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Miserable Miltoniopsis!

This is a discussion on Miserable Miltoniopsis! within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hi friends. I need some major help with my miltoniopsis. Short history of the plant: ...

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  1. #1
    OrchidAddict's Avatar
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    Angry Miserable Miltoniopsis!

    Hi friends. I need some major help with my miltoniopsis. Short history of the plant: bought it in March. Got it home...blooms fell off within a week. Had bugs. Repotted and divided it. Seemed unhappy. When weather got warmer, I put it outside in the shade. Over the summer, it perked up and new growth started shooting out all over the place. I started looking for signs of a spike somewhere.

    Well, I live in Pennsylvania, and now it's too cold to leave it out overnight, so I brought it back inside. Within 2 weeks, my new growth has started to go soft and rot, and the plant looks generally miserable.

    Here's a pic of a growth that was healthy three weeks ago, and has now gone soft and started to rot since I've brought it indoors.

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    Here's another pic of a rotting (sheath? spathe? growth? I don't quite know the lingo for these bulb-type orchids yet). But next to it, you can see what appears to actually be a new healthy growth. Again, the rotted part was perfectly fine a couple of weeks ago.

    Name:  rotting bits.jpg
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    At first I thought the plant's new growths were dying off because of the sudden change in humidity levels, so I put the plant in a makeshift humidity tray, but it doesn't seem to have helped at all. Here's a pic of the overall situation:

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    I have no idea what the heck is going on here. At least there's that little nub growing out of the media in that second pic, which still seems healthy, but it makes me nervous that it's growing right next to a giant chunk of rotting stuff. What should I do with this poor thing? Is it in shock because of the temperature change from outside to inside? It's not that drastic of a difference, so the only thing I could think of was that it was a humidity issue. But now things are going soft and rotting, so that usually means too MUCH moisture.

    I'm totally baffled here. Any suggestions would be helpful. This poor plant has only been happy for a brief month or two since its been in my care, and that has been during the brief time it was outside when the weather conditions were right.

    The temps do drop into the 60's at night now in the house...could it be a "cold & wet" issue? I'd be surprised if it was, because I didn't bring it inside until the temps were dropping below 60 degrees at night outdoors anyway, and I was keeping it continuously moist while outdoors because of the heat during the day.

    I'm seriously stumped, and this plant is NOT happy. Three weeks ago I swore I would have blooms on it within a couple of months. Now the promising new growth is getting smooshy and rotting. What the heck?!!

    And should I cut off the soft stuff or leave it to fall of on its own? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks, friends!

  2. #2
    Magnus A's Avatar
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    I have a theory...

    It could be a problem with water in the new growth from when you water the plant. As it was outside the large air movement dried up all residue water pretty fast but when you brough it inside the water stands much longer and do not evaporate as you most probably have much less air movement inside.

    Just a though to explain the sudden loss of knew growth as it really look to be damage by root that started from standing water.

    /M

  3. #3
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    I agree with Magnus, the rot has been caused by water standing in the new growth apices for too long. Dust it with sulphur powder to dry it off. And revise your watering schedules, indoors in cooler conditions and less air movement it will need less watering.

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    Brilliant! Thanks, guys! I didn't even think about the "standing water" issue. That's something I always keep in mind with my phals, but I didn't think that water might be collecting in the new growth of the miltoniopsis. I will be super-careful about watering from now on, rather than just dumping water all over the plant the way I did when it was outside. I mean, when it was outside it was getting drenched in rainstorms, so I figured I could water it the same way...I'd just take my watering can and give it a shower.

    But you're right...now that it's indoors, giving it a "shower" allows extra water to sit in the crevices of new growth. I will revise my watering schedule and make sure I don't dump water into new growth. AWESOME!!


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    OH man I hope your Miltonia recovers... not to brag but mine is thriving still! I wish you the best of luck Jenn

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    Quote Originally Posted by orchidbaby View Post
    OH man I hope your Miltonia recovers... not to brag but mine is thriving still! I wish you the best of luck Jenn
    Thanks, Orchidbaby! You're free to brag any time. I'd be happy to hear about how you grow yours... and just to clarify, is yours a Miltonia or a Miltoniopsis? There are significant culture differences between the two. Miltoniopsis' need high humidity, moderate temps, no direct sun (from what I understand) and LOTS of water, whereas a straight Miltonia can be treated more like a Catt I think. Anyway, when I bought mine it was missing its tag, and it took me a while to realize it was NOT a Miltonia...when the leaves grew in all crinkly, that was pretty much a dead giveaway it was a Miltoniopsis. By that time, though, the poor plant had been baking in too much sun for a while, and it had suffered a setback. So I was THRILLED when I put it outside in the shade and it took off with lots of new growth. I was SOOOOO excited because I was sure I'd have some blooms before long!

    Aaaannd...then I brought it back indoors and all the new growth started to rot. Pbbbbtttt....

    But I think the guys above have it right. Now that it's indoors, I can't water it like it's in a rainstorm any more. I have to be more careful so water doesn't collect in the new growth. I'm pretty confident that's what the problem is, and the fact that it's still pushing out some new growth is encouraging. At least I didn't kill the entire plant! LOL (....yet)

    But my first Catt bloomed...did you see the thread and the pic? I'm totally in love with it!

    That reminds me...I still owe you an email, don't I? DOH!

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    my wildcat bobcat did the same thing this summer outdoors. it was not getting enough light (i thought it needed more cool shade than other oncid types, wrong!!) mine is really pot bound, and the water was not penetrating the medium so the poor thing shrivelled, and then i was overwatering from the top. and the new growths petered out, probably rot in the crowns. meanwhile the plant was shriveling up, so i kept watering and it all went south. now i am being more careful not to water from the top, and letting it sit in the sink filled with water for a few hours (water just below the level of the bulbs) instead of pouring water over the top. usually outdoors i don't have a problem with oncids and can hose them down real well, but this one i had in the back, out of the light, out of the breeze... bad combo. it seems to be recovering now, one good strong growth coming out, so when i go to repot soon it will be much better off.

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    I agree with the above that the problem is rot. i have another suggestion for you concerning your pot. It is best to never plant an orchid in a pot that is glazed on the inside. The chemicals/poisons used in glazes can kill an orchid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gardenguysorchids View Post
    I agree with the above that the problem is rot. i have another suggestion for you concerning your pot. It is best to never plant an orchid in a pot that is glazed on the inside. The chemicals/poisons used in glazes can kill an orchid.
    Thanks, Bill! This is actually a plastic pot. Well, not exactly plastic...it's one of those "eco-friendly" "biodegradable" pots made from bamboo or something. But it's not glazed, at any rate. But you raise an interesting point, so I'm going to ask a question....

    I have most of my species phals in small ceramic pots that are glazed. I've been doing this since I first started collecting...back when I had no idea that glaze could be a problem. None of them have shown any signs of bother from the glaze, although I did have a NOID phal that reacted visibly badly in a larger glazed pot of a different brand. I got it out of there and now it's bouncing back in its clay replacement.

    So, I guess the question would be...if I've been buying the same glazed pots for all my species phals and I've never had any problems with them, is there anything wrong with continuing with these pots? Or do I need to repot everything on the assumption that they will just be better off in the clay? (This will be a major undertaking, as I have almost 70 orchids now, and most of them are in the small glazed pots I spoke of before.)

    This will also be a pain in the bum because I tend to get fungus and mold growing on the outside of my clay pots. The glazed ones are completely unaffected, but the clay pots go all yucky and actually have visible mold and fungus blobs growing on the outside whenever it gets cool for a few days. I do have Physan, but then I'd have to soak all my pots all the time.

    So, I know glazed pots CAN kill an orchid, but I've only seen the glaze actually be a problem once (no, wait...twice...), and those were on large pots that I had NOID phals in. The small pots have never seemed to affect my species phals or paphs. The big plants that had problems in the large glazed pots went downhill quickly with obvious root shriveling. No shriveling on the species phals and paphs. Do I repot everything just on the chance that the pots could, someday, hurt the plants, even though they haven't so far?

    Perhaps I should start a new thread... LOL... but feel free to weigh in here, everybody!

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    Quote Originally Posted by OrchidAddict View Post
    Thanks, Bill! This is actually a plastic pot. Well, not exactly plastic...it's one of those "eco-friendly" "biodegradable" pots made from bamboo or something. But it's not glazed, at any rate. But you raise an interesting point, so I'm going to ask a question....

    I have most of my species phals in small ceramic pots that are glazed. I've been doing this since I first started collecting...back when I had no idea that glaze could be a problem. None of them have shown any signs of bother from the glaze, although I did have a NOID phal that reacted visibly badly in a larger glazed pot of a different brand. I got it out of there and now it's bouncing back in its clay replacement.

    So, I guess the question would be...if I've been buying the same glazed pots for all my species phals and I've never had any problems with them, is there anything wrong with continuing with these pots? Or do I need to repot everything on the assumption that they will just be better off in the clay? (This will be a major undertaking, as I have almost 70 orchids now, and most of them are in the small glazed pots I spoke of before.)

    This will also be a pain in the bum because I tend to get fungus and mold growing on the outside of my clay pots. The glazed ones are completely unaffected, but the clay pots go all yucky and actually have visible mold and fungus blobs growing on the outside whenever it gets cool for a few days. I do have Physan, but then I'd have to soak all my pots all the time.

    So, I know glazed pots CAN kill an orchid, but I've only seen the glaze actually be a problem once (no, wait...twice...), and those were on large pots that I had NOID phals in. The small pots have never seemed to affect my species phals or paphs. The big plants that had problems in the large glazed pots went downhill quickly with obvious root shriveling. No shriveling on the species phals and paphs. Do I repot everything just on the chance that the pots could, someday, hurt the plants, even though they haven't so far?

    Perhaps I should start a new thread... LOL... but feel free to weigh in here, everybody!
    If they have been in the pots for a long period and you have not had problems then I'd leave them but watch carefully for any signs of a problem. I have ever used glazed pots because of potential problems plus I prefer clay because it breathes. I do use glazed pots to display blooming orchids but then they act as merely a pot cover thus the roots never come in contact with the glaze.

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