Phalaenopsis orchid: plant and pot in perfect harmony
For a first experience, the phalaenopsis orchid is perfect. Very decorative and easy to grow, it requires a minimum of care. When you buy it in a garden centre, it will usually be sold in a transparent plastic culture pot, which you will probably place in a decorative pot cover. Tips for choosing it well.
But where does your orchid come from?
Originally, most orchids come from tropical and subtropical areas, where they most often live hung on tree trunks or rocks, without parasitizing them. Roots are used both for anchoring and water absorption.
The phalaenopsis orchid is native to China, Indonesia, the Philippines or Papua New Guinea. Still rare in our countries 50 years ago, it has since invaded the windows of florists, garden centres and supermarkets but also many interiors.
Of course, the orchids you buy are no longer from the other side of the world. They are in fact mass-produced in Holland, in huge greenhouses, where they undergo numerous treatments to flower opulently and withstand the indoor growing conditions.
Plant and pot: in perfect harmony
A phalaenopsis orchid grows easily if it is given the right amount of water, oxygen, light, humidity and food. Under good conditions, it can flower for 2 months or more.
The choice of the pot is not insignificant. It is mainly the number and size of drainage holes that differentiates an orchid pot from other standard pots. Excessive watering is the main cause of failure in orchid cultivation. This is why a transparent culture pot is essential since it allows the condition of the roots to be checked regularly.
The choice of the pot cover is also important. Apart from the aesthetic aspect, make sure that the air intake is sufficient and prefer to place your culture pot on a bed of clay beads that you will moisten or opt for a deep pot specially designed for orchids.
The judicious choice of the pot and the pot cover helps to avoid some mistakes made by beginners:
- Over-watering – orchid roots can rot if they receive too much water.
- Insufficient humidity – on the other hand, an atmosphere that is too dry (which is often the case in our overheated interiors) does not favour the growth of orchids. When the roots are grey, it's high time to water!
Choose a double pot
Many growers recommend growing phalaenopsis orchids in a double pot: a transparent plastic culture pot, which is placed inside a decorative pot. This offers three advantages:
- The transparent pot makes it easy to check the condition of the roots without disturbing the orchid by simply lifting the culture pot from the decorative pot.
- The decorative pot hides the roots, creating a more attractive presentation.
- The double pot allows a quick change of pot cover according to the seasons or your desires, without having to repot your orchid.
Pot cover for orchids: what to look out for?
Many orchid pots have notches or inner edges to allow better drainage and air circulation to the roots. Two types of pots:
- wide and shallow – shorter than standard garden pots – In this case, the wider base, such as a bowl, makes it easier to grow large orchids or groups of orchids.
- high and narrow to meet the needs of long rooted orchids. This type of pot has the particularity of having a "edge" in the bottom of the pot so that the roots do not touch the bottom or remain in contact with the water for too long.
The current trend is towards transparent flowerpot covers. Why? Simply because they make it easy to inspect the orchids' roots.
In addition, the orchids' roots can absorb sunlight, as if they were growing in nature. Photosynthesis can take place at the root level, which gives the plant energy.
But if you find that showing the roots of your orchid is not very decorative, you can choose a pot cover in a colour that matches the colour of the flowers… and take out the transparent culture pot from time to time to let the plant air and submerge it in water.
Most orchids like to be cramped to produce more flowers. So don't be in too much of a hurry to repot your orchid as soon as it seems to run out of space. The size of the pot must be large enough to allow the roots to aerate.
Many orchid pots are deep. In this case, you can place clay balls in the bottom of the pot to improve drainage.
- Plastic culture pot – always transparent to control watering and monitor roots condition.
- Decorative plastic pot cover – perfect for beginners. Inexpensive and lightweight, all you have to do is slide the transparent culture pot into it.
- Glass pot – nice and trendy, it allows you to control the watering and growth of the plant
- Macramé pots – close to the natural environment of orchids, which live in suspension. Good drainage and air circulation but this type of support requires a little more care.
- Ceramic pot – Heavier and more stable. Suitable for larger subjects or compositions.
Essential to guarantee your orchid a queenly posture.
Several orchids in the same pot?
Of course, you can put 2 or more orchids in the same pot. This does not pose any problems a priori. But there are still rules to follow:
- The most important thing is to assemble plants with the same watering, light and temperature needs. Growing several phalaenopsis in the same pot is therefore no problem.
- Take a large bowl or a planter. Place a bottom of wet clay beads and place the culture pots on it. Do not over tighten so that air can circulate around the pots.
- Grouping plants together has the advantage of increasing hydrometry.
- Suggestion: keep the culture pots separate so that sick or deflowered plants can be removed without disturbing the whole and without risk.