Caring for an elderly orchid with long stems and aerial roots
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Caring for an elderly orchid with long stems and aerial roots
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  #1  
Old 07-07-2017, 05:39 AM
Boggus Boggus is offline
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Caring for an elderly orchid with long stems and aerial roots
Default Caring for an elderly orchid with long stems and aerial roots

Hello everyone!

Been a lurker of the forums for quite a bit but I am in need of some advice concerning a orchid a co-worker handed away to me.

The orchid itself is pretty ancient, with a long stem from a growing and dropping alot of leaves. It was potted in a very large clay pot and from what I could gather most of the root system beneath the media was actually dried out and dead. The orchid itself and its roots above the media was alive but struggling.

I repoted the orchid, cutting away alot of dead roots, a bit of the stem (most of the stem is actually still alive so I couldn’t trim it down too much), and adjusting some of the aerial roots to go back into the media (by soaking the roots and gently bending them). From what I gather the orchid itself has been surviving along, only getting moisture from the air. Since the stem is quite long most of the higher portion where it is sprouting new roots can’t reach the media after the repoting.

It’s been around 2 months since the repotting, the orchid is sprouting a new leaf, 2 more roots but also alot of keikis on its stem. The new roots are not growing in such a way that they can reach the media and I am concerned the orchid, even though it seems to grow, won’t get its new roots into the new media and therefore still not getting enough moisture. The keikis I feel are also a sign it is stressed out and dying.

I am concidering repotting it anew but I am i need of advice what the optimal way would be to ensure that the orchid will get enough moisture and grow in such a way that it can expand into the new media and grow a healthy root system.

Images provided below. I can take more if needed.
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Caring for an elderly orchid with long stems and aerial roots-17-2753-2011-1-jpg   Caring for an elderly orchid with long stems and aerial roots-img_20170707_102759-jpg   Caring for an elderly orchid with long stems and aerial roots-orchid1-jpg   Caring for an elderly orchid with long stems and aerial roots-orchid2-jpg  
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  #2  
Old 07-07-2017, 06:08 AM
bil bil is offline
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Caring for an elderly orchid with long stems and aerial roots
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That looks easily saveable. I would get a BIG pot (wait for the shrieks of 'BLASPHEMER!') and I would plant that DEEP in coarse bark, 2"sized chunks or so with all the small stuff sieved out.

I would want those nice new roots to go straight into the bark. Water it three times a week or so, depending on your conditions.

Then in two years time or so I would repot it into a wide, shallow bowl, I like 6" deep and at least a foot in diam, and I would cut off all the dead bits.

I appreciate a big pot might be difficult for you wrto space, but using that method or something close would be the easiest save ever.
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  #3  
Old 07-07-2017, 06:49 AM
PaphMadMan PaphMadMan is offline
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Caring for an elderly orchid with long stems and aerial roots Male
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Rather than dying, I see a basically healthy plant that has survived a bad time and just won't quit. It does need some help though.

bill's idea isn't bad. It would be best if you can find a tall narrow container. But I have an alternative.

Go ahead and cut through that long stem just far enough below the top to include a couple good roots. With new roots coming that is all it will need to take off and grow, and that part can be potted up normally. Allow the cut surface to dry for a day before potting, and dust it with some fungicide or cinnamon.

The lower part can stay as it is, or if you need to cut more off the bottom of the stem to get it deeper in the pot you could do that. One or more of the keikis will grow out and it will either develop as a multi-crown plant or you can detach keikis to pot up individually.

It will be easier to manage, you will end up with 2 or more healthy plants, and the top portion will establish itself as a healthy normal plant very quickly.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:07 AM
Boggus Boggus is offline
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Caring for an elderly orchid with long stems and aerial roots
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Thank you both for your feedback! I have been scouring the local markets for a plastic orchid pot big enough to repot it once more so all the rots gets submerged in the bark, but I have not been successfull in finding one.

I have been considering the option to just cut the stem down below the top but I have been a bit worried in what damage this can cause to the plant if the stem is actually healthy. I have read about treatment with cinnamon and will take your advice on it.

Considering my potting options I will try out to cut the plant in two. It would be interesting to see if I can pot the bottom part in such a way that the keikis can continue to grow and flourish.
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Old 07-07-2017, 08:07 AM
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Dollythehun Dollythehun is offline
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Can you cut off a plastic soda bottle to the depth you need?.Be sure to poke lots of holes in it, then pot. I agree with both and I would cut the lowest part of the stem. I frequently have to do that with my old phals.
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Old 07-07-2017, 08:20 AM
Boggus Boggus is offline
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I can propably manage a solution with a plastic soda bottle. Repotting this orchid will mean that some of the keikis will be submerged into the bark. If so, would these be prone to rot?
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Old 07-07-2017, 08:31 AM
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Dollythehun Dollythehun is offline
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This is only my opinion: I'd forget about the keikis. I'd break them off, dust, and just save the big plant. If you want to save them, plant at that appropriate depth, as low as possible without burying them.
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:05 AM
dounoharm dounoharm is offline
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IMO!

give it the ax....chop it off and repot it in a 4" pot of large large bark....if you isist on saving the long stem? then lay it on its side on top of spag moss....sphag and bag?

after you chop the main stem off, dust with some growth hormone powder...it will prevent a lot of diseases....
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:10 AM
Boggus Boggus is offline
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Caring for an elderly orchid with long stems and aerial roots
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Thank you all for the feedback. I have now trimmed the orchid into two parts. I trimmed away some of the small keiki sprouts on the upper part.

The lower part has one bigger keiki left aswell as some of pretty damaged roots. Everything below the bigger keiki was pretty much dead mass and roots.

Maybe I should have made an even lower cut, saving more roots for the main plant and just trimmed off all the keikis?

I have applied some cinnamon on the wounds and put them each on a plastic containter to dry out overnight. I am gonna repot them come tomorrow.

The upper part should be pretty straightforward albeit it is in need of some stable support for balance.

How to handle the lower part with the keiki is a bit trickier. I have read about sphag moss and bag for moisture. I admit that saving the keiki is mostly for curiosity. I have managed to grow keikis into full orchids before but those have come from flower spikes, complete with a root system.
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:51 AM
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Dollythehun Dollythehun is offline
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Caring for an elderly orchid with long stems and aerial roots Female
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Chopsticks, skewers or a similar product should help stabilize it.
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