Mary Jo’s Orchid Corner – Phalaenopsis

Camden, Maine may seem like a funny place to find tropical orchids, but Mary Jo has a rather large collection that she displays throughout the Hartstone Inn and the Hideaway Inn.

Phalaenopsis (phals), Paphiopedilum (paphs) and Oncidiums (onc) are varieties that Mary Jo finds most easy to grow in the home. These hybrids are usually considered “beginner orchids,” largely because they will re-bloom under the conditions that most windowsill growers can offer. They require less light, about the same as for African violets, and will adapt to the humidity levels that are present in most homes.

Mary Jo will be the first to tell you that if you want to cultivate orchids, you need to be willing to experiment and to be prepared to lose some. You should have a place in mind where you intend to place your orchids because some varieties like to sit near a sunny window while others prefer indirect light. Mary Jo says the best advice for someone who wants to start growing orchids is to really look at your environment and see what conditions you will be able to offer. What kind of humidity does your home have? How much light exists in your rooms?

She loves that you can buy affordable orchids. She recommends picking one up at Home Depot or your local grocery store for as little as twenty dollars. If you kill it, it will have already lasted two to three months, which is much longer than cut flowers do. As your interests grow and you want to acquire more specialized orchids, Mary Jo highly recommends buying from these three fabulous growers:, and

A great resource for Orchid information is the “American Orchid Society (AOS)”and their website is:

For further information on Phalaenopsis (aka: Moth Orchids), click on the following link to see a PDF file known as a culture sheet. This page will supply you with all of the basic requirements for growing the most common household orchid, the Phalaenopsis:

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