Orchid resilience put to the test (aka, can I expect my plants to survive)
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  #1  
Old 08-09-2020, 06:00 AM
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Default Orchid resilience put to the test (aka, can I expect my plants to survive)

I'm on vacation for 3 weeks visiting family in France (will be home in a week), and the worst case scenario I was fearing for my orchids is playing out. This year I don't have a plant sitter, so left the plants to fend for themselves, expecting them to be very dry but mostly OK when I got back.

Europe is now in the middle of what is expected to be one of the longest heatwave in history (and certainly a record breaker for the Netherlands). My apartment faces south, and from experience I know that it is probably around 33C/90F indoors right now. I had watered the plants well before leaving (soaked them the day before and day of departure), drew the curtains and left a bit of water in the saucers.

By now the plants will all be very dry, and they now have to deal with the heatwave. I think most of my Phals will pull through (limp and sad, but I can revive them) but I'm very concerned about my Paphs, Phrags and Catasetum since they all need tons of water at this time of year. Can I expect any of these to survive?

Once I get back home next Saturday, what I can I do to help them recover, other than soak them?

My only consolation at the moment is that I brought 20 plants with me on vacation (my Neofinetia and all my minis) so at least I'll still have those...
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:42 AM
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Soak them and be done. They'll probably be fine.

I have had bare-root phals shipped to me from Malaysia - 3 weeks in transit - and while they were very desiccated, they survived.
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:54 AM
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Thanks Ray, but the Phals are the ones I'm least worried about, I know they can bounce back from all but the worst abuse . It's the others I'm worried about, I don't have any experience with them in prolonged heat and dryness.
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Old 08-09-2020, 11:05 AM
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Some Paphs are surprisingly drought tolerant. I had one fall behind a shelf without me noticing it. I don't know how long it didn't get water, but it looked awful, and recovered.
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Old 08-09-2020, 11:53 AM
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Catasetum will also be fine...worst case you won’t get flowers this year but they are also very tolerant

I think that you will be fine and I am pulling for you!

---------- Post added at 11:53 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:52 AM ----------

The phrags I am less knowledgeable about and I don’t have advice other than to do a few shorter soaks of 4-6 hours with a little air time as opposed to one long soak.
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Old 08-16-2020, 10:12 AM
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I thought it could be useful for others to report back on how my orchids fared. Surprisingly well actually. The Phals look very good, other than some shriveled looking roots and one somewhat wrinkly Phal.

The Paphs and one Phrag are droopy but ok. My other Phrag is looking very good and even started 3 new growths. I'll put it down to the fact that it's a very recent puchase that needs to be repotted (the bark is rather broken down and soggy, so stays wet a long time). My catasetum is also surprisingly happy looking, with the developing bulb noticeably fatter, and not even wrinkled!

The only casualties were 2 small plants, Haraella odorata and Den Rainbow Dance, which I stupidly forgot to take with me...

All the orchids are now happily soaking, and I added some Kelpmax to give them a boost.
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Last edited by camille1585; 08-16-2020 at 03:48 PM..
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Old 08-16-2020, 11:00 AM
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Much more resilient than we sometimes give credit for! So glad it turned out well.
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Old 08-16-2020, 12:06 PM
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Sorry about the two small ones.
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Old 08-16-2020, 03:15 PM
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i am delighted to hear of the disaster averted!
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Old 08-16-2020, 11:58 PM
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I bet you were quite relieved. The Haraella odorata can probably be easily replaced.
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