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Still learning :)

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by catsma_97504, Aug 30, 2014.

  1. catsma_97504

    catsma_97504 Member

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    Hello everyone. My name is Dena. I am one of those who love orchids but can't seem to figure out how to keep them alive for long. I have tried multiple times over several decades and every attempt has been short lived. In 2012 less than a month :(

    My current attempt began December 2013 when a friend convinced me to purchase a couple of unmarked orchids off a sale rack. They both came in nice ceramic containers so I figured I would have them if/when the plants died.

    Came home with my purchases and immediately one plant fell out of the container. I figured this was my curse. Dead plants.

    Started doing research and found orchids needed repotting due to being packed in moss most of the time. Bought a bag of orchid bark and began to repot.

    The one that fell out had bugs in its pot and most of its roots were shriveled and dried. Had to stake it for stability as it was in bad shape. While nearly everyone tells me to toss this plant I figured why not try? It would die anyway with my track record. Maybe I could learn something along this path of discovery.

    The other plant was labeled simply as a phalaenopsis. No name. But it looked much better....or so I thought. Began to repot it and found black roots. More research. And decided to cut those off. Again I knew this was another omen. Orchids and I do not mix.

    A month later my birthday came around and the same friend who talked me into making the last purchase gave me a Phal Sogo Yukidian v3 White orchid. She told me it was my reward for keeping the other 2 plants alive for a month.

    Well I am happy to say that 9 months later these plants are all alive. And I have acquired a few more along the way as well. All plants have spent the summer outside and are growing well. The phals produced 2 new leaves each. And that plant that fell out...well it apparently is a Catt Alliance type. The catt hasn't done much but it is working on a new lead and several new roots. So I am happy.

    Never seen a bloom yet. But that is fine. I have living and growing orchids and that's just fine for now :)
     
  2. catsma_97504

    catsma_97504 Member

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    Thanks for the info Kelly!

    The one thing I've figured out this year is that I tend to over water. My other house plants love this fact, but obviously not orchids. With my plants being outside for the summer I removed the saucers and they have done very well.

    I am hopeful I will see blooms starting soon as I understand phals start sending out bloom spikes in the fall when the weather begins to cool off.
     
  3. nikkik

    nikkik Active Member

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    Welcome to the forum, catsma!

    Kelly, what great information in your response!
     
    catsma_97504 likes this.
  4. hbozeman

    hbozeman New Member

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    Great info, Kelly. May I add one point? Your method of watering is right on if the medium is bark mix. If it is in sphagnum moss, watering is much less often and much lighter. I usually wait until the moss is 'crunchy' on top.
     
  5. DeafOrchidLover

    DeafOrchidLover Member

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    Welcome from Tampa, Florida USA. My mom gave me as a gift same as yours, Phal Sogo Yukidian v3 White orchid. I was excited and nervous but I have this fear! Great news, I can keep it alive by not watering too much... I had couple more than 10 years ago, die within a month or less. Wish you the best luck taking care of your orchid babies. :) Proud owner of 4 owners, 3 phal and one paphiopedium maudauie red.
     
  6. irisv

    irisv New Member

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    Kelly,

    I agree with all your tips. That is exactly how I take care of my orchids.
     
  7. catsma_97504

    catsma_97504 Member

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    Had a bit of trouble over the summer as something got into the backyard and knocked over many of my plants. At first I couldn't find my largest phals, but kept searching. It took me an hour before I finally spotted them.....sitting at the bottom of the aquarium, fully submerged under water! Both plants lost several leaves and immediately went into shock, and just sat there the rest of the summer.

    All my temperature sensitive plants are now indoors for winter. And to my surprise these 2 phals are starting to work on a flower stock. Almost makes me feel like a graduate! A flower in my future is my prize :)

    Phalaenopsis Sogo Yukidian v3 White is down to just 3 leaves. The others had to be sacrificed due to the suffered damage. Definitely did not expect this plant to decide to flower!
    [​IMG]

    The NOID Phalaenopsis ended up with 4 leaves, one has a deep split down the middle a couple of inches. But it is also going to flower.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Dorothea

    Dorothea New Member

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    Nice advice!
    May I just sneak in my own question here, as it seems connected to what you guys discussed and maybe someone else will also benefit from the answer: my phal is growing a new flower spike, but it's kinda reddish in color. Some of the leaves and even roots are like that as well. Is that good or bad, what does it mean??
     

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  9. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Frequently the red tint is just part of the plant's pigmentation especially if the flowers are a deep red, magenta, or purple color. What color is the flower?
    If this is a new condition it could mean that the plant is in a location where it is receiving the upper limit of the acceptable lighting. Personally, I strive for the reddish color for plants that will produce it.
    The small portion of the plant shown in the photo looks good. It looks like it is part or all Doritis (now included in Phalaenopsis) due to the leaf structure and color.
     
  10. Dorothea

    Dorothea New Member

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    Thanks Kelly, I suppose this is the case! The flowers are magenta-purplish and the leaves have always had this hue on the bottom side (and are otherwise very dark green and quite sturdy).
    The phal (?) recently produced new roots and I think it's overall quite healthy, excluding some leaf burn from the summer (this one seems to be prone to it). Right now though I doubt maximum light is an issue, since we've had only 2 hours of clear skies and sun during November up here in Sweden :D
    Here is a bad quality picture of this orchid blossoming (the nly one I found, unfortunately), maybe it will help in identification orchid.jpg
     
  11. seidenfaden

    seidenfaden Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Kelly's useful information. Phalaenopsis do not have psuedobulbs to store water, nor do they have a rest period.
    This means that they need to be watered all the year round. A good watering tip for new growersl After water your plant thoroughly and the excess water has drained out, weigh the pot on your kitchen scales, record the weight then weigh again in a weeks time, note the difference. The difference in the seasons will have some influence on your results, however soon you will be able to gauge the watering requirements by lifting the pot and noticing the difference.

    The energy of the plant is stored in the thick fleshy leaves so it is important to give the plant a rest from flowering for too long, so after flowering I cut the inflorescence right back to the base. After a short period a new leaf normally starts to form to strengthen the plants reserves. After the inflorescence has been removed and the new leaf starts to form together with new roots is the best time to re-pot into fresh compost. One other tip, when you remove the plant from the pot and handling the thick hard roots that have strayed out of the pot, give them a good soaking for ten minutes or so, you will find that they will be easier to work with.