Well, there are a few things about phalaenopsis orchids...
Either you like them or you don't.
Admittedly, they are not the prettiest plants when they don't bloom.
However, I happen to be stuck with three of them (two of them share one pot).
The first one I got half-dead from a friend and it survived ,
the other two I bought as company for the first one out of pity (also half- dead).

Since they are starting to bloom despite my constant neglect, I want to do something good for them.

For those who are interested, I'd like to share some general tips on phalaenopsis care:

Use a good substrate which consists of coarse chunks. Don't use the sphagnum moss they sometimes are sold in. This will hold too much moisture and restrict air flow to the roots causing them to rot. The substrate I use is manufactured by Seramis and consists of bark chunks and porous terracotta pieces. It is thus far the best I could find.
Avoid substrates that contain styrofoam or spongelike plastics. These are usually bad quality.

There is a reason for the translucent plastic pots sold especially for orchids. The roots of the phalaenopsis are green which means they contain chlorophyll. This enables the orchid to assimilate light through its roots.

I submerge the whole pot in room temperature, soft water about once a week.
It is very important that the pot can drain completely afterwards.
Roots that stay submerged will begin to rot and make the orchids sick.
Regular showers with mildly warm water simulate the rains of their natural habitat and can induce blooming.

I use liquid orchid fertilizer with the water I dunk the pots in.

Orchids naturally live in very humid places.
The average air humidity in a house is usually too low for them, especially during the winter.
This is why they love being misted with water.
It is also often said that they don't like to live alone but love the company of other orchids or plants.
There is nothing esoteric about this, the proximity of other plants can
create a more humid micro-climate than a single plant could create on its own.

Since I only have the two pots with orchids shown in the picture and they are not surrounded by other plants,
I had to come up with a solution to improve their micro-climate. An experienced orchid lover gave me the advice of setting them in a bowl filled with moistened clay granulate to keep the humidity around them higher than in the rest of the room.

I just enhanced a little by adding an automated water refiller to keep the granulate moist for at least a week.
This should keep my orchids happy and prevent the blossoms from drying out.


Step 1: What you need

  • Some orchids that will be happy about a climate more like their natural habitat
  • a bowl, tablet or coaster that is big enough to hold your orchids' pots
  • a bottle that will hold enough water for the humidifier to work at least a week
  • something that will keep a bottle standing bottom-up with its opening facing down into the granulate.
    The bottle's opening must not sit flush against the bottom, or else the water can't get out and air can't get in.
    I used half of a plastic spool. I cut away some of it so it fits nicely in the corner of the coaster
  • some kind of adhesive that will hold the parts together under water.
    I used hot glue, but epoxy or silicone should also work
  • a porous granulate to fill the coaster. I used Seramis (porous clay granulate)
<p>Very Cool!!! Do you know if Seramis is ok to use in a semi-enclosed terrarium for orchids? </p>
<p>Hi,</p><p>I think it should work! I have used it for quite a while now, ant it hasn't made any problems yet. Seramis is anorganic, so it provides no nutrition for mold fungi. The only thing that may happen is some algae growth, but you can change the substrate once a year or so and it'll be fine...</p>
<p>GREAT. Thank you so much! </p>
<p>Voted! That's nice and really simple. </p>

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Bio: I'm a graduated electrical engineer and currently work at a german university. I enjoy collecting skills and learning new techniques. Although I'm not ... More »
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