Oncidium Damage/Infection from Attempted Murder
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Oncidium Damage/Infection from Attempted Murder
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:33 PM
CranberryQueen CranberryQueen is offline
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Oncidium Damage/Infection from Attempted Murder
Default Oncidium Damage/Infection from Attempted Murder

Hello! I'm new to forums and this site, so I hope I did this right! I have moderate experience with orchids, and this is not my only oncidium, but I'm not very well versed in their advanced care.

So, I live in an apartment with a couple of other girls, and I love to fill it with plants, especially orchids. Last year for my birthday I bought myself a beautiful Oncidium from an orchid place up in Los Angeles. I'm a college student, so dropping 40$ on an orchid was a big deal for me, and that oncidium, dubbed "Lava Boy" was super special. I spoke freely about how he was my "prize orchid" as a joke and everyone knew how much I loved him. One of these roommates, however, did not like me from the moment she met me and liked to make myself and others miserable just for the fun of it. Over the summer, I have gone home and hired a plant-sitter to come care for my plants in my place. When I left, Lava Boy was healthy, though he had gotten dehydrated, hence the younger leaves you see being kinked. But otherwise, he was strong, and I had adjusted my routine to rectify the dehydration. Today though, I get a text from my plant-sitter with these awful pictures! The Evil Roommate had come back and taken scissors to my Lava Boy! This wasn't the first time she had damaged my plants, but this one, in particular, had been targeted because she knew my love for it. She was the only one to have been in the apartment and my plant had been perfectly green and healthy before! I hadn't seen or spoken to her in months, and never retaliated against her, so I have no idea what prompted this attempted murder! The leaves have been cut down to the bulb, and much of the new growth, along with all of my mature leaves, have been violently sheared off. Unfortunately, my plant-sitter only comes once every few days and by the looks of it, the infection had already set into the wounds by the time I got there.

Is he salvageable? I got my plant-sitter to disinfect the wounds a bit with a water/alcohol mix since I didn't have cinnamon, hopefully alcohol is ok? But after that I'm at a bit of a loss as to what I can do. I've never seen someone be so brutal with a plant before, and the damage is so intense I worry my buddy is a goner. Help?
The picture with the flowers was when I first bought him, the second leafy one is right before I left a month ago, and the other two are pictures from today of the damage.
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:46 PM
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SouthPark SouthPark is offline
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Oncidium Damage/Infection from Attempted Murder Male

Judging from the leaves that is still has ----- it looks like it should survive. But if there appears to be rotting in any of the bulbs --- ie. brown and squishy, then it will be a good idea to remove those particular bulbs if possible. If there is rot ----- it might be necessary to apply some systematic anti-bacterial treatment .... a spray of some sort.

Also ----- if you do have room-mates that appear to have psychological issues ----- then probably best to speak-up about them, like report them to higher authorities -- like the college principal.
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:10 AM
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Ray Ray is offline
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Oncidium Damage/Infection from Attempted Murder Male

Seeing those photos, my first thought was " improper care; probably suffocated roots", rather than "attempted murder" by your roommate.

Those new growths show sure signs of insufficient water uptake, and rotting pseudobulbs are not an indicator of underwatering, nor a result of leaf trimming.

Is it possible that your plant sitter drowned them, and your roommate was trying to remove obviously damaged and diseased leaves to try to help?

Responding to your question: yes, it can be saved, but I'll bet is needs to be repotted right away.
Ray Barkalow, Orchid Iconoclast
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Old 07-10-2019, 05:02 PM
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SouthPark SouthPark is offline
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Oncidium Damage/Infection from Attempted Murder Male

That's a good point from Ray. It will be a good idea to first ask that other student their reason for snipping the leaves. This is to ensure that there's no misunderstanding to begin with.
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Old 07-10-2019, 09:07 PM
Swimmingorchids Swimmingorchids is offline

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Oncidium Damage/Infection from Attempted Murder Male

I think Ray has a point.
Something seems fishy to me. Now to clarify... was this plant sitter super reliable and gave you weekly text updates with pictures... or did she only send a picture once she realized she'd killed your plant..

To me it looks like she stuck the plants under the shower for 10 mins - job done.

Then once the leaves had died and by the looks of it 3 bulbs started to rot from the heavy watering she decided to cut away the damage. You didn't mention what she actually said in her text, whether she showed you what had happened in her care or whether she was saying she had no idea how your plants ended looking like that.

I would not go jumping the gun with your housemate if things are already tense between you but if it was your housemate that did this then I would highly recommend you move out. I was in a toxic student house and felt like I didn't have the option of moving but in the end I had to move anyway and delaying it made things much harder. Or try to resolve things but you cannot win a war with someone you live with. At the very least get a lock for your door so that lava boy is safe in future.
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lava, leaves, oncidium, plant-sitter, plants

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