Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Orchid: Phal Memoria Audrey Meldman 'Mendenhall'

Phal Memoria Audrey Meldman 'Mendenhall' 

     The name is quite a mouthful.  This lovely hybrid arrived for me a couple days ago, and provided two surprises.  One: I was not expecting the orchid to be in bloom.  Plants I order online usually do not arrive with buds or spikes... much less fully formed flowers.  Luckily the blooms seem to have fared well in the shipping, and have shown no sign of wilting in the few days since I received the orchid.

     The second surprise was less satisfying: I had been hoping for red flowers, but the blooms I received clearly were not.  The pictures I had been able to find online of this cross all indicated a brightly scarlet flower: mine are a pinkish purple

Picture on left taken by user, 'NiNiDazzle' on the Big Leaf Orchids forum: source

     I'm not quite sure why there was such a distinct difference in color.  The lovely photographs by 'NiNiDazzle' appear to be taken using natural light.  So I expect that the difference in color really does reflect the orchid flowers themselves, rather than any color distortions via camera or flash.  (I've posted before about how drastically different some orchid flowers can appear in photos depending on the lighting)

     My orchid's lack of redness may either reflect the genetics of this particular plant, or the growth conditions.  Since I can do nothing to change the plant's genetics, I will set that theory aside until I see how future bloomings turn out.  

     With respect to growth conditions, it is frequently mentioned that red cattleya orchids will flower with darker, more intense reds if the blooms develop under brighter, cooler conditions. I don't know if this holds true for phalaenopsis orchids. However, I'll be growing this orchid under the brightest conditions its leaves can handle, and will hopefully see if any future blooms develop with a different shade.

Repotting young phalaenopsis with healthy roots

     As I do with all my new orchids, I repotted the phal so that I could examine the state of its roots.  Underneath the potting medium, the plant looked beautifully healthy. 

soil and perlite: an odd combination for phal orchid media

      I did find it strange that the original potting media seemed to be a 50:50 mix of perlite and common potting soil  This isn't a mix I am familiar with, or comfortable growing orchids in, so I repotted into the coarse bark media that I've been using on my other phals.

Using milk to clean and add shine to orchid leaves

     The leaves of the phal had some staining from hard water, and I used a method that I had read about here to clean them off.  I wiped the leaves with milk, waited a few minutes to let the milk set in, and then wiped it all off using a dry paper towel.  This natural method effectively wipes off water stains, and also adds a very mild shine to the leaves.

    And that's the end of a rather long-winded introduction to my new Phal Memoria Audrey Meldman 'Mendenhall'.


  1. Beautiful! The flowers look huge in comparison to tiny plant. Nice healthy roots and lovely "reality" color.

  2. Read your post about your new orchid and dissappointment about color hue. Was searching for orchid supplies last night and found Carter and Holmes Orchids site. They have the very same red hued orchid. Vividness of the color has to do with cooler temperatures as per orchid description...Good Luck!