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  #1  
Old 08-07-2018, 07:04 PM
Frugaljewel Frugaljewel is offline
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Help! What kind of orchid was I gifted? I'm killing it...
Default Help! What kind of orchid was I gifted? I'm killing it...

Hello everyone!
I could likely figure this out on my own with lovely Google, but I'm a single working parent running on E, and I really don't want my beautiful orchid to die.
I've always thought they were so beautiful, however I was too timid to ever buy one despite my relatively decent green thumb. A friend was a sweetheart, and gave me one as a gift...and my worst fears are true...she's slowly dying.
It was delivered without any care instructions or name. I believe I have a Dendrobium...? I haven't watered her too often, but when I returned home from a week long vacation flowers had fallen. They have been falling one by one...buds too. One will begin to wilt, a few days later, it falls off, then another begins the same sad demise. A leaf is slowly yellowing as well. Do I need to repot it, give more water, or give it some type of special food?
Any advice is greatly appreciate it...I'd really like to salvage this beautiful plant.
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  #2  
Old 08-08-2018, 01:18 AM
aliceinwl aliceinwl is offline
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Help! What kind of orchid was I gifted? I'm killing it... Female
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You have a Phalaenopsis commonly called a moth orchid. These like to get almost completely dry between waterings.

Luckily, these guys can be really tough and very forgiving if given proper care.

My recommendations if you want to keep it alive long term:

Remove the top dressing of moss.

Check and see if there is a clear plastic pot inside the clay pot.

If there is, what is inside the clear pot and can you see the roots of the orchid?

If you can see the roots, you want to wait until they look silver to water, when they'e green don't water.

If it's in moss, you want to have the moss be moist after watering but not sopping wet.

If it's in bark, soaking the plant weekly (or whenever the roots go silver) for about 5 minutes, then allowing all the water to drain out should work.

Depending on your conditions moss may or may not work well. Personally, I can't keep the roots on most of my Phalaenopsis alive in moss so any that I buy in moss get repotted. There are lots of resources on repotting. I followed the directions on Repotting Phalaenopsis (Moth) & Other Monopodial Orchids when I decided to repot and they have served me very well.

Good luck!

---------- Post added at 09:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:12 PM ----------

One other thing: Phalaenopsis are deep shade plants. They like bright indirect light. Any exposure to direct sunlight is likely to result in damage to the leaves.

---------- Post added at 09:18 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:16 PM ----------

Another thing ;-) I noticed your fruit basket. Sometimes the chemicals released by ripening fruit can cause flowers to drop so you may want to add some distance between your orchid and the fruit.
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  #3  
Old 08-08-2018, 02:44 AM
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Roberta Roberta is offline
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One more thing... just because the flowers die doesn't mean that the plant is dying. Flowers have a finite lifetime (which can be shortened by drafts, the shock of being moved, etc.) The plant, with good care (as described by aliceinwl) can live for many years, and re-bloom many times. They typically bloom once a year, so patience is important.
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:09 AM
Optimist Optimist is offline
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Phalaenopsis generally do not do well if something is wrong with the roots. When it is left in too damp an environment often the roots die off. It can still be saved after this if the leaves are still good. It also may not be getting enough sun. These plants are epiphytes which means they live on tree branches with their roots free and exposed. In a pot, the roots will often not do well. They need plenty of air at the root area which means an airy medium like stones or bark mix. The pot also needs holes in it. You water over a sink or basin where the water can drain quickly out. The roots get enough water during that watering to last about a week. Some people soak only the roots for a few minutes. This is okay too.

The light should be fairly week non-burning sun, but it should be by a window, and not in the middle of a minimally lit room.

A yellow bottom leaf just means that the leaf is old and about to fall off. If more than one leaf is yellow, you may have a problem, usually a light or essential nutrient problem. Also, flowers falling means that it is getting near the time that the flowers generally fall.

A flower spike (the woody stem with all the buds) lasts about 6 months. You don't know how long it was in the shop or in transit before you got it. It may also have been "shocked" by some change in environment.

Last edited by Optimist; 08-08-2018 at 11:11 AM..
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Old 08-08-2018, 11:28 PM
Frugaljewel Frugaljewel is offline
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Thank you @aliceinwl, @Roberta, and @Optimist! If I could hug you all I would. I truly appreciate you taking the time to school me, and to offer your knowledge and wonderful resources. I took it out the clay pot to see what was going on, and luckily the medium is bark. The roots were silver just as Alice mentioned so I soaked her for 5 minutes....and moved the fruit.
I guess between my toddler, and having to wait a year for more blossoms (hopefully) the universe is telling me to work on my patience, lol.
Thank you all again so much!
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:10 AM
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SillyKeiki SillyKeiki is offline
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Phalaenopsis orchids are also known for "bud blasting", which means dropping flowers and buds when something shocks them. This could be a sudden change in environment, transport by car, cold air drafts, hot air drafts. Flowers and buds aren't essential for survival, and they are the first to go when the plant is under stress.

This stress now is adapting to your new environment. But don't worry, as long as most of the leaves and roots are fine, your Phalaenopsis will be okay. Apart from the bud blasting issue, Phals are hardy plants.

Good luck!
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Old 08-15-2018, 02:26 AM
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estación seca estación seca is offline
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There is a good thread here on Orchid Board dealing with growing Phals. From the yellow menu at left select Forums then Beginners. Near the top look for the sticky thread The Phal abuse stops here.
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