Friday, October 19, 2012

Roots rot on psychopsis mendenhall

Psychopsis Mendenhall 'Hildos' in spike

     Everything looks well with the Psychopsis Mendenhall on the surface.  It's leaves a large green and lush.  The pseudobulbs are full, with few wrinkles.  And its flower spike is growing.

     However, this orchid has been taking much too long (over 2 weeks) to dry out between watering.  By now, I'm learning that this is the clearest sign of trouble with my orchids.

Dead psychopsis roots

     Most of the roots that looked reasonably healthy when I first received this orchid, were now mushy and dead.  I'm not sure why.  Psychopsis are said to be really sensitive to repotting... but I did not do an actual repot when I first got the orchid (I just took the orchid out of its pot, noted the root health, and moved it to a different pot, without actually switching out the media or disturbing the roots).  I find it hard to believe that such a minimal procedure could kill off all the roots.

     Ultimately, I did a full repot this time.  I trimmed off all the dead roots (picture not taken), soaked the orchid in fungicide, and potted into a smaller 4" clear plastic pot with oncidium media.  I placed the plastic pot inside a heavier ceramic one for stability.

     I plan to get a second fungicide to use in future repottings, so that I don't foster resistance by using the same treatment repeatedly.

     The psychopsis has some new roots growing, so these will hopefully support the orchid.  I hope that the root mass can recover before it can have an impact on the flowering. 


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