Black tips

tanie51(3b)April 4, 2014

Hello Orchid Friends,

I need your help again. Why my Miltoniopsis leaves turned black? I have them in the same tray with cym and Oncidium but those are green and healthy looking except for the Mil. First I thought it might be too sensitive to light above them, I moved them somewhere that is not direct light on top of the leaves but they still turned dark brown and black. I cut the black part off and some of the leaves bent downward but the tips still turned black. It couldn't be because of light? Even the black tips cut off, they continue to turn yellow, then brown and then black. I don't know what that is. Otherwise, they look quite healthy, giving out new roots and even a small new shoot. Could you tell me what I did and should not do to keep them from turning black? Here are a couple of pictures so you can detect...
Thank you!

Tanie

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tanie51(3b)

Here's another pix of the other Mil.

Tanie

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 6:51PM
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terpguy(7)

Salt damage. Miltoniopsis are sensitive to water quality.

What you need to keep in mind is that keeping a plant a little too dry can exacerbate salt damage; evaporation concentrates the salts in the remaining water. Complete evaporation is how salt buildup occurs.

In the absence of knowing your specific water quality I note, as you say, your other oncidiums aren't showing any signs. Thus my first recommendation is try to keep the plant a little more moist to prevent the salt concentration. In other plants that aren't super sensitive this is usually all that's necessary. So it's possible that may just be an indication that you are keeping it a little too dry.

If that doesn't work after a few weeks then I would say start using distilled water with weak fert applications at each watering. (If many of your oncidiums show this then I would jump to use distilled water. Just one plant=step up to it).

Milts are cloud forest plants so they appreciate a tad more moisture than oncidiums, esp. in the form of humidity. And a tad cooler.

This post was edited by terpguy on Fri, Apr 4, 14 at 20:56

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 8:55PM
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tanie51(3b)

Hi Terpguy,

Thank you for your advise. In term of salt water, I have been using snow water for at least last 2 months since we have much snow here, I just go outside, packed snow in a bucket and let it melt then I used it. I keep my house quite cool this winter. Day time is 18 degrees C (Approx. 63 degrees F) and night is 16 degrees. (60.8 F.) I do fertilize them with very weak 1/2 tsp. MG in 4 litters of water and I use that to water them every time. I will try to give them more water to see if that would help.

Thank you again,

Tanie

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 10:24PM
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tanie51(3b)

Hi Terpguy,

Thank you for your advise. In term of salt water, I have been using snow water for at least last 2 months since we have much snow here, I just go outside, packed snow in a bucket and let it melt then I used it. I keep my house quite cool this winter. Day time is 18 degrees C (Approx. 63 degrees F) and night is 16 degrees. (60.8 F.) I do fertilize them with very weak 1/2 tsp. MG in 4 litters of water and I use that to water them every time. I will try to give them more water to see if that would help.

Thank you again,

Tanie

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 10:25PM
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terpguy(7)

How often do you actually water it?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 11:17PM
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jane__ny(9-10)

What zone are you in? Looks like fertilizer damage to me. Try cutting back on fertilizer and watering well, letting it run through the pot.

I've never had good luck with Milts. Have grown them but ran into problems and never quite figured it out.

What are the plants potted in? What fertilizer are you using?

Jane

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 12:17AM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

I have tried a few times and have had nil success with Miltoniopsis.
Here is a little data gathering exercise from records at a local orchid society.
Counts from 2013 and to the end of March 2014.
Total Orchids benched = 1676
Cymbidium Hybrids benched = 126
Oncidiinae hybrids benched = 190
Miltoniopsis hybrids benched = maybe 1
So I do not think you can grow Miltoniopsis in the same set of conditions as Cymbidiums and perhaps with most Oncidiinae Hybrids.....WHY?
Because they are narrow temperature range cloud forest orchids and as mentioned above perhaps they are fussy about water and fertiliser quality.

This post was edited by arthurm on Sat, Apr 5, 14 at 2:36

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 2:08AM
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tanie51(3b)

Hi All,

I live in zone 3, water them ( I should say fertilize them) every 3-4 days for the one potted in bark and 4-5 days the one potted in moss. I know you all said it is very difficult this particular orchid but I thought since I already have them, I'll try to see how far I can go with them. I use MG 24-8-16. May be I should fertilize them every second time instead of every time? For sure, after this I won't dare trying this orchid again...
Thank you,

Tanie

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 9:52PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

You are killing it with kindness!. You should fertilise it less often. There are orchids growing in the wild in the National parks around here and it is a wonder that they flower in their season. Sparse rations indeed!

Think more about giving it fertiliser about once a month!
Certainly worth growing if you can master its needs. Do not forget its ancestors were cloud forest orchids and that is the problem here, not cloud forest at all when arid winds blow from the interior of the continent and the humidity drops and the sun is blazing down (Arizona Sky)

In that cloud forest I imagine that it would be getting very, very, very dilute food all the time.

Again, it would help if an indoor grower who has bloomed Miltoniopsis would give some hints.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 11:00PM
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tanie51(3b)

Thank you Arthum,

I will cut it right down as you said.

Tanie

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 10:18AM
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tolumniamatt

When you use just plain water, flush the pot with copious amounts of water, this helps flush out any salt buildup.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 8:51PM
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tanie51(3b)

Thank you Tolumniamatt, I will do that when my snow water ran out. Have been watered, fertilized them with snow water and cut right down on fert. Also cut off all the black tips and hope they will be happier from now. I noticed a new shoot coming out from the crown. Don't know it's a shoot or a spike. Will let you all know if it is a spike. Won't that be a miracle? and exciting!

Tanie

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:51AM
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greentoe357

Tanie, forgive me for piggy-backing on your thread. I am having a very similar problem with my recently-bought Miltoniopsis, only my leaves are yellowing / browning / blackening from the sides, not from the tips, and looks like the yellow areas are much larger than on Tanie's plant. Does this also look like fertilizer burn?

I bought it with prefect-looking leaves 2 weeks prior to this pic being taken. Fertilized every time I watered, which happened probably twice in that time. I use Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 at 1/3 tsp/gal, which is higher than their 1/4 tsp/gal "maintenance" dose but way lower than the 1 tsp/gal "production" dose. The mix is very peaty; waiting for it to finish blooming to change it to something less water-retentive. The water I use is New York City tap water (which is generally good), off-gassed for a few days and Britta-filtered.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 4:28PM
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tanie51(3b)

Oh I do hope someone will help you with this. Don't you feel helpless seeing them geting sick and not knowing how to help them?I stopped fertilize mine sine I post this. I am taking advise from orchid growers here and will fertilize them way less to see if that will help to stop the black tips. Despite the tip of the leaves are blackening, they seem doing okay. They are giving out new shoots and new roots. I'll just have to wait and see.

Tanie

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:54PM
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orchidnick

I have some comments regarding black leaf tips on REGULAR orchids. Miltoniopsis are not regular orchids, their leaves will turn black when the wind blows, also when the wind does not blow.

I have a 'Mine Shaft Canary', an orchid which tells me when I fertilize too much. For close to 18 years I have been growing Maxillaria variabilis (yellow) and noticed that it seems to be very sensitive to over fertilizing. When it gets black leaf tips I cut back on fertilizing and sure enough new emerging leaves will look normal. I doubt that there is anything special about that plant, I just happen to have noticed that association and it has held true over the years.

Plants seem to have a different level of sensitivity to this problem. I have a couple of Dracula that get major black leaf tip damage all the time. Since all of the other ones have nice green leaves I ignore them, just enjoy their flowers and nip off the black leaf parts now and then. Can't please everyone.

I don't know why I grow Miltoniopsis. Finally am keeping them alive and this year one of them is actually making ONE, that's 1 with no zeros behind it, spikes. Went to my doctor's office and noticed a Miltoniopsis they bought at Trader Joe's with 13 spikes. The plant is about 1/2 the size of mine with it's spectacular ONE spike. I find Miltoniopsis even more aggravating than Dendrobium aggravation.

Nick

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 12:34AM
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westoh Z6

I've tried them multiple times, just can't keep the right humidity and temp balance growing them with my indoor set-up.

Greentoe's pic makes me think it's something different than a simple leaf tip fert issue, it has bad spots in the middle of the leaves, not the tips. Maybe a little sunburn or too close to a cold window or something along those lines??? Then again, it could just be those leaves time to give up the fight???

I'd keep a close eye on it for sure.

Bob

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 6:54AM
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greentoe357

Wow, so looks like this is a princess, huh?

> Maybe a little sunburn or too close to a cold window or something along those lines?

Definitely not sunburn. I've been keeping it away from even the fluorescents (extends the life of the blooms, they say). It's been away from windows, but on the floor, with a fan gently blowing air around. Mid- to low 60s is how low the temp probably got. They can take that, I understand.

One more potential cause (forgot to mention) is I sprayed it with soap solution (6 tbsp/gal) twice in case there are pests. Once I washed it off after ~30-60 minutes, the other time I may have left the soap solution to dry (I think that's what I did).

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 2:34AM
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greentoe357

I googled this thread up for somebody on facebook with similar yellowing leaves, and meanwhile thought I'd post an update on my Miltoniopsis pictured 3-4 screens up.

That yellowing / blackening of leaves stopped very soon after. I think it was probably just it adjusting to the new growing area. I continued fertilizing over all these months, it grew well over the summer, and I even divided it in late July.

Then a few days ago I noticed a spike on one of the divisions, and today on the other! I did not expect spikes because indoors I cannot provide much of a cool period, but there they are! The quality of this flowering remains to be seen, but it very much seems to be much less of a princess than I thought it was.

Hope everybody else's Miltonias are also doing well.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2014 at 9:25AM
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tanie51(3b)

Congratulations Greentoes!

If you look at the thread under "Miltonia, 'Miltoniopsis' updated" you'll see mine bloomed! And because of that gave me a lot of encouragement to grow them so for last 2 weeks, HD was selling miltoniopsis, "seems to sell them only once a year", I went a bought 3 more in 3 different colors. 1 is pink and white looks like butterfly and one is yellow, the other one is a beautiful "waterfall". I hope they'll all doing as well as the first one for me. I took advise from all friends on line here and cut way down in fertilized them so there's no more black tips though the accordion leaves I couldn't make it go away no matter what I do.

Good luck to you and your Milt. Please post the flowers for us to enjoy when the bloom!

Tanie

    Bookmark   October 10, 2014 at 9:50AM
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greentoe357

Congrats to you as well, Tanie! I am glad my good experience is not unique.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2014 at 11:34AM
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