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Help Orchid is sick

Posted by jolj 7b/8a-S.C.,USA (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 20, 11 at 23:03

All I know is that I know Nothing about ORCHIDS.
I know a little about vegetables,fruits & flowers.
So a friend gets a Orchid & it is sick, I think.
She wants me to heal it.
Some people really believe in the green thumb thing.
It has wide green fleshly leaves, a 16 inch flower stalk with a dried up white(?) flower on it.
HELP before I kill it & THEY take my green thumb!
I know you need more & I will up load a photo as soon as my camera comes home from college.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help Orchid is sick

Look at the picture in the Found first Orchid thread to confirm that you have a white Phalaenopsis and then describe the conditions where you have the orchid to get help.
Is that the left or the right thumb?

RE: Help Orchid is sick

  • Posted by jolj 7b/8aS.C.,USA (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 21, 11 at 21:25

YES! It looks like the white Phalaenopsis.
Do I keep it wet or dry?
Do you have a good link/links for me?
LOL-does it matter which thumb?
I want to keep both of them.
Left thumb is brown because I compost all my plant waste.:-)
Thanks for your quick reply.

RE: Help Orchid is sick

  • Posted by jamcm Ottawa Area, Canada (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 22, 11 at 8:21

Hi jolj,

Keep the orchid somewhat dry - you only need to water it once a week or so, and wait until the potting medium is almost completely dry before rewatering.

I am enclosing below a link to a Phalaenopsis culture sheet which sums up the care Phalaenopsis require to do well. The one thing I will note is that Phalaenopsis are not as picky as they make it sound when it comes to humidity. Usually, as long as you're comfortable, it will be comfortable, too. This is not to say that they wouldn't enjoy higher humidity, but they'll grow and flower fine without it.

With regards to your friend's orchid, what makes you or her think it's sick? Phalaenopsis flowers usually only last about 3-6 months each and there's no way for you to know how long the flowers had already been open before your friend got it. Once all of the flowers are gone (or have dried up and fallen off and there are no more buds coming), you can cut the flower spike down to where it starts and then focus on taking good care of the plant so that it will reflower, usually 1+ year later. The leaves should be nice and green and somewhat rigid, and your plant should have nice fat roots - if you do, your plant is healthy.

Hope this helps!


Here is a link that might be useful: AOS Culture Sheet

RE: Help Orchid is sick

  • Posted by jolj 7b/8a-S.C.,USA (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 22, 11 at 13:25

I got it in a clay pot, with pine bark nuggets for mulch.
I need to repot it?
I watered it because the leaves looked dry & wilted.
The roots were dry, almost dead.
It looks better now, my friend may have forgot to water it.
I would have done a search weeks ago, when she ask me what she should do.
But no name, no search, photos would not help as I had not seen it.
Then my wife bought it home to me & I left the soil forum to beg for help.
I was told that some really nice persons are on this forum.
That you all would be glad to enlighten the cave dwellers.
Thank you.:-)

RE: Help Orchid is sick

If it is severely dried out and the leaves are actually wrinkled, you might want to take it out of the pot to see what condition the roots are in. A lot of orchids from the 'big box' retail stores are packed in sopping wet sphagnum moss, and this will rot the fleshy roots after a while.

Get the right potting medium--probably no sphagnum!--and soak it in water overnight. Remove the plant from its pot and pick the old potting medium off of the roots. Using a razor blade, trim the roots back to live tissue. Place pieces of broken pottery, stones, or even styrofoam 'peanuts' about 1-2" deep in the pot for drainage. Place the plant in the pot and put the new drained potting medium in up to the original level on the plant, making sure it is tamped in tight enough to stabilize the plant. It seems that Phal's prefer early morning light, but no harsh direct sunlight later. Resist the urge to water it too often.

I'm sure you'll get lots of advice here--good luck!


RE: Help Orchid is sick

For culture, follow the culture sheet Julie suggested. Phals like to be watered well and then allowed to get almost dry before being watered again.

In addition to what rredbbeard says, use the smallest pot possible to accommodate whatever roots you have left. You might also consider soaking the entire plant for an hour or more in a bit of sugar water (molasses would be even better), Superthrive or KLN if you have any, or some liquid seaweed as a tonic. Many growers use something similar when they receive bare root plants in the mail.

Avoid pine bark, it deteriorates too quickly. Fir bark is the type to use.

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