Dendrobium Root Rot (or Not?)
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Dendrobium Root Rot (or Not?)
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:20 PM
jhay jhay is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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Dendrobium Root Rot (or Not?)
Default Dendrobium Root Rot (or Not?)

Hello all,

Was browsing the internet for an answer to my issue, and I thought it better to just ask the more experienced...

I bought a happy healthy Dendrobium around April of this year. I maintained it's bloom for about 11 weeks, after which I cut the flowering stem and reduced the watering.

In the time period between then and now, new canes and leaves have begun to grow, I think one of the canes died (it feels light and papery, and I can squish it flat between my fingertips) and a keiki started to grow on a nearby cane on the same cluster as the dead cane.

Within the past week and a half or so, new flowering stems and buds have come up (exciting!) , but instead of continuing to grow (the longest new flower stem is about five inches, with two flowers on it), the flowers bloomed yesterday. The flowers aren't wilted, and the leaves and canes (except for that dead one) are all healthy--no discoloration, are firm, are a nice green color and look like all the good examples of a healthy Dendrobium.

My questions is about that dead cane, and if it's stunting the growth of the whole orchid somehow. I parted some of the top bark away, and using a flashlight, saw that the roots were brown, but felt solid--not mushy like other posts have said is a sign of dead roots. I would say almost the entire root system is like this--the only roots that are white are a couple that have emerged above the layer of bark and are completely exposed to the air.

I know that I should have removed that dead cane earlier, but I can recall my reasoning: the cane that now has the keiki almost looked dead too, so I assumed that now dead one would do the same; the roots were finely intertwined, so I didn't know how to go about removing just the roots from the dead cane; lastly, the cane with the keiki is on the same cluster as the dead cane, so I wasn't sure if removing the roots would kill that new growing plant.

I remember that when I first bought the plant and re-potted it, the roots were all brown, and the plant was happy and healthy then. I have read on a couple posts online that the roots may sometimes take the coloration of the media, so the root color shouldn't be the single determining factor if the roots are rotted or not.

I'm confident I didn't over-water it--I was watering it every 5-12 days, depending on how hot it was here in San Diego, and I never left any water standing in the pot.

Is that dead cane affecting my whole orchid? Is my entire root system in bad shape, or just naturally brown?

Thanks for your time.

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Old 09-29-2011, 08:56 PM
Gage Gage is offline
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Dendrobium Root Rot (or Not?) Male

It sounds like everything may be just fine. Old canes do drop their leaves and shrivel eventually. But don't remove them, because they are like a backup reservoir of extra energy for the whole plant! But it would really help if you posted some pics. Good luck!
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:00 PM
Merlyn Merlyn is offline
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Location: Maryland
Age: 76
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Older canes do dry up and unless I'm repotting it I'll just pull them off the main plant and cinnamon the separation point. Sounds like you're doing okay but if the new canes are all smaller than the originals when you got it, that means either not enough light/sun or water or fertilizer while it's growing. Dens do like to dry out between waterings but I think 12 days is too long. If possible, do what my mentor passed on to me "if it's a Den, put it outside for the spring, summer, fall" . When I started doing that they all improved drastically, to the point that one I thought was a mini, put out a new growth that doubled the previous one and caused me to sell it !!! It was 2' tall !!! I don't keep Dens that tall !!! If you are just starting to put them outside, do it gradually not immediately into bright sun. You probably have another month or two of warm weather and sun in SD !

The dead one should be removed but doesn't adversely affect the others. When it's dried up completely it can be pulled apart from the rest.

Good luck.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:36 PM
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Bud Bud is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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Welcome and Hello!
San Diego is a nice place to grow orchids because you have nearly no frost at all...some dendrobiums can stand near frost conditions but will freeze like ice if put overnight on a freezing youre best to put it outdoors at the moment. The atmosphere in your area is humid and can help the orchids survive even without watering for a long time...12 days in my area and the dends will dry up and shrivel...but because you have humidity in your atmosphere; even if indoors the orchid will survive...
Listen to Gage and Chryss...they both gave you sound advice gained from their experience on growing orchids.
Your roots have no problem...the dying of old canes is normal...if the baby also dies its because the cane it was dependent on didnt give it much moisture...better luck next time with keikis...but make sure to separate the babies if the roots are at least a couple of inches and can be independent of the mother plant.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:38 PM
jhay jhay is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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Dendrobium Root Rot (or Not?)

Alrighty--thank you for the advice!

I'm concluding from all this that the roots are good, and that the flower stems just decided to bloom now instead of later. I'll separate the almost-dead cane when it is completely dead (it's still a little firm near the base.) Will put it outside to take advantage of the pleasant SD climate.

Once again, thanks!
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