Orchids are so beautiful and delicate looking but did you know how easy they are to grow. Especially the Phalaenopsis hybrids which you can now buy readily at the supermarket and big box stores. You may have seen some sold as “Ice Cube Orchids,” where all you have to do is give them 3 ice cubes a week. How easy is that? I believe the idea here is using ice allows the plant to receive the water in a slow drip and gives them a measured amount so that they are not over-watered. Not over-watering really is the key. Making sure the plant has ample drainage and watering well is the best way to care for most plants. When it comes to repotting orchids, you need to watch out for a few keys points.
Growing and Repotting Orchids
I received this Phalaenopsis orchid from my sister for Mother’s day several years ago. It flowers 1-2 times a year for me and the flowers seem to last for several weeks. However, you can see that one of the plants is growing out of the pot and although they do like to be pot bound this one appears to be shriveling . Time to re-pot.
Simply remove the entire plant(s) from the pot gently shake out and remove all the planting medium.
Separate the two plants. Rinse the roots in cool water and cut away and dead, broken or very soft roots.
Re-pot in a tight plastic pot with drainage. I used a plastic take-out container and poked holes in the bottom. Use fresh potting medium specifically sold for orchids. You can find this in any nursery or garden center. It is typically a bark like material that provides for fast drainage. I added a little moss at the top for decorative purposes. Place in an area with indirect light. The leaves should be a nice medium green. Dark green leaves may indicate insufficient light while light yellowish-green may indicate too much light.
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I you’ve always admired orchids but were afraid to try them don’t be. Start with a Phalaenopsis. They’re really quite easy. They don’t bloom often but when they do, the bloom lasts for a about a month which is much longer than cut flowers.
For more information from the expert see The American Orchid Society’s notes on orchid care.