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Cattleya in Distress

This is a discussion on Cattleya in Distress within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hi all, I am having issues with this cattleya, I have posted about this one ...

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  1. #1
    Gurj's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Cattleya in Distress

    Hi all, I am having issues with this cattleya, I have posted about this one a while ago, growing roots. I was very happy about it. This is a set up in SH and it clearly has issues. Every new root touching the clay pellets is going black. There is a lot of black gunk, I don't know how to clean it off. There is no fertiliser involved in the process yet. My idea was to supply plain water so as they grow "profusely" and then incorporate any fertiliser. Any suggestions are welcome.

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    Oh dear... I had terrible problems with LECA pellets with my vandaceous orchids. Now, I wasn't doing semi-hydro like you are...I just wanted to use the pellets to stabilize the roots, but I had the same problem...any of the roots touching the pellets turned black and yucky. There was even fuzzy stuff on the pellets themselves. I've heard of other people having similar problems with straight LECAs.

    The first thing I would do to clean up those poor roots is give the plant a good bleach bath. 9 parts water to 1 part bleach. Soak the plant for a few minutes (I tend to soak mostly the roots and sort of "prop up" the rest of the plant,) then run clean water over everything to clean off the bleach solution when you're done.

    I've also done hydrogen peroxide on areas that have looked particularly bad, even after bleaching. The fizzing and bubbling from the HP kills any other nasty little buggers that might be hanging around. If you've got gunk embedded in hard-to-reach places, try using a small pair of tweezers to remove any rotting material that has not already been washed away.

    Once the plant has been cleaned up, let it dry out for a couple of days. When you rehydrate it, add a little bit of Superthrive to the water you are soaking it in, and that will give it a little boost. Don't forget...when you're doing semi-hydro, the plants have no source of nourishment except what you give them, so if you've been holding off on the fertilizer, they might be suffering from lack of nutrients as well.

    Finally, I would just ditch the whole s/h thing all together for this particular plant. I would prop it up in some good clean bark and mist the base of the plant daily to wet the areas where the new roots will emerge. Don't soak the media completely, because the plant doesn't have enough roots to absorb all the moisture yet, and you'll end up with more stagnant water and possibly fungus.

    So, in a nutshell, give it a bleach bath, use hydrogen peroxide on anything else that looks particularly yucky, pick out any rotting bits with tweezers, let the plant dry out for a day or two, then rehydrate it in a bath of water and Superthrive. Prop up the plant in some bark (it will need support because it doesn't have the root system yet to hold it up), and mist the base of the plant daily. You should see new root growth fairly quickly.

    I would advise not using the s/h LECA pellets on this guy, though. The only thing I use the LECAs for is to keep my bark from compacting too much in the cooler months. But LECAs by themselves have always spelled disaster for me! LOL

    Okay...I hope this was helpful. I'm just sharing what has worked for me. Oh, and Physan is great stuff too...with regular treatments it will keep the mold and fungus from developing in the first place. :-)

    Other forum members, feel free to chime in here if I've said anything that doesn't make sense... I'm just sharing what works for me, but I know there are a lot more experienced growers on here!

    GOOD LUCK!!
    Last edited by OrchidAddict; September 15th, 2012 at 07:51 PM. Reason: typo

  3. #3
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    Hello Jenn, thank you for a prompt response and I took your advice. I brushed the gunk out with a spare toothbrush and soap solution. Although, the new growth broke off (I'm not sad about that). I sterilized everything it touched and put it into a new culture. I'm not giving up on LECA so quickly after trying so hard and giving my best, its now this cattleya's turn to do what I say (I'm a bit frustrated because of all the work and dedication I put into it). And here it is afresh...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gurj View Post
    Hello Jenn, thank you for a prompt response and I took your advice. I brushed the gunk out with a spare toothbrush and soap solution. Although, the new growth broke off (I'm not sad about that). I sterilized everything it touched and put it into a new culture. I'm not giving up on LECA so quickly after trying so hard and giving my best, its now this cattleya's turn to do what I say (I'm a bit frustrated because of all the work and dedication I put into it). And here it is afresh...
    Well, hey, good for you!! It looks MUCH better now. I'm not really familiar with semi-hydro, but I know there are some other folks on this forum who are really into it. They may have some tips and tricks for you! You can always start a new thread about growing catts in semi-hydro and see what people have to say.

    I understand your frustration about trying so hard and giving it your best...keep it up! You'll find the magic formula eventually. I nearly killed my vandaceous orchids about eight times before I realized they just didn't want any media...period. LOL I was pretty much ready to sacrifice a small chicken as a burnt offering to the vanda gods if my plants would just stop ROTTING, dammit!! But then, magically, I stuck one in a vase and it perked up! New roots, new top growth...happy, happy plant! So now I have them just dangling in air in a vase, and they're growing happily.

    You'll figure out what works for you! Keep us posted! I'd love to see pics when your catt blooms for you finally!

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    There is only one answer to your question, your water is not right. It has too much dissolved solutes. You have to use very soft water.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrchidAddict View Post
    O
    The first thing I would do to clean up those poor roots is give the plant a good bleach bath. 9 parts bleach to 1 part water.
    Don't forget...when you're doing semi-hydro, the plants have no source of nourishment except what you give them, so if you've been holding off on the fertilizer, they might be suffering from lack of nutrients as well.

    Finally, I would just ditch the whole s/h thing all together for this particular plant.
    9 parts bleach to 1 part water will kill your plants, 1 part bleach to 9 parts water would be the correct proportion. About SH I would recommend that you continue SH with correct water (distilled or RO preferably) and the Cattleya will be fine. I will post a few pics tomorrow to show you how correctly done SH can work wonders on re-rooting Orchids.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Halloamey View Post
    9 parts bleach to 1 part water will kill your plants, 1 part bleach to 9 parts water would be the correct proportion. About SH I would recommend that you continue SH with correct water (distilled or RO preferably) and the Cattleya will be fine. I will post a few pics tomorrow to show you how correctly done SH can work wonders on re-rooting Orchids.
    Oh CRAP!!! Thanks!! I can't believe I mistyped that!! Wow...that was a MAJOR typo...I'm heading up to edit that bit of information before somebody stumbles upon it and accidentally kills a plant! Thanks, Amey!

    I have to learn more about semi-hydro and what the benefits are. I see a lot of people trying it, but I just don't quite get the point of it when you can grow the plants easily in bark. But there must be a good reason for it if so many people are doing it. I'll have to look into it!

    Thanks again, Amey, for pointing out my horrendous typo!!!

  8. #8
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    Am really looking forward to your post Amey. I have tried s/h but experienced bad results also. I love mixing the leca pettets with my bark mix. It really helps the plant develope great root systems and also extends the repotting time. I only tried s/h with phals and it ended up as a slow and ugly death for them. LOL Fortunately I only did a few NOIDS using S/H so I didn't loose any of my good named ones. I later read where phals are not the best orchid to use for this but have been afraid to risk any of my catts experimenting with it again.

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    Looks like it will be lots better now!!

    cheers,
    BD

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    some years ago i witnessed a strap leaf vanda growing over a pond of lillies.....when the long roots eventually made it into the water...i expected them to die...instead the green tips kept growing and to my surprise weird root hairs also grew(no wasn't algae) from the velamen covered roots..which i know is so unlike orchids...i know this is kinda like a semi hydro now....and this vanda thrived.....i have never tried coventional semi-hydro for orchids but i designed some "semi hydro" pots for vandas ...i dont so much care about capillary action as i do for the humidity and moisture it provides on hot dry windy days..i have tried it out and the Vandas take root so fast its unbelievable...dormant root tips become green again and roots begin to branch freely and i know that my once a day watering isnt sufficient but those pots are a life saver...i even place newly potted plants over them for same effect....
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    this is the pot here with Arachnis

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