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Old 11-14-2014, 07:43 PM
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den. cane rot

I few months back I got a den. thongchai gold. It had a new, very healthy, cane growing. I stopped watering it on Halloween, as I do with all my dens. The new cane started losing a few leaves, as dens normally do, but it kept losing it's leaves. I just cut off the remaining dead leaves to find rot on the cane. Has anyone had this problem? There wasn't any water between the leaves and there is no mold or other problems. I'm going to cut the rot off and sterilize it.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:47 PM
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Isn't this a hard cane Dendrobium? I know with some soft-cane Dens, they recommend not watering them and giving them cooler temperatures for a winter rest but the hard cane dens grow all year and thus need water, warmth, good light and fertilizer the entire year. Unlike soft canes, the hard cane only lose their leaves when they are one of the older canes.
If the new cane was still growing, not getting enough water might cause it to drop leaves and even die. As for rotting, I really cannot explain why it would rot if you have not watered it. Perhaps a picture would help?
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:18 PM
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Here's a pic
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Old 11-15-2014, 01:00 AM
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Does it feel mushy or solid?
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Old 11-15-2014, 01:09 AM
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Mushy. I already cut it off
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Old 11-15-2014, 05:56 PM
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Cutting it off when it is mushy is the right thing to do. Your older cane will probably grow a new cane to replace it. Just try to keep the roots healthy with regular watering (but in a medium that dries very quickly). The warmer it is, the sooner it will pop out a new cane. These like very bright light (I grow under lights now but gave my dens a south-facing window).
I am surprised that you had rot when you are keeping it so dry. Usually this happens, of course, due to over-watering. Of course, there are other things that can cause this to happen. How are you growing it? Are you keeping it warm? What type of medium? How often and with what do you fertilize it?
Hopefully, we will figure out what went wrong here so you will soon have a healthy den. They are really great orchids once you get them established.
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Old 11-15-2014, 06:13 PM
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I have it about 4 feet from an east facing window and when it was warmer I would set it outside for several hours a week. It's in a bark medium. It's kept around room temperature (73). I thoroughly watered it 1-2 times a week until Halloween and fertilized it with 10-10-10 with the recommended amount monthly. Since Halloween I've kept the humidity high by misting every few days.
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Old 11-15-2014, 06:26 PM
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I also have a den. copper queen x thongchai gold that I treat the EXACT same way...same temp, water, fert, light, medium...everything. And it's perfectly healthy. Hasn't lost any leaves or anything
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Old 11-15-2014, 10:43 PM
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I am sorry I have been so terrible about replying. It has been a crazy, busy day.
I am not sure how many years that you have been growing plants and what your experience level is. Even though you are young, you may have begun early. I started collecting and caring for plants somewhere before I was five and have been doing so ever since. I had many family members who grew stuff to help me out from the very start. Since I do not know your experience level, I will just try to give you some very basic plant tips to get you thinking. Growing plants is often very much like science, especially if you grow the more exotic and rare things. You have expressed an interest in this so....
The basics of plants are rather simple. They all need, in some degree, light, water, fertilizer, temperature, air movement, humidity and medium regulated to suit their environment. Flowering plants tend to need higher light than non-flowering plants. The care you give a plant should reflect the environment from which they come. Researching the environment of a particular plant is very important so one can understand how to adapt one's environment to suit the plant. More heat/light = more water/fertilizer. The opposite is true, also. pH for soil/medium is an important consideration as it affects nutrient absorption. Surprisingly, very few plants need extra humidity in a home and most of those plants also like warmer conditions and require extra air movement. The exceptions are cloud forest plants (plants that grow at high elevations in the clouds = cool and humid) and temperate rain forest plants. Spraying plants with water in cooler conditions with less air movement and less light encourages fungus and bacterial infections. Water that is cooler than room temperature can even shock a plant. Light in a home is much less than light outside. Even a south-facing window offers dimmer light than the shade outdoors. If you are unsure if you have enough light, it is best to get a light meter and check. Lastly, if you fertilize plants indoors, you must be certain to flush your medium now and then to get rid of what your plants do not use so that this doesn't become too concentrated and harm the roots. Outside, the rain does this.

So, then, here is what I think....
I think your dens need more light. I kept mine about six to eight inches from a south facing window (double sliding glass door) so it had plenty of direct light. Phal-type dens bloom and grow so much better in Cattleya light.
Secondly, I would stop misting the orchids. Even though there is some debate about pebble trays, that would be a better option than misting. As you like exotic plants, a banana plant or two would be really great for humidity. Any other tropical/rainforest tree works just as well.
As for why one of your dends suffered and the others did not? Each plant is an individual, just as each creature is. Even clones can be different due to what genes are turned on and off. That is why some plants are more vulnerable to fungus and bacterial infection while others are very resistant.
The other thing that causes some plants to be vulnerable is stress. Many things can stress a plant and these things are not always easily apparent. The better the culture, the less stress and the healthier your plants will be. Healthy plants are usually able to resist fungus/bacteria and pests much better than an orchid that is unhappy. It is more difficult to tell whether orchids are suffering than other plants. Other plants immediately will drop leaves or, at least, show signs in the leaves. Orchids often react much more slowly. They are pretty tough compared to most plants.
I hope this helps you a bit. If you knew all of this, please don't be insulted. My goal is to do what I can to make the hobby fun and easy. I am always hoping that everyone will enjoy growing plants as much as I do. Good luck!
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Old 11-16-2014, 12:51 AM
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Thank you! I'll try more light and less humidity. I figured the light level was good cause they're light green...a good den color.
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Old 11-16-2014, 12:08 PM
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Some of my orchids stay dark green even in full sun while others stay a light green even not getting enough light. Some get a purple tinge, blotches or spots when in high light. It depends on the environment from which they are derived.
As you collect more plants, you will soon discover how very neat the various adaptions plants make are. This is what makes plants so very diverse and fascinating.
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Old 11-22-2014, 10:52 AM
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Just noticed that the end of the cut cane is starting to get mushy again. She's also lost all of her leaves I've given her some light and a few good soaks in the past week. She has a lot of healthy roots...idk what's wrong....
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Old 11-23-2014, 11:37 AM
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Cut below the mushiness and then treat the area well with Isopropyl alcohol. That helps to kill fungus and bacteria so the orchid wont need to keep fighting it. I usually repeat this for a few days. Don't get the alcohol on the roots.
A new cane can start from the bottom of the old cane, even if there is just a few inches left.
When I have a plant that is not doing well, I try to figure out why the orchid isn't happy and then I fix the problem.
Sometimes, though, a plant is just not healthy due to heredity or a gene being turned on or off. That usually becomes apparent when you have two of the same plant and one thrives and one dies and you have given both the same conditions. :|

When collecting plants, there are two choices you can make.
1) select only plants that will grow in your environment
2) adjust your environment/tweak your growing methods to grow the plants you really want.
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