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Old 02-09-2019, 03:43 AM
Root child Root child is offline
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Location: Virginia
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Lightbulb How did you react when your first orchid died¿

Just curious how you all felt and reacted and how it died if you don't mind sharing.
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:46 AM
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Dollythehun Dollythehun is online now
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Zone: 6a
Location: Northern Indiana
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Frustrated. Oftentimes instructions are hard to understand. I was given an oncidium which did well. I ignorantly divided it and lost it. I tried two others and couldn't figure it out because I was buying by the look of the flowers, not culture. Then I discovered phals. I grew those well for a number of years before I branched out again. Now, out of 100+, and several more years, I rarely lose one. I also have developed a NON panicked attitude and I research before I buy.
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Old 02-09-2019, 07:43 AM
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Ray Ray is offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Oak Island NC
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Yes, frustrated and pissed off!

While at Ga Tech, I was known as the "plant doctor" on campus, helping people's tropical plants recover from whatever ailed them. If I was successful, I got a couple of bucks, and if not, I got to keep the flower pot! I simply "did not kill plants". Then I was given a cattleya...
Ray Barkalow, Orchid Iconoclast
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Old 02-09-2019, 08:04 AM
Mountaineer370 Mountaineer370 is offline
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Location: SE Michigan
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I haven't had one die -- yet. I've only been growing orchids for about four years, though, and I have a very small number compared to many of you. But......that's not to say I haven't had my share of frustrations. None have died, but quite a few have been rehomed by way of being donated to the raffle table at my society meetings.

As Dolly has already mentioned, one of the biggest challenges is learning which types of orchids will grow best in the conditions you can provide, and then sticking to those and resisting the temptation to buy one just because you like its appearance so much. I've been through that, and I'm still very much in the learning process, but things seem to be improving, slowly.

I have rehomed quite a few of my orchids when I realized I simply could not provide the conditions they required. I felt sad, a sense of loss, as I'm a person who tends to become sentimentally attached to my houseplants (I'm sure I'm not the only one, lol). There was also a good measure of frustration and feeling like a failure. But I told myself they were not living their best life with me and deserved a better chance somewhere else. Plus, from simply a practical standpoint, I have very limited space, and I want to enjoy orchids that will actually bloom for me on a regular basis. So, while it was tough to let them go, I got over it by looking forward to getting other orchids that are more likely to do well for me (probably limited to Phals).

I think the important thing is to really try to learn as much as possible from our disappointments and setbacks and try to do better with each subsequent plant.

Last edited by Mountaineer370; 02-09-2019 at 08:06 AM..
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:34 AM
Root child Root child is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Virginia
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I recently had my first orchid die, I'm still uncertain of how it died, I think it may have been an infection and although I've done a lot of research on orchids it's still unclear to me. I was very attatched to it as well and I have felt a bit empty and sad with it gone. But you're right about learning from your mistakes. And I'm glad I get to learn with other people who grow orchids as well. We can both learn together. With your attitude I'm sure you'll be growing even more orchids in no time.
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Old 02-09-2019, 06:05 PM
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SouthPark SouthPark is offline
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My first reaction was to feel very sorry for the plant - since it wasn't the plant's fault at all ----- but my fault for not understanding how to grow it and look after it properly.

So my second reaction was then to read up more on how the plants should be grown - watering method, lighting, potting media considerations, temperature, humidity, pots, air circulation, pest control/prevention, spreading eggs out in separate baskets whenever possible, salt build-up in media, avoiding water-logging and drowning of roots, avoiding spraying plants in direct sunlight and in relatively high temperature conditions, avoid transferring water used on one plant to another, and even understanding that fungal growth in some potting media can sometimes make the media water-repelling -- which can prevent orchids from getting enough water to survive, etc. Also, understanding that too much sustained water contact and too much sustained relatively-high humidity can promote fungal and/or algal/bacterial growth - which may lead to some issues - unless something is done effectively to address it.

In the above - my meaning of pest control is only regarding controlling or removing organisms that attack the orchids. It's not those organisms fault for getting onto and/or into the orchid - as they're just doing their own thing as well.

Last edited by SouthPark; 02-10-2019 at 03:25 PM..
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Old 02-10-2019, 01:52 PM
Arizona Jeanie Arizona Jeanie is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Arizona Mountains
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My first orchid, a gifted phal, didn't die. After it survived a year of utter neglect, I became interested in these plants, now I'm up to six, and here I am on Orchid Board.
BTW, phal #1 is blooming now, as it has every year except its first one in my care.
I've had one plant die, but it was a rescue that arrived in bad shape, and died within two weeks. I wasn't particularly attached to that one, I just got to see what crown rot looks like, and how fast it progresses. I was sorry to see it go, but didn't really feel too bad about it. I also remember seeing photos of the inside of commercial greenhouses with thousands of plants, looked like a phal factory, here's an example:
How to Stand Out in the Orchid Market - Greenhouse Grower

Last edited by Arizona Jeanie; 02-10-2019 at 01:53 PM.. Reason: I think slow
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:29 AM
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WaterWitchin WaterWitchin is offline
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I've never met an orchid I couldn't kill. Can't remember the first one, but I just shrugged my shoulders and tried again. However, I also try growing a LOT of different unusual plants, both inside and out, so there's always a learning curve going on with something. The only time there's ever wailing or rending of garments is on the very rare occasion I can't keep a plant alive that has a special meaning (a gift from a departed friend is an example) or a gift of a plant that's been growing strong for the last twenty or thirty years.

I do something fairly opposite to what Mountaineer and Dolly describe. I get the orchid, and see if I can get it to adapt to my care. After several experiments and usually several attempts, if it won't fit into my care and conditions I give up and quit trying. Or at least don't try until I think of a different way to attempt doing so, but still with my care and conditions.

When I first got into orchids in a serious way, there was a LOT of experimentation. Do I like growing on mounts, how do I feel about tree fern, what kind of bark do I prefer, keeping plants alive during winter months, etc, etc. There's a lot less experimentation after the last couple of decades. And less attempt to grow again a genus that I've already experimented with and lost several times.

I've only killed a couple of Masdevallias, but haven't tried much. They don't seem to like me. Having said that, I just picked one up and gonna try again. Wish me luck.
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Old 02-11-2019, 11:43 AM
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OrchideeNormus OrchideeNormus is offline

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Zone: 8b
Location: Southern Arizona
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I was very bummed and disappointed in myself. The very first orchid I bought was actually going to be a gift. I didn't even know it was an orchid lol. It was a tiny little plant that had dainty white flowers and it also came with a succulent. It was going to be a valentine's day gift for my mom last year. I bought it two weeks early. All the flowers were open when I got it, no idea for how long. They ended up all falling off before I could give it to her so I obviously had to abandon that gift. I honestly thought the plant died because the flowers fell. Thinking back, I have no idea what even gave me the idea lol. I quit watering it and it was basically forgotten, shoved aside and left for dead. After a month or so I noticed that not only were the leaves still green, but it was growing a new leaf! I researched it, learned that it was a miniature phalaenopsis orchid, learned basic care and how to repot it and hopefully save it. I unpotted it only to discover there were no roots left, and upon closer inspection the leaves were leathery and wrinkly. Sadly it was beyond my help. I did try the sphag and bag method as a last attempt before giving up, it did a wonderful job growing mold all over the plant effectively killing it the rest of the way lol. Ultimately I was very disappointed in myself for even thinking the plant had died just because the flowers dropped to begin with. I really do know better lol. I guess houseplants have never been my strong point in the growing world. I've always had an outdoor vegetable garden, orchids are a completely different world. Since that first one I've definitely caught the orchid bug, I have 20 of them currently. I've only had two other orchids die in my care. The second one was a miltoniopsis that had orange rot and the third was a phalaenopsis that had been dyed purple. I still don't know what exactly went wrong with that one. My best guess is I waited too long to repot it (it was in bad bark) or it had a virus that it just couldn't kick. I wasn't as upset over those because Im fairly certain I didn't do anything that lead them to their demise. That first one kinda tore me up because it was completely my fault and I felt so bad.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:30 AM
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camille1585 camille1585 is offline

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When I killed my first orchid, I was so sad, frustrated and upset with myself. I had been growing a few Phals successfully for maybe 6 months, and then bought a Burr. Nelly Isler. I loved it but it rapidly went downhill despite my best efforts. I took every orchid death really hard back then because I was a cash strapped college student and I thought long and hard about every orchid purchase. So when one died it was upsetting because it was money in the garbage and I knew that I couldn't always afford to replace it.

But I think the orchid death that most affected me was that of my very first orchid, a pink and white small flowered Phal. I'd had it for about 7 years by then, and was absolutely devastated to lose it to a rapidly spreading disease. Money was no longer an issue then, and I'd killed A LOT of other orchids in those years, but you can never replace your very first orchid....

Completely orchid obsessed and loving every minute of it....

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