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Plant Questions


lantern567

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Maybe I should have put this into contests, except that I don't know the answers. :)

What is a hanging plant that does not need a lot of water, that I can have outside during the summer? It would get sun about 4 hours a day at midday, and our summer temperatures are usually 70-85 degrees. I worry that I wouldn't water it every day, so I'd rather use something that's not too sensitive.

I have a other question, too, about orchids. I just got some orchids this spring, and I am thinking of putting them outside for the summer. Would they like being over by the pond waterfall where it's misty, maybe in coconut hull pots? One looks so sad in its orchid pot, with tentacles coming out trying to find moisture. I keep it by the kitchen sink and keep dabbing them, but there has to be a better way. (Like I said, I'm new to this. :blink: )

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"tentacles" creeping out of an orchid's pot (which I will assume are its roots, lol) is a sign of a healthy plant, as orchids are adapted to put out its root systems as far as they go to get a firm hold in their treetop habitats. Overwatering which leads to the dying and rotting back of the roots is one of the surest ways to kill an otherwise hardy plant. The rule of thumb with orchids isgenerally just to keep their potting medium slightly moist but not damp, so as to enable air circulation to be in contact with the roots. They could go next to a waterfall but they'll more likely to thrive if you took them out of their pots or just actually remove all traces of the potting medium from the pots. That way, the potting medium would not get too soggy from the spray and humidity. The plants will still get the necessary air to its roots and they usually collect moisture more from their leaves than their roots anyway.

As for a suggestion for a hanging plant to suit your requirements, um... try a Christmas cactus?

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Interesting idea, Christmas Cactus. That might do nicely.

On the orchid - good information on the rotting of roots, and I had no idea about them getting moisture through the leaves. I need to think about this one. If I took it out of the pot, I'd have to try to stuff it back in for the winter indoors. But I don't really like the pot anyway, so I'm trying to figure out something that looks more natural. Ideas are now percolating...

Thanks!

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you could try tying your orchids to pieces of aquarium driftwood. :)

That way, they'll be easily portable and the driftwood would add a "natural" looking touch to your waterfall. The orchid roots will also eventually attach themselves to it. You just have to remember wrapping the base of the plants with sphagnum moss before tying it to the driftwood so as to prevent the plant from drying out too much before it becomes established.

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I have always loved orchids, but I can not for the life of me get them to grow. I usually have them about two weeks and the leaves turn yellow, shrivel up, and die. Either that or the buds will not open up, they will just fall of the stems. I water them once a week with a very weak fertilizer made just for orchids, what could I have been doing wrong? I would love to try again, but I just don't want to pay the money to watch myself kill another beautiful orchid...

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^what sort of potting medium was used for the plants you bought? Might be that it holds too much moisture or that you have mistakenly placed them on a spot where they're not getting good air circulation which led to the stagnation and souring of their potting medium. The symptoms you mentioned are classical signs of wet rot.

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How about a string of beads? It's a succulent, thus, doesn't need a lot of water. It can also handle lots of sun, but also light shade.

stringofbead.jpg

Or a donkey tail? Also a succulent with the same qualities. I have two donkey tails on my patio in full light shade and they're growing like crazy.

donkeytail-1.jpg

Orchids are a different story. Orchids are the goldfish of the plant world. People seem to think they're easy. They're not. They are a very difficult plant to grow, at least to get to flower again and they have a lot of very specific requirements as far as light, fertilizer, planting medium, heat and moisture. Having said that, you can put your orchids out by the pond IF they will never have direct sun on them. Their leaves will burn in less than an hour if they get any direct sun. That said, orchids need massive quantities of light, so outside would be great as long as, like I said, none of the light is direct sun. With regard to the "tentacles" coming out over the pot. Those are, as before mentioned, the roots. Orchids do best in a root-bound environment. So, I wouldn't suggest a bigger pot. A coconut hull pot really isn't the answer, although it would be fine as long as it's the same size pot that you have now. But, I would suggest changing out the planting medium to a coconut coir, which is shaved coconut shells. That is a great medium for orchids. If you can't find coir, choose a potting soil made especially for orchids. "Dabbing" the roots isn't necessary. Keeping the entire plant properly watered and moisturized is what's important. I question whether the pond alone will provide enough moisture. If possible, I would suggest misting them with hose on the mist setting a couple of times a day or set up a drip system that could do the same. Orchid blooms are long lasting; about a month, but I doubt that you will get them to bloom again. Getting orchids to re-bloom takes a lot of knowledge about the plant as well as the proper heat, moisture, light and fertilizer.

Edited by lynda441
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you could try tying your orchids to pieces of aquarium driftwood. :)

That way, they'll be easily portable and the driftwood would add a "natural" looking touch to your waterfall. The orchid roots will also eventually attach themselves to it. You just have to remember wrapping the base of the plants with sphagnum moss before tying it to the driftwood so as to prevent the plant from drying out too much before it becomes established.

There are three basic types of orchid: epiphytic, terrestrial, and saprophytic, however, the orchids most of us ever see are the epiphytic and terrestrial. The epiphytic orchids are attached to and suspended from tree trunks, branches, and the faces of rocks. The epiphytic orchid has its roots exposed to the air so that it can receive moisture and nutrients.

The terrestrial orchid is anchored to the ground using underground roots. The plant uses the roots to get the nutrients it needs. Terrestrial orchids grow in humus or leaf litter that has accumulated on the forest floor and potted orchids should have the same or similar medium.

So, you need to know which type of orchid you have as to whether you can anchor it to a piece of wood or whether it should be potted.

Edited by lynda441
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you could try tying your orchids to pieces of aquarium driftwood. :)

That way, they'll be easily portable and the driftwood would add a "natural" looking touch to your waterfall. The orchid roots will also eventually attach themselves to it. You just have to remember wrapping the base of the plants with sphagnum moss before tying it to the driftwood so as to prevent the plant from drying out too much before it becomes established.

There are three basic types of orchid: epiphytic, terrestrial, and saprophytic, however, the orchids most of us ever see are the epiphytic and terrestrial. The epiphytic orchids are attached to and suspended from tree trunks, branches, and the faces of rocks. The epiphytic orchid has its roots exposed to the air so that it can receive moisture and nutrients.

The terrestrial orchid is anchored to the ground using underground roots. The plant uses the roots to get the nutrients it needs. Terrestrial orchids grow in humus or leaf litter that has accumulated on the forest floor and potted orchids should have the same or similar medium.

So, you need to know which type of orchid you have as to whether you can anchor it to a piece of wood.

Well, that's kind of the reason why I recommended attaching the orchid to driftwood... if its roots are creeping extensively out of the pot, it's definitely NOT terrestrial.

On a side note, Dendrobium cultivars of the D. phalaenopsis group are so easy to bring to bloom again and again, even if I'm practically neglecting them or letting them suffer excessive dampness from all of the rain we've been having... If you are a person who seems to have a particular talent for killing orchids, I'd suggest you start with them. :)

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I have a other question, too, about orchids. I just got some orchids this spring, and I am thinking of putting them outside for the summer. Would they like being over by the pond waterfall where it's misty, maybe in coconut hull pots? One looks so sad in its orchid pot, with tentacles coming out trying to find moisture. I keep it by the kitchen sink and keep dabbing them, but there has to be a better way. (Like I said, I'm new to this. :blink: )

Most of the common orchid varieties (e.g. Phalaenopsis) don't fare well in full sunshine :( , they feel best in indirect sunlight (semi-shade) and in temperatures which could be best described as 'low room temperature' (say 15-22 ?C, 59-71?F). The air roots (what you call tentacles) are in most species used to get moisture from the air. Putting them in water would be really bad :wacko: , and they usually grow away from the sunlight, preferring to grow on the shadow-side of the orchid. If there is enough moisture in the air, the air roots will be able to provide a lot of the water that the orchid needs, needing only a little bit of water every week or so :) (but do mind that there are species differences for this; it's the general pattern I'm describing). If the air is not very moist (which usually results in the orchid not investing a lot of energy in air roots), placing the pot in water, and letting it absorb the water for a minute or so, would be enough for it to get the moisture it requires (done maybe once every 2 weeks or something).

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Dendrobium cultivars of the D. phalaenopsis group are so easy to bring to bloom again and again.

Only when you give them their nececeties in light and moist. I have to admit that those easy ones as they accept a bigger range off conditions I do know several people who are amazing, they even have to look at a plant and it witters.

Erinaceus Good thing that you didn't inherit 'the plant killing' gene from your mom :rofl

btw: welcome to the chatterbox

Edited by Quasi
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Oooh, plants!! As far as a good recommendation, see my "Patio Guest" post about the swedish ivy. As long as doves don't take up residence in it, they seem to be a very nice and hardy plant. Mine is still good, despite low watering, except it's a little flat on the top now.

Another of my favorites is called a Wandering Jew: http://www.denverplants.com/foliage/html/jewzeb.htm I have a huge one that was out on my patio. In the shade they have the nice striped leaves, but my plant that received more sunlight turned a nice deep purple. It is easy to propagate and has pretty hanging runners.

I also have kept ivy (Hedera helix) in hanging pots and it is pretty low maintenance. Spider plants and various types of ferns do well, too. I currently have a large deer fern that I love, though it requires a lot of shade.

I have always wanted to try orchids but the last thing I need now is another hobby. Please post pics if you have them. I love seeing all the different types out there.

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Another of my favorites is called a Wandering Jew: http://www.denverplants.com/foliage/html/jewzeb.htm I have a huge one that was out on my patio. In the shade they have the nice striped leaves, but my plant that received more sunlight turned a nice deep purple. It is easy to propagate and has pretty hanging runners.

I have a small one in the house, as they are really pretty. I love the green-purple-silver combination. The only thing they don't like is too much water :rolleyes:

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^what sort of potting medium was used for the plants you bought? Might be that it holds too much moisture or that you have mistakenly placed them on a spot where they're not getting good air circulation which led to the stagnation and souring of their potting medium. The symptoms you mentioned are classical signs of wet rot.

The orchids that I had came in a medium that looked like sphagnum moss. I got them at Lowe's, they rarely have orchids but when they get them in OMG they are beautiful!!!

I kept the orchids on my desk, they are able to get bright light from the three windows in the room but no direct sunlight. There is a ceiling fan on 24/7, so air is always circulating. And, since my three fish tanks are in the same room as my computer I assume the humidity is good...

Dendrobium cultivars of the D. phalaenopsis group are so easy to bring to bloom again and again, even if I'm practically neglecting them or letting them suffer excessive dampness from all of the rain we've been having... If you are a person who seems to have a particular talent for killing orchids, I'd suggest you start with them. :)

LOL, I bet I could still make one curl in a week. T.T

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Thanks for all the ideas on the hanging plants. I'm sure I'll find something perfect for that spot. And I'll probably come home with a others for other spots as yet undetermined. I love the string of beads - such a strange plant. Wandering Jew might look particularly good with the other plants in that area.

On the orchids - jsrtist said it well - last thing I need is another hobby. :krazy: (Anybody ever read the books or see the TV series "Nero Wolfe"? Husband worries about ten thousand orchids taking over the house.) So far, I've managed to neglect them enough so that they haven't been overwatered, and they are in orchid medium - some kind of bark. I actually have two - one with tentacles, "Phal. Taisuco Noble x Phal. Amabilis," and one with a fat stem that looks like it might retain water, "Pink Doll x Pot. Odoms Sweetheart Red." (I had kept the labels stuck in them because I would never remember such names.)

I really love the idea of attaching the tentacled one to driftwood. I'd have to be really careful in the wintertime, though, when it comes inside - we have such dry heat. Any thoughts on putting it in a plastic bag so it doesn't dry out? The other, fat-stemmed one seems to like to remain in its pot, feet inside. I am thinking since I just have it in the bark medium, that might be wrong. Maybe it needs something more leaf-litter like. Would sphagnum moss work here? I should say that it seems to be doing ok, and it's started poking out a new little stem, so should just leave it alone?

We've been getting rain most every afternoon, so I've actually been worried about putting them outside. I do have a spot that's not sunny, but bright. Also, do they need a lot of fertilizer? I've never been diligent about feeding them. I'd really like to give them better care than I have been.

Thanks everyone!!! :flowerss

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