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Phalaenopsis cure: general characteristics
Phalaenopsis is an orchid native to the regions of India, Indonesia, Australia and the Philippines. It is characterized by the presence of 2/6 green and large leaves, capable of reaching a maximum length of about 50 centimeters. The roots are very branched, thick and turn silver when the plant needs watering. The inflorescences are formed by smaller sepals than the petals and their central part is made up of a labellum with curved lobes that tend towards the inner part of each flower. One of the many tips for taking care of Phalaenopsis is to keep temperatures and light under control. This orchid must be placed in an environment where the temperature is around 16 ° C and 32 ° C. It needs a lot of light but it doesn't have to hit the plant directly.
Location, water and humidity
Arrangement is also an indispensable factor in Phalaenopsis care. This plant should be placed in a windowsill located in the northeast or southwest. If the leaves tend to turn yellow, it means that the plant is exposed to too much light while, if the buds tend to fall, it means that the orchid needs more light. Even watering must follow a precise practice, which is essential for the care of Phalaenopsis. First of all, it is necessary to use low acidity water, it is convenient to use rainwater. Water at the beginning of the day, placing the water inside a container and immerse the orchid pot, then remove it and water it at least seven days later. It is a plant that loves humidity, in fact, it can be placed in a greenhouse, in damp places such as the bathroom or kitchen.
|THE PHALAENOPSIS IN BRIEF|
|Height width||10 to 60 cm|
|Maintenance||Low and simple|
|Need for water||Medium, demineralised water|
|Propagation||I take keiki|
|Rusticity||Never drop below 10 ° C|
|Exposure||Very bright, no direct light in spring-summer|
|Uses||As a flower in the apartment, veranda and outside (in the summer)|
|Fertilization||Every 2 weeks|
|Substrate||Pine bark, polystyrene, perlite, sphagnum|
|Soil / air humidity||More than 60%|
|Parasites and diseases||Root and collar rot, aphids, gastropods|
Soil and fertilization
The type of soil is a fundamental characteristic for the care of Phalaenopsis. It is convenient to buy a specific soil for orchids, characterized by a light conformation, drained but at the same time able to maintain a certain level of humidity. Fertilization is also a fundamental point since the soil in which the orchid sinks its roots is poor in mineral salts. During the planting of Phalaenopsis, it is convenient to mix pine flakes, or the like, with the soil, in order to increase water drainage. From March to October and, at least twice a month, specific fertilizer for orchids must be mixed with the watering water. In this way, the supply of nutrients allows the plant to grow luxuriant and healthy.
If Phalaenopsis care goes well, it can happen that the plant blooms several times in a year. In this regard, the second flowering is facilitated by the cut of the stem present above the second eye. The count must always start from the bottom and we must remember that the scissors used to cut must be well sterilized, so as not to infect the plant. Sometimes it is possible to observe the development of new roots outside the pot. This is a symptom that the specimen finds itself well in that environment and you should never try to arrange the roots inside the vase because they can be damaged and broken. The treatment of Phalaenopsis is not completed by following these simple precautions, it is necessary to perform prevention practices against parasite attacks or the onset of diseases harmful to its entire structure.
Phalaenopsis orchid care -">The care of phalaenopsis orchids
The orchids phalaenopsis are the best known and most widespread in homes: they are appreciated for the beauty of the flowers, with an exotic appearance, available in a very wide range of colors. The real strength of these plants, however, is the ease of cultivation: with few devices manage to live and flourish again, giving great satisfaction even to the neophyte.
Ideal cultivation conditions
To ensure excellent vegetative development and repeated and abundant blooms, it is important to try to reproduce an environment as similar as possible to that of origin: rainforests of Asia, the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They require extremely intense but not direct lighting, high and almost constant ambient temperatures and humidity throughout the year.
These conditions are not difficult to reproduce in city apartments, especially in well-exposed and constantly heated rooms.
Rooms with windows facing south or east and therefore illuminated for a good part of the day are preferred. Keep in mind that direct light, especially the summer one (and concentrated from the glasses) can be deleterious and lead to the appearance of burns on the leaf blade.
It is therefore recommended, from May onwards, to shade the sun with light-colored light curtains.
Those who have a garden, a veranda or a terrace can decide to move the pots outside, shading them slightly with special sheets (or placing them under the shade of pergolas or deciduous trees).
From October onwards, especially in the northern regions, it is instead good to avoid any type of cover and we can expose the phals even to direct light (which will hardly be so intense as to damage them).
Phalaenopsis are sensitive to low temperatures, but usually have no problem surviving if, during the winter, they are kept in inhabited environments (or even in poorly heated ones). Let us remember that the first damage can occur when it drops below 10 ° C, especially if there are currents or strong thermal changes have occurred.
From March to November there is an optimal growth maintaining, during the daytime, temperatures from 25 to 28 ° C. In this period they particularly like the temperature variations between day and night: in the evening we try to guarantee a cooler environment, around 18-20 ° C.
In summer, excessive heat (above 30 ° C) can be harmful: it can cause stunted growth, dehydration and the appearance of parasites (such as spider mites). If we cannot remedy it, an important help will come from the increase in humidity around the plant: let's steam the leaves often and wet the surrounding soil.
Like all epiphytes (that is, that live clinging to tree branches, obtaining water and nutrients) it needs a strong environmental humidity which must increase as temperatures rise.
Under normal conditions (from 20 to 25 ° C) the minimum humidity must be around 60%. If this quota is not guaranteed, we can act in different ways: at home we use electric humidifiers or place saucers full of water near the plant. Creating an area with many plants next to each other can also be useful.
If we have moved the pots outside, we can wet the floor several times a day or (better) choose a lawn as a support surface.
During the winter months, the heating action of the radiators dries the air considerably: always apply the special ceramic humidifiers.
In every season it is always advisable, several times a day, to vaporize the leaves with demineralized or rain water. We pay particular attention not to wet the area of the collar, where liquids easily stagnate and can cause the appearance of rot.
The quantity and frequency of administration of liquids are crucial to keeping our orchids vital.
First of all, it is important to use only demineralized water (such as that on sale for irons) or rain water. The roots are in fact particularly sensitive to the presence of calcium and sodium: crystals can form there which, over time, completely prevent their activities.
To regulate when it is best to irrigate, there is nothing better than observing the roots (transparent plastic pots are therefore ideal): we wait for them to become completely silver. We can then choose whether to give water by pouring it from above or by immersion (filling a basin with water and placing the jar in it for about 15 minutes). The second option allows you to deeply hydrate both the roots and the substrate, without wetting the aerial part: it is therefore very practical, as long as you let the container drain well.
If we decide instead to pour the liquid from above, we pay attention to do it evenly and, above all, avoid moistening the collar.
An excellent natural alternative is to place the plant outside, in the summer, when a strong storm arrives: the result will be a thoroughly rehydrated and refreshed phal, as well as washed of dust and household residues.
Since the substrate is completely devoid of nutrients, the use of specific fertilizers is essential to ensure the well-being and future flowering of our orchids. These products are commonly found on the market, but for those who want extraordinary results it is good to rely on specialized dealers in this sector. A feature to look for is the almost total absence of chlorine (very harmful). From spring to autumn we choose a formulation in which nitrogen is prevalent (to stimulate vegetative growth); from November onwards we pass instead to one that gives a greater contribution of phosphorus and above all potassium, to favor the appearance of new flower stems.
The phalaenopsis grown in an optimal way manage to bloom twice a year, even if the natural emission of new stems occurs during the winter period. To favor it, in addition to the correct fertilization, it is important to simulate a rest period, with consequent lowering of temperatures. It is also fundamental to maintain a strong difference between day and night. Excellent results are obtained by keeping the jar in an environment where there are about 16 ° C during the day and about 12 ° C at night. This treatment can last from a week to 20 days. We will then return the specimen to the inhabited rooms (at about 20 ° C) and the emission of the new stems should start.
Pruning and cleaning
Even among experts there is no agreement on whether to cut or preserve the withered stems. It is ultimately a personal choice: the plant most of the time produces new buds, but they will be smaller and more sparse than the previous ones. Starting instead "from the beginning" you will have more abundant and showy corollas.
If the leaves have suffered damage (sunburn, gnawed by snails ...) we can eliminate them by cutting them at the base with clean and disinfected scissors. On the "wound" it is always useful to place a little cinnamon powder, a powerful healing agent.
Substrate and repotting
Phalaenopsis need a substrate that is as neutral and inert as possible. Commercial "orchid" formulations are not suitable. Instead, the choice must fall on specially prepared pine bark (“bark”). Alternatively, the one used for mulching gardens is also fine: however, it must be sterilized and deprived of the resin by boiling it for a long time and then letting it dry completely.
Other excellent materials are expanded clay, polystyrene (the "green beans" for packaging or breaking up boxes), sphagnum, foam rubber.
Repotting is carried out when the substrate no longer has the initial compactness (and no longer guarantees correct aeration at the roots) or when the roots are rotten. Before extracting them, let's wet them deeply making them soft.
We can then check them and eventually cut the older and damaged ones. Let them soak for about 10 minutes with a specific product against rot (for example fosetil-aluminum or propamocarb). We recompose the pot by placing the coarser substrate on the bottom and exhausting it by hand (this guarantees perfect drainage). The addition of a little cinnamon or charcoal can be useful.
We let it rest for about 10 days before returning to irrigate.
It is important, at the time of purchase, to look closely at the roots and choose completely healthy plants. If we decide to "adopt" plants in bad conditions, we first carry out a repotting and careful reclamation.
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