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Tip exchange/rant area for orchids that just won't grow for you

Discussion in 'Orchid Culture' started by Delilah, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. Delilah

    Delilah Orchidaceous

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    I have an orchid collection of about 130 species and hybrids. Some varieties, though, never make it - no matter how often I try or how I mix things up for them.

    So I thought I'd start a thread for the exchange of tips for the bugbears in our collections, or at least for cathartic ranting about the ones that won't grow for us. Here are some of mine:

    Dendrobium falcorostrum. I have tried four times. The last one is struggling to survive in its treefern pot after a lot of early Autumn rain (if that's relevant). This one drives me especially mad because it's native. Seedlings just never survive my care, no matter how I vary their conditions.

    Dendrobium Frosty Dawn. Always dies on me. I have other Nobile types that grow very well in the same conditions.

    Paphiopedilums. Out of the 12 seedlings I've tried growing, I have five remaining, and two of those look dodgy. Paphs are so hard for me, and I've yet to see one flower.

    Leptotes bicolor. I'm finally having success with my fourth one of these by growing it in water culture. Before this, every one of them died. It's only been 8 months, so we'll see how Winter goes...
     
    annabanana1987 likes this.
  2. Ricardo

    Ricardo Slave of demanding bird

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    Dendrobium falconeri, it would grow weakly during cold weather, only to give up as soon as tempertures started to rise in the summer. It spent ten years slowly getting smaller and smaller in spite of truly heroic measures to help it grow. Certainly not a plant for the hot tropical coastal lowlands of Puerto Rico. As to get stubborn plants to bloom, the only sure fire method that works for me is giving them away.
     
    Irdmuthe Greene likes this.
  3. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Oh, where to start? There are a number of them that have frustrated me. Unlike some people that are more patient, if I kill it twice I stop trying.

    Sedirea japonica - I have had 2 of these. Each one bloomed once then died.

    Haraella retrocalla - same experience as Sedirea - I have had 2 of these. Each one bloomed once then died.

    Dendrobium cuthbertsonii - tried twice but I can't keep it cool enough.

    Masdevallias and Draculas - with very few exceptions they have a slow death in my care.

    Sophronitis cernua and coccinea - I have bloomed these but they eventually decline and die. I think I will eventually try cernua again and keep it on the drier than I have previously.

    These are just the ones that initially come to mind. There are more :eek:
     
    annabanana1987 likes this.
  4. Kipper

    Kipper CoffeeCoffeeCoffee... Supporting Member

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    I have tried with many varieties of Cymbidiums for years, hybrids and species. They really tend to aggravate me to no end. I have always used Ricardo's above method after a time.
    Phragmipediums, Paphs are a piece of cake compared to them. I don't kill them but they just sit there and glare at me!
    Now Ricardo has me worried about the falconeri, I got a lovely division from a generous Kelly this winter that is putting on nice roots and several new growths, but it's first Texas summer is on the way!
    Paraphalaenopsis!
     
    Ricardo likes this.
  5. Ricardo

    Ricardo Slave of demanding bird

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    The cruelest thing about the falconeri was that it would rally as soon as the sweltering temperatures of summer abated, but always a little bit weaker than in the previous year.
     
  6. DPfarr

    DPfarr Well-Known Member

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    Dendrobium laevifolium, I can't grow it. It doesn't like anything I do for it.

    Lepanthes telipogoniflora, I've tried keeping them wet and very humid but like the laevifolium I suspect my humid spot was too cool for them?
     
  7. AnonYMouse

    AnonYMouse aka Ree, the not-so-stealthy lurker

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    Den. aberrans and Aerangis luteo-alba var. yada yada. I've tried all sorts of things and places with these two, no luck yet. I have no problem reblooming Aergs citrata.

    Oh, and Bulbos. I'm all over the place with Bulbos.

    I tried Leptotes bicolor for a couple of years (grew it next to pohlitinocoi which bloomed). Rehomed it when patience ran out.

    I have had no problems with a standard Sedirea japonica (which I grow in a terra cotta pot conventionally with LECA) with but killed two variegated ones.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
  8. carl

    carl Active Member

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    Sedirea japonica - I'm using a 4" basket with coarse bark or something, maybe coarse coconut husk chips. Cool, dry-ish winters, warm summers (outside). Grows well, lots of roots, second year blooming, two inflorescences this year.
     
  9. Kipper

    Kipper CoffeeCoffeeCoffee... Supporting Member

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    And.... Papionanthe. They grow beautifully but NO blooms! Does anyone have success with these?
     
  10. Fumiaki Takahashi

    Fumiaki Takahashi miniature orchidaholic

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    Cleistesiopsis... they just will not grow!
    It's hard enough to find one in cultivation or at a plant rescue.
    I cultured the mycorrhiza fungus in the pot, they do well for about a month, then rot.
    Maybe substaining the mycorrhiza is the hard part.
    They are harder than Cyps!!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2017
    tong tsu shi likes this.
  11. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Did you mean Papilionanthe? Which ones are you having trouble with?
     
  12. Kipper

    Kipper CoffeeCoffeeCoffee... Supporting Member

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    Hi Marni, I always spell that wrong! I have a teres and a 'Miss Joaquim'. They grow beautifully but haven't bloomed in over 2 years. They are over 3 feet tall so I'm pretty sure they're mature enough.
     
  13. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    Papilionanthe - FULL sun, lots of water.

    OK, this is going to sound a bit snobbish, or maybe "know-it-all," but I am convinced that these failings (and God knows I've had my share) have nothing to do with "the plant," and everything to do with our inability to properly meet their needs. So the question become "just how much effort and expense are we willing to employ to grow it?"

    As to plants and mycorrhizae, I don't know the particular plant, but are mycorrhizae are even necessary? Pretty much all orchids need them for seed germination in the wild, but we successfully cultivate them without them.
     
    annabanana1987 likes this.
  14. KellyW

    KellyW Orchid wonk Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Not at all snobbish or know-it-all. I completely agree. It is usually a lack of knowledge which can be corrected through discussions with those that have been successful or due to lack of ability to create the correct environment. For example, I know I could grow Masdevallias, Draculas and some of the cool-cold growing Oxyglossum Dendrobiums but I am not willing to make the financial investment to do it on the scale I would want (cool greenhouse).

    I think some species have a reputation for being difficult because their needs are not fully understood or their acceptable range of conditions are very narrow. Others are easier because they can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions (Laelia anceps and Dendrobium kingianum come to mind). Personally, I like the easy ones. :)
     
  15. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would take Ray's advice. I grow higher elevation ones so my experience won't do you any good.
     
    Kipper likes this.
  16. Delilah

    Delilah Orchidaceous

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    I've also had a situation where I bought two Vanda seedlingss from the same person, potted them the same way, located them next to each other... One grew fine, and the other did what Ricardo's Den did - got gradually smaller over a couple of seasons, then died.

    I've had a small handful do that over the years - just failure to thrive for no observable reason. Those ones especially puzzle me.
     
    Kipper likes this.
  17. DaveH_SF

    DaveH_SF Member

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    Dendrophylax lindenii (the ghost orchid). It might have died almost immediately, but with no leaves, who knows? Eventually I decided the roots weren't doing anything, so gave up. Tried a second one, same thing. Fussy.
     
  18. Steve B

    Steve B Active Member Supporting Member

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    I don't believe it guys.You know you really like the hard ones.I am happiest when I get a difficult one to finally bloom or grow or sprout from seed.That is why I was fascinated as a kid.Orchids were the most beautiful but most difficult I read so I wanted to give it a try.I still do and that is what is fun for me. But,I certainly agree I give up at times too mostly because I cannot provide the correct or don't know the correct way to grow one.But,a place like this is certainly a great way to move forward or try again,too.
     
    Fumiaki Takahashi likes this.
  19. orcoholic

    orcoholic Member

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    I don't think Frosty Dawn is a nobile type. It fits into the formosae section of Dens. Try it warm, water all year, and can be fertilized all year (but don't have to after new growth reaches maturity). Needs high light too.
     
  20. lindamarie

    lindamarie Member

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    Where do I start?lol I have killed many in the twenty years I have been growing orchids. Masdevallias seem to be the most unpredictable. They are ok for awhile and even bloom, then they just sort of fade away over the next few years.