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  • 1 Post By Catt Mandu

Psychilis krugii: Looking for suggestions on improving culture

This is a discussion on Psychilis krugii: Looking for suggestions on improving culture within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have a friend on another orchid forum that sent me a plant of Psychilis ...

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  1. #1
    Catt Mandu's Avatar
    Catt Mandu is offline Senior Member
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    Default Psychilis krugii: Looking for suggestions on improving culture

    I have a friend on another orchid forum that sent me a plant of Psychilis krugii a couple years ago. Psychilis is in the subtribe Laeliinae, along with Brassavola, Encyclia, Cattleya, Laelia, and of course a bunch of other genera. The plant was sent to me in a small Vanda basket with some tree fern fiber, and has remained in that basket. I will try to post a photo later on.

    Unfortunately, the roots never seem to grow to be more than just "stubs". Not dying, but not growing well. So, the plant is still living, but not really thriving. Also, growths are getting progressively smaller, always a sign of an unhappy plant.

    Here is what I have found out about the genus Psychilis. The species is fairly widespread in the Caribbean. The species tend to grow in inhospitable areas; not jungle-like at all. Environments often have cactus and dry scrub-shrub type plants.

    The species P. krugii is endemic to Puerto Rico, it is a fairly common in the dry, hot coastal hills in the southwest part of the island. It is common in dry forest areas near Guanica, PR, also growing in among cactus and scrub. The plants tend to grow low on the scrubby bushes, almost on the ground; they are partially shaded by a tangle of dry brush, twigs, vines and cactus above, but are still in bright light. Rainfall mostly occurs during the "hurricane months", August to November. The remainder of the year, rainfall may occur as brief showers, but soaking rains are rare.

    I saw this recently on YouTube:
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...80642063,d.eXY

    Based on the video, and some other reading, I was considering 2 possible choices for changing the growing conditions:

    (1) re-plant it as a mount on a branch, or

    (2) plant it in a clay pot with "lava rock" as the growing medium.

    I am going with the assumption that the roots are maybe not drying out enough between watering, so I will probably water less, maybe only once a week or once every other week in the winter, and whatever rain it gets in the summer. The mount and the lava rock should both allow faster drying. In terms of light, I think growing it like a Brassavola or Vanda might be best.

    I would be interested in hearing some opinions on the changes proposed above. Bonus points if you happen to grow any Psychilis species or hybrids! I've also tried contacting the friend mentioned above, but he participates less often in the other forum, so I am not sure I will be able to get in touch with him.

  2. #2
    coeruleo's Avatar
    coeruleo is offline Night Bloomer
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    Default

    how do the roots look? some twig epiphytes have very short roots. photos of roots might help to tell if too dry, rotting etc. aside from too much sun and bugs, pretty much every other orchid problem is root related. from websearch they looki related to an encyclia maybe. i grow encyclias well in treefern pots.

  3. #3
    Catt Mandu's Avatar
    Catt Mandu is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Hi coeruleo.

    I removed the plant from the wooden basket (with tree fern) that it was growing in. The roots down in the basket were in bad shape - obviously dead a long time; those roots were maybe 3 - 4 cm long, at most. When I get new growths, the new roots that develop never grow down into the tree fern; always stay short (mostly 1 cm or less in length) and just at the base of the pseudobulbs. The new roots stay alive, but remain very short.

    Maybe I can post photos later.

    You are right, Psychilis is in the same subtribe as Encyclia, Cattleya, Brassavola, etc. Most species (including P. krugii) seem to come from dry scrub "forest" areas.

  4. #4
    Catt Mandu's Avatar
    Catt Mandu is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    I had decided to remove my P. krugii and switch it to a mount. I removed the plant from the wood basket, only to find that most of the roots were bad:

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    There are a few short live roots. Hopefully enough to aid in recovery. I trimmed off the dead roots, leaving the live ones:

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    The mount that I decided to use is a piece of dogwood from a tree I had to cut down earlier this year:

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    The branch has a fairly rough bark and should be easy for growing roots to attach to. I attached the plant to the branch without any sphagnum moss, etc., figuring that would work better, given the plant's semi-arid adaptation:

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