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I got a beautiful blooming Phalaenopsis orchid as a gift last week (store-bought). This is my first ever orchid. I looked at some videos about care and replanting and I am concerned that my orchid is not thriving.

Since I got it, it was kept in the clear pot on a tray, and placed in front of a window, but not in direct sunlight. It was not watered at all. The window is opened a couple times a day.

My first concern is a white dust or spiderweb on top of the soil. It looks the closest to mold, but I didn't find anything similar online, and I also heard that some types of mold are beneficial for orchids.

Top of the pot with white clouds/cobwebs

My second concern is about watering the orchid. A tutorial for beginners suggested to put a skewer in the pot, and only water the orchid (by submerging the pot in water and letting it drip) when the skewer is completely dry. This should happen about once a week, but my skewer is still wet. That's when I noticed that the roots at the bottom of the pot are green-yellow or white, which seemed wrong. The roots are also partially flat and curved to perfectly fit in the packed pot.

I have removed the orchid from the pot, and placed it in a larger bowl to examine the roots and let it dry. It still holds the shape of the pot firmly, and the bottom 2cm/inch of the "dirt" seem somewhat moist to the touch. Most of the roots are firm, but some roots at the bottom of the pot are soft and "deflated".

Wet skewer and roots without the pot

Are the two issues related? What should I do to hopefully keep the orchid thriving in the long run? I do not have any specialized fertilizer or equipment at hand and will not be able to buy any quickly.

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Often the plastic pots orchids are in when sold do not have drainage holes . I believe the plan is the grower waters them ,then they do not need water for weeks or months while sitting in a shop; often a grocery store where plant care is not the clerks main job. When I buy an orchid at a grocery store ,the first thing I do is discard the pot and replant in a pot with several holes for air circulation.

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  • The pot mine came in had small holes at the bottom, like regular flower pots have. There were no holes on the sides. I saw people were putting their orchids on a mesh to allow air circulation below the pot, so I did that, too – drali Oct 27 at 6:51

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