Thread: Stress
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Old 20-02-2003, 09:42 PM
Ted Byers
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Default Stress

I am soooooo stressed!

First, some of my catts are suffering from the dry arctic air we had
over the past few weeks (or maybe it is just the air inside that is
dry because the furnace had to work overtime to deal with the bitter
cold). I can hardly wait until I get my growth chambers built! Then
I can keep my plants in a fairly humid environment without too much
difficulty. As it is, even with the humidifier going full, the
relative humidity has hovered between 30% and 40%. One catt is almost
certainly as good as dead, and a couple more have either lost a couple
leaves, or the tips of the youngest leaves have turned black. The
only consolation is that one of these still has new, apparently
healthy sheaths, and some of the others are producing either new
pseudobulbs or a new sheath on the newest pseudobulb or there is clear
evidence of a healthy inflorescence developing inside the oldest of
three sheaths. Not all catts are equally robust and resilient it

Second, one of my new epidendrums blasted all of its flowers within
days of entering my home. I just repotted it, and found that the
potting material had two layers. The top layer was 100% moss, which
stayed soaking wet for days. The bottom layer was mud. I learned,
from Cal Orchid, that though the plants originally came from them,
they were sold a while ago to another grower who sold them to Home
Depot. It seems that this other grower did not replace the original
potting medium, and instead, when shipping them to Home Depot, just
put a layer of moss on top of what was already there. And that must
have been relatively recently since there were green weeds in the
bottom layer. I doubt there are very many plants that will remain
green for any length of time when covered by several centimetres of
moss. I became suspicious when I saw that on every web page where
epidendrum culture was described, it said that they like a well
drained medium and some said that they should dry completely before
being watered. That doesn't fit with being potted in mud or moss.

It is a good thing I did my emergency repotting or I would probably
have lost these plants too! I could see use of some moss as a
temporary measure, to prevent dessication during shipping, I suppose,
but surely either the recipient institution would remove it on arrival
or advise their clients to do so. I would expect that a lot of these
would die quickly if such a thick layer of moss was left in place by
the consumer. That could only hurt the industry because it would
create an impression that orchids are generally hard to grow (not to
mention a similar impression created by the large number of sickly
orchids that Home Depot has on display - and they're sick because the
Home Depot staff are generally clueless on the care of the plants they
sell - I've met very few who actually know anything about plants even
though some claim to be professionally trained horticulturalists and
boast about their diploma -hmmmmmm I wasn't aware that a dimploma
counted as a professional degree :-)).

Oh well, it is good to know about local suppliers since their
incompetence can produce opportunities to get nice plants at a bargain
basement price (even if they aren't propely labelled, they serve their
purpose if they're pretty and can be made healthy)!