Stick a Fork in It.

Yeah…I could tell this was coming. I had to call time of death for the plant from Trader Joe’s formerly known as The Orchid That Won’t Die.

This is what it looked like last night before I tossed it into the garbage (ouch, it hurts to say that):

Sad Orchid
Just a shell of its former self
Close-up of dead orchid

Sad FaceTM. This orchid put such a valiant effort over the last six months. I can’t believe this plant held on for so long!!

So, to the beautiful little orchid that could: RIP. Thanks for trying so hard.

White and pink orchid in bloom
Orchid in happier times

My Official Orchid Kill Count is now up to 5. More Sad FaceTM.

Keeping the Faith

The Orchid That Won’t Die now looks like this:

Orchid nubbin
This poor thing is just a nubbin
Orchid on its last leg
Is there any hope??

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:

New Oncidium spike
Second new spike on this Oncidium!

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!  🙂

I think I can, I think I can…

I came home from my nerd vacation yesterday afternoon fully expecting to find that The Orchid That Won’t Die had finally given up the ghost. Before I left for San Diego, its big leaf had started to shrivel a bit and curl up around the edges, so I assumed it was truly on its way out. As soon as I got home from the airport, I entered my orchid room and saw that the leaf had shriveled further and started turning yellow:

The orchid that won't die
Yellowing leaf…not a good sign

Then I took a closer look and realized that the orchid is GROWING A NEW LEAF!!

Orchid's new leaf!
New leaf growing! Amazing!!

Not only is it amazing that the orchid is growing a new leaf, I think there may be a new root starting to swell from the root base — you can see a small green pimply-looking thing in this photo:

new orchid root?
Could it possibly be a new root??

If this orchid is actually recovering I might have to declare myself the Orchid Rescue Master. I just can’t believe that this plant has started to sprout a new leaf when it doesn’t even have any roots to soak up nutrients! Unreal. Orchids are just chock full of surprises!

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:

Orchid is hanging in there
Still kickin’

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:

Brown orchid stem
This can’t bode well

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:

Orchid teepee

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…

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:

Rootless Doritaenopsis
Rootless wonder
Orchid soaking in Superthrive
Soaking in Superthrive

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.  🙂

Sphag-n-Baggin’ Again

Dying orchid
Bad news bears

Since I posted about my dying orchid three days ago, it has gone downhill even more. After removing the dead leaves and rotten roots the other day, I was left with two big leaves, one small leaf, and a tiny stump of a root which looked like it was already beginning to rot.

I repotted the plant but one of the big leaves started yellowing pretty quickly so I decided to remove the leaf, as well as the whole root base which looked like it was rotting. So I was left with…not much. No roots at all. Not even much of a plant stem. Time for a sphag-n-bag attempt!

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