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My mini orchids are not doing well

This is a discussion on My mini orchids are not doing well within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hi everyone, I'm just learning the ropes in this ridiculously complicated board posting mechanism, so ...

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  1. #11
    SuZCC's Avatar
    SuZCC is offline Member
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    Hi everyone,
    I'm just learning the ropes in this ridiculously complicated board posting mechanism, so bear with me.
    I think I just figured out my problem.
    I never noticed that the orchids which are getting yellow leaves and leaf drop are the ones that came in little ordinary plant pots (not orchid pots) The roots are therefore not getting the air circulation they should. (In this shipment that I got in the mail in Dec., I also received some mini orchids that were in orchid pots: Vandofinetia blaupunkt and phal equestris are both blooming and exquisite) You'd think I would have made the connection--it doesn't take Sherlock Holmes.
    Additionally, I made some potentially fatal watering mistakes. i heard at an orchid lecture that you should soak orchids in a tub of water for 10 min., then let them drain.
    This is instead of watering from the top. If all of my pots had been orchid pots, the excess water would have drained. But it stayed in the medium, creating rot.
    I only hope that they are salvageable!!!
    So: should you soak orchids instead of top watering? (assuming they are in orchid pots)
    Thanks all, I will post photos ASAP.

  2. #12
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuZCC View Post
    Hi everyone,
    I'm just learning the ropes in this ridiculously complicated board posting mechanism, so bear with me.
    I hope you don't find the forum ridiculously complicated. I try very hard to make things easy for members and guest of all computer skills while hopefully keeping things fun and beautiful. You can always pm me with suggestions on ways to make the forum easier to use.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuZCC
    So: should you soak orchids instead of top watering? (assuming they are in orchid pots)
    Thanks all, I will post photos ASAP.
    We water from the top, but grow in a greenhouse. If you water from the top, just water the medium and not the plant's crown or foliage. It is okay to get water on them, they actually like it, but make sure they dry off pretty quickly. Run a fan blowing directly on them. The air should be strong enough to move the foliage around just a bit.

    Good luck!

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #13
    SuZCC's Avatar
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    I went today and got orchid bark and repotted all of my orchids. I didn't have styrofoam peanuts so I demolished a styrofoam insert from the box a computer we bought came in. I spent at least an hour potting about a dozen or so orchids. They all looked happier after they were in their new potting medium. Am I crazy or have you all had this experience?
    The newly potted plant automatically looks healthier.

    I am keeping my fingers crossed that they revive!
    Last edited by Brutal_Dreamer; March 10th, 2008 at 01:36 AM. Reason: removed vender name. please see the FAQ's

  4. #14
    SuZCC's Avatar
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  5. #15
    pavel's Avatar
    pavel is offline change is the only constant
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuZCC View Post
    I also did not know you need to repot in new medium after they have been shipped!
    That's not written in stone, Suz. It is simply something to keep in mind that you should check for. Sometimes the media will be just fine and dandy.

    Then too, sometimes the media is good for the person/company who grew the chid but not for you. [This is one of those different media for different people/environments situations.] For instance, a friend of mine grows all his chids in ProMix. However, I can't. So anytime I got an orchid from him, I'd have to make sure I repotted it in a media that would work for me when I got it home.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuZCC View Post
    Packing peanuts! Who knew?
    You can also use wine corks, large chunks of broken crockery, as well as lava rock (the latter of which was already mentioned, I believe.)

    Quote Originally Posted by SuZCC View Post
    Also, if your orchids have been placed into decorative containers that do not get good air movement, don't put them back into those containers. Grow your orchids in a plastic growers pot.
    Unglazed terra cotta pots can also be used.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuZCC View Post
    My orchids are all potted in plastic pots (not orchid pots, tho! most pots are 2.5 in., some 3 in.) Except one, which is mounted on a tiny bark slab. This one seems to be doing OK--I drench it every day with water from the sink. I only water the others once a week or less.
    Well it sounds like mounts may be a good way for you to go, at least for some chids. Keep an eye out for how that one does for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuZCC View Post
    Additionally, I made some potentially fatal watering mistakes. i heard at an orchid lecture that you should soak orchids in a tub of water for 10 min., then let them drain.

    So: should you soak orchids instead of top watering? (assuming they are in orchid pots)
    As BD mentioned, a better answer is "That depends". While it is a bit frustrating at times, the challenge to orchid growing often comes down to discovering what works for you.

    Any greenhouse grower I know waters from the top -- but then they usually have EXCELLANT air circulation so the water doesn't just sit in the plant's crown or leaf axils all day. I do know folks who grow in their basements and who also overhead water -- but their growing area is heated and has good air circulation. The problem is if the water DOES sit in the crown or leaf axils for too long -- especially if your growing environment is cool. The result is often a bacterial or fungal infection that then rots out the crown/stem of the plant. If you have great air circulation, the water evaporates before it becomes a problem. So for the home grower who lives in the north [who, to save $ on the fuel bill, has lower the household temps], it can often be wiser to simply soak chids instead and so avoid getting water in the crown and leaf axils.

    Quote Originally Posted by SuZCC View Post
    I only hope that they are salvageable!!!
    Very good chance that they are, if the roots are completely shot you may need to try the sphag & bag method.

    You mentioned have been at an orchid lecture. Were you at an orchid society meeting? If so, and if there is another one coming up, I'd recommend taking a few of your ailing plants with you. Someone there might be able to look them over and even show you /point out directly some of the things to look for.

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