A cautionary tale

It’s been a while!! It’s been a busy holiday season, punctuated by a knockout punch from the flu (an annual tradition). Happy New Year!

My orchids managed quite well without me for more than a week, and many of them are showing signs of impressive growth. However, I nearly killed two favourites from inadvertent overwatering in a stunningly short period of time.

One of them, a beautiful yellow phal, has done quite well on my light stand all summer. It had a nice branching spike, and was starting to bloom. Then poof, the leaves went limp and wrinkly and the buds turned brown and fell off, just like that. The culprit turned out to be a micro-fogger, recently installed to increase humidity. The phal was right in the line of fog-fire, got waterlogged, stayed waterlogged, and rotted. Bummer. I put the fogger on a timer so that it now only comes on in short spurts, and moved the phal a bit farther away. It’s too soon to tell if it’s going to recover.

The other casualty is the nice Oncidium ‘Golden Sunset’ x Oncidium onustum (see picture, Dec 1st) that I brought home from the last orchid society meeting. It was situated on a shelf close to the wall in the grow room, underneath some wall-mounted orchids that I spray almost daily with water. The drip of water from the orchids overhead prevented the medium (moss) from drying out, and oncidiums don’t like wet feet. I didn’t notice the problem until the flowers suddenly shrivelled up and fell off, and the plants was looking noticeably sick. It happened within days. Another bummer. I’m trying to save it with the “spag & bag” method (placing the plant in a plastic drycleaning bag with a little damp moss — the humidity is supposed to spark some new growth), but it’s still a crap shoot as to whether it will recover. Double bummer, I really liked that plant.

It’s not all bad news. My phal ‘Orchid World Joe’ just started to bloom. A half dozen spikes, and the flowers are stunning. Plus, that crazy phal-type dendrobium decided not to tease, and a couple of blooms have actually opened. I’ll post pictures soon.