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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Update on Phal Rescue Attempt

Remember awhile back when I tried the ‘sphag-n-bag’ method of rescuing a Phalaenopsis orchid, but aborted the effort after a couple of days? After I had removed the orchid from the bag, I potted it in a terracotta pot with sphagnum moss. Based on the advice I got on the Orchid Board, I then decided that the orchid would be better off potted in something that would get better air flow, so I bought a black plastic net pot like this:

The pot only cost me $.80 at a local gardening supply store. Win!

I took the risk of repotting the poor plant yet again (I had been effing with it a lot lately) and placed it into the net pot with moist sphagnum moss. It’s been doing ok like this for the past few weeks – at least, no turn for the worse – and just the other day I inspected it to see if there was any new root growth. Lo and behold, I found a tiny green nubbin at the base of the crown, so it appears that a new root is growing! I may have saved this poor sad plant after all.

I hope I haven’t jinxed the orchid’s health by posting about it just now. More updates to come, whether good or bad.

Sphag-n-Bag Abort!

Last week I shared what led to my first Phal rescue attempt via sphag-n-bag. This is how it looked five days after going into the bag:

Orchid sphag-n-bag

Yeah, not so good, huh? One of the leaves started turning yellow which is certainly not a good sign.  The sphagnum already appeared kind of dried out but I wasn’t sure if I should open the bag to moisten it. The instructions had said to “place it in a warm, shady location and walk away.”

I headed over to the Orchid Board and asked for some advice – the members over there have always been really helpful to me in the the past. I posted a couple photos and the first response that came in said to take my Phal out of the bag right away, that it didn’t look like it needed to be sphagged-n-bagged in the first place. Then Ray himself from First Ray‘s chimed in and agreed, suggesting that my orchid just looks like it’s not getting the water it needs.

With that advice in mind, I took the orchid out of the bag, removed the yellow leaf, then potted it up with sphagnum moss. I placed it in a smaller pot than before since the root system is so small.  It’s probably not a good idea for me to be messing so much with this poor little plant, so I’m going to leave it alone for awhile and hope that it starts to develop some heartier roots.

More updates to come!

Rescuing an Orchid: Sphag-n-Bag

Last summer I bought a Phalaenopsis at Ikea in Red Hook that turned out to be 2 plants potted together. It took me a couple weeks to realize that there were actually 2 orchids because I didn’t immediately check the roots or repot them. I had read online that planting 2 orchids together is not recommended, so I split them up.

One of the orchids has been doing really well. Bloomed for a month or so, rested for awhile, then produced side shoots and bloomed again. Here’s how it looks today:

Phalaenopsis in bloom

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