How to care for moth orchid after it blooms?

I bought a blooming orchid for $10 at Home Depot, of all places, a couple of months ago. It has one flower left; the others have dropped off. I assume the last one will fall off pretty soon. Is the plant spent after it blooms, or can I keep it going and expect it to bloom again in my lifetime? I don't know what kind of orchid it is, but I'd call it a moth orchid rather than a slipper orchid. It has 5 or 6 strap-like leaves.
It is planted in what looks like a roll of half-rotten tree bark instead of chopped bark and/or orchid mix, so I'm not sure how I'd replant it other than set it a little deeper in a bigger pot. If I try to remove the old "soil" I'll destroy most the the roots.
I've been watering it by soaking the root ball for about 5 minutes and then draining it, and letting it dry out completely before watering again. (I think it lost a few blooms when I let it dry out too much.) I haven't given it any food yet. Should I be using distilled water (or deionized, or rain water) so salts don't build up?
Thanks, Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

Rainwater would be best. I always watered my orchids by letting them dry out and then setting the plant in a bucket of rainwater with a little orchid fertilizer in it. When they're blooming just soak the aerial roots a bit and the medium upon which it is blooming. Of course back then I had a half dozen books on orchids, etc. HD sold you an orchid with no ID tag on it? Generally they have a tag with the ID on one side and feeding and watering info on the other side.
I no longer fool around with orchids but occasionally DW buys one and brings it home to die. Sometimes I will take care of them for her for awhile. Most terrestrial orchids are planted in a potting mix while orchids that grow on tree limbs are planted in an open box or a pot with bark chunks or charcoal in them. In the jungles they grow on tree limbs and get rained on a lot. <VBG> Good luck with your orchid.
George
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George Shirley wrote:

It does have a tag. The tag says, "DEN. JAQ-ARUNSRI" in big letters, and "WK-08-06 TB.1335" in tiny letters. That's all it says.
I looked up the picture on the Internet and it seems to be a Phalaenopsis.
Best regards, Bob
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"DEN. JAQ-ARUNSRI" = Dendrobium HTH
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zxcvbob wrote:

The tag might mean its a Dendrobium and not a Phalaenopsis. The care for these two is different (according to Sunset). I only have experience with Phalaenopsis.
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David E. Ross
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a dendrobium is what you got and it is NOT a phael. be sure to look up the requirements for a dendrobium. phaels DO NOT like a lot of direct sun while I think dendrobiums do. the biggest threat to orchids is over watering and rot. try not to get water into the area where the leaves join. orchids typically "hang" at an angle so water runs out of the areas where leaves come together (unlike bromeliads). the roots should be half in, half out of the pot because the velum or coating on the roots soak up and hold the water. be very careful about repotting, only one size up and no deeper than the pot it is in. use only orchid mix. be sure the orchid dries out completely before watering and frankly, they dont need much fertilizer. a really weak fish or seaweed or orchid type fert is best.
do not soak more than one orchid in the same water since this is how rot can be spread to an entire collection. I speak from experience. Ingrid

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zxcvbob wrote:

The common name for Phalaenopsis is "moth orchid". Go to a real nursery, and check to see if their Phalaenopsis looks like your plant.
If it is Phalaenopsis, it grows quite well as a house plant. Keep it in a north-facing window where it will get strong, indirect light but no direct sun.
Repot it in what is sometimes called a bulb pan or fern pot. This is a clay flowerpot that is somewhat squat (more shallow) than the usual pot. After the last flower dies, remove the plant from its current pot. Gently shake the roots to remove the old potting mix (which is the bark of a tree fern); you can pick away the fern bark unless it is really stuck to a root. Repot in bark chips with the base of the plant just slightly below the chips. Set the pot on a large saucer that has pea gravel or similar pebbles.
I water mine once a week. When you water, be very, very careful that no water gets into the center of the leaves. If even a single drop of water bounces off a bark chip and into the center of the plant, the plant may rot and die. I hold the pot over the kitchen sink with the palm of my left hand blocking the drain hole. I use a plastic watering can with a narrow spout, filling the flowerpot until the bark begins to float. Then, I let the water drain out. After I put the pot back on the saucer, I add water to the saucer until it's just above the pebbles; this provides added humidity.
Every other week, I water with a commercial orchid fertilizer, 1/4 tsp to a quart of water. In this case, I set the pot in a large mixing bowl to capture the runoff. After draining the pot into the bowl and returning the pot to its saucer, I pour the runoff back into the watering can to use on another orchid. (I have three.) After all orchids are fed, I pour the runoff again into the watering can and add enough water to fill the can. I use this to water my other house plants.
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David E. Ross wrote:

Yep, that's it.

Is that shallower than an azalea pot?
And what is the base of the plant? This doesn't have a rosette of basal leaves, it has a vertical rhizome with leaves alternating up about an inch or two apart. Do I plant it up to the bottom leaf?
Thanks, Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

I'm not familiar with azalea pots. My Phalaenopsis are in pots 6.5 inches high and 8 inches in diameter at the top.

When you repot, the base of the bottom-most leaf should be at least 0.5 inch above the top of the bark chips.
By the way, Phalaenopsis only needs to be repotted about once every 3-4 years -- AFTER the first repotting. I always repot any house plant I either buy or receive as a gift (if in flower, as soon as it finishes blooming). I find the original pots are usually too small or otherwise not appropriate. I prefer clay pots because they allow evaporation through their sides, keeping the roots cool in the summer when I allow the house to get to 80F.
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That sounds just like an azalea pot.

Then this one is already planted at the right depth, but it's in *way* too small of a pot. It's in a 3" plastic pot, and it keeps tipping over because it's top heavy. I'll find a nice shallow 6" pot for it, and some chopped bark or gravel.
Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

You need bark, not gravel.
Before potting, thoroughly wet the bark. Then, when you water the orchid, the bark will absorb some of the water. This both makes moisture available to the roots and also releases humidity. When you feed, the water that the bark absorbs will contain nutrients that the roots can then slowly retrieve with the moisture.
Gravel only gets wet on its surface. If you use gravel, you will have to water daily. Since that will rinse away nutrients, you will have to feed 2-3 times a week.
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David E. Ross wrote:

But do use gravel in the saucer under the pot. This is to lift the pot above the water in the saucer. Then the bark in the pot won't act as a wick to draw excess moisture from the saucer.
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Double check to be sure.
In another post you wrote "It does have a tag. The tag says, "DEN. JAQ-ARUNSRI" in big letters, and "WK-08-06 TB.1335" in tiny letters. That's all it says.
I looked up the picture on the Internet and it seems to be a Phalaenopsis."
You seems to be indicating there that it was tagged as a dendrobium. Phals and Dends take much different care.
--
Toni
South Florida USA
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You also said that the growth isn't in the form of a rosette of leaves, but that the leaves are about every inch along a vertical 'rhizome'. In orchid terminology, that is called a pseudobulb, and since phalaenopsis (moth) orchids do not have pseudobulbs, I would also say that you have a dendrobium.
Richard
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there are dendrobium flowers that look like phaels. but the leaves dont. phael leaves are thick juicy, dendrobiums are strap like. Ingrid

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List at http://weloveteaching.com/puregold / sign up: http://groups.google.com/groups/dir?hl=en&q=puregold&qt_s=Group+lookup www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I receive no compensation for running the Puregold list or Puregold website. I do not run nor receive any money from the ads at the old Puregold site. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Zone 5 next to Lake Michigan
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