Shop Orchid Care OrchidTalk Orchid Forum Weather Station Links Nursery

Welcome to OrchidTalk Orchid Forums


The Friendliest Orchid Community on the Internet!


  •  » Learn to Repot your Orchids
  •  » Learn Orchid Care Tips and Secrets
  •  » Find the perfect Orchid for your Growing Environment
  •  » Chat with Orchid Growing Professionals

OrchidTalk - "Bringing People Together to Grow Orchids Better!"


Let us help you grow your Orchids better; Join our community today.


YES! I want to register an account for free right now!


Register or Login now to remove this advertisement.

Results 1 to 10 of 10
Like Tree4Likes
  • 4 Post By Carolla

How to Water a Dehydrated Orchid

This is a discussion on How to Water a Dehydrated Orchid within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; Hello I was hoping someone would be able to help me with an issue I'm ...

Click here to increase the font size Click here to reduce the font size
  1. #1
    GreyThumb is offline Junior Member
    Real Name
    Joel
    My Grow Area
    Under Lights
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    26
    Member's Country Flag

    Default How to Water a Dehydrated Orchid

    Hello

    I was hoping someone would be able to help me with an issue I'm having. I'll try to include pictures later, when I'm not at work. My question is how do you water an orchid that has been deprived or water? For instance, I believe that I've been under watering my big box store Phalaenopsis as well as my Miltassia Shelob. It's just a guess with the phals, since they seem to be doing okay, but I know I'm under watering the Miltassia Shelob, since the bulbs are starting to wrinkle. I'm not necessarily doing a lot of harm, because it's spike and flowered several times, but I do believe I'm under watering it and I'd like to fix that.

    Secondly, I recently went to a big box store to look at potting media and they had a bargain shelf that included some small phals. They were marked down to $3.00 a piece, so I bought 4 of them. I figure I can try mounting the ones that survive and use them as learning dummies. They are definitely under watered and shriveled. They are already in small pots, packed with sphagnum moss. On closer inspection I found out that they're actually in pots half the size of the already small pot and just had sphagnum moss filler. What sense that makes, I have no idea, unless they were trying to keep up humidity and moisture while trying to keep air around the root. I haven't had a chance to peel them out and find out. I'll be repotting them very soon.

    So I have several partially and fully under watered plants. I need to rehydrate them. The question is how. I know with people and animals that trying to rehydrate them very quickly, such as allowing them to drink a lot of cold water, will cause them to be sick and often vomit the water back up. Is it the same for orchids, in theory? Will over watering harm them? Do I just need to water them a little more frequently till they are back up or can I water them once a day till they look hydrated. I've been watching the roots I can see and the phals take about a day to go from the green of watered to the grey of thirsty. I figure its safe to water then. The Miltassia barely goes green and goes back to grey very quickly. I don't know if it's because it's watered and that's not a good indicator or if they bulbs are thirsty and just soaking it up quickly. I've tried to compromise by just misting the roots above the bark a couple of times a day. It's just enough water to turn them greenish and they'll stay that way a few hours and then be whitish again.

    So any help on how to water these dehydrated plants in a safe manner would be appreciated. These are small plants in small pots. I don't have any clear pots that small. I think I'm going to cut the bottom off of some 20oz pepsi bottle and put some drain holes in them. These would roughly double the size of the pots they're currently in. Thanks for the help. Let me know if I can water them anytime the roots go grey or if I need to keep it down to a few times a week. I don't want to over water any more than I under water.

  2. #2
    Carolla's Avatar
    Carolla is offline Senior Member
    Real Name
    Carol
    My Grow Area
    Under Lights
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Phals, Catts, Onc. Alliance
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Eastern WA State, USA
    Posts
    1,503

    Default

    First the store plants in moss likely have rotten roots and are unable to take in much water. That will require different care than just underwatered plants. Get them out of the moss as soon as you can to prevent further damage. They are better off without a pot in the air than rotting in the moss. If their roots are rotting, they need to have good humidity and the roots need to dry out between waterings, like all Phals.

    For your others, I would give them a good soak, so they take up what they can, then let them almost dry out and do it again. It won't help them to over water and rot their roots, they have already adjusted to your care. You can water them more often (most likely), soak them when you do, but be sure they aren't wet the next time you water. That will kill the roots.

    Your Shelob will love humidity, air movement and possibly watering more often. Watch the media, don't keep it "wet", but water it just before it dries out. They are susceptible to fungal infection on the leaves from lack of air movement. Watch for spots and spray with a fungicide at the first sign.

  3. #3
    ksriramkumar is offline Senior Member
    My Grow Area
    Outside 24/7
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Vanda, Phals & Dendrobium
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Bangalore,India
    Posts
    6,790
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    Concur with Carol.Check the roots on the phal and decide to repot ASAP if you have a rot

  4. #4
    raybark's Avatar
    raybark is online now Senior Member
    Real Name
    Ray Barkalow
    My Grow Area
    Under Lights
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Oak Island NC
    Posts
    1,274

    Default

    That was odd... Posted a message and it didn't show up. Then is showed up doubled in the single post. "Edited" it to remove the double entry, and there was a blank text entry screen, so I deleted. Let me try again.

    When faced with dehydrated plants, I immerse the plant for an hour or two in 80°-85°F water containing a rooting hormone. A tablespoon of KelpMax per gallon is the most effective I've seen, but a teaspoon per gallon of fresh K-L-N or SuperThrive may also work. Some water will be taken up by the plant, but the hormones will stimulate root growth, allowing a faster recovery.

    I do have to disagree with an earlier comment: water does not cause rot. if it did, then most of the plants we grow would be extinct, as many stay saturate in their natural habitats. And...healthy tissue does not rot. The issue is suffocation.

    orchids, unlike most terrestrial plants, do the majority of the respiratory gas exchange processes through their roots. Stifle that, and they suffocate and die, then rot. if you choose a potting medium that is sufficiently "open" and airy, it can stay permanently wet with no issues.

  5. #5
    GreyThumb is offline Junior Member
    Real Name
    Joel
    My Grow Area
    Under Lights
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    26
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    These sound like pretty good suggestions. I did realize I need to get them out of the straight moss. I figure the stores do this so that they hold water and won't die a quickly on the shelf, even though it's not good for the plants. I know they don't have qualms about that sort of thing, as they also sell the succulents that have rocks glued in so they can't get water. I waited to repot one that that's been in moss, because it was flowering, now that they're gone, I plan to repot in a mix of mostly orchid bark with torn bits of moss mixed in to hold a small amount of water. I've also recently acquired some packing peanuts, and I've heard people mix these in, but I think the bark might accomplish the same purpose. I think the porous rock people add sounds like a good idea,--. Are they just talking about the lava rock like you can get for a grill or outdoor fire place or is it something special? I'll continue with my current watering regiment, but water a little more frequently till the bulbs plump up.

    The Miltassia seems to be pretty healthy, but I did notice a spot on what I'll call, for lack of a better word, the main root. By that I mean that there are the leaves and bulbs, and the base of each forms what looks like a thick paper covered 'main root' that all the smaller roots come off of. I noticed that in the crotch of two of the older bulbs, it looked like it had some blackness to it. I'll try to find a good fungicide to hit it with just in case. Will any fungicide do well on an orchid? Do I have to cut the strength? Do in need to try to peel away that paper to get the fungicide in there really well, or do I just add it to water and let it soak in like one of you guys suggested with the fertilizer? Thanks.

  6. #6
    Carolla's Avatar
    Carolla is offline Senior Member
    Real Name
    Carol
    My Grow Area
    Under Lights
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Phals, Catts, Onc. Alliance
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Eastern WA State, USA
    Posts
    1,503

    Default

    Yes, sorry I was unclear about the need for respiration and air to the roots, its not about water, its about being sure that they have both water and air. The tightly packed moss doesn't breathe well enough in most home situations and even more so at grocery or box stores (where they have no idea generally how to care for them) and will usually rot the roots. I'm particularly unhappy about the moss thing right now because my favorite mini-phal looks pretty bad and I had kept it in moss being very careful with water, but it still shows damage months later. The two I immediately pulled out and repotted are doing fine. In fact one of them is spiking, I just hope I can keep the one I like so well alive until it recovers.

  7. #7
    Ky_rine's Avatar
    Ky_rine is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Gender
    Female
    Posts
    20

    Default

    So glad I found this thread! Several of my dendrobium got dehydrated... I have been trying to revive them but failed a few times.
    I can't wait to try some of the tips and see the results.

  8. #8
    Maida's Avatar
    Maida is offline Junior Member
    My Grow Area
    Windowsill
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    No favorites yet
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    SE Wisconsin by Lake Michigan
    Posts
    6
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    I put a very dehydrated orchid in a glass container I found at Goodwill (giant brandy snifter) Added loose, moist sphagnum moss. Covered the whole thing with celophane wrap to hold moisture and it completly rejuvenated the plant. Sprouting new leaves and roots.

  9. #9
    Yug's Avatar
    Yug
    Yug is offline Mostly-Species Snob
    My Grow Area
    Outside 24/7
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Vanda
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Hawaii
    Posts
    559
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by raybark View Post
    That was odd... Posted a message and it didn't show up. Then is showed up doubled in the single post. "Edited" it to remove the double entry, and there was a blank text entry screen, so I deleted. Let me try again.

    When faced with dehydrated plants, I immerse the plant for an hour or two in 80°-85°F water containing a rooting hormone. A tablespoon of KelpMax per gallon is the most effective I've seen, but a teaspoon per gallon of fresh K-L-N or SuperThrive may also work. Some water will be taken up by the plant, but the hormones will stimulate root growth, allowing a faster recovery.

    I do have to disagree with an earlier comment: water does not cause rot. if it did, then most of the plants we grow would be extinct, as many stay saturate in their natural habitats. And...healthy tissue does not rot. The issue is suffocation.

    orchids, unlike most terrestrial plants, do the majority of the respiratory gas exchange processes through their roots. Stifle that, and they suffocate and die, then rot. if you choose a potting medium that is sufficiently "open" and airy, it can stay permanently wet with no issues.
    Good info, Ray. I am going to have to try the 'KelpMax' method. I purchased what I thought was a large 9 p-bulb Cattleya warscewiczii 'Katia' but it turned out to be a 5 p-bulb piece with good roots, and a 4 p-bulb piece stuck to it with no roots what-so-ever. The rootless piece is somewhat shriveled, but due to its size (p-bulbs are over 14 inches high, and looks previously bloomed), I want to take the time to experiment, and see if I can get it going again. Most of the eyes look dried up, but who knows what may happen if it gets stimulated enough.

  10. #10
    Wade's Orchids's Avatar
    Wade's Orchids is offline Senior Member
    Real Name
    Wade Hollenbach
    My Grow Area
    Greenhouse
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Anything in bloom :)
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Central Pennsylvannia
    Posts
    602
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    For those of you growing in the home, adding humidity with an ultrasonic humidifier and/or pebble trays help to keep the plants from drying out so much. The humidifier also adds air movement which is beneficial to orchids. If your plants seem to be getting dehydrated and the potting mix is healthy you could try adding some coarse sand to the top of the mix and then watering it in. That will help it retain water. As for plants without roots, I personally put them in a clay pot with sphagnum moss and at least half the pot filled with drainage material. Those expanded clay balls seem to work well here. Hope this has been some help.

Similar Threads

  1. To water or not to water my phal orchid?
    By Sirena in forum Phalaenopsis ('moth orchid') Information
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: December 5th, 2012, 03:28 PM
  2. Sphag & bag for severely dehydrated orchids?
    By poetiscariot in forum Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: June 12th, 2012, 06:22 PM
  3. Severely dehydrated cattleya orchids
    By poetiscariot in forum Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: December 30th, 2009, 08:13 PM
  4. Dehydrated orchid solution?
    By Phyrex in forum New Growers: Ask the Senior Members
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: November 4th, 2008, 04:18 AM
  5. Poor Dehydrated Orchid
    By orchidaddict789 in forum General Orchid Culture
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: May 1st, 2005, 07:46 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
OrchidTalk --An Orchid Growers Discussion Forum brought to you by River Valley Orchidworks. A World Community where orchid beginners and experts talk about orchids and share tips on their care, cultivation, and propagation.