Rookie questions: yellow stalks; one dead stalk; buds fell off.
I�ve got some great window sills that get pretty good light for a few hours in the morning. So I�m trying to fill the sills up with plants, and doing my best to keep my plants alive. I have two orchids, or perhaps four, because I have four stalks coming out of orchid plants in two pots, and I can�t tell whether I�m dealing with 2, 3 or 4 orchids total. So I guess my first question reveals that I�m a rookie: how many orchids do I have? Is it one orchid per stalk? Or is that big mess of roots and leaves and stuff in my pot all one single orchid or many?
Next, all my orchids have been behaving a bit strangely recently. Here are there deets:
One orchid pot came with a label that says her name is "Mtssa. Estrelita �Sweet Senorita.�" But that�s a mouthful, so I just call her Penelope. She is in a pot about 8 inches in diameter, and takes up nearly the whole thing. Here are some odd things about her. First, her leaves are getting to turn a light yellow, which to me seems a symptom of poor health. Also, the leaves are kind of thin and the yellow ones are the most limp.
Second, one of her stalks died soon after I bought her about two months ago. I don�t know whether she may have bloomed, and that the stalk just dies automatically, or whether I somehow killed the stalk before it was able to bloom. I heard that I�m supposed to cut the stalk after the flowers died, so I did that, and the base and leaves from which the stalk grew are still somewhat green and yellowish, so my hunch is that if the stalk is dead but the plant is limping on, that I may yet be able to nurse her back to good health (assuming that she isn�t OK as is).
Third, one of the bases seems raised up out of the dirt, and recent sprung out about a dozen two inch long white worm-looking things. Do I need to put dirt around these, or are they fine by themselves?
Fourth, there is either a second stalk coming from the mass of orchid leaves in the pot. This stalk is healthier, but it is also a light green, and maybe is getting a bit yellow. Also, at each knuckle on the stalk, there is a tiny little offshoot leaf that is brown (dead?). Is it a bad sign that the little leaf appears dead, or is brown a normal color?
Fifth, the roots seem perhaps dead in that they are brown and shriveled up. But they are a little flexible in a way that makes it seem like they aren�t totally dried up on the inside. Is this normal? What is the sign of an unhealthy root system?
In my other pot, I have an orchid(s) with six big fat dark green stiff leaves, and two dark green stalks. This orchid tells me his name is Boudreaux, and he came home with me about a month ago, but he doesn�t have any identifying information on him so I don�t know what kind of orchid he is. On one stalk I have two one-inch diameter buds which I am waiting to bloom. On the other stalk, it separates into three sub-stalks at the end with blooming flowers on each one. But I�ve been losing flowers and buds. Four buds fell off without blooming, and about four flowers fell off, and my hunch is prematurely. There are two buds and six flowers left that have not fallen off. The buds and flowers that fell off all fell off within a week of each other. How do I know if the flowers/buds fell off prematurely or if this is healthy? Is it typical for some buds never to open up? Also, his pot is all moss and no dirt. Is that a bad thing? If it is all moss (and it looks so crowded with roots down there), do I need to water him more often? I looked at his roots, and while many are green, it seems like half are dried up and dead, though they are flexible enough that there could be some moisture in them and so maybe they aren�t dead after all.
Here are some photos, too. Can anyone give me advice to keep these orchids healthy?