Phalaenopsis orchids are gorgeous when they are in bloom. Blossoms crowd gracefully arching stems of flowers in gay profusion. But eventually the plant’s lengthy bloom cycle (up to three months!) comes to an end. Blooms drop, stalks shrivel and leaves flatten as Phalaenopsis orchids enter a natural state of dormancy during which they rest and replenish the nutrients needed for the next bloom cycle. Dormant moth orchids are marked down to a few dollars, shoved onto bargain tables and left for dead. Like bedraggled strays, they sit limp and forlorn, hoping for a home.
Knowing a Good Bargain
There are Phalaenopsis lovers who stalk stores waiting for these moments. Thrilled to add to their orchid collections for next to nothing, orchid rescuers swoop down on closeout tables and carry their prizes home. Store clerks shake their heads, wondering why anyone would buy a nearly dead plant; but orchid rescuers just smile. They know that with a little care and patience, in a few months their seemingly lifeless orchid will perk up, send out a new spike and bloom again in a profusion of beautiful flowers.
Before rescuing an orchid, check under its leaves and along the stem for insects. Thoroughly inspect the plant for signs of fungus or disease. If it is double potted, remove the grower pot and inspect the roots for signs of rot. Even diseased or damaged orchids may recover with proper care; so if the price is right, take the plant home and give it a chance!