Orchids forum: Water or light problem?

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Name: Darcy
Reno, NV (Zone 6b)
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djinnevada
Mar 10, 2016 11:01 PM CST
My poor orchid is suffering, but I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong...
the leaves are bendy, not crunchy



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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Mar 10, 2016 11:38 PM CST
What kind of an orchid is it?
Name: Darcy
Reno, NV (Zone 6b)
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djinnevada
Mar 11, 2016 1:15 AM CST
Fairly sure it's a zygopetalum (who named these things, anyway?)
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Mar 11, 2016 8:03 AM CST
Darcy, if this is a back-bulb rather than new growth, it is not unusual for those old leaves to brown and fall off. This appears to be an Oncidium-like plant, and though I have never grown a Zygo., my Cymbiums/Oncidiums will lose their older leaves.
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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Mar 11, 2016 11:49 AM CST
It does look like a Zygopetalum. Have you seen it bloom? I have Zygopetalum 'Blue Bird' that I got last summer at Raley's but Trader Joe's had them too.

The care is the same as Ocidiums. Old leaves do dry up and fall off but yours doesn't look good. I suspect you should give it more light and less water.

Daisy
Name: Darcy
Reno, NV (Zone 6b)
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djinnevada
Mar 11, 2016 12:07 PM CST
Thanks!...BTW, this was his bloom...(before I managed to break it off Crying )


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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Mar 11, 2016 12:18 PM CST
That is a beautiful Zygopetalum bloom photo. I grow my Zygo in cool conditions, it is outdoors right now but protected by my growcamp.

I am thinking your plant is just naturally undergoing leaf aging. Has it just bloomed, it may just be getting ready for it. I usually step up watering now that Spring is coming about. Do you see new roots growing? Or has it done blooming already? It can go the other way, it is going to rest a bit if blooming is done, drop some leaves, and refocus energy to new roots, and later new leaves. If it is happy, it may just try and give you another spike.
[Last edited by tarev - Mar 11, 2016 12:19 PM (+)]
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Name: Darcy
Reno, NV (Zone 6b)
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djinnevada
Mar 11, 2016 12:33 PM CST
Oooooohhhhh...I'll keep my fingers crossed!!!!
Name: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
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hawkarica
Mar 11, 2016 4:22 PM CST
Just by looking at the picture, I can't rule out Cercospora Leaf Spot or Cercospora odontoglossi. Please post a picture of the underside of the leaf.

Jim
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Mar 11, 2016 6:05 PM CST
I have to disagree with Tarev. A healthy Zygo should have a hint of yellow to the leaves, not the dark green your plant is. And the leaves should not be looking brown and yellow spotty. The leaves on old bulbs dry up and fall off. Zygos like bright light but not direct sun and to be constantly damp but not water-logged. They prefer warm daytime temps followed by cools nights. Zygos don't grow airroots; all the roots should be under the potting medium or at least lying on it.

I am sticking with too much water and not enough light.

I am attaching a photo I just took of mine. It has two bloom stalks developing. It lives in the very top of my south facing greenhouse under shadecloth. It often hits over 100 in there but it cools to the mid-60's at night. Don't put your Zygo outside here in Reno - it will be dead in a day. It's too dry here.

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Daisy
Name: Darcy
Reno, NV (Zone 6b)
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djinnevada
Mar 12, 2016 12:02 PM CST
OK, here are the glamour shots...
the top of the leaves...

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the underside...

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the underside of one still on the plant



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and a shot looking down into the middle



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I did stick my finger into the bark as far as I could and it didn't feel wet.
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Mar 12, 2016 1:33 PM CST
Hmmm... Doesn't look good.

Is that just one bulb being affected? Overall, the plant and potting medium look good. There may even be the beginning of a bud on the base of the bulb in the upper right corner of the pot.

It looks like its in a ceramic pot - is there dranage? I hate potting orchids directly in ceramic.

There are 4 reasons to repot an orchid. One of them is when a plant isn't doing well. How brave are you? It could be time to dump it out of the pot and see what's going on.

It bothers me that you can't feel any moisture. I wonder if the bark has gotten too dry to absorb moisture.

Daisy
Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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sugarcane
Mar 12, 2016 1:54 PM CST
Could this be a fungal problem?
lindsey
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Mar 12, 2016 4:26 PM CST
Darcy,

See if the black sooty spots on the underside of the leaf still attached to the plant rub off.
Name: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
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hawkarica
Mar 12, 2016 5:55 PM CST
Well, the underside of the leaf did not have the typical Cercospora spotting that I was looking for. The spots on the leaf in the last picture are exactly what I was looking for. Perhaps the other leaves are too far gone to show the spotting. Anyway, I think you have a fungus. I would segregate the plant and perform some surgery to get rid of spotted or wilted looking pbulbs, leaves and roots. Dust the cuts with cinnamon and follow up with a systematic fungicide. Sterilize all your tools both before and after. Cercospora is not the worst fungus in the world and you should be able win this fight. Overwatering or poor drainage may well be a contributor. Breathable pots and fresh chunky bark are your friends. If your plant pulls through, we will call you Dr. Darcy.

Jim
Name: Darcy
Reno, NV (Zone 6b)
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djinnevada
Mar 12, 2016 8:26 PM CST
Ha! If this poor orchid pulls through it won't have much to do with me!!

In answer to questions about the pot, it is an orchid pot with holes all the way up on all sides (looks like swiss cheese).

Thank you all...I will put on my BGP and dump him out tomorrow and see if anything obvious jumps out at me. Crying
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Mar 12, 2016 10:06 PM CST
Bring him down to my house for a visit. We can dump him out together.

Daisy
Name: Darcy
Reno, NV (Zone 6b)
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djinnevada
Mar 13, 2016 9:30 PM CST
Thank you to everyone for all your advise, and a great big "THANK YOU" Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
to Daisyl for trekking all the way out to my house to diagnose and show me how to better care for my orchids! Between the root trimming, new pot-ing, and re-locating (to a new window) I think they actually stand half a chance! Turns out the black-ish spots on the zygo were just from damage/stress, and they yellowing leaves were from the roots dying. Everyone has a new home now, so we'll see what happens! Thumbs up
Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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sugarcane
Mar 13, 2016 9:59 PM CST
Hurray!
lindsey
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Mar 13, 2016 10:12 PM CST
We had a great time. Hopefully, we can get together again.

The Zygo with problems is a survivor - it was trying really hard. We cut out all the dead stuff and put it into a smaller pot with 1/2 bark and 1/2 perlite. Lots of new roots and lots of new bulblets. With a little more water and that new east facing window, it will be fine.

The sad story is one of the new orchids (BLC) from the Santa Barbara show was from an unscrupulous seller (a sweet Asian lady - no not being racist. Hubby is still Japanese). The orchids were imported and repotted in a very small pot with sphagum moss. Not a surprise. But it looked like the plants were ripped out of the ground, torn apart and replanted. Not a viable root on the whole plant.

Although we live in Nevada, I'm not willing to lay odds on the survival of this one. Sorry Darcy. Crying

Daisy

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