Saturday, August 20, 2011

Can this Phalaenopsis be saved?

Phalaenopsis is a genus of orchids native to southeast Asia and northern Australia, with gorgeous flowers that supposedly resemble moths in the obsolete genus Phalaena (I don't see it myself), hence the English common name "moth orchid" (in French, orchidée papillon). I've been tempted to get one of these for years because they are gorgeous, there are many easy-care hybrids available, and they are considered safe for cats. However, my old apartment, being in a basement, had almost no natural light so I didn't think it was worth the investment.

Now that I've moved, I have loads of natural light, but can't really justify buying an expensive plant this month on top of the expenses of moving. However, look what I found in the "as is" section at IKEA! [Photo: sadly neglected dried out Phalaenopsis.]

Take a look at the price tag! [Photo: label of Phalaenopsis from IKEA. Price marked down from $14.99 to $1.40.]

At 90% off, I couldn't resist the temptation to resuscitate this poor plant. [Photo: Phalaenopsis with dead leaves, dead flowers, and spent scape removed.]

Since the plant is in poor shape (the growing medium was completely dry and the leaves were shriveling), I decided to completely remove the flowering scape and let it have a good long recovery period before blooming again. I'm not sure what that grey thing sticking out is—a root? Since it didn't want to come off, I'm leaving it on for now. Perhaps a reader who actually knows something about Phals could advise?


  1. Quite possibly. Soak it in a sugar-water solution of 1 tbsp per liter for 24 hours. Then repot it to provide secure footing - critical to recovery. Best of luck!


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