Orchids forum: Dormant vs Dead Orchids

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Ohio
Paula_Ohio
Aug 10, 2017 5:11 PM CST
How do you know when an orchid is dormant vs. dead? 😩
Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Orchids
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sugarcane
Aug 10, 2017 7:13 PM CST
Paula, That's a complicated question ...with no easy answer.
I once had a plant that died ( or so I thought) I put it on the back stairs to go out to the compost pile when the weather got better. It sat in the un lit , un watered back stairs for months before I got around to cleaning up the space. Imagine my surprise when I found it there ...in the dark...with green leaves.
Some orchids traditionally go through a dormant period. There are many people here more experienced with them than I..and hopefully one of them will chime in. What kind of orchid are you wondering about? If you don't know the Genus or name, a photo would be really helpful.
Welcome to our group!
lindsey
Ohio
Paula_Ohio
Aug 11, 2017 12:05 AM CST
I hope mine comes back. I'd be so sad if I killed it. I'm not sure of the genus or name.

The first pic was when it bloomed. The second is now.

Thumb of 2017-08-11/Paula_Ohio/7487e3


Thumb of 2017-08-11/Paula_Ohio/af4a86

Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Orchids
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sugarcane
Aug 11, 2017 5:14 AM CST
Paula, that is a Phalaenopsis orchid.
It was spectacular in bloom..easy to see why you want to keep it healthy!
There's a few threads pinned to the top of the our orchid forum, and you'll find most ( if not all) of your questions answered there.
You can certainly cut off the dead flower spike, and make sure that it's planted in a container that drains freely. Good luck, have fun and let us know how you are doing with it.
lindsey
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers Greenhouse
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Ursula
Aug 11, 2017 7:38 AM CST

Moderator

Hi Paula!
If I may add to this -
Looking at your resting plant, I would think the plant would benefit from some good soaks. The leaves in your blooming picture shows them plump and standing, while they look a bit limp in the second picture. Take the plant to the sink and run room temperature water through the medium, avoiding getting water into the crown. At one point you might want to fertilize your plant.
I would pick up the plant after it has been watered and mentally note the weight. When you think the pot needs watering, lift it up and also note the weight of the pot. After a while you will be able to gauge when you need to water again by simply "hefting the pot"! Smiling

Hopefully when the temperature drops naturally in your house in the Fall, your plant might get the signal and starts spiking again.

Yes, perhaps you will take the time and read on in our Phalaenopsis thread.
Have fun.

addding after looking more closely at your pictures - the blooming picture shows a plant with lots of healthy roots which you buried when you repotted it. At least I think you repotted it? The plant was originally in bark as far as I can see and if that would have been my plant, I would have left it alone at that point. I find that these plant love to sulk when you disturb them like that, at least in my hands.
[Last edited by Ursula - Aug 11, 2017 7:49 AM (+)]
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Ohio
Paula_Ohio
Aug 11, 2017 10:33 AM CST
Soaking it won't kill it?

I should cut the stem off?

Does it look dead? Lol

I did repot it. It had a ton of "Air roots" sticking out. I thought they should be covered so I repotted it. 😢

I just want it to live! 😩
Ohio
Paula_Ohio
Aug 11, 2017 11:09 AM CST
Also.... thank you very much for helping me! I appreciate it. I've always wanted an orchid but I've heard how difficult they can be, so I never tried. My kids bought this one for me. I don't want to kill it.
Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Orchids
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sugarcane
Aug 11, 2017 3:04 PM CST
Paula,
When you repotted this what did you use around the roots? Potting soil? An orchid bark mix? When you potted it what kind of pot did you use?
lindsey
Ohio
Paula_Ohio
Aug 12, 2017 10:37 AM CST
It's an orchid potting mix. It looks like mulch. It's not in a plastic well draining "bowl".
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 12, 2017 11:29 AM CST
Well done, Paula. I think your Phal will do just fine, but you've got to be patient. They generally bloom only once a year, usually in the springtime after they've had a bit of cool weather (it gets cooler in your house even in winter, right?) and they are quite slow growers.

Just one thing I'd like to mention from your comment a couple of posts back, when the plant puts roots out above the potting mix, they don't need to be covered. Orchids like to grow with their roots out in the air, and Phals in nature grow on the trunks of trees with the roots up, grasping the bark of the tree, and the leaves facing down so that water never sits in the 'cup' of the leaves. So don't worry (and don't cover) if more roots pop out above the bark chips because growth of any roots is a good sign. Just wet them thoroughly whenever you water and they'll be happy. Probably attach themselves to the pot, too.

Also on naturally growing Phals, the flower stems cascade downwards, over the leaves. Staking them straight up like you see at the stores isn't really the way they want to go, either. So if you wanted to hang your plant, then you could let both the leaves and the flowers face downwards as nature intended. They're lovely either way, of course.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Orchids
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sugarcane
Aug 12, 2017 4:50 PM CST
Hi Paula,
That's great that you found the orchid bark mix... it drains a lot faster than just using garden mulch. If this were my plant, I would look for a plastic pot just a tiny bit bigger than the one it came out of. You can drill extra holes for quicker draining.

Thumb of 2017-08-12/sugarcane/2e98ee
If you do choose to repot it ( and I would certainly want to have a look at its roots) take a photo of the plant after you've rinsed it off.. we can tell you more by a look at what's going on out of sight. Then when you repot it make sure it's not wobbly in the pot, you may have to recycle that Stake that the flower spike was clipped to.. to help steady the plant while it settles in.
As Elaine described about the plants natural way of growing outdoors.. attempting to give them what they need and still keep them in a pot.. can be challenging. In nature it might rain a couple times a day for a few minutes, the rain runs over the roots and flows over the leaves like an umbrella.. and then every thing dries off. In a pot that doesn't drain well, or a mix that holds moisture will probably rot the roots. If the roots rot then the plant can't take up water or nutrients.. so keeping your plants roots happy is your number one priority.



Thumb of 2017-08-12/sugarcane/ebf302
This plant is so passed ready to be repotted.. but I'm putting it off because all this new root growth is good, and I know I can wait a few days (weeks)
lindsey
[Last edited by sugarcane - Aug 12, 2017 5:03 PM (+)]
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Ohio
Paula_Ohio
Aug 14, 2017 2:55 PM CST
How would I hang the plant to grow more naturally and what would I hang it on? I can take it out of the pot and take a picture of the roots? Will that hurt it any?

I love all of the info you're giving me!!!!

Thank you SOOOOO much!!! Thank You!

Paula
Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 14, 2017 3:51 PM CST
Paula, one thing that Phals really do not like is being disturbed. So I wouldn't roust it out of the new pot for a year or two. Maybe just make a hanger for the pot out of string or some rope? Or you can buy wire hangers for pots at any garden center.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Orchids
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sugarcane
Aug 14, 2017 3:52 PM CST
Paula,
You can mount your plant to a slab of cork or wood, but that means you'll have to water it every day. Here's a picture of what a Phal. would look like growing in Florida...obviously you can't do that in Ohio.

Thumb of 2017-08-14/sugarcane/ae1a0c
but if you google "mounted Phalaenopsis" you'll see lots of options. For you, I would recommend keeping it potted in a well draining pot and watering less frequently than you would think...and growing it on a window sill or someplace where it gets good light...not direct sun but the kind of light you could sit and read a book at. I'm not sure that corner space you had it in is enough light. When (IF) you repot this , it's a good idea to resist the urge to plant it straight up...because if any water sits in that crown of the plant..chances are good, it will rot the crown and probably kill the plant. So plant it a little tilted over , to help water drain out of the crown and I use a bit of paper towel after watering and daub the excess water out of the crown before I return it to the window sill.
lindsey
Ohio
Paula_Ohio
Aug 14, 2017 6:53 PM CST
I was under the impression that you should only water them with ice cubes. I've never poured water directly over it until I was told to on this thread. I hope this doesn't make me sound stupid but.... If I hang it pot and all how will the potting medium stay in the pot? Do you mean hang the pot with the orchid remaining upright? What would be the purpose of hanging it as is? Lol

I can move it to a brighter spot. I chose that corner in hopes that my cats wouldn't bother it which has worked thus far. They seem to dominate any window areas.



Name: moth
nj us (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Orchids
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moth
Mar 27, 2018 7:57 AM CST
usually a good indicator or a phal's health is the roots and leaves, if the roots are pale green and plump and firm and the leaves are firm and a good green its most likely the orchid is the dormant if not, its salvageable . good luck and welcome to the site ! Smiling
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Orchids Cactus and Succulents Region: New Jersey Region: Pennsylvania Native Plants and Wildflowers Greenhouse
Ponds Keeper of Koi Forum moderator Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Adeniums Spiders!
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Ursula
Mar 27, 2018 8:01 AM CST

Moderator

Moth, a Welcome! to you too! Smiling

Come on, don't hold out on us, tell us what you grow! Did you see our monthly bloom thread?
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
Orchid Judge
Region: United States of America Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan Butterflies Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Orchids Cat Lover Birds Dahlias
BigBill
Apr 7, 2018 6:14 AM CST
Welcome to the Orchid Forums! Home to some great people who love to grow orchids, but it also might be the most friendly place around.
A lot of Phalaenopsis roots are impossible to contain in the pot. It is in their genetic make up to have roots wander 3 feet and more from the base of the plant.
They are plants that like very little direct sunshine, just grow them bright.
Water them well then let it dry off a bit. Take it to a sink and gently water it from the tap. Take the chill off the water. About 80 degrees or so sounds right. Phalaenopsis generally like to be grown with a temperature range from 60-85 degrees. Never water with ice cubes because A. That is much too cold and B. The whole plant needs to be watered well. Ice cubes would just dribble a bit of water!
Never let it sit in water. Orchid roots need air to survive.
I am in somewhat of a disagreement with others in that in my experience they love to be re-potted. I do mine every year. Many others do it every two years. But you have a load of great information here already and we all look forward to seeing your plant when she blooms again! Welcome!
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
[Last edited by BigBill - Apr 7, 2018 6:16 AM (+)]
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