Thursday, September 27, 2012

Treating orchids with fungicide

Systemic fungicide

     About a week ago, an anonymous commenter insisted that my oncidium root problems were not due to overwatering or wrong media, but rather to a fungal infection.  After some reflection, I realized that she may be right. In my attempts to nurture these orchids, I had overlooked the preventative and/or curative measure of treating them with an antifungal.  So I went and ordered some systemic fungicide.

     After over a year, my two oncidiums have failed to produce sufficient root growth.  Both my Oncostele Pacific Perspective, and my oncidium noid would grow new roots that failed to thrive.  The oncostele has lost two pseudobulbs to rot over the summer.  In addition, my Psychopsis Mariposa 'Mountain' had suffered from root rot when it arrived to me.  So while the rest of my orchids seem to be doing well, these three are struggling.

    Since I use the same bucket of water when watering all my orchids, I felt like I should treat my entire orchid collection or else I'd just transfer any fungal rots back around the next time I watered.  I used the dosing instructions from here for "thiophanate methyl" and soaked all my orchids.  I wet the leaves of any orchids that had leaf spotting, but didn't bother with wetting the foliage of my healthy looking orchids.  I also let the sick ones soak for about twice as long (30 min) as the healthy ones (10-15 min).

Starts of new roots and new growth on Psychopsis Mariposa 'Mountain' after losing all its roots to rot

     I repotted the oncidium noid and psychopsis mariposa into fresh dry sphagnum moss after the treatment.  The rest of the orchids, I simply soaked in the fungicide treated water.  

     I hope this helps.

(P.S. Thanks Anna for bringing this to my attention)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New pseudobulb on Cattlianthe Jewel Box 'Scheherazade'

Cattlianthe Jewel Box 'Scheherazade'

     The new pseudobulb that I first noticed in late March, is now close to mature.  The leaves are already long enough, and they just need to open.  In the meantime, I've spotted a brand new growth along the rhizome.

New growth on cattlianthe

     This new growth is about the size that the other new pseudobulb reached after one month of growth.  If it keeps growing at the same rate, it should be nearing maturity around February or March.  This may be too late for the Spring/Summer bloom cycle, but I don't know enough about how these things work to be certain.  The first new pseudobulb should definitely be ready to bloom in early summer if everything goes well.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Phalaenopsis gigantea seedling finishes growing leaf

Phalaenopsis gigantea seedling

     My phal gigantea seems to have adjusted nicely in the month that I've had it under my care.  It has completed growing a new leaf (I can tell it's done growing because of the little ridges that showed up at the leaf's base in the crown).  The newest leaf is 2" long, which is about the same length as the two older leaves.  The orchid also grew two new roots.  One of them is partially visible in the photo (just under the lowest leaf), while the other new root is buried in the media.

     All in all, this orchid seems to be doing quite well.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Psychopsis Mendenhall 'Hildos' will not be blooming (anytime soon)

There's not picture to head this post, because I don't have the heart to photograph carnage. 

The cat tipped over the orchid and chewed off the spike.  I have no idea why he did it (he hadn't showed interest in it before), and it's clear that it wasn't just an accident.  The growing tip of the spike was intentionally removed from the spike.

Maybe the spike will branch off and start a side spike.  I don't know.  I'm just disappointed and unsure how to protect my orchid in the future.  Consistently locking the cat out of the bedroom (and thus the orchid area) must be part of the answer.  That cuts down his roaming area by half, which I don't like.  But I don't know what else to do.

This right after Bud posted some beautiful Psychopsis bloom photos on the OrchidBoard, and after my own orchid put in some fast spike growth just makes me very sad.

[Insert expletive here] cat.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Moved Rlc. Port Royal Sound x Chia Lin to lower light

Rlc. (Port Royal Sound 'Big Red' x Chia Lin 'Shinsu #1')

     The new growth on my Rlc. cross was turning a deep bruised purple, so I moved the cattleya to a lower shelf where it gets less light.  This picture was taken a couple days after I moved it, and the pigmentation on the leaf has receded somewhat.  I'll keep the cattleya on the bottom shelf from now on, with my phals.  This way, I'm less likely to lose new growths to sunburn.  The young orchid is still quite a few years away from blooming size, so I don't have to worry about getting sufficient light exposure to initiate flowers.  

On an unrelated note: I am switching to using unfiltered tap water.  Up til now, I've been using a Pur water pitchter to filter the water for my orchids.  However, it takes a frustratingly long time to filter enough water, and those pitcher filters can get expensive.  Since Manhattan water is supposed to be decently good, I'll see how my plants fare on tap water.  My watering method involves soaking each pot/mount for 15-20 minutes, so I don't expect mineral buildup to cause me problems.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Phal noid growing truncated leaves

Short new leaves on phalaenopsis noid

     Last month, my phal noid finally started growing new leaves after a year-long break during which it focused exclusively on growing keiki's.  However, instead of growing long leaves in proportion to it's older leaves, the new leaves are just 1-2 inches long.  It's created two such leaves already, and is now working on a third.

     I am at a loss as to why it's growing like this.  The roots seem fine and healthy. There's nothing about this orchid's culture to indicate why it shouldn't be able to grow a properly sized leaf.  Perhaps when I finally get around to cutting of the keiki's it can get back to a normal growing habit.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Another bulb rots on Oncostele Pacific Perspective

Rotten pseudobulb on oncidium (right)

     My Oncostele Pacific Perspective lost another pseudobulb yesterday.  Although it still had green leaves attached, the bulb had turned mushy and had to be excised. This is the second pseudobulb to rot since it rotted its last one in May.  I am not sure what's causing this rot.  Generally orchids rot when there is too much moisture that is not drying out.  But if anything, I haven't been watering enough; the leaves on the newest growths are wrinkled from dehydration.  

     My guess would be that these problems arise from the orchid not having enough roots.  With its many old pseudobulbs, the orchid would not fit into any pot small enough to be appropriate for its root size.  As a result, the media would be both too dry near the top where many of the new roots were growing, and permanently soggy elsewhere, leading to bulb rot.

Oncostele Pacific Perspective

     Once again diminished, the oncidium is now in a 4 inch clear plastic pot, with loosely packed oncidium potting media.  There is a good amount of new root growth, which will hopefully support the two new growths as they mature.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Re-mounting Sophronitis Cernua

Dead sphagnum moss on a Sophronitis cernua mount

     When I was first mounting the Sophronitis cernua back in May, I used some live sphagnum moss to pack around the roots for added humidity.  However, sphagnum moss needed constant humidity to survive, and soon turned into dead mush (picture above).  For all my other orchids, I've been using moss gathered from my parents' backyard in Michigan, to much greater success.  This kind of moss is hardier, and can better survive drying out.  As I had some of the hardy moss left-over from my dead den victoria-reginae's mount, I decided to transfer some of it over and remount the soph cernua.

Sophronitis cernua remounted with fresh live moss

     The remounting process went pretty smoothly.  The clam shells I used as mounts are generally too smooth for the orchid's roots to attach to, so I had no difficulty swapping out old moss for new and reattaching the orchids to the shell. The two shell halves did fall apart from each other, so now the two cernuas are each separately mounted.

     The orchids themselves are growing well, albeit slowly.  Each plant has one new growth, as well as multiple new roots.  If my growing conditions are right, then I can expect some flowers after the new growths mature.

     I also recently noticed that the orchid's leaves lost their purple edging. Interpreting that as a sign that it needs more light, I moved the orchid another 4-5 inches closer to the light source.