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Sad but True

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Cherry M, Aug 22, 2022.

  1. Cherry M

    Cherry M New Member

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    Hello, I have been unintentionally killing orchids of different kinds for years. I love them and I've looked up many times in many places on how to care for them and I've even gone to a nursery and spoken to a person there who knows how to care for orchids but my orchids all end up in the same place. I'm hoping and praying I can learn how to not kill them and feel confident to have them adorn my house again. I do occasionally receive them as a gift and it does trouble me because I am just afraid of how it's going to turn out. But as you see I've not given totally up yet. I do love them and when I see them at the store I want them but I'm holding back until I learn more about their needs. I don't overwater. I probably underwater.
    I've taken them out of their pots and looked to see their roots and put them in water and then repotted them but they seem to not appreciate that either. I have one orchid that looks alive with no blooms and one that is on it's last leg....maybe toe.
     
  2. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the board, Cherry.

    Your story is not a new one, and it sounds like you just need to grasp a basic or two.

    First and foremost, water does not cause root rot and overwatering does not kill orchids. (Sounds totally against the apparent experience of many, right?). That’s because the issue isn’t too much water, it’s too little air.

    As an evolutionary adaptation to conserve water, epiphytic orchids do much of their respiratory gas exchange through their roots, unlike terrestrial plants that do almost 100% of that through their leaves. That means that orchids must have plenty of water (which is the true driving force for growth) AND plenty of air around the roots.

    When we water, most pours right through and some is immediately absorbed by the plant and potting medium. There is a third portion, that held in-between the particles and fibers by surface tension, that is the issue. With too fine of a potting medium, or one that has become too compact over time, water can completely fill those voids, resulting to severely limited air flow, suffocation and death of the roots. The mistaken adage that “orchids must dry out between waterings” is based upon the use of lousy potting media, in which drying reopens those gas-exchange pathways, not because of water, itself. Select the correct potting medium for your growing conditions, and you can water continuously with no ill-effects.
     
  3. sam1147

    sam1147 sam1147

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    Eh Ray -:clap: nice one.
     
  4. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ditto what Sam said.
     
  5. Cherry M

    Cherry M New Member

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    Wow, thanks. I'm not sure what kind of potting medium to get I just chose a bag that said for orchids. Does that mean I need to change the soil now and then also?
     
  6. WanderingBob

    WanderingBob New Member

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    Once every 2 years as a general rule, but depends on the species or variety and your growing conditions. A mentor once told me "You can grow (epiphytic) orchids on a picnic table if you provide the right amount of light, water, fertilizer and temperature". Sounds a lil curt, but true.
    There are so many YouTube channels that will give you very detailed instructions on how to grow different orchids. Everyone's favorite to start is a phalaenopsis (moth orchids), can get them in most grocery and larger Big Box stores.
    Go here to start:
    https://www.youtube.com/c/MissOrchidGirl/search?query=Orchid Care for Beginners
    She has links to repotme.com where you can get supplies when needed.
    Best way to kill an orchid is to give it too much love. They grow on trees and rocks. They are used to abuse. Less water is mo betta!