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Orchids/Is My Orchid Dying?


QUESTION: I received an orchid for Valentines Day last month.  I don't know what type, my fiance bought it at Kroger and the tag on it said 'Just Add Ice Orchids.'  It gave very little direction besides adding three ice cubes once a week, which I have been doing.  I also have a Jade plant and I put the orchid next to the Jade because I knew that area got enough sun for growth.

Everything was fine until I got back to town after spending last weekend out of state.  The flowers were wilted and drying.  Yesterday and today, they started falling off!

I read a lot of other posts on this site and checked the roots, which were a little white, so I added some mid-week water today.  I'm wondering if the flowers falling off are part of the orchid life cycle, or if my new baby is dying.  Any help?

ANSWER: Sam, It is likely  that the flower loss is a normal part of the plant's life cycle.  When orchid plants are in flower at the time of purchase, there is no way to tell how long they have been flowering. Depending upon the type of orchid you have (probably either a phalaenopsis or dendrobium), the plant may reflower in a few months on an old flower spike.

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Is there anything I should do such as reportting or snipping old buds to keep the plant healthy? I want him to live a nice long life.

Sam, ideally phalaenopsis orchids (if that is what you have),should be repotted after each flowering. The new pot should have 4-6 drainage holes in the bottom and/or sides.  use an orchid potting mix which you can buy as a hobby bag.  I haven't seen those at Krogers, but have seen them at Home Depot or Lowes garden centers.  Once you obtain the orchid potting mix, strain out the fine particles so you use only the coarser particles.  Then soak the portion you plan to use to repot your plant.  Place the plant roots into the pot and then add the damp potting mix up to the base of the leaves.  Allow the excess water to drain out of the pot and do not water further for a week.  Then water weekly.  Some morning sun, such as in an east window, is ideal for this type of orchid.  If the orchid is a dendrobium, the approach is much different.  Dendrobiums usually grow upright canes.  (Try googling the two different types of orchids so you know which type of orchid you have.  Repotting timing and procedures good for phalaenopsis orchids may kill dendrobiums so it is essential for you to know which type of orchid you have before repotting.


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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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