Sunday, September 28, 2008

Phalaenopsis for your health

Phal. violacea alba(Left: Phal. violacea v. alba at The Little Greenhouse)

Recently a news article was cited on the Orchid Guide Digest by Viateur, who finds all the interesting stories for us. The article makes two claims that are interesting, but unsupported (references are not cited). Do any of you know if these are accurate statements?

"Translucent pots allow light to reach the roots and algae to form on their
surface [is that desirable ?] ? this helps with moisture and nutrient uptake.
...
Moth orchids are effective in removing xylene (chemical emissions from
adhesives, computer VDU screens, paints, photocopiers and varnishes) from
the atmosphere [really ?]"


9 comments:

Anita said...

Hi! I found your blog through your etsy shop. I am hopeing you can help me aviod a problem I seem to have with most of my plants, for one that my daughter fell in love with and brought home. I have a Phalaenopsis orchid that I was told to "put over my kitchen sink"... I am not sure the person saying this realized my kitchen has no window over the sink. This plant is now loosing its blooms (it had 6 when we got it, they lasted about a month here at the house) the leaves still look healthy and dark green. I am wondering if this plant may need to be moved for more light or if they naturally go through a period when the blooms drop off totally before it reblooms? and if it does this, should I cut off the stalk the blooms grew on or leave it for the next cycle????
I look forward to hearing what you think!!!
Anita

SapphireChild said...

Hi Anita,

Yes, it is normal for the flowers to fall off at some point. In a phalaenopsis, individual flowers can last anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks from the time they open. So no worries there. Most hybrids make new flower spikes naturally in the late winter or spring. A few wait until mid to late summer. So just keep your eye out for a new green stem shooting up. The old flower stem can be left or cut off. It might make more flowers, it might not.

Best light for a phalaenopsis is East or West window. I have another blog post that contains a more complete phal. "care sheet", if you're interested - http://sapphirechild.blogspot.com/2008/02/basic-phalaenopsis-culture.html

Do you know where the plant came from? If its possible it came from a hardware store or similar, it might be a good idea to repot it. The process for that is pretty similar to what I did in the link below with another type of orchid (except your plant won't have hairy roots):
http://sapphirechild.blogspot.com/2008/06/how-to-repot-paph-orchid.html

Have fun & please let me know if you have any other questions. :)

Leslie said...

Hi! I found your site while searching for some orchid photos. I love it! I have been raising orchids for about 17 years and my husband and I recently built a greenhouse.
I pot most of my orchids in clear pots. I don't know about the algae being beneficial per se, but it most definitely doesn't harm them at all. The main reason I use clear pots is because I find it's a great way to keep tabs on root health and helps to make better watering descisions.

SapphireChild said...

Hi Leslie! Welcome & congrats on your new greenhouse! :)

Your uses for clear plastic pots sound more appropriate to me. I think I'll start passing that idea on to beginners. Thanks!

Anita said...

Hi Sapphirechild
Thanks for the info. Unfortunatly we dont have any east or western facing windows, though we are moving in the next month or so, so that may change. I am glad the changes I am seeing are normal as we have all fallen in love with the colors in this plant.
I have looked through parts of your blog, and will deffinatly look more through the "plant care" sections as I am known for doing well with outdoor gardens but not indoor ones (so much easier when nature helps with the watering and light situations) :)
Thanks again!!!
Anita

SapphireChild said...

Hi Anita,

Well, a phalaenopsis can usually get by with a North facing window, although its not quite ideal light. Also, if you have a South facing window, these are usually much too bright, but if you set the plant off to the side of the window and not directly in it, or use a sheer curtain to filter the light, that should be ok too. Try it on a day you will be home, and check the leaves periodically to make sure they aren't hot. Warm is ok. Hot means OW!!

Although, if you're moving soon, it can probably make do until then.

Good luck & enjoy!

tarabu said...

I have also read about the value of orchids to purify toxins - specifically in the book 'How to grow fresh air' by B.C. Wolverton. I'm not sure where my copy is at the moment, but it's got a chart for the key elements each plant referenced can be responsible for. I'll look for it and post the notes if I can find it.
cheers,
tarabu

tarabu said...

Having finally remembered to dig out my book while remotely near the computer I can elaborate - according to the book, they are "moderately effective at removing alcohols, acetone, formaldehyde and chloroform" from the air - isn't formaldehyde in a lot of the melamine coated particle board furniture that's infecting our lives?

SapphireChild said...

Hi tarabu,
Probably. I think formaldehyde is often given off by new plastics as well. Think "new car smell". I could be wrong about that though, so double check before you quote me. :) Thanks for the update!