So the story goes like this: after making a huge purchase at a nursery in September 2014, my husband told the guy ringing up our order to throw in the lovely Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis ) I had picked out for myself as a present. And since this is Israel where purchases in many family owned businesses can (and should) be bargained for, well, I got that orchid as a gift! And I happily placed it in the center of my Moroccan brass tray coffee table, and to my great surprise it just kept on blooming and blooming for yes, an ENTIRE YEAR! This was my first orchid and I really truly could not believe my great luck, and figured that just as soon as the shemittah year was over and we were allowed to buy plants again, I would head back to that same nursery and get myself another orchid. Of course, I did plan to try and get the orchid to re-bloom, but I didn't have great hopes as I don't have access to any orchid fertilizer, and my experience with getting an orchid to rebloom is a big zero, since this is my first orchid!
After all the blooms fell off, I did cut the stalks down to half their size and I did seal the tips with wax as a friend advised, and then I just waited, and continued to water the plant about twice a week. And of course I put the orchid in a spot with bright light but no direct sun. And while I at first confused some aerial roots with flower stalks, after a few months I spied some flower stalks that were really flower stalks, two of them infact! And after those stalks grew a bit, I put the original stakes and the little clips that look like hair clips back into the pot to give the stalks some support. And then another amazing thing happened, some new shoots started to grow from the original stalks, so I now have four stems of orchids on their way to producing blooms, simply amazing!
So, given my limited experience, i would say, that when purchasing an orchid, get one that already has large leaves like mine, as those leaves are the secret to a flourishing plant, I do believe. Orchids can be pricey so do your research as to how to care for them before investing your hard earned pennies, and stay tuned to see mine in bloom in another month or two. And hopefully I'll make it back to that nursery to get another one, as two blooming orchids in my living room would be divine!
Note: The Moth Orchid, Phalaenopsis, comes in a few colors, including a vivid pink, and is the only orchid I have actually seen for sale here in Israel, very likely because it is the easiest to reproduce and bring to a lovely flowering state. That means of course that once out of the nursery is it also easier to care for than other orchids, so this is the one to try for newbies like me!