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Cinnamon: kiss of death, or life?

This is a discussion on Cinnamon: kiss of death, or life? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Louis, As far as applying fungicide on roots, I get the reasoning/motivation behind it, as ...

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  1. #11
    Ennui's Avatar
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    Louis,
    As far as applying fungicide on roots,
    I get the reasoning/motivation behind it,
    as I must confess to doing it once, or twice.
    Sometimes, when caring for my orchids I feel
    "helpless" to effect a positive change,
    and just want to do something which will
    make stuff better,
    Now, or else.

    I'm trying to fight it,
    and just let them be,
    but sometimes it's hard to keep from poking at them.
    At least if I do succumb to cinnamoning the roots,
    I'll consider it more of a preventative on cuts,
    than a treatment for rot.

  2. #12
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    OK,

    After reading everyone's posts, I voted. I may use cinnamon more sparingly in future, in view of the opinions expressed. All the same, though, I think highly of its curative properties. I became a convert years ago when I had a bunch of flower & veggie seedlings damping off and read about the effectiveness of cinnamon in treating the condtion. I thought "What have I got to lose?" and sprinkled my mother's cinnamon shaker over them. Within a few hours the white mold (hyphae?) had vanished. The seedlings (including some that had looked really far gone) began to recover over the next several days. Such dramatic results impressed me. After reading about the desiccant effect, however, I am less inclined to use it on roots. Thanks for everyone's thoughts on this.

    Cheers,

    Rob

    P.S. My opinion is the majority--so far.

  3. #13
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    You know, I have to be honest here.

    I have *never* actually used cinnamon for anything orchid related. Not once. I have heard and read about it so freakin much though, that I figured if so many people are saying the same things about it, they must be right. So I just took up the ball and started telling people to "use cinnamon" on their orchid rot problems.

    Well, now that we're talking about this, I'm not so sure I should keep doing that without checking things out for myself.

    I know that historically, cinnamon has been used in poultices for its "antibacterial properties" but, quite frankly, I really don't know how *successfully* it was used in that regard, and whether it was really just applied to cover up the stench of a putrid wound.

    Around these parts, cinnamon sticks are placed inside sugar containers instead of rice grains, supposedly because they absorb moisture that would otherwise make the sugar clump. I have no idea if that really works or not, any more than I know what effect cinnamon is *really* going to have on orchid roots one way or the other. If everything I've heard about is true, it makes sense that the stuff would dry things out.

    But, like I said, I've never tried it.

    So I'm trying it now, and we can all see just exactly what effects--if any--cinnamon has on orchid plants.

    The first pic here is a regular old vanda root, perfectly healthy and just watered. The second pic is the same root, covered in cinnamon. Let's see if the cinnamon dries it out, or does absolutely nothing but make it smell like--cinnamon.

    The third and fourth pics are of a bacterial basal rot I found on a Paph. today. Rather than cut the leaf or apply powdered Captan fungicide (which is what I normally would have done) I applied cinnamon. Heavily. Let's see if it has any effect.
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  4. #14
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    These last two are of leaf tip fungus on another paph. The leaf has already been cut once, but the stuff came back. Here's the last two pics, the original cut leaf, and the leaf cut back again--and dusted with cinnamon.

    Here's my prediction with all of these:

    The cinnamon isn't going to accomplish anything. No effect whatsoever.

    But we'll see!

    Part of the "problem" with using it is that it's just ground up bark. It doesn't dissolve in water or anything, so sprinkling it around like this--what's that really going to do?

    I won't say anymore. Let's just wait and see what happens.
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    Louis -

    working for a Pharmacuetical firm I can tell you that ground up bark can have amazing properties. One of the leading chemotherapy drugs is made from a compound found in the bark of the yew tree.... And btw, you did put the cinnamon on a little bit heavy... I have used it when repotting and finding heavy rot; after cutting away the rot, I "dust" the cut areas with cinnamon. Then repot and water thoroughly. But maybe I've been lucky...

  6. #16
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    Doesn't watering afterward just flush the stuff right out and away?

    I can totally understand useful extracts being made from bark (cinnamon or otherwise) that's been somehow processed or boiled, I just don't think sprinkling some cinnamon around is going to do much good. But then again, I've never tried it.

    The vanda root was just dipped into the container, and the first leaf rot, well, there, the waxy layer on top of the leaf (I'm betting) is just going to keep the cinnamon from doing anything at all--how is it supposed to "get in" to the leaf tissue to do any good? It'll get washed away with the next watering as well since it's just sitting on top.

  7. #17
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    i havent voted because when i do use cinnamon, i tend to use it in combination with physan...i mix physan and cinnamon to make a paste and then i apply it to the leaf that ive cut. seems to work well, but with the combination, i cant say for certain the cinnamon is doing anything other than making a delicious-smelling crust.

    i dont use cinnamon on roots because ive heard about the drying thing too. id love to see the end result on the vanda root, .

  8. #18
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    Well, here, a few hours later, the vanda root has dried off, and there's no change in its appearance. It's just a vanda root with cinnamon on it.

    This is pretty much expected, since the velamen on aerial roots has a really thick outer layer that's designed to let water in easily but make it very hard for water to escape. I'll leave the stuff on, but I have a feeling that the next time I water the plant, the cinnamon is just going to wash off, leaving the root unchanged. Here's what it looks like now:
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  9. #19
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    Let's try a few other things that people are doing with cinnamon and roots.

    Here, a vanda again, we're taking two roots in active growth and cutting their tips off.

    Both roots are wetted down, and one is dipped in cinnamon, the other left totally alone. Here, if I'm understanding correctly, the idea is to get the cinnamon to form a cap or scab that will keep pathogens from getting in. Again, I've never dipped roots that I've cut in anything, I've just let them be and repotted, assuming that the cuts would scab over all by themselves.

    I'll go check these again in an hour to see what's actually happened:
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    Finally, let's see what happens to roots that are potted (non-aerial) when they're sprinkled with cinnamon.

    Here's a perfectly healthy Vuylstekeara with a good root system. We'll remove the media from the lower half of the root zone, sprinkle the exposed roots with cinnamon, then pot the plant back up again.

    In a few days, I'll water it as usual, then unpot the plant so we can check out what, if anything, happened to the roots.
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