my orchids and their problems

sitting_boyFebruary 20, 2011

Hi, all. I am only 14 so take that into consideration when reading about my orchid's problems and commenting :). I have grown up and had probably a dozen or more orchids, most of which totally died from root rot now that I think about it. I have come to taking better care of my plants in the past year or so and have even procured some new awesome plants. I am mainly just looking for feedback and thoughts on my orchid's problems or any advice anybody can give.

But now to get to the point: some of my orchids have problems especially this one phalaeonpsis which my family has had for probably about 7 years and which has bloomed about 6 times while we had it. This orchid probably did really badly because it was in an atrium where we water plants with bucket, unlike in a bathroom where other phals would do ok getting watered under the sink, and so this one would get probably a little drizzle of water on it's roots and bark every few weeks for several years. about 6 months ago this plant's leaves turned leathery and wrinkly and I thought it was underwatered, so I moved it outside in the shade and watered it heavily every day probably most of the summer. recently(the past like 4 months) I found out that phals like heavy watering every very long time, at which point I started watering it and all my other orchids in the sink every 3 weeks or so. this orchid's leaves are still wrinkly and dead looking but its stem is still stiff and green with about 5 3" long roots left which i'm not sure if they are dead or not though they look alive.

There is another phal which I had outside over the summer and as it's new baby leaf was growing this year the leaf was eaten by insects, though now it is growing a huge baby orchid out of it's roots which is looking extremely healthy.

There are two orchids which I don't even know the genus of but one of them we bought at the garden center when they had it outside and it's leaves got burnt for either really cheap or free, and I went ahead and repotted it in native CLAY SOIL which had absolutely no drainage and didn't hold any water. this was when I was about 9 years old. It was in that doing remarkably well for like 5 years until like 2 weeks ago I replanted it in orchid bark and saw that every single old root was dead except the new ones growing from the new joints this year. I am almost afraid that one will die of some reason now that it is in orchid bark because it did so well in clay!

The other one I don't know the name of we bought maybe 6 months ago and I was still watering it with a bucket every week or so, so when I finally transplanted it to a bigger pot, I saw all it's roots except about 5 from the new pseudobulb were dead. the new leaves are smaller than the old ones but it looks like the new pseudobulb is beginning to grow, which makes me feel like it is healthy.

Recently, I went to a local orchid show and bought a vanilla plant, and 2 orchids I forgot the names of but I have the names if anybody really wants to know. One of them I think is called some kind of hardy orchid and is from asia, which should make a single large purple bloom from each pseudobulb. the other is a tree orchid I beleive from southern asia which has beutiful spirals of thousands of pink flowers each less than a milimeter across. The vanilla and the spirally one are both in a terrarium and seem happy, and the hardy one is in my atrium not getting watered at all, like the man who sold it to me told me to do and the pseudobulbs are getting a tiny bit wrinkled and the flower buds are about half an inch tall emerging from their winter brown shell thing.

Also, do phalaenopsis and other bark orchids need to get entirely dried out before being watered again or can the bark be a tiny bit cool, rather than being stale feeling, when I water them again?

here are the pictures(if i posted them correctly)

I beleive they are in chronological order as you read the message, ending with the terrarium location.

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howard_a(z6 NYC)

Mainly your plants are suffering from haphazard and inconsistent care. I don't say this as a criticism exactly, but you should know that your age (14) is not quite the 'excuse' that you think it is. There are 14 year olds that because of their personality type, research and read about the orchids or houseplants that they care for. You can do the same. In fact, going forward it is the best thing. Go to the library and check out a book or three on orchids and get familiar with their needs. The phal that died after 7 years puzzles me. Why did you change what was obviously working in a fashion, if not working well? You have some interesting plants but without knowing their names you cannot really care for them adequately. Task one: learn the names (at least the plant family) of all the plants in your collection. Task two: learn the care and culture of those various plant families. Rinse and repeat. Have fun.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 6:42PM
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thanks howard, I know that being 14 isn't a big excuse I'm just saying that my judgement and knowledge capabilities are slightly lower than somebody who has lived longer and grown wiser. the reason I changed the care of my orchids is because I finally looked up on the internet "orchid care" or something and saw a brief idea of what I was supposed to be doing for them. the phal you mentioned isn't dead yet, but it seems to be recovering and I think it would have died if I had kept watering it like that. I have the plant names written down somewhere for most of my plants except the ones we bought at a safeway or something, I just can't remember them because they're so crazy! like Pleione. that is the name of the hardy asian one I meantioned but it's so vague I couldn't remember it! then for 2 of the plant's I did plenty of research and have no idea which they are. I was hoping also for possible identification on these two but forgot to mention it. that would be the 4th and 3rd5th pictures. I think one might be a Cattleya but can't be certain because many genuses look similar. the other one I really have no clue. it looks like a Brassia in some ways but I really can't tell. I have been doing alot of research about these plants I have and seem to always come to the same care description which is either water heavily then dry out or keep moist. I have been trying to do that but it never gives an actually description of how dry the bark should get. I just hope to get better at taking care of plants and eventually not encounter problems as often.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 10:12AM
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sorry I put 3rd and 5th next to eachother but what I meant was 4th and 3rd pictures to be the ones I don't know genus of.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I think you're doing great! You are one of the most stimulating 14 year olds I've come across in a long time!

Try to remember it's still just a plant and if it dies, so what. Buy another one, if possible.
You might want to start a notebook and tape all plant labels into it along with a digital photo of the plant. It's a bit of work but for a plant you will keep for years, it will be helpful. Keep a page for each plant and jot down anything relevant.

If you develop an even further interest in orchids, it will help you to research a variety before buying it. Perhaps other family members are buying them on impulse at the grocery store, but you can guide them to the best choices.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 3:49PM
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This one is an Odontoglossum. I was given one as a gift last month and yours is in much better shape then mine.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 3:35AM
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Thanks Bumblebeez. your idea of starting a notebook is a great idea, but I think I will transform it to instead a computer document, than a physical notebook. other family members don't really buy orchids ever except I think my dad has one cymbidium at his office which he brought home a while ago and it was extremely root-rotted from being watered every day for months. most of the orchids I chose while we were at a marketplace or something.

Thanks, Mori1 for your identification. I had been looking at pictures of many different genuses and never could find which one it was!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:11PM
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