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Thread: Problem Tolumnia

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  1. #1

    Default Problem Tolumnia

    I bought a 4 year old Tolumnia hybrid from a greenhouse a few hours away, brought it home, and put it in a window with a couple of my other orchids (a very healthy phalaenopsis and a very happy dendrobium. I watered it well and left it. It had four blooms and a week later they were beginning to open. I went to water it again and several of the leaves fell off. In the following days, all the buds fell off and more leaves shriveled and fell. Today it has no leaves, the spike has died back and has just one green stub trying to hang in there, and the roots don't look very healthy. What did I do? The only thing I could really figure is that it wanted some humidity that it wasn't getting. It was a miniature plant, only about 2-3 inch high leaves.

  2. #2
    Real Name
    Bruce Brown
    My Grow Area
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Cattleyas & Slippers
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Default Tolumnia or Equitant Oncidium Culture

    I got this from a grower who sold me some Tolumnias when she spoke at my orchid society last month. I hope it helps.

    Temperature: Intermediate, 55-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Try to keep below 95 degrees in the summer. Can be grown outdoors as long as night temperatures are above 55 degrees.

    Light: Bright, diffused. Brigh, dappled shade outdoors. East or South window indoors. Be sure to protect plants from direct sun during the heat of the day.

    Water: Mounted plants should be watered daily in summer; once or twice a week in winter. Potted plants should be allowed to dry out between waterings but should be misted daily. Water or mist only on clear days.

    Feeding: Use any good balanced fertillizer at half strength every two weeks. If waterings are frequent, cut to one-fourth strength and feed every third or fourth watering.

    Repotting: Should be done when the plant has outgrown its slab or container, or when medium shows signs of breaking down. Plants on slabs can simply be attached, slab and all to a larger mount. If potted, move up to the next size pot. Use an open mix--equitants must have good air circulation around the roots to avoid rot.

    Note: Do not cut the spike after initial flowering; it will often branch and bloom again.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Saratoga Co. New York


    in nature Tolumnias are twig epiphytes. They grow on twigs and get there moisture from morning dew. They like to dry quickly between watering. I can't grow them in pots without killing them. I now only grow them mounted but I do grow in a greenhouse

    Also the change from being grown in a greenhouse with good humidity to your window could have effected your plant.

  4. #4
    Real Name
    Rob Parsons
    My Grow Area
    Under Lights
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    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Winnipeg, MB, CANADA
    Member's Country Flag


    I agree with everything Bruce & Ron have said. I doubt low humidity is a problem--if you're growing Phals successfully, Tolumnias definitely don't need higher humidity than them.

    Although I do grow mine in pots, they only have a little media in them near the bottom, for the most part--just enough to prevent them from falling over inside the pots. They're sort of semi-mounted.

    One question--what direction does your window face?

    Cheers & good luck,
    Last edited by Orchidzrule; May 3rd, 2009 at 08:50 PM. Reason: forgot to sign

  5. #5


    The humidity was the only thing that I could figure. Going from a more natural life in a green house to my window. I should have been misting it all along, I suppose, but the grower said to water it the sam as my Phal and that's what I did! I was just amazed by how quickly it went downhill. After its leaves started shriveling and dropping I immediately started misting it, knowing I would lose the blooms but maybe salvage the plant--nope! What started as two leaves quickly turned into all 10 or 12! It's such a pity.

    The window faces East. The dendrobium in that window was getting sun tanned in my South window, but is much happier in this east window. This orchid was potted, but the only media was lava rock.
    Last edited by sourmilknightmares; May 3rd, 2009 at 08:55 PM. Reason: Added info

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