New Orchids! Meet the twins

So for Family Day (a holiday here in Alberta) my husband and I went to Holes Greenhouses, famous Edmonton/Alberta greenhouse that I’ve never been to before. I had a little bit of a shopping list with me mainly geared towards supplies: seeds and seed trays. But then I saw this, on the discount table.


Why on Earth did you buy this phal?

It’s in a crappy pot. Not that the pot itself is bad, but it’s not suitable for an epiphytic phalaenopsis. No aeration, opaque, and the media is straight packed sphagnum moss which means it has no air circulation to the roots and is probably waterlogged.

But, I looked at the price. Marked down to 10 from 40 dollars, and there’s two plants in this pot. Also, there’s signs of vigour.

That these two are willing to bloom again, or produce keikis, despite their poor habitat. If I could get them going in a good habitat just imagine the possibilities!

First! I cut off these flowering spikes (I put them into another experiment project).

Then I set up my work station: drop cloth (in this case the brown paper they were wrapped in when leaving the store), shears, isopropyl alcohol (IPA) (70%), hydrogen peroxide (3%), washing solution (mix of 125ml IPA, 125ml water + 15ml dish soap1), new media, new pots.

I first un-pot them to see what’s up in the roots. They are SO packed in there!! I tried squishing the pot, a knife to loosen the edges, tried to pick out the media with my handy-dandy modeling forceps. All that failed so I cut away the pot with my shears.

I also see how they potted this thing together. Two separate plants packed with straight sphagnum and stuffed into one pot a recipe for death at $40. Whatever. It is what it is.


I saw some of those tiny little grey mites on the media/roots [need hydrogen peroxide].


I then trimmed the bad roots away, cleaned the plant with my washing solution, rinsed the whole thing and let it drip dry a bit. All the while I’m looking for mealy bugs, scale, and spider mites. After it’s a bit drier I then sprayed the remaining roots with the hydrogen peroxide.

Now to the re-pot! I positioned these in their new pots, put in the media, had them all good to go, then I read the bag…


Not sure if this is really true. Most of the channels I watch go ahead with dry media. I am an orchid novice, so better safe than sorry. If anyone could enlighten me, please do.


So then I had to overnight the twins. I put their roots in water overnight. I also hoped that the ‘leathery’ rootless twin would get some more hydration in its leaves—such a big plant with so little roots, and I thought Big George was bad.

Twenty-four hours later…

Both are planted ‘proud’ of the media

Twin one has decent roots. I was able to dangle it high and fit all the bark around the roots. Twin two has no roots (IMO). I put it deeper in the pot with much less media.


I then tagged them, meaningfully, and placed them in a quarantine area with adequate light.

The place I put these two are in what I call my plant ICU/hospice. It’s a room that faces north but gets northwest light from reflection off the neighbour’s house. They are now on my “check every four day” watering schedule, for now.


Tune in again for updates.

1 I got the cleaning solution recipe from Brad, at Brad’s Greenhouse, here.


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