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johnofblackthumb

Orchid rescue........

johnofblackthumb
14 years ago

Hi,

For several weeks now I have spotted a neighbours orchid which has been abandonned in our communal courtyard. It isn't flowering, but has 2 spikes and healthy looking leaves. As the temperature outside is gradually getting colder and colder I decided to take the law into my own hands and kidnap this orchid.........with hopes of rescuing it from cold damage. Thing is, I'm now not so sure what to do with it...........It seems very healthy in fact despite being subjected to temperatures as low as 6°c thee last couple of weeks- the leaves are a healthy bright green and the roots seem to be ok too - not mushy or anything..........in fact, I think I've even noticed a new spike starting to grow. (It's a phaelonipsis by the way - I think).

Trouble is, I fear I may have made a mistake by bringing it back indoors - what if my neighbour knows exactly what he or she is doing.............is it normal that an orchid be outdoors in temperatures this low, have I done the right thing...........???????

Comments (22)

  • aachenelf z5 Mpls
    14 years ago

    If it is a phal that is getting a tad bit cold, but it is possible they were leaving it outside to initiate a spike which it seems to be doing. Interesting dilemma for you. It may not be an abandoned plant at all. Now what do you do?

    Oh yes, the plant really should be inside now.

    Kevin

  • blossom_girl
    14 years ago

    That's quite a dilemna-- how to know if they left it outside to spike or just abandoned it, or just didn't know they should bring it in? Unless you ask them... Do you know them well enough to do that? I mean, without be screamed at for taking it if they hadn't actually abandoned it, haha

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  • texasopt
    14 years ago

    Man, hope you never move by me. I'll be leaving my Oncs out till the temp dips below 40F. They love it out there.

    Maybe you should buy your neighbor another phal and say you felt bad because you saw someone take off with theirs! Then if they say "o I don't care, I was just waiting for it to die" or something like that you could just keep the other phal too! I think thats a great idea!!!

    Let us know how it goes :)

  • claritamaria
    14 years ago

    Kevin that's a really good point. Could be something going dormant . No water outside, fits the descrition
    .
    Johnoftheblackthumb, why don't you just ask? No one can fault you for caring and making an honest mistake. I'd have your head if it was one of mine needing low temps, but then again, I'd leave a note on the pot in a comm. garden situ.

    I am laughing at the above post. Keep away from Chicago too with that black thumb! (We are teasing but it may be the reality)

    Clara
    Locking up the 'chids

  • littlem_2007
    14 years ago

    hello, Johnblackthumb, a thought just crossed my mind.. if your neighbour reads this thread ... he will know that it was out of caring.

    sue

  • johnofblackthumb
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Hi People,

    Thanks for all your responses. At this moment I'm still indecisive about what to do..........and very guiltily eyeing my new kidnapee.........
    Thing is, I never knew an orchid could be left out in temperatures this low......today its 9°C, but in the evening I imagine it drops a fair bit............
    For those who feel my actions were dishonest, I had dreams of bringing the orchid in, letting her flourish, and then, when the weather warms up next spring, letting her back outside again - kind of like a green thumb version of the tooth fairy style..........
    My only concern now is, whether I should just forget all that and dump the orchid back where I left it................I'll do this based on responses I receive. So, hands up those in favour of releasing the captive?????

    Ps, I would ask the neighbour (honestly), but the apartment block is pretty big and short of knocking on all the doors, there's just no way of knowing....
    Ps, forgot to mention, am in Paris..........just to give you guys an idea of temperature.....

    Thanks!

    John

  • claritamaria
    14 years ago

    John
    Do you know what type of orchid it is? Paris is a nice place to grow. Lots of orchid hobbiests too! Can you leave a note in the community area? If no one responds, consider her an orphan and raise her as your own.

    Clara

  • jane__ny
    14 years ago

    The problem I see is the assumption that your growing conditions are going to keep the Phal moving ahead and flowering. What are your conditions and knowledge? I personally would probably bring it in and out. (Clara)
    If the days are warm that is fine. Bring it in at night. Put it back out in the morning.

    If it is that cold at night, steadily, the plant won't make it. Phals can take cool nights, but not steady cold ones.

    If your growing conditions favor blooming the Phal, then keep it. Otherwise, take it in and out.

    Jane

  • cbarry
    14 years ago

    If you are really worried about what your neighbor might be thinking, you could also leave a note where the plant was, and explain why you took it. Offer to give it back if they really want it. Maybe leave your ph # or if you don't want to do that, ask them to leave a note in return. You'll feel better, and maybe you'll each make a new friend and can go to orchid shows together!

  • aachenelf z5 Mpls
    14 years ago

    I would say if they left it in a communal courtyard at an apartment complex keep it. Why on earth would someone put a plant outside under those circumstances? Paris, NY, Mpls., Boise - you would have to assume it would be gone in a flash.

    If it is a phal, read the FAQ's about this plant and see if you can make it thrive.

    K

  • howard_a
    14 years ago

    When I lived in an apartment complex in Hoboken, NJ I made use of the communal courtyard to summer out several of my higher light 'chids and all the phals because they were such monsters. I would have been p*ssed if anyone had made off with one. A central courtyard is protected from windblast which is the main agent of destruction at temps like what Paris, Fr. is experiencing right now. I don't agree that super low temps are neccessary to induce spiking but I do agree that if one does decide to put out a phal to induce spikes the way to do it is just like we are alleging the phals owner did: put it out and leave it out. The natural progression of temps downward by day and by night is what will do the inducing not so-so household conditions all day followed by an abrupt immersion in outdoor Fall temps or not, if (when) you forget. I do think the suggestion to leave a note in the spot the phal was nabbed is a good idea. If you had a better idea of what to do with a phal in captivity I would say keep it but it would be a shame to snatch a plant that actually belonged to someone that knew what they were doing and then croak it due to your inexpertise.

    H

  • johnofblackthumb
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Ok folks,

    I can't take the guilt anymore...........I'm putting her back outside for good...............I'll just have to keep my eyes clamped shut every time I pass the thing to stop me from taking pity and re-kidnapping......
    Thanks for all your support,

    John

  • aachenelf z5 Mpls
    14 years ago

    "today its 9°C, but in the evening I imagine it drops a fair bit............"

    That's 48 F for a daytime high. I doubt the plant would have survived much longer out there. Sure doesn't sound like the original owner knew what they were doing or cared that much. I know, I know taking anything without permission of the owner is still stealing. Personally, I guess I wouldn't have taken it even if it were freezing, but at the same time I can understand why someone might want to.

  • orchid126
    14 years ago

    It sounds like you have a tender heart for living things. You should not feel guilty for kidnapping the plant, because you did not kidnap it, you rescued it from certain death. Now you want to sentence it to death again. That would make you feel even more guilty. Can you live with that? But if as suggested above you make an attempt to find the owners and explain to them that you saw the plant and knew the weather was taking a turn for the worst and brought it in to keep it warm, and the owners reply, then you'll feel better. If they don't reply, then you'll feel even more better, because you can care for the plant with a clear conscience. And just think, if it survives for you all winter, you can put it back outside in the same place next summer and see what happens.

  • johnofblackthumb
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Ok, orchid re-kidnapped (saved) and a polite note left in its place.
    Thanks again for your advice.............I'll keep you posted on how I get on with it..............

    John

    Ps, there IS some yellowing on the upper leaves, this is a sign of potential cold damage isn't it??

  • howard_a
    14 years ago

    Not really, John. Around here we tell the inexperienced (newbies) to get the "All About Orchids" published by the Ortho gardening people. I personally (and so do several others) swear by the "Taylors Guide to Orchids". It is a little pricier than the Ortho title but if there can possibly be "the only orchid book you will ever need" the Taylor's guide has my vote. You, sir, need to get up to speed on things orchid, quick, fast, and in a hurry. Bonne chance.

    H

  • johnofblackthumb
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    yes, it seems I've got my work cut out for me..............what could this yellowing mean then??

    John

  • jane__ny
    14 years ago

    Don't know. Might be some sun scorch, maybe the cold. Get it warmed up and see what happens. Had it been watered? How does the bottom-half look? Wet, mushy?

    Jane

  • johnofblackthumb
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Hi Jane,

    well, the bottom half seems ok, not et or mushy at all. It's actually planted in bark chips and the roots are all visible through the clear plastic pot. These roots are all a very pretty silver grey - green colour. I have, however, just spotted a small slug stuck on the inside of the pot..........is there a way to get rid of him, or any of his friends if there are more of them????

    Thanks,

    John

  • jane__ny
    14 years ago

    I meant the roots and the media the plant is in. If all looks good there, then you can drown the slugs. Stick the entire pot in a bucket of water to the rim of the pot. Let it soak a few hours. Should kill any slugs, ants and creepys. Just check to make sure they haven't all climbed up into the leaves.

    Let the plant dry a good long time before your next watering. Don't know what is yellowing the leaves. Slugs eat leaves, but you'd see big holes in them. Without a photo, there is no way to tell what is happening. How long are the spikes?

    Jane

  • johnofblackthumb
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Hi Jane,

    I'll try drowning the creepy crawlies tomorrow then...............as for the spikes, they're quite long, each one is roughly 30 cm. I've also noticed 2 little 'nubbins' starting to grow from 2 of the lower nodes on each spike. Could these be new flowers?

    John

    (perhaps it would be clearer if I were to send pictures......I'll pick some batteries up for my camera tomorrow and keep you posted).

  • jane__ny
    14 years ago

    Do that!

    Jane

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