New Orchid.... dying off?

kelisk8sFebruary 27, 2011

Hi Everyone,

I need your help. I just got promoted at work and my co-workers got me a cybidium orchid. I am an avid veggie gardener, but I wasn't sure what to do with this thing. At first I put it in the bathroom after being told that they like humidity. But my bathroom doesn't get much light, so about a week later I moved it into my sister's bedroom that gets a bit more light. I noticed that some of the leaves are getting brown at the tips and the brown area has been gettting larger. Now the flowers are gettting brown at the tips and the petals are falling off. I water about once every 1.5 weeks and I pour the water slowly into the potting mix being careful not to get any on the leaves or in the bulb parts. Is this natural die off? Is this sun scorch? I also noticed that the potting mix has moss on it around the plant, is that normal? I took photos, but I'm not sure how to post them. Please help! I love this plant and want to keep it around for as long as possible!

Thanks,

Kelly

(PS- anyone have any tips to post photos here as well?)

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jane__ny(9-10)

Open a free account with one of the photo hosting sites such as Photobucket or Shutterfly. Upload your photo to that site and copy the HTML code and paste it here in your post.

Cyms like sun. It is possible you are overwatering if it is planted in moss. Where do you live? That is important for us to know, to give advice.

Please Google your orchid and look for cultural information on your plant and come back with questions. There is a lot of information on the internet which will get you started.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 1:51PM
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kelisk8s

Hi Jane,
Ok, I think this is will show you the problem...
http://kellyfeener.shutterfly.com/pictures/8

Let me know if it doesn't. I live in Mass, so we are not getting a lot of sun right now. I find the instructions I found quite confusing. Some seem to say bright sunlight, and some seem to say indirect sunlight. Also, I'm not sure if the plant is planted in moss, I just see moss on the top, so I'm wondering if the vendor it came from had different conditions then my home. I'm not sure if this is natural die off, or if the plant is having issues. The browning leaves are the ones on the outside of the bulb, but the flower browning made me wonder if there was a problem. Any advice would be appreciated!
Thank you,
Kelly

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 7:47AM
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jamcm(Ottawa Area, Canada)

Hi Kelly,

Sounds like you have some very nice coworkers!

Anyways, as Jane mentioned, Cymbidiums do like a lot of light, so you did right moving it, though even that may not be enough light. When is the sun brightest in your sister's bedroom - in the morning, around noon and most of the day, or in the afternoon? You would ideally want one of the latter two and the plant would need to be right by the window. A lot of people will put them outside in a somewhat shady spot on the patio for the summer and leave them out until nights get down to almost freezing.

It's doubtful your plant needs that moss - it was probably just added to make the plant look nice, so you could probably remove it. Cymbidiums will grow in pretty much anything, just adjust your watering accordingly. And when you water, you need to water it thoroughly with lots of water, but infrequently, only when it's dry - you don't really have to worry about wetting the leaves or the bulbs - just water in the morning and make sure they're dry by nighttime. In nature, all parts of the orchid get watered when it rains. They're really pretty tough.

The brown tips... Some Cymbidiums just do this. We would have to see pictures to see whether it's actually something bad or just a Cymbidium being a Cymbidium. As for the flowers turning brown could simply mean that they've run their course - orchid flowers are not eternal. For Cymbidiums, they'll usually last anywhere from a month to two months, and there's no way for you to know how long it had been flowering before you got it.

The goal now is to keep your plant healthy so that it will rebloom when it is ready. You're off to a good start by looking for more information. I've enclosed a link below to a Cymbidium culture sheet that's great for indoor growers.

Good luck!

Julie

Here is a link that might be useful: Cymbidium Culture Sheet

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 8:00AM
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jane__ny(9-10)

Hi Kelly, I was able to see your pictures. It looks like you might be overwatering. Its hard to see but I would repot the plant. These plants want high light.

Julie is right, you need to find the sunniest window and put the plant there. Only water when almost dry. There is a wealth of information on the internet. These plants were grown in greenhouses with tons of light. Don't get confused by the instructions. They are talking about outdoor light.

In our zone, the sunniest window is dim. What you want, try to keep the plant alive over winter and then put it outdoors in Spring. These are not easy plants to grow in your zone.

It is so disturbing that the growers flood the supermarkets with these plants which most people can not grow or reflower. Your best shot is not overwater, let the plant dry out and put it in a sunny window.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 10:51AM
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kelisk8s

Hi Jane,
Ok, I think this is will show you the problem...
http://kellyfeener.shutterfly.com/pictures/8

Let me know if it doesn't. I live in Mass, so we are not getting a lot of sun right now. I find the instructions I found quite confusing. Some seem to say bright sunlight, and some seem to say indirect sunlight. Also, I'm not sure if the plant is planted in moss, I just see moss on the top, so I'm wondering if the vendor it came from had different conditions then my home. I'm not sure if this is natural die off, or if the plant is having issues. The browning leaves are the ones on the outside of the bulb, but the flower browning made me wonder if there was a problem. Any advice would be appreciated!
Thank you,
Kelly

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 9:32PM
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kelisk8s

Hi there!
Thank you both for the advice! (and sorry for the double post.. my computer was acting really wierd this evening.) I am going to try to move it to another window that has an extra flourescent grow light. It is such a pitty cause my parents house gets barely any light at all, and I'm about to get ready to move to a house that is super light in about a month from now. So if I can keep it alive until then that would be great. I'm hesitant to re-pot here because I have no place to keep any supplies and if I don't have great light to put it in afterwards it may be too stressful. I'm going to cut back the dying foliage and see if that helps it at all. And I will definately put it outside when summer time comes!!! Thank you for your help!
Kelly

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 10:03PM
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jane__ny(9-10)

Good luck. Just don't overwater, let the media dry out. It will survive until you move. Don't cut any bulbs off, just brown leaves. If you are moving to better light, you've got a good chance.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 10:17PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

You have to do some interpreting re. the light, depends on where the instructions are written.
They (Cymbidiums) are widely grown by 'Non orchid growers" here as garden plants and even the "expert orchid growers" have them them getting all day sunlight filtered through shade-cloth.
Plant looks in reasonable condition and needs to potted on to a slightly larger pot once spring arrives.
In the interim, find some complete growing instructions written for climate zones similar to yours. High light here means something entirely different to there.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 10:59PM
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cynthreab

Hi, I found this as my cymbidium also has brown leaf tips - and I have been unable to find any other information on this problem on the internet.

It is indoors in Renton, WA on a SW window. (Although I did leave it outside last late May to September.) Much to my surprise, in late February - early March, it had one flower stalk and all but one of the five buds bloomed! When the stalk turned brown, though, I cut it to the base (as I did to the two bloom stalks that were there when I bought the plant two years ago).

I don't fertilize and I water with filtered water once a week. When the heat's on, the temperature drops to 62 at night. Last year, the temperature got over 80 several days during the Summer, but always cooled down at night, so much so that it probably did drop to at least 70 (and maybe lower) in the evenings.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 1:46PM
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cynthreab

Additionally, one leaf has this strange spot. Does anyone recognize this?

Thanks again in advance.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 1:47PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

The spot is caused by mechanical damage and i wouldn't worry about it. No fertiliser = less flowers.
Wouldn't worry about the filtered water either. Tens of thousands of Cymbidium growers in this City water their plants with tap water. (Cymbidiums are garden plants here)
Some cultivation notes for Northern California in the link discuss fertilizer needs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cymbidium notes

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 5:49PM
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