Monday, July 16, 2012

"Bag Baby" Orchid Rescues

Better-Gro® orchids are the ones you see all the time in the big box stores. Usually they are Cattleyas, ones that grow too large and flower too fluffy for my tastes so I pass them up. Online you'll see them referred to as "bag babies," (they're seedlings and come in a mesh net bag or a plastic sleeve bag. I like the nickname, it's a cute one.) These aren't bad purchases if you can get to them before the employees drown, dehydrate, or otherwise kill them.

Every one in a while something different shows up in one of those tiny plastic bags. For example my Rhynchostylis gigantea 'Peach.'

R. gigantea 'Peach'
I bought this one 3 years ago, with 4 leaves about 1/2 the size they are pictured. It was in decent shape and has steadily grown well for me. Patience is a virtue, but it appears to be close to blooming sized now......right?

Then over the winter someone on a forum found Myrmecophila tibicinis at his local Lowe's and was kind enough to pick one up for me. It turned out to be 2 in 1 pot. The roots were shot, so they're both spending this summer growing new ones and probably won't really take off until next summer.

There was also a broken tag in the bottom of the pot that said Myrmecophila albopurpurea, so there's the possibility that one or both is actually albopurpurea. It'll be a few years before we find out.

More recently was Encyclia cordigera x self. It was on sale and looked pretty bad, but for the price I figured I'd take it home and try it.

It was dry as a bone when I unpotted it about 3 weeks ago. All the roots were dead. Only one thing to do at this point, pot it up into sphagnum moss, add a little rooting hormone, and hope for the best.

So far so good on this project. Below are two little starts I noticed. One has the beginning of roots on it.

Yay, not dying!
Looks like a new start had previously rotted out, but there's still life in it and it's growing.

I'm a sucker for cheap rescue project plants. If it's something I like and wanted to get anyway, I'll take a chance, even if it looks as bad as the Encyclia does.


  1. I like to find discounted plants too :-), although some can be in really bad states (with pests and diseases, so keep an eye out for that so you don't spread it to you healthy plants at home), but it's worth the shot. Looking forward to seeing these orchids bloom, great job with the Encyclia cordigera x; it should reward you nicely.

    1. No worries, anything new is quarantined for a few weeks no matter where it came from. It'll be a few years before I see the Encyclia bloom, but orchids are great for learning patience!