Orchid Culture - Questions & Answers from This Month
by Sue Bottom, from the St. Augustine Orchid Society Newsletter.
Email us with any orchid question. If we can't answer it, we'll find someone who can! Send photographs too!
Q. This poor plant is having a problem. Can you suggest a treatment?
A. That is a fungal rot that is moving through the rhizome and up into the pseudobulbs. All the diseased tissue has to be cut away and then the healthy part put into a fresh potting mix. Be sure to torch your shears between cuts. Drench with a good systemic fungicide like Heritage or Pageant afterwards. We'll be at the repotting clinic at the SE Branch library the first Saturday of the month if you need some help. (May-22)
Phal Not Doing Well
Q. My orchid is not doing well, what should I do?
A. It looks like it is losing its lower leaves and the flowers have faded. They usually bloom for around 3 months, but of course you don't know when it started flowering so it could just be the end of their normal life or it could be related to the leaf loss issue. It also looks like that sphagnum moss is getting older which means it is starting to break down and then it can compress and start smothering the roots. I would say it's probably ready to be repotted. Hopefully there's no root rot going on, but that would be the fear, causing it to lose leaves and flowers. Knock it out of the pot and take a look at the roots, and be prepared to put it in fresh mix.
Q. I was lucky to have won Dendrochilum cobbianum from the raffle table. I think I have the wrong potting material?
A. I grow my dendrochilums in a shallow layer (about an inch or two) of long fibered New Zealand sphagnum moss placed over styrofoam. It looks like you have some moss in there and some river rocks, can't tell how deep the pot is. They like to be kept moist. It looks like the back bulbs on your plant are soft, if they are, you should consider removing them. It also looks like a pretty large pot for the size of the plant/root mass. A smaller bulb pan would work very well. Otherwise, use a smaller, shallow pot with lots of styrofoam in the bottom. (May-22)