Not for the first time this year, I’ve had to open my ‘orchid hospital’ to help fix an unhealthy orchid.
About a week or so ago, I purchased a Cattleya orchid from an orchid show along with a new Miltoniopsis orchid. Both are fairly young plants so I don’t expect either of them to bloom any time soon. I did notice that there appears to be some indicators that the Cattleya orchid may need some T.L.C. but this is fine with me. Whilst it was still in its original pot, I did spray the tops of the roots with hydrogen peroxide 3% to help remove any moulds, algae etc that may be lurking in the pot. Hydrogen peroxide reacts to moulds and fungus if they are present – there was a lot of fizzing so I’m guessing there was a lot of things in this pot that shouldn’t really be there.
I usually repot any orchid I purchase from a store / nursery etc, just because I don’t know how long it has been in its pot with the media. With this Cattleya, I noticed it wasn’t particularly stable in the pot, which could mean the roots are affected in some way. So after a little research about repotting Cattleya orchids, I made a start.
I started as usual by disinfecting my scissors with rubbing alcohol to prevent any diseases spreading. With gloves on, I started unpotting my tiny Cattleya…slightly anticlimactic as I could practically just pick it off the top of the bark chips. In order to tell what roots were alive and which were dead, I placed the orchid in a small bowl of water and waited for them to turn green. To my surprise (and relief) some did. However, there were quite a few dead and mushy roots to cut away from the base of the orchid as well as some old growth.
From the photograph above, you can see the actual thickness of the roots when the velamen is removed. If a root is dead, the velamen will detach when gently pulled on. Quite a few dead roots here…
Once I had cleaned up the roots, they were sprayed again with hydrogen peroxide 3% to be on the safe side. I then re-potted this orchid into a new pot with fresh media and ventilation holes, and tethered it to a stake to help it stabilise. Now my Cattleya looks much happier and tidier. I will have to provide the same sort of care I gave Nelly, but I’m pretty confident this orchid will bounce back and do really well.
You can see from the photograph above there are some black spots on the underside of the leaves. I’m not 100% sure what these are at this point, but I will find out more.
I’ll keep you posted on any developments 🙂