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Unread 08-31-2011, 11:42 PM
RJSquirrel's Avatar
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Default What do you do?

I'm curious as always as to how others approach this scenario..

I have bought an orchid of which I know nothing about but wanted to see if I could make this plant do what it suppose to do. Says EASY to Grow. Says. At OB everyone grows them so they are EASY..harrumpph

Now the EASY to Grow orchid has died. I learned I gave it too much water or I learned It needs more light, or I learned It wont grow EASY for me.

We have all been there I think. BUT Is killing a plant that you want to grow 2 or 3 or more times out of the ordinary in learning how? Or do I just have to kill them until one lives?

Ive tried a few orchids that I shouldn't have bought but I'ts such as intoxicating adventure, the learning process.
A drinking binge usually ends with more drinking.

Is what Im after is an answer to whether I just a hardhead and going to do what I want regardless just for the experience or is this some kind of standard approach? After a year or so here I see all the Noobs and Im Noob, we all seem to go thru the same experimental process of learning and killing and then having some modicem of success that perpetuates our interest. You saw me get bored with paphs after I learned em . I killed some and some just died. I just wait for them to grow up from the last bloom. Not much in that now is there? You see me doing masdys and I love them bec they grow for me, But I had to kill some before they started to thrive. Im growing these EASY plants n my own mind and have failed miserably and wasted a lot of money on most everything else...Someone say Dont give up. I say Im going freeking broke trying not to give up.
But would like to hear about some of your own processes and experiences on how you deal with this orchid thing.

I dont feel bad about the plants as much bec I know more about whats happening to them. But I feel very foolish on my 4th Psychopsis bec I want to be like you.

oh and by the way GET them Flowers FLASHIN!!!
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Last edited by RJSquirrel; 08-31-2011 at 11:46 PM..
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Unread 09-01-2011, 12:06 AM
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If you get a brand new plant you dont know how to take care of...why dont you take a picture of it and ask anyone who has experience on that plant and start your research from there...you will have to develop a watering regimen to its correct media, culture and the sunlight it needs...fertilizing is the last think on your mind until you get the caring to its exact science...please dont kill any more orchids...be informed and knowledgeable ...thats how you can help them survive then it will thank you by giving you its blooms....
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Unread 09-01-2011, 12:24 AM
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If I ever get around to building a greenhouse, I might try a few of them again, but for now I'm just sticking with the ones I know I can grow.
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Unread 09-01-2011, 12:51 AM
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I think the hardest thing for you is your heat. Do those "easy growers" like heat?
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Unread 09-01-2011, 01:28 AM
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Psychopsis likes warmth. They tend not to like anything lower than 60 F at any given time of the year.

I generally don't recommend Psychopsis to people who are just starting out, or to those who are just getting into growing Oncs. They can be a somewhat finicky orchid. Be grateful you're not dealing with Huntleya spp., you'll really feel the frustration.
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Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 09-01-2011 at 01:31 AM..
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Unread 09-01-2011, 07:25 AM
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Well easy to grow is different for different people of course.

I tend to be like you and want to keep on trying if I fail at growing something.

For me it was as simple as that I discovered Mini Phals from my supermarket which came in moss ALL died for me within a couple of months, when all my other 20+ phals which came in bark lived a long time (only ever had one of those die). I was determined to get one to survive and prove it was possible, even though by that time I was not generally buying supermarket NoIDs.

I did, I managed it. By moving them to Lecca from the moss rather than either bark or leaving them in Moss.

I think there has to be a time when you give up though and say 'this one is obviously not suited to me'. But I will try several times with a type of plant before I get to that point... and to be honest while the sensible part of me says you have to give up at some point, I'm not sure I would be able to if it came to it!
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Last edited by RosieC; 09-01-2011 at 07:27 AM..
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Unread 09-01-2011, 07:47 AM
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I'm always up for the challenge. That being said, I do my research (sometimes after the purchase or once I start seeing issues - so too late sometimes), but if you truly like a certain type of orchid then it's worth trying to figure out.

Of course, you have to realize your limitations as well. If you cannot figure out a way to provide the orchid you want what it really wants (i.e. simulate it's natural environment to the best of your ability), then it's just not going to happen for you. For example, I can't grow cool growing masdie's because I don't have the humidity and the coolness required for them. However, your fishbowl method has intrigued me enough I would try that method to see what would happen.

I think the important thing is to relax with it and just have fun. Try it, you might like it. If it's too much fuss for you and your life, then move on to another type that may do better for you and your particular life. Again, one example, I have several mounted orchids now and I doubt I will get anymore. They add too much morning and evening chore work for me in an already jumbled schedule. I'm fine with what I have now, but I don't want to continue adding to that list.
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Unread 09-01-2011, 07:59 AM
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What you experienced is common to hobbyists of all levels. You're not alone.

I do my best to define what "easy" means to me when I say it. I've also been asked what I mean when I say that the plant is "easy" or "easier" to grow. When asked I will usually reply w/ the criteria that I think makes the plant an easy subject. Cuts down on people's frustrations (doesn't totally eliminate it). At least people know what I'm talking about. It's not quite so nebulous of a concept.

Sometimes it works out easy with the plants you get.

Sometimes it takes a while to work out.

Sometimes you just don't have what it takes to do it because you just don't have the resources to pull certain things off.

You may decide to try again...

You may decide to take a break...


You may decide to cut your losses and say forget it...

It's up to you and/or what you can or cannot provide and/or how far you want to take the hobby.

On a separate note...

I don't usually recommend Psychopsis to people who're total newbies to the orchid hobby or total newbies to the medium to large sized, warm growing Oncidiums.


Here's why:

1. They can be frustratingly slow growing. Their cousins Psychopsiella lemminghei has the same exact issue.

2. They don't have a wide temperature tolerance. This is a problem for many people, including myself. (As a side note: Ironically, Psychopsiella lemminghei can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures.)

3. They're not terribly resilient in some cases.

4. Properly lighting them can be somewhat tricky if you're not too familiar enough with these group of orchids. (It's bright shade to moderately bright indirect, btw. You can tell from the brown mottling on the leaves of certain kinds of Psychopsis - not all. Some don't have the brown markings, so be careful! Ask if you feel you need to. It can take some time for the brown markings to reappear once they've faded. Be patient.)

5. They may like to be seasonally wet. That's where researching where they come from trumps horticultural advice (which can sometimes be misleading).

So there you go, you kinda have a better framework for what you need to do in order to get one going?
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Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 09-01-2011 at 08:28 AM..
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Unread 09-01-2011, 08:15 AM
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I agree with Paul: Find out everything you can about the plant's needs - preferably in advance of purchase - whether that be a species or hybrid. If it's close enough to what you can provide, go for it.

One general suggestion I can make, based upon lots of experimentation and not necessarily following my own advice above, is to grow an unknown plant warm, in medium light levels, and in a VERY open, air mix.

Warmth will put the plant in a growth mode, and in short order, the color of the leaves will tell you if you've got the light level reasonable, and the turgidity of leaves and/or wrinkles of pseudobulbs will tell you if it's getting enough water.

With reasonable observational skills, you should be able to keep it alive, if not bloom adequately, but it puts you pretty well along the learning curve.
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Unread 09-01-2011, 08:26 AM
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I occasionally try new things and generally, the tendency is to "bend the plant to your will".
After a few die, then maybe some subtle differences in the culture matter and the choice is to adjust what we do, or like Phil said you cut your losses and forget it.
Masdies are cool growing and evidently you are good at it! Now you are looking at a warm growing species. It will not "bend to your will"
You will need a completely different set up to be successful with them.

I tried to make my phals grow in brighter light etc. and they rebelled. Now they are in shade. That was just a simple move in my greenhouse...no biggie.
I have a Coel. ochracea that is in my warm greenhouse and it is really pissed but there is no other place for me to put it where humidity will be 70%. It probably has enough shade but I doubt it will make it because I won't make my greenhouse any cooler. My judgment that the area was cool enough was wrong.

I always look to try new things but we all have limits.
My gh is warm for my phals vandas and mostly my besties: catts
So we look at a new plant with different culture and we think first "I can bend this" then of course we must "bend" and the real issue is how much can we bend or are willing to bend/change.
We NEVER "learn" to say "no" when someone shows us a new pretty plant we have not grown before
Afterall, what fun it that!
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