Sunday, February 12, 2012

Growing Phals

Imagine yourself trudging through the snow on the third day in a row of bland, grey skies and whipping winds. You're ready for spring, already! Opening the door, you're glad to be in out of the elements and into the warmth. You're in a warehouse now, rather sparse but organized. You're invited into the next area, but first you need to stand on a special mat that sits in a basin of disinfectant- this company is serious about cleanliness! All you see are plants with lots of green strappy leaves. Looking further, you begin to see color in the distance. As you walk, you realize the immense size of the fully automated greenhouse and before you know it, you are standing in the middle of acres of blooming phaleanopsis orchids, otherwise known as butterfly or moth orchids.

Recently we had the opportunity to visit Green Circle Growers, a greenhouse that specializes, amongst other plants, in growing phalaenopsis orchids. Their orchids are known as Just Add Ice orchids because they advocate simply providing the orchid plant with 3 ice cubes a week, set on the soil to slowly melt. Phals are temperamental when they have too much water- their roots rot.   

  Tiny starter plants are received...

 and planted in packs...

where they remain for weeks until they send out flower spikes.

The plants are then potted individually...

and kept in the greenhouse for months more until the flower spikes open.

Green Circle is adamant about the plants' growing conditions. The greenhouse is immaculate throughout. Their policy is to touch the plants with human hands as little as possible, thereby reducing the possible of exposure to bacteria. 

The flower colors were simply beautiful, their range across the board.

I wouldn't have minded one of each!

Thank you, Frank and Elise, for a memorable tour of your impressive facility.

Have you been able to have your phalaenopsis orchids re-bloom at home? 
I have not had much luck with this. If you have, please give us some tips!


  1. Oh gosh! These photos are incredible! Who knew growing orchids was such a science! I can't even grow weeds so I am in total awe of this! Thanks for stopping by my blog Annie, I am so glad to have discovered yours!

  2. Having success with re-blooming orchids depends on how you water them and where you store them after they have bloomed. It ususally takes one year for them to throw new spikes.
    Phalies like lots of light, an eastern exposure is best. They hate to be too hot or too cold. After blooming do not feed them for about 6 months and let them rest. Then find an orchid food (acidic) and feed them once a week. In the desert and in the summer let water run through the orchid twice a week by placing them in your kitchen sink. Leave in sink until all water has drained. In winter I only water once a week. Often I do not fertilize at all and they still bloom.
    Phalies are very easy and very rewarding. I don't know of another plant whose blossoms last for 3 to 4 months.
    My blog posts on orchids have lots of pictures and hints on how to keep orchids.
    Good Luck Annie. Gina



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