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Go Back   Orchid Board - Most Complete Orchid Forum on the web ! > ORCHID DISCUSSIONS > Beginner Discussion
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  • 1 Post By ImABrat

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  #1  
Unread 10-29-2007, 07:08 PM
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Default Dark green leaves

Hello....I'm curious about something...I've read in several books that if your orchid has dark green leaves, the orchid is getting inadequate light. Which orchids have dark green leaves naturally? I have 3 Phal's, a dendrobium, and a vanda that all their leaves are very dark green, thick of course, but they are looking healthy.

How do I know which orchid is not getting enough water by the color of their leaves? In my Ortho book, there was a picture of 2 orchids, one that didn't get sufficient watering and the other one that did. Before reading on to know which one didn't get enough water, I chose which one I thought it was....WRONG!!! lol....it actually was the orchid that looked just terrible!!! If I had that orchid, I would think it was sick! lol

What does it mean then about the leaves and their color in regard to watering.
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  #2  
Unread 10-29-2007, 11:09 PM
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Lighting conditions do have control over the color of the leaves. Dark green leaves is a sure sign of insufficient light.

When an orchid is under/over watered some of the signs are of the same. For instance, you can over water a phal causing underlying root rot which in turn causes the leaves to become limp and shriveled as well as under watering can cause the same look of the leaves without the root rot, but the roots are dehydrated causing them to dry out and string-like.

I am not well versed on vanda's as you know so with this I can not give any thoughts on that type but as for your oncidium type they will have wrinkled like leaves which shows signs of underwatered as well as the pseudo's shriveling which goes for your dendrobium as well.

Growing orchids is all trial and error. When you have a watering and light deficiency your orchid (s) will not bloom.

When I first started growing orchids I bought wooden skewers broke them in 1/2 and placed them in the medium. When I thought my orchid (s) needed watering I would pull them out and place on my wrist and with this I could tell if the orchid was on the dry side or in need of watering. If I was unsure I would wait a day. I personally would rather under water than over water, noting there origin is up to nature and the prediction of rain is always an uncertain one.

Remembering back when I first started my collection, I would water every 9-10 days, not something I would recommend but back in the day I did not know any better and wanted to make sure they lived, yep they did barely and with this I missed a year of blooming for the most part. With that thought I now water every 5-7 days with misting every a.m. and noting our summer months are coming to a close I have cut back a day on the watering and in another month or so another day. Heating is not so fluent here so with that I am unsure on the watering other orchid hobbist have implemented.

Hopefully other members can chime in, my habits are not fool proof, just my 2 cents worth.
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  #3  
Unread 10-30-2007, 02:17 AM
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Based on my short experience, there are some phals which have naturally dark leaves, so the first thing you should do to find out whether it has enough light is to check the parentage of your plant. Some species that have naturally dark leaves include schilleriana and celebensis, perhaps other experts here can give you the names of phals that have naturally dark leaves.

One way you can try out is to give it higher light levels for a few days (but not too much or you'll shock the plant!). If the leaves turn lighter then it's not getting enough light, which means it's supposed to have light green leaves, if it turns red it means the plant has naturally dark green leaves.

Justatypn covered the watering part quite well I guess Vandas also store water in their leaves like phals do, just observe the leaves and roots, if they're shriveling with wrinkles then it's probably dehydrated.

Last edited by Neverend; 10-30-2007 at 02:23 AM..
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  #4  
Unread 10-30-2007, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: plant leaf color...green or lack thereof...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ImABrat View Post
Hello....I'm curious about something...I've read in several books that if your orchid has dark green leaves, the orchid is getting inadequate light. Which orchids have dark green leaves naturally? I have 3 Phal's, a dendrobium, and a vanda that all their leaves are very dark green, thick of course, but they are looking healthy.
I'm curious... I've read your post, but am curious what sort of light conditions you are currently growing under. Most orchids will grow under a wide range of lighting, but many will not flower without sufficient light levels. Your collection covers plants needing three different levels of light: phals need relatively low light (when compared to dendrobiums or vandas at least...); I believe that they will be happy between 750~1000 FC of light. Most dendrobiums will take quite high light; I assume that you are probably growing either cane type or phalaenopsis type dendrobiums; they will be happy at around 2000 FC. (if the light level is sufficient, they will take on a reddish-purple tinge around the margins of the leaf) As for your vanda, provided that it is not one of the vanda intergenerics ( something with ascocentrum, neofinetia, etc crossed with it) it will gladly take as much light as you can give it, 3000 FC+
Remember that as light intensity increases, so should ventilation and watering; plants which are actively growing in higher light will more readily use both water and fertilizer.

Watering practices differ so much from grower to grower, based as much on what you are growing in, as where you are growing and what part of the country you are growing in...it is best to ask other growers in your area what their watering schedule is like. I too agree that it is better to err on the side of too little water than too much...unless you are growing anything from the cloud forest regions of S. America or in the case of most mounted plants; for these two groups it is almost impossible to overwater.

Just my 2 cents as well...
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  #5  
Unread 10-30-2007, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justatypn View Post
Lighting conditions do have control over the color of the leaves. Dark green leaves is a sure sign of insufficient light.

Hopefully other members can chime in, my habits are not fool proof, just my 2 cents worth.
That's what I'm afraid of is my orchids not blooming. This being my first year, I think I worry more about them then....well, he knows I love um!! lol...The first orchid I bought was the Oncidium about 9 months ago, and it didn't have blooms on it. I really don't know when any of them actually will bloom again, but I'm hoping they will. My orchids are in windows and seem to get sufficient light but will move them as it gets a little colder. I was also watering them a little too much I think in the beginning and I let them dry out but I didn't notice any change in their leaves either in color or shape. I really go by feel more than anything else. I thought I would use your stick idea when I repot them. Some have tight root systems in the sphagnum. Not all are in sphagnum but I also didn't want to damage the roots by pushing the stick down in the pots.

The thing though with the greener leaves is they all look so healthy, so I wasn't sure what it meant or what I should look for if their leaves are dark. I feel like I'm watering them and misting them now that is enough for them to do well. I've not seen anything that really stands out to me if they aren't getting enough water or if they are except for a leaf dying here and there.

About root rot, are all the roots of orchids the light green to pale or whitish in color? None of them are brown right? If they aren't brown in color then I probably need to go through them and cut them off...I just don't want them to cry ya know? lol Do you think they will hold off until the spring before repotting them if some of the roots are brown? They do have healthy roots though. They are all in the same medium I bought them in. I was afraid of them dying if I repotted them so I haven't done that yet. I actually did repot my Vanda though.

Anyway...thanks...I made some notes. Preciate ya sis...

Last edited by ImABrat; 10-30-2007 at 07:40 PM..
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  #6  
Unread 10-30-2007, 08:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neverend View Post
Based on my short experience, there are some phals which have naturally dark leaves, so the first thing you should do to find out whether it has enough light is to check the parentage of your plant. Some species that have naturally dark leaves include schilleriana and celebensis, perhaps other experts here can give you the names of phals that have naturally dark leaves.
Thank you! I didn't know that about the leave color changes. I'll keep an eye on them. I'm trying them out in my family room near a window, so I'm curious to see how they do. Thank you for the leaf color information....I've got quite a folder of information!
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  #7  
Unread 10-30-2007, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stonedragonfarms View Post
I'm curious... I've read your post, but am curious what sort of light conditions you are currently growing under. Most orchids will grow under a wide range of lighting, but many will not flower without sufficient light levels.

Adam
Thank you Adam -- The majority of my orchids right now are in a bay window and in front of windows in 2 other rooms facing northeast, 1 room with lower light for my Phals and the other for a couple jewels. My Vanda is outside on my front porch and gets plenty of light there. They seem to like where they are so far. I've had some new leaves, roots and they look healthy. I'm pretty new at this with my oldest orchid I've had for only 9 months. That one however I'm sure I can make several plants from it next year.

I have them sorted if you will in the bay windowsill according to what I've read about the type of light they take. I also have an extra light that I usually keep on and a window that I open for some extra movement and for cooler days/nights.

I was looking around periodically today for light levels around the house because the sun is coming in now through my front window, so I may consider putting some in that window, at least the Laelia anyway.

Thank you for helping me out, I'm keeping notes on all this.
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