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TomatoNut95
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CALLING @IMAFAN! RESCUED ORCHID! HELP!

I rescued this orchid from Lowes! What do I do for it?? Help!
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imafan26
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Re: CALLING @IMAFAN! RESCUED ORCHID! HELP!

The type of dendrobium you have is a hard cane type of dendrobium. It comes from Southeast Asia and it it has a high light requirement. 35-%50%. If it is too dark it won't bloom as well. It usually grows on trees so it likes to dry out a bit between watering. Potting media depends on what you like to use. Bark, cinder, rocks, charcoal (natural). They can bloom up to 3-5 times a year under good conditions. Roots should be white and firm.

Water 1-2 times a week and let it dry out between watering. Try to use rain water or de-chlorinated water. Repot every two years, or when the orchid gets to the edge and wants to escape from the pot. Dendrobiums do throw keikis off the canes. Some of them do it naturally and it is normal. Most orchids that throw keiki (including yours) usually means the roots of the mother is dying and plant is trying to survive. Use clean shears and cut off dead roots. Orchids like to be tight, or they will not bloom. Only give them enough room for two years growth.

As long as the tips of the roots are green and growing, fertilize. I use osmocote or nutricote. Osmocote is temperature sensitive so above 80 degrees it will release nutrients twice as fast so I have to fertilize with half the amount Mar and June. September it gets twice as much and will not be fertilized again until March. I will sometimes fertilize with Peters 20-20-20, Miracle grow for acid loving plants, or Michigan formula 13-2-13 during active growth. Once the velamin on the roots cover the green tip. No more fertilizer. For orchids that go dormant, the remaining fertilizer is dumped out (den. anosmum, dump out fertilizer after after Thanksgiving. Start fertilizing when new keiki appear the following year.) I don't fertilize orchids in bloom. While in bloom, orchids usually are dormant. The best time to repot most orchids is when they start to grow usually in Spring. It is best not to repot any orchid in spike, unless you have no other choice.

Below are some links to culture sheets from AOS, Akatsuka orchids (Big Island, Hi), and some videos on orchid care and repotting. I could not find a good one for cane dendrobium. The nobile is a type of dendrobium, but it likes cooler conditions and a wetter media than the can dendrobiums. Activated charcoal is sometimes used in potting mixes since it helps to keep the fungal and bacterial growth down. Dusting the roots with cinnamon before you plant helps too. Soak the roots well before you repot. Overnight is o.k. It is easier to work roots when they are wet so they are more pliable and less prone to breaking. You are not going to water the plant again for about a week after repotting to let the roots heal so the plant needs to be well hydrated in advance. It is o.k. to add some water soluble fertilizer and a fungicide to the water. 1/4 str. miracle grow plus fungicide. I usually use sulfur because it is what I have. Some people like to dust the finished orchid with some dolomite lime to counter the acidity of the media. I use Styrofoam, no media, cinder, or #3 rocks, so I don't use dolomite. Cinnamon is a natural fungicide and cheaper than Subdue. Pots should be clean, and sanitized. People do use the same pot the plant came out of it the plant was healthy. It is not a good idea to use the old pot if the plant had rotten roots or bacterial or fungal issues.

It seems like a lot of things to remember, but it really isn't. It is a different thing if you have only a few orchids of the same type from a large collection of hundreds or thousands of orchids of different kinds. Then you really have to consider things like where the orchids originally come from and try to get the environment as close as possible. That is why vanda and den. anosmum are hung on trees. While oncidium sphacelatum (popcorn orchid), cymbidiums, some dendrobiums and terete vandas are in morning or full sun.

Your culture determines what kinds of orchids will do the best for you. I grow oncidiums, brassias, catleya, phalaenopsis, eria, maxillaria, epidendrums, paphiopedulums, vanda, intergenerics, and some cymbidiums. I can grow den anosmum because it is nearly impossible to over water it. I do have to pay attention to the fertilizing schedule since it does need to go dormant. I am starting to keep some cane dendrobiums alive, but they do not do well with the rain and the way I water. I have a bad habit of not fertilizing regularly and not repotting on time, so I have a lot of dead orchids that need to be replaced. My vandas that bloom well are mostly 6 ft plus and growing through the trees already, so they are hard to bring to the shows. I don't like to spray the orchids so I do have a lot of thrip damage on the flowers. And my culture is bad so I have some very unruly plants, that grow every which way they want to.

Still, with about 300 orchids on average and those I have collected over a lot of years, I usually have something in bloom all of the time. I have a lot of orchids that bloom in December since between my two orchid clubs, I get a lot of Christmas blooming orchids. Right now I do have a couple of Blc. Maikai "Mayumi" blooming, and a couple of dendrobiums. One of the lavender brassovola has already finished as well as a white catleya. I have another cat in sheath but it has not bloomed yet. Maikai and brassovola nodosa always bloom reliably at this time of the year and they only bloom once a year. The popcorn oncidiums are in spike now, but they will not bloom until May. I have multiples of the ones I grow well from division and because I like what I like and I often forget and buy the same orchid again and again. I did get a Phaius earlier this year and this is the first time I have kept it alive so long.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MIL0xuWa8I
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xNZhl8Zk7s
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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TomatoNut95
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Re: CALLING @IMAFAN! RESCUED ORCHID! HELP!

That just burns me up, when I checked out at Lowes, I noticed my amount came to higher than expected. So later I checked my receipt, and come to find out the careless check-out girl had charged me full price for the expensive orchid. :shock: Now I've gotta go back and either get half my money back or just return the plant and get my full money back. :x It might be better if I just returned the whole plant, 'cause with my luck, it would die on me anyway. But in the meantime I want to care for it.

So should I cut off the bloomed out stalk? Here are some more photos, and if you would please, @imafan, inspect my Cattleya and look at something for me? Do those roots look good or bad to you? And on this fertilize, I want to choose one of these Miracle Gro products, but which is better: the box of soluble, the sticks, or the bottle of misting spray?
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imafan26
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Re: CALLING @IMAFAN! RESCUED ORCHID! HELP!

If you are planning to return the plant, then I would not do anything more to it. If you plan to keep it then cut the spike where it comes out from the plant. Use very clean sharp pruners.

The catleya media is loose and looks like is has good air spaces, but some of the bark looks whitish, which is a sign of buildup of calcium. The dark black parts of the roots is not healthy and the roots at the base also look spongy and dead. However, I do see the tip of the root that is hanging over the pot does still have a green tip. Be careful not to damage that root. The other root looks like it was injured at some time in the past. Eventually, it will need to be repotted but it is better to wait until the new healthy root is stronger. The young growth still looks o.k. and that is where most of the new roots will come from. Again, use either rain water or filtered de-chlorinated water if you can. I think you have been watering too much. Make sure the orchid media is nearly dry before watering. The light looks o.k., the leaves that I can see are a medium green. You can dust the roots with cinnamon. It won't hurt. A monthly fungicide would be better. If you are going to fertilize, use the orchid water soluble fertilizer or Peter's 20-20-20. Dilute it to 1/4 strength and you can spray the roots when you water. It can also be sprayed on the leaves early in the morning when the stomata are open so they will get some foliar feeding. The leaves need to be able to dry, so make sure air circulation is good. Indoors, a fan helps. If you can carefully cut off any of the obviously dead and soft roots you can reach.

Normally, I would take the plant out of the pot and cut off everything that is dead and stick the plant in a basket. You need to be careful not to damage the new growth or the good roots.

As the media ages it breaks down, and bacteria and fungal organisms thrive on decaying media. That is why most orchids should be repotted around every two years in bark. Orchids in nature actually depend on certain species of fungi for their seeds to germinate so they actually invite fungi and bacteria. However, the bad as well as the good fungi and bacteria show up to the party. Commercial nurseries fungicide orchids once a month routinely. Dithane is the fungicide I usually use if I can get it. Subdue is better but requires a license and is very expensive so I don't have access to it.

I water a lot, and I get a lot of root rot if my orchids are in bark and pots, so I get around that by using baskets and pots that breathe like net pots and clay. I use media that does not break down easily. Styrofoam, rocks, cinders, or no media at all.
I put most of the cats in baskets and tie them to the pots with large bark, sometimes a wrap of long fiber shagnum moss to keep the initial roots from drying out to fast. or I will tie the orchid to the bottom of a smaller pot and put the smaller pot in a larger terra cotta pot and let the roots attach themselves to the empty pot. This allows me to 1. not have to repot for a very long time. Bad part, they can get very big and hard to remove from the baskets. 2. I can get away with watering daily or biweekly. I water when the roots are white and as long as I see a green tinge, I can wait a little while longer. I hang most of my orchids on trees or on the fence since it maximizes air circulation and allows the roots to dry quickly. This best imitates how they grow in nature. Catleyas are epiphytes that grow on tree limbs with dappled light. In the rain forest it rains every day, but the roots are attached to the outside of the branches for support but do not dig into the branches at all. The roots are exposed and are like sponges when it comes to capturing light and water. Being high up on the trees they also get a fair amount of the breezes that come by so the roots do not stay wet. Orchids in pots are in a hostile and unnatural environment. In nature, orchids can be very unruly growers twisting and reaching through the trees with roots hanging out everywhere. Only people want orchid roots to be confined to a pot.

Most orchids are happier on a raft. It takes a little patience in the beginning to get them started. Orchids are tied to rafts. Usually a branch, cork, cedar board, or even a cedar shingle for a small plant. My friend uses old panty hose to tie the orchid to the board with just a small wad of sphagnum moss to provide moisture until the roots have a chance to grab hold of the board. Once the orchid roots have engaged the raft, even if the tie rots off it is fine. Rafts are usually hung up and the orchids can be misted or watered almost daily as long as the air circulation and humidity is good.

A tea bag filled with orchid food or even chicken manure helps to fertilize orchids every time they are watered. Water soluble orchid food should be given during the growing season (when the tips of the orchid root are green). Weekly,weakly works well. For outdoor orchids we usually water twice a week depending on rain. Once a week, half strength water soluble fertilizer is given for 3 weeks and the 4th week is only water to flush the plant out. Do not fertilize when the plants go dormant or over fertilize or the plants will grow at the expense of blooms. Indoors, it depends on humidity, air circulation, media type and how long it dries out.

This is not to say that I don't kill orchids. I do. I kill a lot of them. Often, I wait too long to repot an orchid and it there isn't much in the way of roots or eyes to save. I try anyway, sometimes it works, sometimes not. I am trying to get the orchids I obtain out of their pots sooner and into media and pots that better suits the way I culture. Even if I do everything I can to keep the plant healthy, I have snails and roaches that love to eat orchid roots and leaves as well as birds that will eat the orchid buds and petals. I just found a bird stuck inside of my orchid bench because it could not find its way out of the shade cloth. I have to experiment with locations. I know some types don't mind being in the sun, most like to be hanging in the trees, and some of them I keep on the lanai, since they need more shade and they don't like wet leaves. I have an abundance of orchids that really like the growing conditions and I have some that have the tenacity to hang on no matter what challenges they face. Those are the keepers. Others, well, they come and go. I sometimes just have to find the sweet spot for them, so I keep trying.

https://firstrays.com/free-information/ ... -root-rot/
https://www.skyrail.com.au/news/orchids ... ainforest/
https://www.aos.org/AOS/media/Content-Im ... rchids.pdf
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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TomatoNut95
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Re: CALLING @IMAFAN! RESCUED ORCHID! HELP!

I really appreciate your advice! Ok, I cut off the dead and dying roots I think...but should I cut off the injured root or will it be ok? And I dusted the roots and media with cinnamon. And I will cut back on the water, and yes I do use rainwater. :) Faucet water is too chlorinated.

imafan26
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Re: CALLING @IMAFAN! RESCUED ORCHID! HELP!

As long as the injured root stays firm, I would try to leave it. The main thing is to keep the necrotic area from growing. If it gets soft, then it is not worth keeping.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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