Orchid advice. please
I've only half heartedly tried orchids, once, when in Australia. Killed them all.
Daughter presents me with a very sorry looking orchid with a dead flower stalk and only 2 fronds left. Apparently it had had 5 when she was given it. Still in a ceramic container, containing the pot, and 1/2" water. Uhhhh!!!!!!
I am guessing it is a moth orchid, ( Phalaenopsis cv), but I never saw the bloom which apparently was blue (?). If so, then an epiphyte.
Bought a bag of orchid repotting mix, or so branded All it contained were 10mm lumps of pine bark and stated only use large bark as peat, moss and fine bark retain too much water and kill the roots. OK, but.....
Depotted, trimmed the dead roots and repotted it. Watered it and cleaned up.
2 hrs later I again depotted it. The bark gave BRILLIANT drainage and BRILLIANT access to air but retained ZERO moisture. The water just flowed through and any moisure left on the bark was dry 20 mins later. The bark was totally hydrophobic.
In nature the roots would be part of a living mat of mosses, dead leaves, etc "wrapped around" a branch fork. This mat would have to be free draining, very open in structure and would probably be fairly poor in nutrients.
The weather was lousey so I couldn't go to the moors and get some live sphagnum moss to experiment with, so I mixed the bark with some composted Fine Bark, I use on the garden, which retains moisture.
Thing settled down over the next few weeks, with an occasional water with a weak orchid feed and VERY weak foliar spray of the same feed..
So you gurus out there, what should I do now?
It now has 2 new, very heathly looking fronds:
On the right had side there are layers of new roots:
and on the otherside one root looks like it wants to escape:
Edit: Added final image showing leaf colour.