Decorative Pots

I won the title of Miss Virginia in June and I was given an orchid as a congratulatory present. The plant is in a tall vase that holds water. Should I repot the orchid into a more appropriate vessel? Kristi G.
Sometimes floral designers get over zealous in their attempt to 'dress up' orchids by using fancy containers and other 'fru fru' items. Though the overall arrangement may look stunning, the plants basic needs are often ignored and may even be jeopardized. A 'tall vase that holds water' is perfect for cut orchids but deadly for orchid plants.
A 'more appropriate vessel' would have holes in the bottom so that water would drain out. Most orchids are epiphytes so their roots cover the sides of trees in the jungle and air movement is essential. A container that is full of water will rot off the living roots in a matter of days and render the plant unable to use any of that moisture.
The plant needs to be removed from the vase immediately even if the pseudo-bulbs are still supporting flowers. With any luck, there is a small pot in the bottom of the vase which can be wiggled out without any additional root damage. If there is no pot and the roots are fully exposed, then complete repotting is required and the flowers will have to be removed so as to not add additional stress to the plant.

After my Dendrobium bloomed, it started dying. First the leaves turned yellow then the stalks shriveled up. I cut off one of the stalks and noticed it was green inside. I water very infrequently, maybe every two weeks. Help! Stacey K.
Orchids need the full support of their owners in order to grow and bloom to their potential. Much like children, they rely on their care givers to anticipate and satisfy their every need. This poor Dendrobium plant has little chance of survival unless major changes are made in the nurturing regime.Yellowing leaves and shriveled canes are tell-tale signs of either extreme under-watering or over-watering. In both cases, the plant does not get enough water to replenish the pseudo-bulbs which act as a reservoir for periods of drought. Under normal conditions, Dendrobiums like to be watered thoroughly once or twice a week so the confessed bi-weekly program is inadequate.
Even after stress has caused the leaves to fall off, the pseudo-bulbs or canes are very much alive and provide the energy for future growth. They can even bloom again so the last thing to do is cut them off. The fact that they were found to be green inside verifies this fact.
At this point, the recommended course of action would be to water the plant thoroughly twice a week and provide filtered sunlight. Orchids, like children, are resilient and corrective action now may still provide a happy ending.

How does one repot a Phalaenopsis? It looks as if the roots would break if forced to go down into a pot. Roberta J.
Repotting orchids can be daunting task even for the pros but anybody can handle Phalaenopsis which are considered the easiest of all. Some roots may break but they quickly regenerate. Assuming the plant is finished blooming:
     Step 1: Hold the foliage carefully and remove the pot by wiggling.
     Step 2: Gently loosen the potting material that clings to the roots until only the roots remain.
     Step 3: Grab a handful of wet sphagnum moss and wrap around the exposed roots.
     Step 4: Choose a small clay pot and slide the mossed root ball inside.
     Step 5: Tuck any errant roots or moss into the pot.
Total time required: 30 seconds.
Alternate version:
     Step 3a: Place the root ball alone into a small clay pot.
     Step 4a: Shake dry peat moss and fill the pot.
     Step 5a: Fog the surface of the peat with a light water spray to tease the roots once a day for a few weeks.
Total time required: 30 seconds.

Saturday, October 1, 2005 - 18:15