So I know where I probably screwed up in caring for this orchid that recently bit the dust. I was hoping for a good explanation of why it died the way it did. As it was fading out, each leaf would start to turn mushy near the core of the plant and eventually fall off. Then the skin on the stalk that held the flowers would get mushy as well and, of course, the flowers would droop and fall off.
At first I thought I was over watering. I started out watering it once a week and then I realized the soil was extremely wet the next time I went to water it. So then I went a couple weeks without watering and tried aerating the soil to get it to dry out a little. Then someone told me I was supposed to be fertilizing once a month and I did that using used coffee grounds. No improvement. Eventually the plant shed all its leaves and I wasn't sure what went wrong until I found a post on another topic that Garrett Juice isn't supposed to be used with orchids. I had applied GJ at least twice to it, which I suppose hurt it and eventually killed it, along with overwatering and not fertilizing enough.
The main question I have is, what does the mushy leaves indicate for this type of plant? Over/under-watering? Lack of specific nutrients in the soil? Too much/not enough sunlight?
What is the medium in which it's planted? It should not be planted in regular potting soil or in a pot that has no drain hole. The proper orchid medium is a loose mis of soil and mulch..really hardly any true soil at all. You should be able to sit the pot in the sink and water the medium once a week and ensure that the it has completely drained. An orchid should never have wet feet.
This orchid was actually a gift and "looked" organic, so I didn't mess with repotting or anything. The soil seemed to be a mix of mulch and soil, and had plenty of drain holes, but it definately held the water way too long. Next time I'll pay more attention to the soil type. Thanks for the suggestions!
I assume, then, that the mushy leaves can be attributed to too much water in the soil. Does this sound right to anyone?
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