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Poor Dehydrated Orchid

This is a discussion on Poor Dehydrated Orchid within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; This onc certainly had a stressful winter. For some reason it looks unhappy, leaves droopy, ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Poor Dehydrated Orchid

    This onc certainly had a stressful winter. For some reason it looks unhappy, leaves droopy, and has shriveled pbulbs. It has some small new growths, but they're not growing (much). Perhaps it had a hard winter with the low humidity, or maybe I didn't water it enough. For whatever reason, it's not getting better with the coming of spring. These symptoms sound like root rot...but I'm glad to say, it can't be. The roots are...



    ...great! So I'm guessing underwatering/dehydration. I think that's the cause, agree?

    This is the plant before winter...

    This is the plant now...

    Sometimes a certain orchid just doesn't seem to like me...

    Okay, now to fix the problem, I plan to rehydrate it. Any ideas? (I want to stay away from root rot, fungus caused from misting too much, etc.) Do you think this plant can be nursed back to health? I wish it'll be back to normal, you know, nice straight leaves, fat pbs, growing...

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    Yikes, Lily, you're right - that's one unhappy camper! Boy that's some difference from before the winter season. When I saw that mass of roots I thought they looked pretty dessicated. I think you've nailed the problem - rehydration.

    The important thing to remember is that you can't fix the problem overnight. If you overwater it in you mercy, you'll drown it. You're looking for a long term fix, not a short term miracle.

    My choice, knowing many here will have different preferences, would be a loose packed sphagnum (New Zealand if you can get it) for potting media. I'd work the moss in and around that root mass as much as possible for best coverage. (Soak the roots in luke warm water for 15 mins and try and tease apart as best you can. Looks like you'll need a larger pot while you're at it.)

    Once repotted, I'd water just as the surface begins to dry out. If the moss isn't packed too tightly, that should give the roots plenty of air and moisture at the same time. If the plant is tippy, stake it rather than packing the potting mixture more densely. (That will kill the air spaces and promote rot.)

    Good luck!
    Julie

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    look at all those roots!
    I'd like to second piper's suggestion to go up a pot size.
    I don't even see any medium in that root mass at all,
    i would think perhaps the reason for the dessication
    is that the plant was practically growing bare-root,
    what with hardly any medium to retain moisture.
    if it were my plant, i'd go up a pot size, but use the same medium
    that i was happy/familiar with, or maybe
    go a grade smaller
    or increase the amount of the moisture retentive component.
    (i know: "or, or, or"... you'll have to forgive,
    my usual grief is overwatering, not under)
    but before i repotted, i'd try some sort or rehydrating regimine,
    letting it soak 1/2 hr to and hour for a few days in a row,
    and parking it in a high humidity environment to plump those bulbs up.
    i don't think that plant hates you though,
    roots = love

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    I second the above posts , comparing the pictures ,in the second pict. it appears the plant recieved higher light then in the first one , they use more water when grown in high light conditions ,heat is the enemy .I would shade it somewhat until it recovers . Gin

  5. #5
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    I agree: too much light, not enough moisture. Those pbulbs most likely shrank because the plant spent its stored energy putting out new roots in search of water, and if it bloomed in the meantime as well, that process used up even more energy.

    There's no short term fix, since PBs once shrunken will usually not fatten up again, and if you try to force that by overwatering, the good roots left will just rot.

    If those roots are all alive, use your fingers to pry the bottom third of the root mass apart before you repot, shake out the medium that's trapped in the middle, and go with a medium whose qualities (moisture retention, etc.) you're familiar and comfortable with.

    A lot of those roots look like they might be dead from dryness though, so if that's the case, don't pot up a size, instead, clip away what's dead and go back into the same pot, or even a size smaller if that's all you need to accomodate what live roots remain.

    The plant looks definitely salvageable, so don't despair!

    (And by the way, good pics and post, Lily, to show what's going on...)

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    Louis,

    It might be helpful to clarify how to tell "dead from dryness" roots from healthy dry ones. It's a bit gray for me at times when I'm repotting some species. I tend to give a healthy snip (certainly to the crispy critters, but also to some in doubt). You might have more specific guidelines.

    Julie

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    Well, in the pic, I'm going mostly by color, but I still can't be sure which is why I qualified my answer. In real life though, dead from dryness oncidiinae roots will look intact and light-colored (rather than dark brown colored and wet from rot), but the velamen will still be hollow and will pull away really easily from the root thread. A root that's just dried off but still healthy will be firmly textured and plump, even though lightly colored, and it'll tend to snap somewhat if you go to break it.

    Hope that describes it a little better...

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    In real life though, dead from dryness oncidiinae roots will look intact and light-colored (rather than dark brown colored and wet from rot), but the velamen will still be hollow and will pull away really easily from the root thread.
    I tried a few roots and pulled...the velamen pulled off pretty easily! The velamen looks pretty thin to me.

    Uh-oh...is the orchid doomed now?

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    No lilly I don't feel it is doomed just yet! Give it a little while soak the roots as suggested. then jently tease the roots apart. The obvious dead ones will pull off like suggested. I would trim the roots after soaking it. This way if there is any life in the velimen then it can revive a little and not give a false dead reaction. Ok now that you have timed is there any roots left? You should have a few left because the areal roots look pretty good to me. I wouls use sphag just because thats what I use on everything except catts. Its eay to tell when to water because the moss gets crispy on top. The only problem with it is you have to fluff it every so often because it compacts down. I accualy have a couple cats in it too that are doing fine. I think they have addapted to the wetter environment like S/H. Anyways repot her and wait to see if you get some new growth. If there is hardly no roots besides the areal you may want to sphag and bag it untill new growth begins. It keep the humidity real high ro promote growth. Just make sure to ring out the moss good before bagging it. Thats my two cents.

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