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Need 'hospital advice' for orchid

Posted by sujiwan 6 MD (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 11, 10 at 10:01

Last year I had a horrible problem with mealy bugs despite the usual remedies with rubbing alcohol and other sprays. Then came this extreme summer of unusual lasting heat w/ drought and us with no AC in the house--the orchids were summered outside with shade cloth as usual. By the end of the season, almost all the orchids looked bad--and I normally have great results with everything looking OK and flowering yearly. Now, I had a lot of dead yellowed leaves and stems, dried up plants and root problems.

I'm looking at a Pot. Love Call H&R Lc Brierley's Ferry 'Tangerine'. Crinkled leaves and dead roots inside a clay pot with good drainage. I've trimmed off just about everything root. There might be just one tiny speck of green among the roots but it is questionable.

I've read the sphagnum bag info already. Does this plant sound like a lost cause to even try the hospitalized plant route?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need 'hospital advice' for orchid


You'd be surprised what these plants are capable of and how remarkably they will recover from certain death. So, unless the thing is completely brown, with no green left in the roots or leaves, and with dried up and crispy stems, then there is a chance that it could live. How big of a chance? Hard to say. Depends on the plant, depends on the environment, and a lot of other variables that are too numerous to list.

So, I say try it out. Just keep in mind that it could take many years before the plant recovers enough so that the scars of its current condition are gone and for it to bloom again.

Also, since we're moving into winter, you may not see any signs of recovery until next spring or summer. So be patient. You may find that the plant quickly develops some new roots. That's a good thing. In my experience however, most of the time you have to look for a new "eye" or growth bud that will start to fatten up near the base of one of the newest growths. That will eventually sprout, and produce roots.

RE: Need 'hospital advice' for orchid


You are welcome to bring your plant(s) to the next meeting of the Brookside Gardens Orchid Club in Wheaton/Silver Spring on Nov 6. Clive Atyeo of the US Botanic Garden will lead a program on that date. Clive intends to demonstrate the repotting techniques that he has learned as a professional Orchid Specialist for several decades, back into the 1960s!

For more info, email: It is an easy drive down Md Rte 97 (eventually, Georgia Avenue for you)!


RE: Need 'hospital advice' for orchid

When I am working on a rescue plant, I generally do nothing more than cut off the "squishy" parts of roots, clean off all the media completely and wash it in tepid soapy water. The whole orchid spa treatment, especially if it is an orchid with sentimental value. Last step, a good all-over (including roots) spray with Bayer bug spray.

If there is no new growth, I prop it up in a pot with rock chunks and wait, giving it a splash now and then. When new growth and new roots are more than an inch long, I divide and cut to shape the plant.

You never really know where the new growth will come from so it is best to let the plant tell you. This method works for anything that has Catt in it, including Potinara.

It WILL take time, but once roots are growing it can bloom after a single growth season once it is back in a bark mix.

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