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Emergency saves for water-damaged orchids?

15 years ago

Hello all, this is my first time posting here so hopefully I'm doing it correctly...

I live in West-central Florida and we just had a tropical storm pass through that resulted in about four days of nearly continuous downpour. I have about 20 orchids that I've been growing outdoors under our grapefruit tree. Most of them are in clay pots with bark-based potting mix. Normally my plants have enjoyed the daily or nearly daily summer showers as they've been brief and the plants still had some time to dry out and get enough light and air circulation. That was not the case this week, however, as they ended up being sopping wet for four days straight due to the excessive rainfall.

By the time I started getting nervous about too much water, the damage had been done. After the fourth day I set all my pots on my covered back porch stoop, in the hopes of sheilding them from any additional rain and hoping that a few hours of direct morning sun would help dry them out a little better. That was two days ago.

I checked them today and almost ALL of my plants are showing mild to severe tissue damage on their leaves. Large areas of brown or black mushyness that's rapidly expanding. I'm assuming all of this was caused by the water, though I'm not sure whether the sun exposure has helped or hindered them. I'm most worried about two of my phals, because almost the entire area of most of their leaves has turned or is in the process of turning pale brown and mushy. It looks like it's affecting the crowns of these phals as well.

Is there ANYTHING I can do to save my plants? I'm afraid the two phals are goners, but what about my other plants that have less extensive damage? I've got a couple cattleyas and an oncidium that were also affected. My dendrobiums seem impervious to the problem thus far. I've brought them indoors to my sunroom in the hopes that the lower humidity will help dry them out more (plus I was afraid of sunburn if I left them on the porch). Would taking them out of their pots and freeing them from the potting medium help save their roots?

I've been growing orchids for several years but this is only the second year I've grown them exclusively outdoors, and the first time I've ever had to deal with too much rainfall.

I really appreciate any help or advice you guys could give me. I feel like such an idiot for not acting quickly enough to prevent this problem in the first place!

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