Orchid Retail Therapy

Some women shop for clothing, shoes, and other accessories when they need a little retail therapy. Not me—I shop for orchids to get a little pick-me-up. On Thursday, I took a walk over to the Lowe’s in Gowanus, using orchid shopping as an excuse to get out of the house. OK, so the last time I bought orchids from that Lowe’s, they came down with a bad case of aphids and I ended up tossing them in the garbage. I went into this excursion cautiously, with those creepy little greenish-white creatures in mind. And when I got to the store I discovered that all the packaged Better-Gro orchids were 50% off! I’ve only bought one of these before, an Iwanagara Appleblossom, but these were such a good price that I ended up buying THREE of them (for only $7 apiece!).

Oncidium Ampliatum

Better-Gro Oncidium Ampliatum
New orchid #1

“Mule Ear” Oncidium (Onc. Maureen x Onc. Haematochilum)

Better-Gro Mule Ear Oncidium
New orchid #2

Dendrobium Aggregatum var. majus

Better-Gro Dendrobium Aggregatum
New orchid #3

And I also picked out this adorable NOID mini Phal, because I LOVE orchids that are pinkish with white in the center. The whole plant is only about 6″ tall. Look how tiny and cute this guy is:

Mini Phal
New orchid #4

I repotted all four new orchids when I got home, and most of them are in pretty decent shape. The mini Phal had mostly healthy roots; I only had to cut away a little bit. It came potted in one of those crappy ceramic pots that doesn’t have good drainage, so I got rid of that pot and used one of my own. The Dendrobium’s roots were in the worst shape—I trimmed away most of them and then soaked the plant in a solution of water and SuperThrive to try to encourage new root growth, so we’ll see about that one. The Dend and the Mule Ear Onc were potted in some really broken down, gross-looking bark mix, so I tossed that old stuff and used fresh mix. I found a snail among the roots of the Mule Ear, so I picked him out. Hopefully there won’t be any other critter issues with these plants. Fingers crossed!

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  1. Hi, how are those Better Gro plants doing? I got the same Onc. Maureen x Onc. Haematochilum [Trichocentrum haematochilum ]. I bought them for a dollar probably a bit more in beat up conditions… But they are growing roots.

    1. Hi and thanks for the comment! My Better Gro plants are doing…ok. The same Onc. that you have has basically no roots, so this past weekend I soaked it in a Superthrive and water solution. Hopefully those roots will start growing soon. I did see a couple roots starting to grow on the Onc. ampliatum, so that’s good. And the Dend. aggregatum also has basically no roots. So…we will see. I hope yours thrive!

  2. Hello! I got the same orchids you did, at the same Lowe’s, in the same week. I’m re-potting a lot of my winter acquisitions now as some of them have really come alive in the last week or two. I’m seeing new pbulbs sprouting on the oncidiums and I’m moving the dendrobium to a basket. I’m just curious what medium you used when you re-potted and if they seem happy with it.
    Thanks! Hillery

    1. Hi Hillery – that’s funny that you got the same orchids! I repotted two of them in a standard bark mix and put the mule ear oncidium in sphagnum moss. I’ve never had these orchid types before so I’m kinda just experimenting to see how it goes, but so far the mule ear is growing a few new roots and I just noticed a new pbulb today! The others don’t have any new growth yet – maybe they need to be potted in moss too!

      What medium did you use for yours?

  3. I used the AOS Orchid Bark mix that includes charcoal and perlite; they sell it at Lowe’s as well. My research tells me Oncid’s prefer this kind of mix, but in my experience there is no sure thing in growing orchids. I just keep trying different variables until the plants are happy and if they’re already happy I don’t change a thing!

    1. I’ve seen that mix there – the one I have is very similar, but I bought it at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden shop (something I won’t do again…it’s much cheaper at Lowe’s!). Your growing approach is very similar to mine. There are so many variables that go into keeping orchids happy that if they seem to be doing well, I don’t worry about using the “right” medium or the “perfect” lighting. 🙂

  4. Oh and by the way if you are cost conscious and patient I suggest buying seedlings from Oak Hill Gardens. They are an incredible nursery and they offer 10 seedlings for $30. I buy a new lot every spring. The choice is at their discretion, but I always tell them what I’m doing well with and what I want to get into and they choose better than I could for myself!

    1. Great tip about Oak Hill, I will check out their website! I’m cost conscious for sure…10 seedlings for $30 sounds like an amazing deal. I’ve purchased a few seedlings from Orchids by Hausermann in the past and they are doing well.

  5. I bought a few of those at Lowe’s for a dollar. some were beat up. What seems to be doing very well growing new PB and roots is the Epc Serena Tinkerbell and also the Trichocentrum Ollie Palmer that you have too. I planted it in a mix of coconut chips, bark and sphagnum. The Better Grow orchid mix at Lowes is nice but the pieces may be too large for fine rooted orchids….

    1. Interesting, I didn’t know the mule ear had a different name—I’ve never heard of Trichocentrum before.

      I have been thinking I need to get some smaller bark mix for my smaller plants. Do you have any recommendations for where I can find/order some?

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