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Thread: Orchid for the black thumb?

  1. #1

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    I have a brother who's birthday is coming up and I know he loved orchids as a child. So I was considering buying him one, but unfortunately the most I could expect him to do is water it...I hope.

    He lives near Houston, Texas. So what Orchid, if any, would be suitable to Heat, Humidity and does not require special water or care? Ie, the lowest maintenance orchid that will still bloom.

  2. #2
    herenorthere's Avatar
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    My initial thought was that you should buy him a plastic orchid. If you see so little evidence of interest in plants that you can only hope he'll water one, are you sure you want to give him a plant?

    But maybe you could look for an orchid that's native to his area and might survive with no attention at all. If that's what you're thinking, you'll need to consider the soil, sun exposure, and surrounding vegetation. Look at this site, by Nina Rach - Texas Native Orchids, Part 1. You'll see a link to Part 2 at the bottom of the page. Notice there's some ecological and geographical information for each.

    For the most part, however, these are not showy plants. Plus native orchids tend to be pricey and, therefore, prone to poaching. If you're trying to find one, try to only deal with reputable sources. I don't know what those would be for Texan plants.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Wink

    No, I'm not sure if I want to give him one. I'm pretty confident it would die unless he placed it in his room and had to look at it every day. But I'd give him a 50/50 shot if all he had to do was water it once or twice a week. It was more of a sentimental idea, than necessarily a good idea for the plant. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/sad.gif[/img] Its not that I think he doesn't have interest in them. I know he would love it. I just don't think he has the time or money to do more than water it every couple of days. BUT he does have more than one person living at his house, so I think watering is the most I can ask or expect.

    He may be better suited with a cactus. I was just hoping somebody bred a cactus Orchid. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif[/img]

    Since, he is Texas, and I'm not. Is there any good ones I can order online and have sent to him? I was thinking of a Phalaenopsis, but there is a zillion of them and I was wondering if there was a hybrid that was a little hardier or better suited for high Texas heats (he doesn't put on the A/C while he is at work).

    Along those lines, are there any kind of moisture sensors that could beep when it needed watering? I think that would be a cool idea.

    Worst case, are there any 2004 Orchid Calenders? [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif[/img]

  4. #4
    Moderator Schmoderator Fluorescent fluorite, England PlantAKiss's Avatar
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    Is this a plant he would keep outdoors? If not, you might consider the common dendrobium or phalaenopsis. Both are pretty easy to grow and maintain, not being as fussy as some other orchids. However, no plant will survive being ignored. But dens and phals do well in an ordinary home environment which is why they are relatively cheap and easy to find in garden shops. But they are only showy when they are in bloom so its not a plant for someone who wants "pretty" all the time.

    If he has shown an interest in orchids in the past, perhaps having one would inspire him to take care of it. You never know how these plants can get under your skin once you have one...or two...or five...or twenty...

    Beautiful avatar BTW, Jhaluska [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]

    Suzanne
    "Fox terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs." - Jerome K. Jerome

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    Quote
    Is this a plant he would keep outdoors?[/QUOTE]
    While he could keep it outdoors, I was hoping he would keep it indoors. Which is more likely to survive? As far as it needing to be pretty all the time, being pretty once a year would be an improvement for him!

    Quote
    Beautiful avatar BTW, Jhaluska[/QUOTE]
    Thanks, I just made it from one of Uglypho's pic...shhh don't tell. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Moderator Schmoderator Fluorescent fluorite, England PlantAKiss's Avatar
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    errr...hate to tell you this but I think he MIGHT see your avatar. lol But I won't tell him...mums the word. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img]

    Either a dendrobium or phal would be fine as a starter orchid. And you can get them pretty cheap at Lowes. And if you don't mind out of bloom, sometimes if you ask, they will reduce them. This afternoon I snagged a $24 dollar brassia for 50% off just because I asked the checkout clerk if it was reduced for being out of bloom. She didn't bat an eye...had to have a manager override the price but the manager didn't even look to see what she was overriding. They are more likely to reduce them if they are unhealthy looking (I always ask) but this brassia was perfectly healthy...just had a dead flower stalk so it looked bad.

    For a den, an east window will do fine. Water thoroughly when the potting media feels dry several inches down in the pot or if the pot feel light (usually twice a week unless its really hot). Orchid fertilizer would be a good companion gift. They are weak feeders so you can fertilize lightly.

    Phals are good low light plants. Just makes sure the potting media is well draining. If they stay too soggy, the roots will rot. I have inherited a number of phals from someone I work with because she buys phals that are tightly packed in sphagnum moss. It never dries out and then gets watered so the roots rot and the leaves start to dehydrate. I get them and clean off the dead roots, repot and after a while it produces new leaves and I have a new healthy orchid. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]

    You can look over the pinned care sheet at the top of the forum for more help.

    I say...go for it! Get him an orchid and while you're at it...get one for yourself. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif[/img]

    Suzanne
    "Fox terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs." - Jerome K. Jerome

  7. #7

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    PlantAKiss, I was considering getting one for myself cause I saw an amazing one at my associate's work. It was a white Phalaenopsis with amazing pinkish veins in the flowers.

    If I can find one like it that I'll buy it for myself. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rolleyes.gif[/img]

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    What about an Oncidium? They're more partial too higher levels of light, aren't they? And from what I gather, texas has alot of light. [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif[/img]

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