Houzz Logo Print

Rescued a NOID... Now what? :)

16 years ago

I saw a table of small orchids today. I hadn't meant to buy anything... Even though there were so many pretty pinks and yellows and purples and beautiful leaves... I ALMOST walked away... until I saw the clearance tag. Then I had a brief argument with myself--

"Don't buy it, you fool. Look at those limp leaves! One's even wrinkled a bit. It hasn't even got a single bud."

"But it's alive! It's growing! Look, an aerial root! And Imagine how lovely it would be to see it bloom- what a delight to discover what it will look like!"

"Look, there are salt stains on the leaves. It's just going to die."

"Perhaps, but... it's only $5."

"Oh, well... alright then."

And off I went with my new little friend.

It's a phalaenopsis but that's all I know... no tag or anything, just a sticker that said orchid- 4". The spike has been cut so I don't know what the blooms will look like. One leaf is wrikled a bit. And I didn't notice until I was in the car with my prize on my lap that there are some black spots on one of the leaves... well, more like IN the leaf than on it. It I scrape my nail over it I can feel a bump but they're sunk in. Please tell me this isn't a BUG thing!

I washed all the leaves with soapy water then rinsed them and re-potted--the sphag in it's terra cotta pit was bone dry--so once in it's new pot, I watered and fertilized it at 1/2 strength. It's nestled in a nice spot in the window now.

So, here's my list of questions :)

1. Some of the roots look kind of purple in spots. What does that mean?

2. I guess the one aerial root should just stay how it is and be misted every now and then?

3. What are those black specks??

It isn't in great shape but it doesn't look horrible either. I'm excited already beacause I'd LOVE to see it spike and bloom and discover what it will look like-- even if it takes a long while. So all advice will be MUCH appreciated :)

Here's the little trooper:


A brown edge on one leaf:


One wrinkled leaf:


And the sunken black specks:


Comments (10)

  • 16 years ago

    Hi Blossom girl
    What are your conditions?

    You are very observant and that means that you speak "orchid"! The plant is probably underlight. In fact I am sure of it. Slowly acclimate it to better light. That's all I would for for now. That is the best thing for a plant that is not in perfect health. Let it get used to its new conditions for a month or so. Orchids are very slow compared to other plants. Remember if you "love orchids too much" they run the risk of perishing. "Tough love" is better for phals :-) (Don't let the mother instinct kick in, be the Dad!)

    Don't really see any black specs, or purple spots. It could have been over watered and left a mark. As log as nothing is rotten/squishy, then its fine. Discolouation is common with rescues.

    Doesn't look too bad for a rescue, I've seen a lot worse. There has been some good detailed threads about re-habbing phals and techniques, but I think you's will do fine as is. I believe Mehitabel may have started the rescue threads. She is the resident "Phal Goddess", along with Whitecat8. All great threads

    I would guess that coming from a retail environment the plant has been underlight, overwatered and has exhausted a lot of energy with the bloom cycle. If you have not read the orchid FAQ that is a great place to begin, although it probably needs an update, especially in the area of light. Howard_a has excellent back posts on light.

    The brown edge is ok, happens. Some people leave it, some people cut it w/ a sterile instrument and peroxide the area. Since the plant has just been moved, I'd leave it.

    I am not a big one for immediate repotting a new plant. Let it acclimate to the new environment 1st, go easy on the water if you unsure about the roots. Give it good light, don't overwater, read read read. Back posts are extremely helpful.

    I am not a mister. I let them work for their water. With newbie's you run the risk of over-misting and rotting the aerial. When the plant settles down and if you are planning on peeking at the roots, I would get the aerial going down into the medium. If it has had some root loss, this will help it recover. Phals grow tons of aerial roots. You'll have more.


  • 16 years ago

    Blossom girl, Little Trooper looks in pretty good shape to me. I would have bought it, too.

    1. The aerial root-- I always try to get them covered in a rescue, and also in any repot. If it really is a rescue, it needs every root working for it.

    If you soak the plant in tepid water with a 1/4 dose of fertilizer in it for half an hour so, (or just plain water) the root will become more pliable. Bend it just enough to get at least the tip covered, so it can grow into the medium. If necessary, just put a few strands of sphag over it.

    2. I can't tell what you repotted into, but sphag is excellent for rehabs. I think it has rot-inhibiting properties, and the roots that do start go on to develop.

    3. What you call a wrinkled leaf looked turgid to me, but I may have missed what you were trying to show. The "float" I described in #1 could rehydrate a leaf that is that good, especially if you include the fertilizer. Be sure to get that leaf under the water.

    4. The brown edge of leaf. Feel it. If it's hard, fuggedabout it. Or for insurance, get some cinnamon on thumb and forefinger and just rub over it, top and bottom, especially at the brown/green edge.

    If it's soft, you'll have to cut the brown piece off with a new razor blade. Spare as much of the leaf as you can, but cut into the healthy tissue near the soft brown to make sure you get it all. Dust the edge with cinnamon.

    5. The indented spots on the leaves could be incipient trouble in the form of some kind of rot trying to start. I don't think it's a pest.

    a. It's a good idea to draw a circle around them with a black marker so you can tell if they grow, or if new ones start. If they start to grow or spread they are big trouble, and you may have to cut them out. But I think some cinnamon (with the better environment you are giving it) will help stop them in their tracks.

    Cinnamon is a good contact anti-bacterial, anti-fungal. You can just gently rub some over the spot, top and bottom, and it is likely to stop whatever it is from spreading. I've used it many times on leaves for various things that didn't look too good, and it always has worked.

    I've never seen cinnamon hurt a leaf, even a tiny new one only 1/4" or less, but it stops all sorts of trouble.

    Good luck. I think you've got a great start.

  • 16 years ago

    Thanks, claritamaria and mehitabel!
    The closeups of the leaves aren't very good so I guess it's pretty hard to show what I'm seeing :) My biggest concern are the indents with the little black specks so I'm definitely going to keep an eye on those to make sure they don't spread. Great idea about marking them! In my humble opinion this plant was underwatered and underlit-- but I'm super new to orchids so what do I know? LOL Considering where it came from though it's in pretty good shape. The cashier looked at me like I was weird for buying what looks like some leaves and a stick LOL.
    I wish I had taken a picture of the purple roots when I removed the old medium... I'm not worried about root rot, they were firm, just a strange colour.
    The brown edge is hard, not soft so I might just leave it for now. I just went to look for cinnamon and realized all I have is cinammon sugar! I'll have to pick up some regular cinnamon tomorrow.

    Since I was eager and already repotted (in sphag) would it cause too much stress to do that float and get the aerial root under the medium?

  • 16 years ago

    Blossom, if you have a light hand and aren't damaging anything, sphag is really easy to depot and re-pot. Or at least I find it that way-- I use a very loose "wrap", so if it were me, I would give it the float.

    I'm a pretty good observer, and I've never seen much set-back from that. If anything, they get a boost from the float and visibly perk up-- especially if they're stressed. I think they take in just a bit of the fert thru the bottom of the leaves as well.

    BUT be sure to dry the leaves and crown off well afterwards, especially with the little pits.

    You'd be amazed at the perking up after a float.

    About the purple on your roots, it may be nothing. I agree with clarita here-- good light is really important to bringing back a plant's vigor. If the roots are not squishy, quit worrying. Just give it a lot of good light and the plant will start to put out new roots and a tiny new leaf in a little while. Now that really is thrilling.

    As I said, your plant looks good. That means it has reserves-- it's not on it's last legs, and it should start to respond to a better environment.

  • 16 years ago

    Thanks again! I just did the float and put him back in his pot. He looks pretty happy :) If I sound paranoid it's because I don't know much about orchids yet as this is only my second one, but I'm reading and learning! This forum is really informative as well, I've been reading back-posts for most of the day LOL

  • 16 years ago

    Don't fuss too much. Your plant looks good.

  • 16 years ago

    The little Trooper looks good to me as well.
    Good find!

    By-the-way...I rescue a ton of orchids myself.
    Half the fun for me is actually not knowing what the bloom is until it finally does bloom!
    It's like a 'gift', a know? LOL

  • 16 years ago

    lellie, I know what you mean! Not knowing what the blooms will be like is what made me want to buy this one more than anything! LOVE surprises :)

  • 16 years ago

    Now that you have this one all settled the next step is to start making room.

    Making room for more orchids and lights and all the fun stuff you will need. Because if you have one orchid you are safe, but once you have two you will get more, and more, and more. This happened to me, but I did not prepair before hand so as I was amassing my orchids I also had to find room and get a set up going. Now I have about 30 and I don't have more only because I am in college and have to move all the time with limited funds and space.

    Because hey if you are going to make a mess repotting and watering you might as well have a few.

    And you want at least one in bloom all year long right?

    ...The addiction begins...

  • 16 years ago

    me_171, The addiction is already in full swing! Yesterday I saw some GORGEOUS orchids at the grocery store, of all places, when I went to pick up some cinnamon. I didn't buy my third but it broke my heart that I didn't! And I dragged my boyfriend back there today to show him the one I wanted(think he can take a hint? LOL)... and I really considered getting one of the less expensive ones, until I picked up its neighbour only to find the medium was crawling with fruit flies!! No way was I going to take that home, pretty as it was, and risk infesting all my plants, not to mention the rest of my apartment!
    Funny you should mention wanting at leat one in bloom all year long-- that very thought came to me first thing this morning! :)