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Question
Just received new orchid as gift. I have not been successful in other plants. It is in plastic cup in ceramic pot.  Have heard bark or mulch good for re potting. The pot does not have holes in bottom or sides. Can you give me suggestions as a novice at growing these lovely plants? Thanks so much.

Answer
Thanks for your question Cheryl.  You should be growing your orchid  in a pot that has a lot of drainage holes in the bottom and the plant should not be in a pot that is sitting in water.  These plants only need water/humidity to prevent excessive drying.  Water only when the growing mix has completely dried. Most garden center stores (eg Lowes, Home Depot, etc, also sell orchid potting mix in small bags.  I would repot at this time using fresh orchid potting mix.  Fresh fir bark in these mixes often are sold dry.  Before use, wet the mix thoroughly and let excess moisture drain off.  These orchid potting mixes often contain other ingredients beside fir bark.  These may include perlite, charcoal, tree fern, etc which serve to keep the mix open allowing air to readily flow through and retain some moisture and humidity in the mix. In nature, most orchids have aerial roots which are exposed to air and sunlight.  In this respect, they differ greatly from other house plants.  Fewer orchids die from being kept on the dry side than on the moist side. A wet potting mix invites invasion from bacteria or fungi which can cause root rot. Grow you plant in an east facing window if you have one.  Air temperature at the plant should be 70-85 degrees.

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Wayne King

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Any question about orchid culture. I have thirty+ yrs of growing experience,president 2x of our local Orchid Growers Guild,held a position in most all other offices associated with the Guild at one time or another. Head of Orchid judging team for local club meetings and some shows. Member of two Orchid Socities and local Rep.for Mid America Orchid Congress for several yrs.I have in my collection about 800 Orchid plants of all types.

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