Quick help needed!!!

veimarJanuary 30, 2014

Hello everyone!
I got this poor baby on Lowe's clearance for $3 yesterday, and it's in pretty bad shape. I was just so sorry for it because it was neglected. The moss it was potted in was all moldy and most of the roots were dead. I threw out that stuff and cut the rotten and dead roots off as well as I cut off the half-dead stems. I placed the orchid in the water for the night. I have tons of house plants, but never had an orchid and wasn't planning on it, so I had no idea they required some sort of special potting mix. I'm going to get one tomorrow; thanks God, it's inexpensive - I really don't have any extra money to spend right now.

I would be VERY THANKFUL for any advice how to keep this baby alive and give it the best care possible.

Thank you very much!

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Oh I forgot to mention, that it must be Phalaenopsis, and I'm posting one more picture to give an idea about the roots.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 1:51AM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

There are lots and lots of past posts about Phalaenopsis rescues. Put Phalaenopsis in the search box on top of this discussions page to find them.
To get fine tuned advice you need to tell the posters here where you live in the United States and the sort of growing conditions you can provide....indoors/outdoors. lighting,temperatures etc.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 2:20AM
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Thanks for your advice - I found some very useful information indeed. I live in Chicago area and will obviously grow it indoors. :)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 2:42AM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Here is a set of complete culture notes written for Canada that may assist. Still puzzled? ask some more questions...

" I have tons of house plants" what are they? That info. will help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Phalaenopsis culture notes

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 4:30AM
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Thanks for the link - it was very helpful. My other plants are anything from spike moss to majesty palm and Norfolk Island Pine (well, they say it's a mislabeled Cook Pine), about 50 plants. :) I mostly rescue distressed plants, so I don't really choose much - just want to give them a loving home. Vast majority of them are foliage plants - air purifiers. The only other "tree climber" I have is bromeliad, but it's doing well in whatever medium it was planted.
I wanted to know - just looking at this orchid would you think it can survive? To my eye it's not that bad. I bought the tree bark orchid mix today and repotted it.
When I was getting the mix today I actually got one more $5 orchid that looked much better and even had some flower buds. But I absolutely had to repot it too from that rotting stuff. So I'm not sure if those flowers will actually open. But I wouldn't risk the life of the plant.
Hey, how on earth can you keep them upright and not tipping over when you repot into the bark? I'm so frustrated! I finally achieved some sort of balance with the help of sticks, but I'm not sure if it lasts. Maybe you can give me some ideas?


    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 12:14AM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

The orchid is not in too bad a condition, some dehydration due to the lack of roots. So you can save it provided you can give it good Phalaenopsis growing conditions.
Phalaenopsis are narrow temperature range orchids....60 to 90F is to their liking and those thick leaves store water, so all this humidity/tropical stuff is to be forgotten, they are happy when their owners are happy.
Maybe the bark chunks are a little large, hence the looseness, Many orchids need to be staked and tied when newly repotted.
Norfolk Island Pine. Just as well it will never reach its potential height there. There is one nearby in someone's
backyard. My guess, about 80 metres (250 foot tall)
Good luck and seek out more info. from the real orchid growers in Northern USA.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 1:04AM
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Wow, where do you live? I wanted NIP so badly as a Christmas tree, and my husband gave me one this year! I know they grow majestically tall in the wild, but I'm pretty happy with 5' one right now. I hope it is happy in my home too (at least so far!).
Thank you - this gives me more hope, and I'm glad I don't have to mist them every day. :) It's been sitting in water overnight and I noticed that the leaves had risen up a bit already. So I just hope for a good recovery.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 2:19AM
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westoh Z6

First of all Good luck, the orchid appears to have several viable roots remaining so it could 'easily' make a comeback.

Secondly if you did not soak the orchid bark for at least 1/2 an hour before potting, take the two plants, pots and all, and somehow stick them in a bucket or water or the like to get that bark really soaked. Freshly purchased orchid bark is notorious for being very, very dry and thus it becomes very difficult for it to take up water (water runs right over it and never really soaks in when watering from overhead). Once you have soaked the bark really well, you should be able to continue normal watering. You can always go back and do a soak if you feel it is drying out too much. Dunking works well for watering orchids in bark when you only have a few orchids, but as the 'orchid habit' becomes more entrenched (and it will), it becomes a very time consuming process. Additionally, sharing dunk water between orchids can spread virus, bugs, etc..., so new soak water per orchid is a good rule of thumb.

Again, good luck.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 6:51AM
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Your plant has a large amount of leaves compared to the root mass. I would prune off the two bottom leaves. otherwise the advice given here is spot on. I'll say one thing, some common brands of potting mixes have a bad orchid mix version. Make sure it is mostly bark and no peat moss.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 8:22AM
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It's Miracle Gro coarse orchid potting mix from Lowe's. It's almost 100% tree bark - it looked and smelled pretty good and wasn't very dry. I soaked it just a little bit with the plants inside and then let the running water run through it for a while (like a rain water would do in the wild). They seem pretty moist. I also made some slits on the sides of the plastic pots to help the aeration.
Oh, it maybe a really good idea to cut off the bottom leaves, especially the long one - it still looks bad. The smaller leaves are already raising up and getting more glossy.
Orchids don't like cold water, right? So should I use lukewarm water all the time?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 3:09PM
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I wouldn't cut any leaves. The plant will shed them if it needs to and will pull nutrients from them before they turn yellow.

You'll do fine and so will your plant. Give it a bright window and don't overwater. Keep it in a warm room if possible. Remember, these plants do not grow in the ground, they attach to trees. Their roots will rot if not allowed to dry out. Growing in pots is not natural but works if you watch your watering and light.

Days are getting longer and if you can carry the plant through the next month, it should start growing again...

Good luck,

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 6:48PM
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Just a quick update - it seems like my 'baby' is doing pretty well! It got some healthy root tips and more gloss on the leaves. I put in under running water every third day for about 5 min, and it seems to work.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 2:38AM
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