I recently became aware of a relatively new method of orchid growing called semi-hydroponic. I have been growing orchids for about 40 years, but I’m really not that good at it. Especially phalaenopsis orchids. I have never been able to get one to reflower and frankly if they lived a year....oh wait I don’t think that ever happened. They would either rot at the crown no matter how careful I was with water, or the leaves would just wrinkle and shrivel and be gone. I started seeing people online with really pathetic phalaenopsis using the SH method of revitalizing them. The results were astounding. So I have decided to use my saddest phalaenopsis as a guinea pig. Simply put, you take a plastic deli container, drill or burn 4-6 small holes one inch from the bottom of the pot. Clean the roots of the phalaenopsis really well leaving NO material. Plant orchid in the pot using small clay or lava balls that you get at a Hydroponic store. The clay balls must be washed and then soaked for 24 hours before use. Water the plant with orchid fertilizer and that will fill the 1” reservoir at the bottom of the pot. When the reservoir is almost empty you give the plant a really good watering and fertilize again. I think that usually takes a couple of weeks. The water wicks up through the clay balls so you don’t water until it is running out. It is amazing. And the medium never breaks down like bark mulch. If you want to try it, watch a couple of YouTube videos. You’ll see how easy it is. Here are a few pics. I will post more when I see a result, good or bad.
A close up. You can see the wrinkly leaves beginning and a new root. The new roots were just to give me hope, and then the plant would die anyway.
You can see the holes. The plastic is soft so we used a torch and hot nail to melt the holes.