"Pot Plant" Orchids
A "Pot Plant" Phalaenopsis
Mother's Day Orchid Disaster?
The grocery and box stores have proud displays of blooming orchids up at the front of the store for prices that are competitive with, or less than, cut flowers. This particular double spiked miniature Phal was on sale for Mother's Day weekend at the grocery store for $12.95. These orchids are indeed beautiful but unfortunately are often destined to be short lived. They are being sold as "pot plants", intended to be enjoyed and then thrown away in the same way that a Mum or Poinsettia might be.
Orchids on Death Row
Pot plant orchids are all about appearance and not about the practical reality of caring for the plant over the long term. Looking over at the Mother's Day array of orchids one wonders how many of them will still be alive next year on Mother's Day. The jar that this particular yellow spotted Phal is planted in has no drainage hole. Obviously this is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately someone is apt to buy this orchid, drown it, and then conclude that orchids are finicky plants that are impossible to grow.
Pulling the plant out of the closed container we can see that the orchid is in a smaller clear plastic sleeve hiding under a bed of additional sphagnum moss. Our highest priority is to get this plant out of its outer pot that has no drainage hole. After that we are left with the reality that this plant is going to be top heavy relative to the flimsy clear plastic sleeve that it is in. Also, from a display perspective, it will not be as pretty as it was in its original ceramic cup.
A New Pot (Disaster averted)
This little miniature Phalaenopsis is a perfect size for a 3 inch ceramic orchid pot. But, because the orchid is in bloom we don't want to disturb its roots now or the bloom may prematurely fall. The plastic sleeve it is in is just a little too big to fit neatly into our 3 inch ceramic pot. Still, if we are careful we can remove the plastic sleeve that it is in and gently ease the orchid down into its new ceramic pot. This technique of moving an orchid from one pot to another with minimal root disturbance, if any, is called 'drop potting'.
A Beautiful Plant with a Bright Future
Now that it is in a pot with proper drainage, this orchid has a new lease on life. The drainage will allow it to bloom happily for months. Once the bloom is complete we will remove the old moss and repot in fresh orchid mix. Our favorite for Phalaenopsis is Phal Monterey Imperial.