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  #1  
Old 08-03-2020, 02:41 PM
bunnylotus bunnylotus is offline
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Help me save my Cattleya :-( Female
Unhappy Help me save my Cattleya :-(

Okay, I'm embarrassed to have to describe what has happened but here it goes...

I purchased this Cattleya as a birthday present to myself from a nursery in Chicago and have since discovered and made some critical rookie missteps that have hurt the plant.

1) I tried to give it more sun / humidity. Our house gets 'ok light' but really not good enough for a Cattleya, so I put it out on our porch and... forgot about it. At the time it was in the morning and it was in the shade / indirect light, but we live in a high humidity warm climate, which I read can be good for these plants in the summer....again...if you don't forget about it. Well, the sun shifted and it scorched a whole bunch of leaves and the pot it was in, (black plastic) was so freaking hot when I collected it. IDIOT!

2) I probably should have repotted this plant when I received it because I have since discovered that the potting medium was so freaking old, rotted and decayed, and the root system was SO SO suffocated/tighlty wound around itself snd I now suspect that it has root rot.

3) In my attempt to inspect the plant I accidentally knocked a new growth and the new leaf broke off. WORTHLESS! I put cinnamon on the wound and it has dried up, but the pseudobulb is still there and it has an eye on it, so heres hoping.

Well, when the sunburn incident happened I took it inside, cried and cursed at myself lol, and then went to work. I sterilized my scissors and cut away any of the black dead leaf tissue (into healthy tissue below the scorch of course), and then used cinnamon to seal the cuts. Some of the leaves, which used to be huge, didn't have terrible spots so I left some of them alone so that the plant would still have leaves for photosynthesizing.

But...the stupid black spots and yellowing just kept spreading. Either on a leaf after I had already cut into or on one of the big leaves that I had left. So I removed some more of the leaf tissue. :-(

That clearly hasn't helped or stopped the issue. And then the plant got two new growths, (YAY), which haven't really grown or changed much in the past week - two weeks - (not yay?) - and I noticed that one of the new growths has some black / brownish parks on it...wondering if its from scrapes or any of the sap and now it's got some slight coloring on the leaves...praying this whatever it is hasn't spread!!!

Anyways, after seeing that I said screw it what is going on, and decided to remove the orchid from the pot and inspect the root system. Well, that's when I discovered the horrible potting job with the dead decayed sphagnum moss dead decayed plotting bark - so many dead roots brown black and mushy/stringy. I was watering the plant every ~10 days trying to get it to DRY completely before watering, but clearly since this thing had been packed so tightly my guess is between that + sunburn it was retaining water much more than I knew....

So after about 3-4 hours last week I tried to remove AS MUCH dead medium as possible and cut as many dead / mushy roots as possible - with a sterile blade. Because there were also so many roots in the pot and it was IMPOSSIBLE to trace to the source on the rhizome I couldn't really cut them all out of fear of cutting a lifeline to one of the healthy / live roots up top. You'll see the attached pictures for reference. Anyways, I let the guy air out for about a week and then tried to give it some water today hence why the roots look wet in the photos.

I noticed now that part of the rhizome base (probably the original base and pseudobulbs) are black at the tip and are yellowing...GREAT! Obviously not ALL of the rhizome and pseudobulbs are yellow/black as you can see by the newer growths and other bulbs up top. But this concerns me greatly. And I just have no idea as to what to do.

I so desperately want to save this plant. It is my only cattleya and is probably the nicest thing I own. I'm so mad at myself for all of the missteps but I know I have to chalk it up to experience now. I just hope that in that I can still save the plant. Does anyone have any idea as to what is going on with the orchid? Is it savable? Is it dying? Do I need to remove that part of the rhizome / yellowing pseudobulbs? I also really don't want to cause more trauma to this poor plant.

I'm currently waiting for a new clear pot to arrive and leca medium so I can place it in a bigger and more comfortable air medium so this whole over packing situation doesn't happen again. It's supposed to arrive tomorrow.

Anyways I welcome all feedback and next step advice from all you Cattleya/orchid experts. I have about 20 orchids in my house, but this is the only cattleya and I really want to nurse it back to health. Please take a look at the photos and let me know what you think I should do!

Thank you all so very much!

bunnylotus

p.s. this Cattleya is the - Thi-Ti 'Sweetheart' (Miniature) 6" - I purchased when it was not in bloom, but it was/is a mature plant. If I can save it I know the flowers will be stunning - key word if :-(
Attached Thumbnails
Help me save my Cattleya :-(-img_4745-jpg   Help me save my Cattleya :-(-img_4744-jpg   Help me save my Cattleya :-(-img_4748-jpg   Help me save my Cattleya :-(-img_4749-jpg   Help me save my Cattleya :-(-img_4750-jpg  


Last edited by bunnylotus; 08-03-2020 at 02:49 PM..
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  #2  
Old 08-03-2020, 05:39 PM
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SouthPark SouthPark is offline
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This one looks saveable. Just dry the roots out a bit - don't allow them to be soggy wet like that.

Snip off or remove any mushy roots, with mushy soft stuff on them that just falls off in your fingers. And run the roots under regular tap water - a very good flush out - and clean out.

I would then put it in a BIG pot, since your plant is relatively big, and have a lot of drainage holes, and big size drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. And I would use an airy medium.

For my tropical conditions - I use lava rock/scoria - 10 cm to 15 cm average diameter.

If possible, I use a pot where the bulk of the roots haven't quite reached the outer portions of the pot, so that I can dump lots of water into the media toward the outside parts of the pot. I also put a little bit of water into the media closer in to the orchid - but not as much - even though I know that some of my orchids can handle water dumped into any section of the pot.

In any case - maintain nice growing temperature and temperature range, lighting level and lighting duration, and avoid conditions that starve the roots of oxygen. The links below may be useful to you later.

Click Here and Click Here and Click Here and Click Here and Click Here

And - if you see any rotting starting to spread - even after a dry-out of bulbs and roots etc, then consider getting some monterey garden phos, and thiomyl, and copper spray for orchids.
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  #3  
Old 08-03-2020, 05:49 PM
bunnylotus bunnylotus is offline
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Help me save my Cattleya :-( Female
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthPark View Post
This one looks saveable. Just dry the roots out a bit - don't allow them to be soggy wet like that.

Snip off or remove any mushy roots, with mushy soft stuff on them that just falls off in your fingers. And run the roots under regular tap water - a very good flush out - and clean out.

I would then put it in a BIG pot, since your plant is relatively big, and have a lot of drainage holes, and big size drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. And I would use an airy medium.

For my tropical conditions - I use lava rock/scoria - 10 cm to 15 cm average diameter.

If possible, I use a pot where the bulk of the roots haven't quite reached the outer portions of the pot, so that I can dump lots of water into the media toward the outside parts of the pot. I also put a little bit of water into the media closer in to the orchid - but not as much - even though I know that some of my orchids can handle water dumped into any section of the pot.

In any case - maintain nice growing temperature and temperature range, lighting level and lighting duration, and avoid conditions that starve the roots of oxygen. The links below may be useful to you later.

Click Here and Click Here and Click Here and Click Here and Click Here

And - if you see any rotting starting to spread - even after a dry-out of bulbs and roots etc, then consider getting some monterey garden phos, and thiomyl, and copper spray for orchids.

Thank you so much! This is so helpful! I'm relieved that you think I can save the orchid. Phew. I spent another two hours today with tweezers pulling any remaining dead bark medium I could find, and snipped some more mush dead roots. Yes it was originally in a 6in pot when I purchased, and I just ordered an 8in pot - clear with drainage holes and some leca medium, (those orange looking balls). I watch a lot of Miss Orchid girl on YouTube and saw her using it with her cattleya's so i figured that might work. Is that similar to the lava rocks? Do you think the 8 in will work? Or should I go even bigger?

Also, i'm curious, the yellowing of those pseudobulbs right at the base/attachment of the rhizome is that normal? or will those eventually die off? Is that part of any rotting?

When I unearthed the orchid from the pot the rhizome was SO buried it took me two hours to find it, so i'm guessing it got all nasty looking from how overly packaged it was in all that medium and thus all the water retention?

I'm just not entirely well versed in Cattleyas, so I wasn't sure if that sometimes happen with the rhizome/pseudobulbs. Seemed to me in my guttural reaction that that was bad, but I will defer to you / anyone else on here who is much more experienced with them.

Thank you for your help!
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  #4  
Old 08-03-2020, 06:09 PM
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Help me save my Cattleya :-( Female
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If the rhizome was buried, that in itself was not good! When a rootless plant is potted, one wants to put it deep enough for stability but the rhizome needs to be closer to the surface so that it doesn't stay wet. There's plenty of decent-looking plant there to expect that it will produce new growth, given half an opportunity. Don't overpot... if the plant fits in that 6 inch pot, stay with it. When it grows, you can up-pot it in a year or two (when it's making new roots) For now, just rinse off those bad roots - you don't even have to remove anything that doesn't come off easily. And don't spray with anything - especially don't spray roots with peroxide! Put in new medium-sized bark, and stake it so that it is held firmly in place. (Wobbling will damage new root-tips so "firmly" is really important) Then, water lightly - some of those bad old roots may still be capable of taking up enough water to hydrate the plant. But the pseudobulbs will also provide reserves for it to regenerate itself. If you can get your hands on some Kelpmax (one of our frequent contributors, Ray, sells it... check the Classified forum) do it. The stuff does work to encourage rooting. (Quite a few other Board members have had similar experience)

Don't worry about the toasted leaves - they'll look ugly, but the green part is still capable of photosynthesis, and they won't be infected or anything, the spots will just dry up if they haven't already. In short , do as little as possible, don't concern yourself with aesthetics at this point. Orchids are tough!
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  #5  
Old 08-03-2020, 06:22 PM
bunnylotus bunnylotus is offline
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Help me save my Cattleya :-( Female
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roberta View Post
If the rhizome was buried, that in itself was not good! When a rootless plant is potted, one wants to put it deep enough for stability but the rhizome needs to be closer to the surface so that it doesn't stay wet. There's plenty of decent-looking plant there to expect that it will produce new growth, given half an opportunity. Don't overpot... if the plant fits in that 6 inch pot, stay with it. When it grows, you can up-pot it in a year or two (when it's making new roots) For now, just rinse off those bad roots - you don't even have to remove anything that doesn't come off easily. And don't spray with anything - especially don't spray roots with peroxide! Put in new medium-sized bark, and stake it so that it is held firmly in place. (Wobbling will damage new root-tips so "firmly" is really important) Then, water lightly - some of those bad old roots may still be capable of taking up enough water to hydrate the plant. But the pseudobulbs will also provide reserves for it to regenerate itself. If you can get your hands on some Kelpmax (one of our frequent contributors, Ray, sells it... check the Classified forum) do it. The stuff does work to encourage rooting. (Quite a few other Board members have had similar experience)

Don't worry about the toasted leaves - they'll look ugly, but the green part is still capable of photosynthesis, and they won't be infected or anything, the spots will just dry up if they haven't already. In short , do as little as possible, don't concern yourself with aesthetics at this point. Orchids are tough!
Yes I was very surprised that it was buried in the pot. That is exactly how it came...I wish I had pictures of the heap of sphagnum moss and desiccated bark medium that I had pulled out of that thing too. Sad!

Because it was so tightly packed in that 6in pot - in my opinion it was too big for the 6in pot it came in, because when i cut open the plastic pot there were also too many roots on top of each other on top of all the potting medium. Anyways, my point is the roots grew in a very awkward way on top of each other and twisting around each other along the shape of that 6in pot, so it's almost impossible getting to fit into a 6 in pot now without potentially damaging any viable roots. Also roots that ARE growing and do have green tips are literally growing UP the pseudobulbs lol! Again because the nursery packed the thing so dang tight!


Curious about your peroxide comment. I keep seeing, watching, and reading conflicting things on that. Some people say so long as it's 3% or less you can use and it is totally fine, and others say stay away. Why do you think you shouldn't use the peroxide?

Interesting! I will have to look into the Klepmax! Thank you for that tip.

The problem is the spots weren't drying up, they were starting to yellow in rings and spread which I thought was weird. That's why I ended up cutting a lot of the leaves I was concerned that the burn was going to lead to some kind of infection due to the dead tissue. But At this point I've left whatever is remaining to your point on the photosynthesizing.

Hopefully this cattleya will pull through!!!
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:37 PM
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This video is quite ok for potting cattleya:
Potting a cattleya
Go to time 4 mins 50 seconds.
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:38 PM
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Peroxide on roots attacks the tiny hairs on the tips of new ones. Yes, there's lots of advice on the web suggesting the use of it. But the fact that it goes after the new roots (which you may not even be able to see) is reason enough not to. (If those growing root tips get damaged the root stops growing) Some drying out will take care of any fungal issues. And you can dry this out... with no good roots it can't take up water (or much) anyway, it can run on the reserves stored in the pseudobulbs for quite awhile. That bad potting job is also something that I have seen from people who should know better... I rescued a very nice Rhyncolaelia digbyana that another society member had bought at the Society Sales table...buried rhizome, overwatering, no roots. It took the better part of 3 years to get it to where it would bloom, but when it did, felt really good.
I suspect it's done in an attempt to gain stability when the root system is poor... much better to pot it properly for the long term, stake it for stability to get it started.

I lean toward baskets rather than pots for Catts, because they really do need to dry out between waterings. Given the humidity where you live, you might consider the same approach. (Over a lot of time, I have watched Catts grow slowly until they hit the edge of the pot, then take off once they escape. My conclusion... they really hate pots) The important thing is that they MUST pretty much dry out between waterings, how you accomplish that is a function of your own environment and watering practices.
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Last edited by Roberta; 08-03-2020 at 06:42 PM..
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:42 PM
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True - my recommendation is also to avoid putting hydrogen peroxide on roots.

And regarding rhizome --- in general - keep the rhizome on the surface.

It is possible for catts with buried rhizome to grow properly - but it depends on how it is grown, watered etc. Just keep the rhizome on the surface as a rule of thumb - to cut down on and avoid issues.


Last edited by SouthPark; 08-03-2020 at 06:45 PM..
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:10 PM
bunnylotus bunnylotus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SouthPark View Post
This video is quite ok for potting cattleya:
Potting a cattleya
Go to time 4 mins 50 seconds.
Wow that guy has got the most pleasant voice. HAHA! he made that seem so easy! Thanks for sharing.

---------- Post added at 05:10 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:01 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roberta View Post
Peroxide on roots attacks the tiny hairs on the tips of new ones. Yes, there's lots of advice on the web suggesting the use of it. But the fact that it goes after the new roots (which you may not even be able to see) is reason enough not to. (If those growing root tips get damaged the root stops growing) Some drying out will take care of any fungal issues. And you can dry this out... with no good roots it can't take up water (or much) anyway, it can run on the reserves stored in the pseudobulbs for quite awhile. That bad potting job is also something that I have seen from people who should know better... I rescued a very nice Rhyncolaelia digbyana that another society member had bought at the Society Sales table...buried rhizome, overwatering, no roots. It took the better part of 3 years to get it to where it would bloom, but when it did, felt really good.
I suspect it's done in an attempt to gain stability when the root system is poor... much better to pot it properly for the long term, stake it for stability to get it started.

I lean toward baskets rather than pots for Catts, because they really do need to dry out between waterings. Given the humidity where you live, you might consider the same approach. (Over a lot of time, I have watched Catts grow slowly until they hit the edge of the pot, then take off once they escape. My conclusion... they really hate pots) The important thing is that they MUST pretty much dry out between waterings, how you accomplish that is a function of your own environment and watering practices.


Wow I had no idea about the new roots. Whoops. Well won't be doing that ever again any time soon!!! thank you for sharing that insight!

Yes the potting job was weird and disappointing. I got the orchid from a reputable orchid nursery, so I just assumed they knew what they were doing, but clearly after that discovery - not really!

Will that part of the rhizome that's black cause any rotting or a problem? or should i just not worry about it?

Yes I know about the drying out, I think since this was so tightly packed even when it felt dry beneath the surface with my finger it was really still wet even after about 10-12 days (even longer because honestly sometimes I forgot to water it lol). I think now that it will be in a clear pot I will actually be able to see the roots and know a lot more clearly what's going on. And Rhizome will be on top too and not buried like before. I'm determined to rescue the cattleya even if it takes 3 years like your rescue orchid. My very first orchid, standard white Phal, was so poorly potted from this garden shop, it was in ICU status for 6 months, but it is now my oldest orchid 6 years old this Christmas! Saving orchids and watching them prosper and kick a*** after set backs are really rewarding. I really hope I can have the same experience with this Cattleya.

I like the baskets I've seen lots of pictures on the forums and online. I already purchased the pot and leca for this Cattleya so I think i will try and keep it as is potted, but for my next cattleya I will definitely try the basket. I have a midcentury style office room, and already have three hanging orchids, (black pearl cattsetum, and two phals), so a hanging cattleya would be a lovely addition
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:15 PM
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Most welcome BL. Also remember that very dry bark repels water. So if you do use bark and it's very dry, soak it for an adequate duration in water before using it for potting. Eg. soak for a while, and then drain for a while. And then use it.

Also - some fungus that may grow on the surface of bark can make the bark water repellent too - so that the bark can't absorb the water - which can cause dehydration issues for orchids.

So when using bark, if the pot feels relatively light after the water has run out the bottom of it ------ then that's a sign of very dry bark ----- which means needing to check the bark.
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