It’s been awhile since I’ve posted any updates on my orchid collection because there hasn’t been a whole lot going on other than the blooming of the mystery dendrobium, which, by the way, now has two blooms. Each has taken on a more pinkish and greenish tinge in the throat than when they first opened. The faint coloring is a little hard to capture in a photo, but you get the idea:
Keeping the Faith
The Orchid That Won’t Die now looks like this:
When I came back from vacation three weeks ago, this little phal was showing real signs of turning around: a new leaf, the slightest hint of a new root. Shortly thereafter, the largest leaf died off so I removed it. That turned out to be a mistake, because the root seemed to have been growing from the base of that leaf. The plant was then left with one small leaf plus the new leaf that had begun to sprout while I was in San Diego.
A couple days ago I noticed that the small leaf was shriveling and turning yellow, and then began to mold. So this morning I removed that leaf, and the plant – if you can even call it that anymore – is what you see in the photos above. The reddish-brown stuff along the edge of the leaf is cinnamon, which I applied to the area that I removed. Cinnamon has antibacterial properties and should help prevent infections.
This poor orchid is so far gone that I sorta can’t believe I’m even still trying. But as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve given this orchid so many chances that I’m not going to give up until it’s finally, officially dead. It seems pretty close, but you never know. Amazingly, I have faith!
At least I have more good news on the Oncidium front: my Twinkle Fragrance Fantasy is sprouting a second spike! In the photo below, you can see it starting to poke out from the large leaf on the left:
I’m curious to see how long it takes for this plant to put out blooms after it throws out a spike. You know I will be posting updates here as I get closer to seeing the flowers! 🙂
Post-Move Update: Orchids Lost, Orchids Gained
I finally got my internet connection set up, nearly two weeks after moving into my new place. You know that that means: back to blogging! Because I’ve been away from the computer for awhile, this is gonna be a pretty epic post.
My orchids all did well on moving day, which was two weeks ago as of tomorrow. I packed the plants in several boxes but left the tops open; my boyfriend and I moved them ourselves in a U-Haul van along with his saltwater fish and corals, which he placed temporarily in giant buckets of water. This cargo was too precious to allow our movers to handle.
Update on The Orchid That Won’t Die
It’s been three weeks since I last posted an update about the orchid that won’t die. Amazingly, this poor little orchid is still hanging in there! I took a few pics this morning so that I could share them here:
The leaves look slightly more wrinkled than before, but overall it’s basically in the same place it was three weeks ago. Except for its stub of a stem, which has turned brown and looks a little rotten:
At least the stem isn’t molding like it had started to when I was trying to sphag-n-bag. Currently I have this orchid in a kind of modified sphag-n-bag setup with a plastic baggie tented over it. I tore the baggie down the side and made sort of a teepee to allow air flow:
What am I doing to keep this orchid “alive”? Each morning, I check the moisture level of the sphagnum moss in the pot and if it feels dry, I mist it, taking care not to get water in the plant’s crown. The last thing I want right now is crown rot. I also lightly mist the inside of the baggie to help increase the humidity around the plant. Even with no roots and that rotting stem nubbin, this system seems to allow the plant take in enough water to maintain its current state.
I just can’t believe this orchid hasn’t died yet. The orchid’s health clearly hasn’t improved and it has no signs of putting out new roots, but somehow I still have hope. More updates to come…
Top Three Orchid Newbie FAQs
I’ve been following tweets about orchids and it seems that there are a few very common questions from first time orchid owners. So I’d like to take a moment to address the top three FAQs for all orchid newbies out there.
1. My flowers are shriveling and falling off. Is my orchid dying?
The Orchid That Won’t Die
Alright, my poor Doritaenopsis is hanging on for dear life. Since my last update, my Superthrive arrived in the mail so I soaked the plant in a mixture of that and warm water for an hour, then put it back into its ziploc baggie with damp sphagnum moss.
A few days later, the stem started to mold. Shocker. Moist environment + organic material = fungus.
Oddly, the one-and-a-half remaining leaves haven’t deteriorated in awhile, so I feel like there is still a glimmer of hope for this thing. It’s actually become a little bit hilarious that I haven’t unceremoniously chucked this plant in the garbage. I mean, look at it, it literally has ZERO root growth and hardly any stem left:
After discovering the mold, I took the plant out of its fungus-inducing environment and scraped off the moldy bits. I’m giving it another hour-long soak in Superthrive right now and will then put it back into the baggie with sphag like before. This time though, I’m not going to seal the bag all the way, which will hopefully discourage mold growth. For this reason, First Ray’s recommends dipping a sphag-n-bag plant in a disinfectant before bagging, but I don’t have any disinfectant so we’re gonna go with allowing some air flow instead.
Each time I do something else to try and save this pathetic-looking plant I think, “Seriously?” but then I think “Well, maybe this will actually work! It’d be the most amazing orchid rescue ever!” Although the poor orchid is probably screaming “Enough!” I think I will only give up when either a) it gets too moldy or b) its leaves shrivel and die. If this plant actually starts to grow roots I might have to throw a party. 🙂