The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

By Jackiep

Lincolnshire, United Kingdom Gb

I have an orchid in a pot. All the flowers have dropped now and I would like to know what to do to get it to flower again. Also can I put it into a bigger pot and does it need special soil?

Photos attached. The plant is now very dry. Also, I am now plagued with Blackfly - is this down to the orchid or the season? I have always had several Begonia Rex plants in pots and have never experienced the Blackfly problem before. I have tried accessing the website for this Orchid ( but it won't open. Also I forgot to say it was a white flower.

Orchid_001 Orchid_002



What sort of orchid is it Jackie? I usually assume that when orchid novices just say 'an orchid' they are referring to a supermarket type phalaenopsis but there are over 1000 species of orchid. If I am right and it is a phal then you should examine the flowering spike and see is there are some (or even one) little bumps on it. If so, cut back to just above the highest of these and in a few months another flowering head should come from it. If (or when) there are none left to cut back to then cut off the entire spike near the base and wait for a new spike to form, which takes a bit longer of course. I use a clean pair of nail clippers for this.
Most orchids like being cramped and should only be re-potted when the roots are spilling over the top. Yes, don't worry if it is just putting a few roots into the air, most orchids are hepaphytes and actually grab food and moisture from the air. As long as they look green and healthy then no problem. If you do need to re-pot then a loose orchid growing medium should be used. These are available commercially but most 'serious orchideers' mix their own. I use a mix of orchid bark, sphagnum moss and coir. Many add some perlite or similar inert material to their own mix. The thing to remember is that it is not necessary for it to contain nutrition and it must be *very* free draining, a nice clayey loam is a no-no. More domestic orchids are killed by letting them stand in water and rotting off than any other reason. Hope this helps but if it is not a phal then do come back, preferably with a picture so we can i.d. it.

25 Mar, 2012


Many thanks for that very full reply! The name tag in the pot just says 'Butterfly' and I see there is a web address too. Would you still be able to identify it with no flowers? If so I will take a pic and attach it.

26 Mar, 2012


The phalaenopsis is commonly called the butterfly or moth orchid but then so are about 6 other species of chid. My money, considering you are just south of me, is still on the phal though.

I, or someone else on GOY, may well be able to identify it from just a bunch of leaves and a spike or two. The web address may also help to see what types they sell and also have you looked at my pages? There are a few recent orchid pictures on there including a supermarket phal. Don't worry about the colour of mine, this one is a yellow flower but they come in all colours. I am sure some other GOY members have pictures as well so do a search on 'orchid' and have a look around the results. Do post a pic of yours though. You know what they say about 1000 words.

27 Mar, 2012


I'm afraid that it looks like a goner.

You have nothing to lose by removing it from the pot to check for any firm roots - I doubt that there will be. Although the flower stem appears healthy there is what looks to be mould on the roots. If you do find any plump roots, repot into the mix described above - I would also drill a series of 6mm holes around the pot.

Did you mist it, or allow any water to enter the crown of the plant when watering?

27 Mar, 2012


I agree Meanie. That *was* a phalaenopsis but I am afraid it has suffered the way that many do. Death by drowning. The last one I saw like this was when a neighbour called me in to try to recover a poorly phal. I am afraid that when I took it out of the cache pot and saw the 'roots' it was just a mass of mush. She had fallen for the common misconception that orchids like it warm and wet because they are found in steamy jungles by young maidens dressed in sarongs and muscular young men with corks hanging from their hats which of course is just not so.

Sorry Jackie but the best thing you can do is to put this in the compost bin and go to your local supermarket or whatever and spend £10 on a new one. Fortunately this is a good time of year for that. When you get it home take it out of the cache pot and do not use that again on a chid. You will find a transparent plant pot inside, the cache pot is simply a marketing ploy. The reason why orchids are usually planted in the clear type of pot is because they like light on their roots. Some specialists even think that the roots themselves photo-synthesise, a function only of leaves in 'normal' terrestrial plants. When watering (about once a week or two) check the root system. It should only be watered when virtually dry. Use rain water or very pure tap water if you are lucky enough to have it and soak it completely then let it stand in the sink to drain. It can then be put back on display. If you buy an orchid fertiliser (not essential and not a standard one like Growmore) then use it in a spray mixed to the instructions 'weekly and weakly' as the old adage goes. Good luck and if you need further advice then come back to us.

Just editing to say that if it was white it was probably a Phalaenopsis aphrodite. This more than all phals is commonly called a butterfly orchid.

28 Mar, 2012


I must admit that I rarely use the clear pot when repotting. My trick (if that is what it is) is to drill a series of holes around the new pot. As they tend to be Epiphytes I reckon that it's better to have air circulation around the roots. Just a personal preference though.
I find that cache pots make useful storage containers though!!

28 Mar, 2012


Thanks again to all of you for your advice. I will ditch the poor thing. Any advice about the reason for the blackfly? Should I just keep spraying with the appropriate product?

28 Mar, 2012


re the blackfly, all I can say is to increase the humidity around your plants.

Have you noticed if they jump when you try to touch them?

28 Mar, 2012


A good way of increasing humidity, as chids can't be left standing *in* water, is to stand them *on* water by putting some large pebbles or gravel in water in a deep tray and making sure the water line is below the top of the gravel. Then stand the pot on the gravel. The evaporation at normal temperature is enough, and it can be made quite attractive if it's in your living room.

29 Mar, 2012


Many thanks for all your advice. I will certainly use the humidity suggestion.

29 Mar, 2012

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Not found an answer?