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  #1  
Old 06-12-2019, 11:01 PM
Bunny9129 Bunny9129 is offline
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Is my Miltonia Sunset healthy?
Default Is my Miltonia Sunset healthy?

Hi everyone!
I am very newbie to the orchid world. Just found this lovely flowers in Fred Meyer and I am in love. I bought instantly but now worry that she maybe sick or unhealthy somehow due to the sad looking of the flower and some brown look on leaves. Also, the bulbs look yellowish to light green which worries me a lot. Since I bought her from Fred Meyer, should I try to repot? What medium should I use for this kind? I live in Seattle so the weather maybe wet through out the year but right now it’s sunny and around 70F. I tried leca beads for my first Phal and it did end well. The Phal kept getting root rot and died out. I am afraid to make the same mistake as this time. Any advice would be much appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 06-13-2019, 01:35 AM
aliceinwl aliceinwl is offline
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Is my Miltonia Sunset healthy? Female
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Mine has been very hardy. I potted it from the promix it came in to a mix of small grade orchiata, charcoal, and perlite (5:1:1 parts).

It’s one of my most cold sensitive orchids and develops lots of spotting when exposed to temperatures even approaching 50 degrees. If yours spent any time in a refrigerated truck or similar while in transit, I could see it developing some spots. I try to keep mine evenly moist but not wet. Of all my orchids, the cats also find this one the most delicious.

Despite mine being exposed to less than ideal temps, being pulled out of its pot and eaten by the cats on several occasions, it still sends out new growths and flowers on the regular and hasn’t suffered any die backs.
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Old 06-13-2019, 02:02 AM
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camille1585 camille1585 is offline
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Your plant looks very healthy. I used to have this plant, and pale green to yellowish bulbs is perfectly normal for this variety.

This plant will want to be kept moist so need more water than your Phal(s). You can use leca as well, but then adjust the watering accordingly, or consider growing it in S/H if it's going to be in leca anyway. Otherwise, a somewhat fine to medium grade mix like aliceinwl suggests would work fine.

What kind of mix is it in now, and what condition is it in? Looks like that green moss is a decorative top dressing.
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:40 AM
Bunny9129 Bunny9129 is offline
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@aliceinwl: Thanks for letting me know. How much is the lowest temp these orchid can endure? I live in Seattle so it can get pretty cold in the winter. Last time it snowed for 2 weeks and my poor Phals did not last. I think somehow the Leca plays a part since I kept getting root rot and mold when i put it in S/H. Could it be too wet?? Do you have any other premix potting brand recommended for me?

@camille1585: Thanks for all your kind advice! I haven’t looked into the mix yet but it seemed to be very packed and it’s hard too see with all the moss on top. Should i repot it now or wait until the flower faded?
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:20 AM
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camille1585 camille1585 is offline
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Repotting now vs later really depends on the state of the medium and what it is. By your description it sounds like it might be in tightly packed sphagnum. It can work well, but unless you know how to deal with watering it, it's better to repot into something you're more comfortable with.

About the rest of your reply, Phals really shouldn't be outside at all in the winter unless you live in a warm climate. They're heat loving plants, and will not do well in temps below the low 60s, especially not in S/H. S/H cools the root zone through evaporative cooling, and in cool climates even indoor Phals will suffer because of that. It's just too cold for their liking, and are better grown on heat mats in those cases. I would not leave the Miltonia outside either, other than in the warmer months.

The other thing about S/H is that root loss and is going to happen. Roots grow tailored to their environment, so if roots that grew in an airy bark mix are then placed in the very wet S/H environment, they will eventually rot. That's why repotting when new roots are growing is so important.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:33 AM
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If you want to know what I think did your Phal in, I can say with confidence, it is not because your house got too cold because of the snow. This does not cause root rot.

Root rot is the result of overwatering. Overwatering is the actual cause. How? LECA looks dry, but it still retains a lot of water because it is a porous material. You cannot pay attention to how wet or dry LECA looks. You have to pay attention to how long the roots are drying out or staying wet.

This is semi-good news. What this means is that it is within your control to determine how much water a plant can receive to prevent root rot.

The cooler temperatures does contribute to allowing the plant to retain more water than if it is warm. Why? Capillary action and the rate of transpiration. There are pores on the leaves called stomata. For the most part the plant is able to regulate the opening and closing of the stomata. (Click this link to find out the basics on how the plant regulates the opening and closing of stomata: https://www.sciencemag.org/site/feat...nspiration.pdf.) When the plant keeps the stomata open, it allows water to evaporate out of pores. The warmer the temperature, the more water evaporates out of the pores. Water that evaporates is replaced by water that is pushed up through the plant's vascular system as a result of water's molecular cohesion. Think of molecular cohesion like a series of water molecules linked up like a train. The top molecules pull the bottom molecules up. (Keep in mind I'm kinda keeping this simple, there's another aspect of capillary action that I did not talk about regarding a chemical property of a water molecule called adhesion.)

Here's a quote from the following link describing how temperature affects the plant's water control:

"Temperature – Temperature greatly influences the magnitude of the driving force for water movement out of a plant. As temperature increases, the water holding capacity of that air increases sharply. The amount of water does not change, just the ability of that air to hold water. Because warmer air can hold more water, its relative humidity is less than the same air sample at a lower temperature, or it is ‘drier air’. Because cooler air holds less water, its relative humidity increases or it is ‘moister air’. Therefore, warmer air will increase the driving force for transpiration and cooler air will decrease the driving force for transpiration."

(https://www.sciencemag.org/site/feat...nspiration.pdf)

If it is cooler, the rate by which the evaporation of water going out through the stomata decreases, which allows more water to stay inside the plant longer. Cooler temperatures also affect water transport because it can decrease the plant's metabolism. This in turn means, the orchid doesn't really need to be watered much if there is sufficient water pressure to maintain the plant's turgor.

Other factors that contribute to water transpiring out of a plant or the plant retaining water is relative humidity. Here is a quote from the same article that describes this in digestible terms:

"Relative humidity – Relative humidity (RH) is the amount of water vapor in the air compared to the amount of water vapor that air could hold at a given temperature. A hydrated leaf would have a RH near 100%, just as the atmosphere on a rainy day would have. Any reduction in water in the atmosphere creates a gradient for water to move from the leaf to the atmosphere. The lower the RH, the less moist the atmosphere and thus, the greater the driving force for transpiration. When RH is high, the atmosphere contains more moisture, reducing the driving force for transpiration."

(https://www.sciencemag.org/site/feat...nspiration.pdf)

Too much water starts affecting the oxygen the plant's cells are receiving. This results in cellular death if this over-hydrated state is prolonged.

In other words, it needed to be watered less.

There is a science to this. While it is difficult to say that if you use however many mL of water under these specific temperatures, and at this RH you are guaranteed success, there is a very detailed explanation for what is happening.

When talking about the proper temperature ranges to place your orchids in, you have to consider where the species that make up your orchid hybrids originally came from in the wild. Phalaenopsis and Miltoniopsis both come from the tropics only because of where the countries they originated from are located in respect to the Earth's equator and in relation to the 2 tropics (Tropic of Cancer to the north of the equator & Tropic of Capricorn to the south of the equator). It is not possible to determine temperature tolerance based on whether the plants originated in the tropics or not alone. You must also know the elevations that these plants originated from. If the plants originated from are normally found at 0 m - 900 m above sea level in the tropics, they usually (not always) experience warm temperatures (65 F - 95 F/18.3 C - 35 C) throughout the year. If the plants originated from the tropics and are normally found at around 1,000 m - 2,000 m above sea level, they usually experience intermediate/moderate temperatures (55 F - 85 F/12.8 C - 29.4 C) throughout the year. If the plants originated from the tropics and are normally found at around 2,100 m - 2,500 m above sea level, they usually experience cooler temperatures (45 F - 80 F/7.2 C - 26.7 C) throughout the year. From 2,600 m - 3,000 m above sea level in the tropics, the temperatures are usually around (36 F - 75 F/2.2 C - 23.9 C) throughout the year. (This is a simplified explanation, it can get complicated, and I do not want to go more into things than I already have.)

Phalaenopsis in general (there are outliers) usually do well in the intermediate to warm temperature range of (60 F - 95 F/15.6 C - 35 C).

Miltoniopsis in general (there are fewer, if any outliers in this genus, but I want to make sure I cover the bases) do well in the cool to intermediate temperature range of (36 F - 85 F/2.2 C - 29.4 C).

Keep in mind that water freezes at 32 F = 0 C.

Regarding your Miltoniopsis (Mtnps), even though this plant likes moisture, it does not like it soggy. The roots still like some air going to it. Something like medium or large grade tree fern fiber works great on these. There is less need for water, and plenty of air going to the roots. Small grade to medium grade wood chips work great too.
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Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 06-13-2019 at 11:52 AM..
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:08 PM
IngieBee IngieBee is offline
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Wow, I feel like I just attended a university lecture on botany! And I enjoyed it, LOL.
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Old 06-14-2019, 01:04 AM
aliceinwl aliceinwl is offline
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Mine has survived 40s and gets hit with low 50s because I don’t have a great spot for it indoors. I think it would be happiest not going below 60.

If it’s in a peat moss type substrate (ProMix), I’d repot immediately. I cannot keep roots alive in this stuff. If I buy a plant in ProMix I either repot immediately, maybe lose the flowers, and have a plant that establishes quickly; or enjoy the flowers, end up with a plant with no viable roots, and spend the next year trying to nurse it back to health :-/ If you keep it happy, this one can bloom multiple times a year.

If you don’t want to mess with creating your own mix. I think one of the rePotme Orchid Supplies Oncidium mixes would work well. I’ve been happy with the mixes I purchased from them for my Paphiopedilum and Cattleya.
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Old 06-14-2019, 02:02 AM
Bunny9129 Bunny9129 is offline
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@King_of_orchild_growing Thanks. That's really a whole lecture for botany101 LOL you did help to transfer my knowledge from BIO class to real life exp. Thanks LOL

@aliceinwl: I just purchased the Repotme mix for Oncidium. Was go in back and forth considering that one and the cheaper mix I found in the nursery near home which contains fir bark, perlite, moss & charcoal. But I am happy that I went with the other one since I saw it contains orchiata bark as you have mentioned in earlier post. I mean it must be more expensive for a reason right? I maybe wait and repot once I get the mix delivered although I do want to enjoy the flower a little longer but I don't wanna risk it either. I always want this one since I saw it first time on one of the orchid videos online. So you said this one bloom multiple times a year? wow that's so great!!
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Old 06-15-2019, 01:53 AM
aliceinwl aliceinwl is offline
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If you’re not aggressive when you repot: don’t try to cut out every dead root or remove every particle of old substrate, the plants usually don’t miss a beat and even keep their flowers :-)

I think a lot of the flower drops I had in the past were due more to the trauma I inflicted on the roots teasing apart the root mass to remove every particle of substrate and every dead root. Now that I use a more gentle touch, the blooms fare better.

Last edited by aliceinwl; 06-15-2019 at 01:56 AM..
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