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Old 01-09-2016, 04:39 PM
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Orchid SOS

Hi All,

I've just moved back to Trinidad and Tobago and have agreed to help my mother with the (40) orchids she inherited from my grandfather just over a year ago.

To be honest: These orchids have suffered from neglect, languishing under a mango tree in our backyard.

I've been practicing triage. First thing I did was clear allll of the leaf detritus off of the plants. Some of them had 2 inch thick layers of dead leaves ontop of their leaves, and up to 5 inches of detritus ontop of the pots. Once I did that, I tried to arrange the plants in order of the ones that need the most help, with the ones that need the least on the back of the orchid table. I've been repotting the ones in most distress (carefully as tons of tree frogs have taken up residence in their pots; one pot had 9 different frogs!) but there are a number of orchids that I just don't know what to do with, because they are ones that are so unfamiliar to me.

I am struggling. My experience is with growing Phals indoors in the UK, and suddenly I have close to 40 bizarre hybrids to grow outdoors in the tropics. I really need help.

I am going to ask specific questions about some of the orchids as I get to them, but first I have some general questions:

1) Does anyone have experience with growing orchids outdoors, in the tropics? I think a lot of these plants are suffering from bad culture. At the moment ALL (except for a select few I have brought indoors to keep a closer eye on) are growing under a mango tree in the garden, where they receive dappled light with some direct light depending on the time of the day. All of the plants are potted in a mixture of gravel and charcoal, except the vandas which are hanging from wires from a tree branch. It's the tropics, so temperatures are high, generally 30-35 deg Celsius at its hottest, and it's pretty humid. Usually rains once a day, though I'm unsure how much rain gets through the canopy of the mango tree. We are however moving into the dry season.
The phals seem very happy (besides some insect issues) and are sprouting leaves and roots like crazy; one even attempted to spike, though two of the buds seem to have died.)
The dendrobiums are generally ok.
The oncidiums are terrible - most have lots over 50% of their psuedobulbs. I think it's due to the leaf detritus ontop creating damp, rotting environment.
I also have epidendrums, catteleyas and exotic things like this: Hybrid Rsc (Brassolaeliocattleya) Brassavola x Laela x Cattleya (Rlc.)

So. How do I find the correct culture for these plants? Where do I place them? How often do I water them? I need to set these plants up to be as low maintenance as possible so that when I leave, my mother can take care of them easily.

2) Keikis. I have found a lot of keikis. Two are epidendrums. Two are dendrobiums. Two are whatever this is: Hybrid Sophrocattleya x Rhynchosophrocattleya x Rs. Some have a fair amount of leaves/roots, but others desperately need more roots. All are still attached to various lengths of canes, but were removed from the mother plant (either because they fell off themselves or the cane was damanged). I'm worried that some are getting dehydrated and leaves are starting to die. So: how do I care for keikis, and most importantly, encourage root growth on them?

3) Root growth: In fact, how do I encourage root growth in general? Lots of the plants have suffered from root rot. Some of the ones that I repotted a few weeks ago are already growing lots of nice new roots (clearly just happy to no longer have a thick layer of dead leaves ontop of them) but others just aren't doing anything except maybe going into a bit of shock!

I'd really appreciate any help you can give me because I'm in over my head here hah.

Also, watch this space as I will be updating with pictures and asking more specific questions about some of the orchids (like how do you seperate a bromeliad from an orchid)

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Old 01-09-2016, 06:34 PM
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Here are some culture sheets for you. If you could post some pictures of the orchids you are caring for.

AOS Culture Sheets
Penny and Mosey

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Old 01-09-2016, 09:13 PM
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Right now, I wish I lived in the tropics! It is getting cold....
Good luck with all the rescues!
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Old 01-10-2016, 09:11 AM
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You first stated that these orchids are growing underneath a mango tree? I would not regrow them under a mango tree. Mango trees produce a lot of sap. It coats every thing under neath the tree. The sap also attracts insects.
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Old 02-13-2016, 02:03 PM
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You have some interesting dendrobiums that I don't see around here. Are they common to your area? And that little frog is adorable!
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