February 24, 2013

Real tough love

A neglected moth orchid somewhere in Toronto

My Phalaenopsis (moth orchid) set new buds last week and is (re)blooming below:

Phalaenopsis moth orchid blooms by garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog
Phalaenopsis orchid, cultivar unknown

I forgot how I brought this home. (Likely it was bought at a big box store for a ridiculously low price.) Local Toronto garden writer, Sonia Day, recently wrote about how these orchids, for various reasons, are now "as ubiquitous as doughnut shops" and given the number of coffee and donut stores in Toronto, that's a lot of moth orchids! 

Over time, the many beautiful blooms on my "Phal" dropped and I was left with a whole bunch of basal leaves and a bare stalk. 

What to do?

I hated the thought of chucking it out so I left the pot on a west-facing window in the kitchen. Maybe I'm turning out to be like my father who can't seem to discard things like plants. (I wrote about him in a previous post called "Do cacti need viagra?") 

Besides watering very sporadically, I gave it no attention: no fertilizing, no misting, nothing. (You don't do the same! Here are some good instructions to take care of your moth orchid.)

And it just sat and looked at me.

Then recently it sent out these lovely blooms, in spite of my lack of Phal-love.

Maybe it's reminding me that Canada Blooms is around the corner...

Anyone else keeping Phalaenopsis, Cattleya, Dendrobium, et al? What have been your experiences?

By Paul Jung, author of "garden muses: a Toronto gardening blog"
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