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Need emergency care!

This is a discussion on Need emergency care! within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have two emergencies, but first some background: My two orchid plants sit (in plastic ...

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  1. #1
    Don
    Don is offline Junior Member
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    Default Need emergency care!

    I have two emergencies, but first some background:
    My two orchid plants sit (in plastic pots with a ridged saucer to catch water, but not leave the plant sitting in standing water) on a window ledge that gets about 1 hour of direct sun around 5:00 in the evening. The rest of the day it gets bright indirect light (There is an arcarde outside my office window, and so I only get direct light while the sun drops below the arcarde, but before it is blocked by a near-by building. With the changing of the seasons, a more intense light is not shining on the plants in the evening. In writingthis, I took the pot off the shelf to check the potting mixture, and the pots are almost hot to the touch. (Easily over 100F/40C). I've moved the pots as of today..

    I water with distilled water about once a week: drizzle a small amout of water repeated over a couple of hours until water appears in the dish under the plants--and then I stop. I fertilize with a commercial "orchid" fertilizer 19:17:31 (N:K:P) every two weeks (been doing this since May).

    Plant #1. I received a cymbidium with flowers last February. It has done gloriously. It is in what appears to be crumbled bark as a potting mixture. One main cluster has died, but 4 new shoots have been growing along quite well. I watered as usual last Friday. This monday morning, Many of the leaves on the original 2 clusters (mostly the older outer leaves) and 3 of the main (newest) shoots on the new clusters had turned a yellowish brown and were wilted.

    Plant #2. In May, a colleague seeing my healthy orchid plant brought me her almost-dead orchid and asked me to try to save it. I believe it is a dendrobium, but am not sure. (It has pinkish flowers according to the person who gave it to me--not much other help). However, its stems are swollen, but taper at each end, with regular nodes that make it look somewhat like Diffenbachia. Around each note is a onion-skin like covering. Two of these stems were dead when I got the plant. At the tips of two of the stems were very tiny new "plants"--2-3 leaves abount an inch long, with short (less than 1/4 inch fat white "roots" sticking out where the plant sprouted from the stem. At the base of the two dead stems was a couple of larger leaves (about 2" long) sprouting from the potting material. Because the potting material was as dry as a rock, I submersed the entire pot in water for an hour, let it drain in the sink, and then placed it on my ledge. Within a few days, the larger sprout from the base of the stems turned yellow-brown, drooped, and died. The other sprouts remained healthy, but never grew in size at all. Over the past couple of week, I've noticed the swollen stems turning brown, and today I noticed that they now are shriveling and can be almost completely flattened with a gentle squeeze. The leaves on both shoots are now getting wrinkled. (They are not yellow, they are not wilted, but have a crenelated appearance that wasn't there before.) I have the impulse to cut the "shoots" off the tops of the stems and plant them in the pot, but the potting mixture is actually what appears to be chunks of very soft wood wedged into the pot, with some shagnum moss on top.

    What am I doing wrong? Is is the newly-hot exposure the problem? Can I save these plants?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Don
    Don is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    OOPS! Typo in previous post: " A more intense is NOW shining on the plants"

    Sorry

    Don

  3. #3
    Gin's Avatar
    Gin
    Gin is offline Senior Member
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    drizzle a small amout of water repeated over a couple of hours
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Hi ! when you water use lots of it , a small amount will follow a trail and not get all of the mix wet . The Cymbid. likes to be moist and not totally dry out . The other one sounds like it has lost roots , If it is a Dend. they like to drink and dry . Could also be the high temps. they were in .
    A question are the bulbs on the Cymbid. soft ? or hard and dry ? Gin

  4. #4
    orchid-man's Avatar
    orchid-man is offline Not Normal
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    Don ,if you can post a photo it will help us with your problems and also help with the ID of the second plant.

    The cymbidium would probabily like more water than that especially if the pot is that hot which is something that they will not like.Generally the cymbids like it cool .

    With plant #2 have a look at this thread iy may help

    http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...ead.php?t=5475

  5. #5
    Piper's Avatar
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    Default

    Hi Don,

    It sounds like you have a good sense of what you're doing! But 100 degrees on the pot surface? That will give you baked orchid pretty quickly!

    What kind of pots are the plants in, and where do you live? Evening sun causing that sort of pot temp sounds equatorial!

    The old saying, a picture's worth a thousand words, is true. If you can snap and post some, it will really help up us identify what's upsetting your plants.

    If your pots are that hot, then that's certainly an issue. Don't worry about light at the moment, move them and get them cooled down! Orchids don't mind a period of lesser light at all, but high temps can kill them in a hurry.

    The second orchid might not be able to be saved. What you're describing sounds like it's potted in a chunk of coconut husk. That's not bad, and a lot of mass market commercial growers will use it. But it's a pain to get off the roots. That's what you'd need to do. If the roots are mostly dead (either rotted from too much water, or crispy from too little), you'll be fighting an uphill battle. Personally, I'd pitch the orchid and get yourself a healthy new one. That's much more rewarding than trying to save someone else's attempted murder victim.

    But I know we've all been there and can't stand the thought of tossing something that might even have a fraction of a percentile of a chance at survival. Don't worry - you'll get over that in time!

    Get the pots cooled and post some pictures and we'll be better able to advise you.

    Julie

    PS - Oh, and welcome to the forum!

  6. #6
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Hi Don,

    Some great advice from the senior members here. Do post a photo so we can help you further. Welcome to the forum!

    Cheers!
    BD

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