Orchids forum: Killing with kindness...

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Name: Carey
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Dog Lover Container Gardener Tropicals Roses
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plumerias Orchids Plant and/or Seed Trader Butterflies Birds
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careyana
Aug 16, 2011 1:34 PM CST
So we were gone for a couple of weeks in July. When we got back, found the housesitter hadn't quite done as requested, and I had lost some of my tropicals, what was left of my veggie bed, and most of my other plants were definitely lacking care. So, I watered...and it looks, a bit too excessively. I know I needed to re-pot my oncidium but had been putting it off. Well, the leaves actually turned yellow, so I knew I needed to get to it.

Well, it turns out I OVER watered the poor thing. The roots were somewhat compacted around the decomposed bark, and it looks like I may have lost a couple of smaller pseudobulbs. Had to give a haircut to a lot of root tips, but there looks to be plenty to recover.

I'll let ya'll know how it goes. I'm letting the roots dry a bit before I repot.
Name: Carey
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Dog Lover Container Gardener Tropicals Roses
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plumerias Orchids Plant and/or Seed Trader Butterflies Birds
Image
careyana
Aug 17, 2011 5:10 PM CST
I went back through some of the older posts - I did take into consideration the roots needed some help. They got doused in some diluted superthrive and also a little bone meal mixed in. (I figure I need to use the bone meal anyway - apparently voles really like the flavor so I can no longer keep the bag outdoors)
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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boojum
Aug 17, 2011 8:02 PM CST
Never heard of bone meal for orchids. Did someone recommend it? I use the MSU fertilizers for orchids.
So sorry the house sitter did so horribly! Worst nightmare of mine! Yellow leaves can mean many things as you learned from the Oncidium! In other plants they are begging for water but it also can mean that the roots are rotting. How much watering did you give it? It may have been in trouble before you tried to save it.
Name: Carey
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Dog Lover Container Gardener Tropicals Roses
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plumerias Orchids Plant and/or Seed Trader Butterflies Birds
Image
careyana
Aug 18, 2011 10:10 AM CST
Kathy I can't remember which thread I read about the bone meal, but I figure it can't hurt! Hilarious!

I had watered twice in one week. I think it was the fact it needed to be repotted and so much of the bark had decomposed so the roots were practically sitting in a puddle.

The really sad part about the whole thing is the new pup that was forming...and I emphasize *was. Crying
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
boojum
Aug 18, 2011 11:50 AM CST
Aha! The roots were rotting way before you started this round of watering. Of course in bark, one deep watering a week is probably enough. But you are not totally off the hook. You should probably be repotting your orchids more often. That is truly the culprit here.
Name: Carey
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Dog Lover Container Gardener Tropicals Roses
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plumerias Orchids Plant and/or Seed Trader Butterflies Birds
Image
careyana
Aug 18, 2011 12:08 PM CST
I imagine so. Sad

I have a nice rootbound phal that needs to be repotted. At least I got that from a trustworthy nursery (and not HD like the oncidium. sucker)
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
boojum
Aug 18, 2011 1:25 PM CST
As far as bonemeal, I found an article where it can be used with terrestrial orchids-NOT Oncidiums.
I would stop that practice.
http://www.how-to-grow-orchid.com/feeding-orchid.htm
Name: Carey
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Dog Lover Container Gardener Tropicals Roses
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plumerias Orchids Plant and/or Seed Trader Butterflies Birds
Image
careyana
Aug 18, 2011 2:18 PM CST
Well heck. I'm not sure where I'd get osmunda around here? Although there are several nurseries, finding orchid materials is difficult. I was happy to find a small bag of bark, although the bag does appear to have some of the peat mixed into it.

And thank you for the article! It's making me reconsider repotting my Phal. But here's a question: one of my dendrobiums is growing over the side of the container, and it now has two offshoots, one of which is growing off the side of the box. Should I divide and repot or leave as is because it's obviously happy?? Confused
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
boojum
Aug 18, 2011 4:46 PM CST
Up to you. It's always good to repot when new roots are sprouting. I like roots to grow out of the pots but others repot into a larger pot to accommodate those roots.

I don't use bark now since I water daily (mounts and clay pellets) but I used it for years when I didn't water so often.
Name: Carey
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Dog Lover Container Gardener Tropicals Roses
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plumerias Orchids Plant and/or Seed Trader Butterflies Birds
Image
careyana
Aug 18, 2011 5:30 PM CST
I sooo wish I could mount them, but it is just too hot and dry here, so it's hard to gauge sometimes. I'm going to invest in some trays, though, and put some of those water crystals around them to increase the humidity. I've got the dens sitting on trays of their own that I'll put a half inch of water in every couple of days. I've moved everything to the front window for filtered morning sun and the dens and my remaining catt (the miniature fried while I was gone. Sad ) have put out some new growth. I just moved the onc. so we'll see how it does. Blinking
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
boojum
Aug 18, 2011 7:41 PM CST
Are you letting the pots sit in water? Hope not!
Name: Carey
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Dog Lover Container Gardener Tropicals Roses
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plumerias Orchids Plant and/or Seed Trader Butterflies Birds
Image
careyana
Aug 18, 2011 9:10 PM CST
oh no no - they're above the water. It's just for humidity. Didn't mean to scare you. :)
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
boojum
Aug 19, 2011 8:54 AM CST
Phew!!! Unfortunately I see people do that pretty often! Glad you answered quickly to stop me worrying. I once had a funny book about types of birdwatchers. I was the Mommy type. I see the birds (and plants) as my children to care for. I have illusions that I'm the scientific type but I'm not. They are all my children! No wonder I get tired of being so responsible! All those plants and animals to take care of. And I'm in a helping profession! It's exhausting! Hilarious!
Name: Carey
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Dog Lover Container Gardener Tropicals Roses
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plumerias Orchids Plant and/or Seed Trader Butterflies Birds
Image
careyana
Aug 19, 2011 8:14 PM CST
LOL! Oh that I understand.

The onc. is looking better today. A lot of the yellowing seems to have disappeared already. Hopefully I'll see some new foliage (I trimmed the browned parts off) eventually to really ease my mind!
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
boojum
Aug 19, 2011 11:43 PM CST
Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
Name: Carey
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Dog Lover Container Gardener Tropicals Roses
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plumerias Orchids Plant and/or Seed Trader Butterflies Birds
Image
careyana
Aug 27, 2011 10:58 AM CST
I guess the roots got too much damage. The pseudo bulbs are starting to mush from the bottom up. :(

Meanwhile, my dens are loving life as is the cat.

I did find out one of my favorite private nurseries has seedlings 5- $5. Or, the species and hybrids they stock are all $25 and under for bloom-sized plants. They have a small selection online but their greenhouse is chock full of goodies.
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
boojum
Aug 27, 2011 1:39 PM CST
Sorry to hear... but the bloom-sized plants sound great! If you buy some, I'd love to see them.
Name: Carey
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Dog Lover Container Gardener Tropicals Roses
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plumerias Orchids Plant and/or Seed Trader Butterflies Birds
Image
careyana
Aug 27, 2011 4:44 PM CST
Well, I have plants already. DH and I went to the H&G show downtown today...me forgetting that's where I originally came across the Millers. So today I picked up Epicat Rainbow Sherbert "Juno Beach" and a purple-blooming species orchid.

I got very excited because I was talking with them at the show and she said they have a huge variety of new hybrids they're testing out. They're the best type - they started out with orchids as a hobby and turned it into a business to support their habit. My next trip to visit I've already promised myself a couple of gongora tricolors seedlings. :)
Name: Kathy
Western MA

Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US Orchids Irises
Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Image
boojum
Aug 27, 2011 5:10 PM CST
Very cool. The Epicat is C. Jungle Elf x Epi. stamfordianum. Is it in bloom? Can only find a pic in my OrchidWiz. Can you post one? Love it!
Name: Carey
Austin, TX (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Dog Lover Container Gardener Tropicals Roses
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Plumerias Orchids Plant and/or Seed Trader Butterflies Birds
Image
careyana
Aug 27, 2011 6:31 PM CST
They had the 'mother' plant there. The one I picked up may have a bloom stalk forming...if it does bloom, I will take lots of pictures. :)

The only picture they have on their website isn't very good.... http://www.millerstropicals.com/epicat_rainbow_sherbert.htm
[Last edited by boojum - Aug 27, 2011 3:49 PM (+)]
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