Orchids forum: Orchid flower wilting :(

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Singapore
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ZH
Dec 31, 2018 6:01 AM CST
Hi all I live I Singapore where its hot n sunny with temperatures generally add 30 degrees n with very high humidity. i got this orchid flower a week ago n have been watering it everyday until water comes out from the bottom where I then pour the water in the saucer away. It was as advised by the florist. but the flower seem to be wilting as each day past so I checked the Internet n found out that orchids should not be watered everyday generally. So I switched to watering alternate days and yet the flower continue to wilt each day n so I checked agn n found out that the best method is to feel the potting mix if its dry n have been doing it, watering when it is dry where I go back to watering everyday. However, the plant condition still get worse everyday, n I dunno what went wrong. I would appreciate if someone can advice me what to do:/The soil isn't like the traditional soil I see in potting plants but something that kinda look like charcoal pieces...
Thumb of 2018-12-31/ZH/2a50cd

Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Dec 31, 2018 6:45 AM CST
The media is okay, traditional potting soil is NOT used for orchids!! Orchid roots need air movement to survive. Soil would smother the roots causing them to die.
Your plant is a Dendrobium phalaenopsis not to be confused with a Phalaenopsis. Yours needs a few hours of sunshine and watered when the media is almost dry.
Individual flowers normally last 3 weeks or so but the life of a flower is shortened by the heat. Yours could be folding prematurely due to the shock of relocation to your home.
Welcome to our forums and the NGA. There are lots of threads about growing orchids and lots of great growers here to assist you.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Dec 31, 2018 12:05 PM CST
Hello ZH, what you read about watering is correct, they do not need to be watered everyday. Your area also has high humid heat year round. At the very least those blooms will last from 2 weeks to a month. It is in its natural end phase of the blooming cycle. What is important now is to help the plant continue on growing after the blooming period.

The media it is in, is okay, that is quite typical being used in Asia, to accommodate excessive moisture levels there and if grown outdoors the frequent rains. Your plant is still in the adjustment stage as already mentioned, so it is understandable it will drop some blooms faster than usual. Later on, that plant will try to grow aerial roots, so just let it be, Dens like their roots like that, with lots of air access. It may also either try to do basal keikis or it may do keikis anywhere near the top of the plant. When that happens, just allow the plant to grow those babies at the top till it reaches half size of mother plant, and then you can gently twist it off and plant later in its own orchid media.

I remember before in my homeland, they grow orchids on coconut shells and husks and they add some charcoal too. So easy to grow them there, they like the warm humid weather.
[Last edited by tarev - Dec 31, 2018 12:07 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue Taylor
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kniphofia
Dec 31, 2018 12:32 PM CST
Keep your plant in a loose compost suitable for orchids, it looks fine. The fact that the last blooms on the stem are opening explains the reason why the older flowers near the bottom of the stem are dying off - this is entirely normal.

Concentrate on keeping the plant leaves growing and you should see another bloom stalk in time.

Your plant definitely doesn't need watering every day.

Good luck with it and enjoy your plant.
Singapore
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ZH
Dec 31, 2018 10:16 PM CST
Hi everyone thanks for your advice, I notice one of the bud wilt off at the end b4 it blooms tho. N may I know how often shld I water then cuz I read online that you shld water once the potting mix is dry. It feels dry everyday... So I water it daily.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jan 2, 2019 10:49 AM CST
Hello ZH, your orchid is an epiphyte, meaning it can ably extract moisture and nutrients from the air. So do not be too obsessed with watering. Naturally it needs watering, but not in the same frequency as other tropical plants. Twice a week watering is at times more than enough for what it needs. This is very relative to your temperature and humidity levels. We all have varying growing conditions so it will be up to you to determine that. It likes lots of good airflow around it, down to the root zone area.

It is quite normal for the plant to drop off the buds and blooms as it continues to adjust to your growing area. It takes awhile, it is not instantaneous. What you need to do now is just let it finish off the blooms, and then once all is done, allow it to redirect its energies to growing newer roots and leaves to continue its life cycle.
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jan 2, 2019 11:02 AM CST
Epiphyte: a plant that grows on another plant strictly for support only.
Not a parasite which derives nourishment from the host species.
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Name: Mike
Easton, PA (Zone 6b)
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immike1
Jan 12, 2019 7:27 AM CST
Hope your plant is still healthy ZH. If it's still quite hot there where you live I would continue to water regularly and make sure there is some air movement around the plant or you could develop problems especially if it's as humid as you say.
If your temps drop down around 23 or 25 max you probably won't want to water more than every 5 or 6 days depending on how much sun your plant gets.
Singapore
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ZH
Jan 12, 2019 7:47 AM CST
@immike1,
I water ard every 4 days now. The orchid still looks healthy, the flowers except the bottom few that has wilted are looking as vibrant n beautiful as b4. Tho since the previous photo, abt 2 more flowers have wilted but I think that's normal, I guess?
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jan 12, 2019 8:05 AM CST
It is only normal if the flowers have been open for at least two weeks. Anything less then that is not normal.
Under proper watering and temperatures they should last between three and four weeks.

But good culture and good growers know it is about light, temperature, air movement, humidity, watering and pots/media. If one component changes more then a little bit, it has a profound effect on all the others. The good growers know how to keep everything in balance.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Singapore
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ZH
Jan 12, 2019 8:12 AM CST
@bigbill, hi I don't know if the flower has been open for how long cuz when I got it few weeks ago, they were all opened already.
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jan 12, 2019 8:28 AM CST
Well if they were all open, that can be good and bad. The buds open sequentially, so the older buds at the base of the stem could have been a few weeks old at time of purchase. They could have been ready to fade in just a matter of days.
The flowers up front could have been open for a week or so. But it really sounds normal to me and hopefully now that you have the plant in your care, you will enjoy the blooming process next time from beginning to end.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Singapore
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ZH
Jan 12, 2019 9:17 AM CST
Thanks. I'm really new to plants n everything so I didn't know how to select too. I select the plant with most flower n most beautiful n vivrant. But most of them have almost opened to the top alreasy, probably so that they look beautiful in display n ppl r attracted to buy.
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jan 12, 2019 9:54 AM CST
Just a hint: if theybis more then one plant on a table, say 6 of the same hybrid, pick the one with the thickest, fullest, roundest and widest leaves. Regardless of the spike or flowers. Many breeders feel that those plants may have extra genes making them superior in the long run.
If there are several different hybrids and say they are all yellow with spots, pick according to the leaves. Like I said, a lot of people seem to think that they are better plants.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Jan 12, 2019 12:07 PM CST
HI ZH, I enjoyed growing Phals since they are among the ones that have such long lasting blooms. In my area, when it blooms sometimes it lasts for 4 to 6 months. It just varies depending on environmental conditions we have. Over here it gets quite cooler when it starts making its spike in late Fall and staying indoors, the blooms last longer even if our heaters are running since I do not set our indoor temperatures too high.

But with most other orchids that I have also tried like Dendrobiums, Oncidiums, Maxillarias, the most blooming they will do is one month, then gradually wilting.

The real challenge for me later on is keeping the orchids alive after their blooming phase. They will all do a rest period. It is at this resting phase that some make the mistake of trying to hasten things up, ending up over watering or over fertilizing, so be careful when your orchid finally is done with blooming.

That bloom spike can stay green for awhile, so you can choose to just keep it after the blooms are gone. Sometimes it may rebloom on that old spike. But if the spike starts to wilt, just let it go, cut it off and the plant will then redirect all its energies to growing new leaves and roots.
[Last edited by tarev - Jan 12, 2019 12:08 PM (+)]
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Name: Mike
Easton, PA (Zone 6b)
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immike1
Jan 13, 2019 7:53 AM CST
@bigbill thanks for the comment on "big" leaves, guess it's a bit intuitive but didn't know the bit about breeders view on the subject.
I usually look at the pseudobulbs (if the plant has them) and pick the one with the largest figuring it has had the better upbringing.
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Dahlias Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
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BigBill
Jan 13, 2019 8:14 AM CST
Well Mike, that is of course a great way to pick a plant! Stick with it.
But I know from all my years of experience that when it comes to genetics, polyploidy or extra genes, 2n versus 4n, the extra genes result in far superior plants.

If I see several seedlings in a sales area, I too will take a chance and buy the best one I see. But if I really like the cross or hybrid, I will also buy the one with the really broad leaves, the thicker leaves, the one that may appear on first glance to be a runt or have stunted growth, and it often turns out to have better shaped flowers with superior color and maybe it will bloom more often. It is a very interesting thing, genetics!!!
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."

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