine is always the word of the day. I have taken this into my Orchid life as well now, but do I need to? I decided when I brought Minie home that there would be a 1 week at the least holding period on all HEALTHY looking plants. Minie was in top shape, beautiful flowers, dark clean leaves, nice perky air roots, nice green plump under roots, nice moist material before I'd even watered her. So she had her week, got a good watering, and then up she went. I checked her in depth twice every day, misted her every day, checked again and had no doubts at all she was good to go. I do the same(ish) with fish, check often every day, monitor, move. But I only take a plant home if I am sure it is reasonably healthy. To be honest, I do believe she could have gone straight up, but better safe than sorry.
SAYING THAT, I plan on keeping Ollie down here for a good two weeks at least. He was very dry and needs more than a once a morning check-mist-wipe-love-leave visit, and occasional evening admiration when I am reading/whatever in my Orchid/Craft/Pet-and-Life-Free room. His leaves were also quite dusty and water marked, and he is all sorts of tilting and twisted. Should I bother in the future for healthy looking plants? They're not crammed in or touching, but I will handle one plant then the other when upstairs, but I always wash my hands after dealing with any QT Pet/Plant and so on with vet grade disinfectant. Paranoia keeps things alive in my house, lol.
Bonus round: Am I doing a good job? Am I doing it all wrong? Am I waaayyyy toooo OCD and just need to chill out and stop freaking out?
I like to be thorough ;) Sorry in advance LOL (eta: but I can't spell lol)