Miltoniopsis not opening flower buds
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  #1  
Old 11-28-2022, 12:00 AM
byzantine princess byzantine princess is offline
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Miltoniopsis not opening flower buds
Default Miltoniopsis not opening flower buds

Dear Orchid Lovers and Experts,

Greetings from the middle of the US. Few months ago (in september to be more precise) I purchased a beautiful miltoniopsis at an orchid show. She came with two spikes in bloom and two with buds. I am relatively new to orchid care, but decided to take the leap and get one of the more difficult orchids. She is now at the south window (together with other orchids) behind a sheer lace curtain. The leaves are fine, but the buds never opened. A week ago I got a humidifier as it gets really dry in the house and I felt that the orchids suffered (as well as two temperamental episcias), The miltoniopsis buds suddenly darkened, the stems went yellow, and all potential flowers went limp and died. Otherwise I water regularly, check the medium for moisture (and thus not overwater) and keep them at 68F. What went wrong? There are no changes otherwise to the outer appearance of the plant. I have not looked into the roots (I am terrified of disturbing it right now). Many thanks for your help and advice.
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Old 11-28-2022, 09:23 AM
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Probably insufficient humidity, but could be due to insufficient watering, which limits the internal water pressure needed to inflate them.

The problem with so-called “overwatering” isn’t so much about excessive water as it is about insufficient air flow to the root system.
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Old 11-28-2022, 09:49 AM
dbarron dbarron is offline
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I am also working on the cool oncidiums (mostly Miltoniopsis genes) and I may have been particularly lucky (I don't know).
I grow Milts in a somewhat shaded west facing window in a generally cooler part of the house. Watering is fairly constant, about every 3 days, based on weight of the pot primarily. I've seen cases in mid-summer where it's about every day.
My 'Andrea West' has been almost constantly in flower since last November when I got it from Hausermann. As soon as new PBs start, I'm gonna repot it, because the moss is probably breaking down. I *think* it's about to go out of flower, and probably throw some new PBs and start flowering again by Easter.
It requires a lot of attention, but I would say that a year long flowering would make it worthwhile. I wouldn't say it's the hardest, just maybe an easy plant requiring lots of attention Really other than water it...and occassionally throw use some fertilizer on it, it hasn't asked me for anything unusual. So far, it doesn't seem to want bones from the butcher (my dogs do) *hee*
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Old 11-28-2022, 10:02 AM
byzantine princess byzantine princess is offline
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Thank you so much for your responses. @dbarron--my dream is to have mine bloom continuously. How wonderful! @Ray--I am intrigued by the proposition that the air flow to the roots might be insufficient. Do you think, I should take her out of the pot and examine the roots?
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Old 11-28-2022, 10:07 AM
dbarron dbarron is offline
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I'm answering (not Ray...though I have a feeling he might say the same), it's never a bad time to check the roots, especially if you have issues that might begin there.
Milts usually are easy to slip in and out of the pot (at least that's been my experience).

And...since I wrote it, i went out to check that one in the laundry room I referenced. It's started new PBs, so today may be a repotting day. It has a bearclaw fern in there too...that needs to come out. I hope to save the fern, it's better looking than any one I've grown solo (without orchid), but I read it will out compete most orchids...so must go.

Last edited by dbarron; 11-28-2022 at 10:09 AM..
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Old 11-28-2022, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byzantine princess View Post
@Ray--I am intrigued by the proposition that the air flow to the roots might be insufficient. Do you think, I should take her out of the pot and examine the roots?
Roots don't die from exposure to water, and don't need to dry out between waterings.

In classic "overwatering", the issue is that the potting medium is too dense, whether that be due to the use of too fine of a medium, or because it had become more compact over time. Either way, when you water, liquid is held between the particles, completely cutting off airflow to the root system, so they suffocate and die.

Sure, you can allow the medium to dry, allowing those spaces to open up again, but you'd be better off going with a coarser medium and watering the hell out of it.
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Old 11-28-2022, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byzantine princess View Post
Thank you so much for your responses. @dbarron--my dream is to have mine bloom continuously. How wonderful! @Ray--I am intrigued by the proposition that the air flow to the roots might be insufficient. Do you think, I should take her out of the pot and examine the roots?
Don't expect "continuous" bloom... most orchids don't do that. What you need is a healthy plant that will bloom in its season. (The way to always have something in bloom is to have lots of orchids of different types, if you can get them in bloom at different times of the year you'll even know what to expect) Definitely check the roots. Fresh medium will help good roots to thrive more, will give the plant a chance to grow new ones if they aren't healthy. Ray's advice on watering is spot-on.
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Old 11-28-2022, 01:46 PM
dbarron dbarron is offline
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Yes, I was just extremely lucky. I probably won't be so lucky this coming year and will get the more likely 2 bursts of bloom. But sometimes, the stars and the planets align just right
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Old 11-30-2022, 10:07 PM
byzantine princess byzantine princess is offline
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Many thanks to everyone who responded to my question. I gathered up the courage and pulled the orchid out of its pot only to find out that the roots were rotting. I cleaned them up and potted the orchid in a new medium. Hopefully, it will live...Thank you again!
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Old 12-01-2022, 12:33 AM
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Watch for new growth... it will produce new roots. So don't worry if existing pseudobulbs shrivel a bit. Those are the reserves, to keep the plant going while it works on new growth and new roots. This one likes to be damp, but not soggy... with bad roots it can't take up water efficiently. With new medium, the root zone will get "humid air" and that will be what it needs.
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