Let these flower? Sphag and bag? Something else?
EDIT: this is an old thread, so no need to read too closely and advise - but there are several progress pictures there, so the thread is now more of a case study. The experience turned out into a good confidence builder for me and provided many good learning experiences, but I would advise people to start with healthy blooming or spiking plants rather than trying to "save" those in bad shape like I tried to do. This was too much damn anguish and waiting around! :-)
As of yesterday, my toe is officially in with a couple of new orchids I bought for the first time ever. I'd been reading about them and looking at orchid porn :-) online but hesitant to get any because I was afraid to kill them and because they are not cheap. Yesterday I got two little sickly ones in the same pot at a big box store nearby at 50% off.
Looks like they recently finished flowering. There was one flower stalk definitely dry - I cut it off. Apart from that, the 2-leaf plant has a flower stalk with 2 tiny bulbs at the every end and the 4-leaf plant has 2 non-dry flower stalks - one has been broken or cut off 3-4 nodes in and the other has a tiny bulb at the very end.
Both plants had extensive root problems - very rigid dry wiry center in each root covered with an empty shell with no meaty tissue in-between - I cut all of those off and the picture shows what little good roots remain.
The leaves are a bit droopy and wrinkly, but far from dead.
As much as I'd love to get these to flower just to see what those flowers look like, I strongly suspect I need to cut all the flower stalks to the very bottom in order to let the plants rest and regenerate healthy roots in order to survive into the next year. My priority is 60% long term survival of the plants but also 40% seeing the flowers ASAP - so if the plants are not likely to be hurt too much further by flowering now (and if that is even likely with these tiny roots), then I might let them try.
Another question is whether my plants are good candidates for the "sphag and bag" technique (shown here for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVuIStLxFrI) to help phals grow new roots. Are they?
Very broadly, what would you do with these if you were me? I look at these as good learning opportunities - which is to say I might choose the more difficult or labor-intensive route if I am likely to learn from the experience, even if I kill one or both in the process.
This post was edited by greentoe357 on Sun, Oct 26, 14 at 11:48