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Pleurothallis mathildae in bad shape

This is a discussion on Pleurothallis mathildae in bad shape within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hi all! I'm new to the forum and pretty new to orchids too, or at ...

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  1. #1
    Maxy24 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Pleurothallis mathildae in bad shape

    Hi all! I'm new to the forum and pretty new to orchids too, or at least to proper orchid care. Back in November I purchased an orchid from a plant sale they had on my college campus. It was a Pleurothallis mathildae. The only orchids I knew anything about at the time were Phals, so I took the little orchid out of the moss it was planted in and put it in bark. The plant didn't like this at all and over time the leaves shriveled. At one point it started to get new growth, what looked like stems, but then they just stopped growing, never coming up more than 1/2 inch or less. I increased my watering, which seems to help the shriveling a little, but it did not return to normal. I was very busy and had almost no money so the poor guy got neglected, I should have changed his potting medium a lot sooner, I know.

    I have been unable to find any information on this plant, the only thing I could find on proper care was to mount it which I do not want to do for various reasons. I'm not sure if it can even be saved at this point, it has been shriveled for so long. But now that I am home from school I can actually buy stuff for it, so need to know what to plant it in. Should I go back to moss? Today I planted it in a coconut fiber and perlite mix (since we had those at the house already) to see if it can be revived by the added moisture.


    I'm looking for any info you all have on this species. How much water and light it likes, what temps it likes, just general care information (assuming it can be saved). Thanks!

  2. #2
    pavel's Avatar
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    Alas, this is why when venturing into foreign territory, it behooves one to immediately do some research rather than assume the new plant likes the same conditions as all the other ones one possesses.

    Whether it can be saved depends upon how far gone it is and what conditions you can provide. A Google search should give you some avenues to explore. Many if not most of the pleuros detest drying out and must be kept damp (not sopping wet). Bark can be done but, IME, is harder to keep moist enough. (But again that is in MY growing conditions which could well be radically different than yours.) This orchid prefers cool (even cold) to intermediate temps -- so nothing above the low 70s F, and more likely preferred in the 60s.

    Too bad its fairing poorly, this species has delightful little flowers.

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    That is a lovely little pleurothalid Maxy24, but as Pavel says they are a bit tricky to keep in bark mixes, particularly if you grow your plants indoors. These miniature plants come from rain forest that are high in the mountains of Brazil. This habitat is also known as cloud forest and that should give you an idea of what the plant needs: cool temperatures and a constantly high relative humidity. This particular plant would probably grow best mounted on a small bark or treefern mount with a bit of sphagnum moss around its roots, but that would only work if you have a cool and moist greenhouse as it would be very difficult to keep the mount constantly moist in an indoor setting.If you want to grow it in a pot then the medium should be something like pure sphagnum moss (which will probably need to be replaced every year) or a mixture of coconut husk chips (or medium/fine bark), perlite and sphagnum. Keep it out of direct sunlight during the warmest part of the day and it will even be happy if you keep it in a completely north-facing window where it never gets sun. These plants grow best in little groups, surrounded by other pleurothallids so that you can put them all together on top of a tray filled with gravel. You fill the tray with water to just below the level where the plant pots touch the gravel, so that the pots aren't standing in the water but actually above it. The gravel helps the water evaporate and that surrounds the plants with a slightly more humid atmosphere.

    BTW, when you say coconut fibre, do you mean coconut husk chips or the actual long stringy fibres?

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    Thank you both for the advice, it is very helpful. I am hopeful that it will recover, but only time will tell. I'll go get some sphagnum moss in the next week or so to put it in. I'm not sure how to keep it cool right now, we're going to be in the 90's for the next few days and right now none of the air conditioners are in, but maybe we'll put them in soon. I'll get it on a tray of gravel right now to keep the humidity up.

    The coconut fiber is neither of those things. It's the stuff they sell for reptiles (Eco Earth), it's ground up coconut husk, so sort of resembles soil, just ground up brown stuff. I mixed it with perlite so it's probably a little more perlite than coconut fiber. I wanted to get it into something better than bark and that's the best I had around the house.

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    Hi, Maxy! Welcome to the forum. I hope we can help you with this plant and turn you into an orchid fanatic. Where are you located?

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    Thank you for the welcome panam, I am in Massachusetts. I'll go add that to my profile to make things easier for everyone.

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    Just wanted to say welcome Maxy. Good luck with your Pleurothallis mathildae.

    cheers,
    BD

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    Thank you for the welcome. I think the leaves are looking better, most of them anyway, the pleating/wrinkling is going away. They have discoloration though, the leaves have had a gross brown color on them (mostly the back of the leaves) since I got it, not sure what it's from. Most but not all leaves have it. I'll post pictures later.

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    So here are photos of the leaf discoloration. It is on the back of a lot of the leaves and the front of some (though it looks different depending on where it is). The discoloration on the back of the leaves was there when I got it, I don't think the front stuff was but I honestly don't remember. Sorry the pictures aren't great.

    So here is the overall plant, you can see the brown color in many places
    ---- Unable to post Photo from Photobucket - Please see this link on how to share photobucket photos in OrchidTalk ----

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    I don't think your upload worked Maxy, I can't see any pics.

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