Phalaenopsis Gold Tris 'Desk Pot'
This is the last of my new orchids, and the only one that arrived in bloom. I saved this post for last, in hopes that it would give the rest of the flower buds time to open. Instead, all buds blasted, the oldest flower wilted, and only two flowers now remain in bloom. It's common for phals to drop blowers after getting shocked into new growing conditions, and that's exactly what happened to me.
The flowers themselves on this miniature orchid were a bit of a disappointment to me, and a reminder to research orchids online rather than trusting photos from the vendor's websites. Here is what the picture on the website showed:
Phal Gold Tris as advertised: Link to plant listing
I was really attracted to the contrast between the dark pink centers and the yellow of the petals. The flowers I received were mostly pale yellow fading into white. It's still cute, of course, but it's not what I wanted. It is possible that differences in growing conditions may bring out more of the red, but searches online indicate that the pale yellow blooms I got are much more on par with the norm for this plant.
Phal Gold Tris 'Desk Pot' closeup, with and without flash
Even with the plant I received, the lighting used in photography makes a big difference in the appearance of the plant. Flash helps bring out a richer yellow color, as well as intensify the red on the lip. Natural white light, on the other hand, makes a very accurate portrayal of how the flowers actually look to my eyes.
Phal Gold Tris roots
The phal is relatively miniature, with 8 leaves ranging in size from 1.5" to 5.5". The spike is 7" tall, and the flowers are just under 2" wide. Since the moss on this phal did not look as fresh as on my other new phals, I decided to repot. Peeling away the outermost layer of moss revealed a central core of packed older moss in the middle of the root ball (picture, above left). This means that during last year's repotting, the vendor upgraded the phal to a larger pot without disturbing the root mass.
This is the same kind of up-potting that killed off the roots on my Wilsonara Pacific Perspective, although in that case I let the situation progress for many years before finally repotting the poor orchid. In this case, the older sphagnum moss was still in fairly good condition, and all the central roots were alive. They did however have many breaks, so I cut them off anyway. The phal has plenty of healthy newer unbroken roots to support itself with.
I repotted the phal into phal bark mix, since I am still not comfortable with using sphagnum moss for potting media. It stays wet for so much longer between waterings, that I am constantly worrying about rotting my orchids' roots. Maybe I'll come around to the benefits of moss media by the time I am ready to repot my two other new phals next spring.
Ultimately, even though this is not quite the phal I wanted, it is still cute and appears to be in great health. It did not cost all that much, so that if I find myself running out of shelf space for my more favored orchids, I won't feel guilty for bringing this one over to my windowsill at work.