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Two Sad Orchids
Two Sad Orchids  
I have two Orchids that I picked up off of the outside deck of my father's house in Olympia WA after he passed last month (Dec 2012)  I am trying to determine if there is an way I can save them.

They were in the house and had apparently finished blooming. one had a stalk on it with buds, but they were wilted and it subsequently broke on the way home.  

I have no idea what kind of orchids these are. I only know that they were outside for about 2 weeks, and there was not a hard freeze while they were outside (though it was cold and rainy)

I'm not a gardener but am desperate took keep these remembrances of my dad if possible.  Can you help with what I should do to try and save them?

I haven't really done anything to them except take them out of the standing water they were in.  I watered them as well.

Paul, these plants are phalaenopsis orchids (otherwise called moth orchids). They require warmth ( ie 60-85 degrees F). In addition, they need to dry out.  They could benefit from repotting in a fir bark-based orchid potting mix. Most of the roots you see are called aerial roots.  When you repot, use a pot large enough so you can place them into the potting mix.  They appreciate a fair amount of light as might be obtained from an east facing windowsill.  The potting mix needs to be well drained so water only once per week allowing the potting mix to dry out between watering. when you unpot these plants prior to repotting, check the roots.  Remove any roots that are mushy or stringy.  These have died due to the wet, cold temperatures they have experienced.  Repot only roots that are firm and turn green when wet. You may eliminate enough dead roots to repot the healthy ones back into the same pot.  Patience will be required to return these plants to health.  There may be enough root damage so that you still could lose a leaf or two before regrowth starts. Please feel free to ask any followup questions.


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Wayne King


Any question about orchid culture. I have thirty+ yrs of growing experience,president 2x of our local Orchid Growers Guild,held a position in most all other offices associated with the Guild at one time or another. Head of Orchid judging team for local club meetings and some shows. Member of two Orchid Socities and local Rep.for Mid America Orchid Congress for several yrs.I have in my collection about 800 Orchid plants of all types.


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