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Leaf drop on Masdevallia rechingeriana?

Discussion in 'Issues, Disease and Pests' started by Brassavola Stars, Oct 20, 2021.

  1. Brassavola Stars

    Brassavola Stars New Member

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    Location:
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    Hello all,

    I have an orchid that I believe to be Masdevallia rechingeriana. I cannot be sure that is exactly it, but, if it isn't it, is one that is very similar.
    It is dropping its leaves. How do I stop this and why is it doing it?

    I checked the roots (which are in moss) and most are intact and not mushy and there are plenty of them. It never really got particularly hot (never above 75f). The room I kept it is was extremely dark and that is where the problem started. Since then, I brought it outside now that the weather is cooler (New York around 70f in the day time and around 55f at night) and the problem only accelerated. It has lost about 6 or 7 of 30-ish leaves in a short amount of time

    The leaves are not yellow or mushy at the bottom. They just fall off completely green. Both newer and older leaves have fallen off. This is not the first time this has happened to me with one of these and I want to stop it from happening again. Could it be my water is not good enough? It is tap water but my understanding is that NY tap water is pretty clean. I never let it dry out either. Maybe it stayed too wet? I am drying it out with a fan now. After it is dry, should I try watering it again with distilled water?
     
  2. nodrog6

    nodrog6 New Member

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    I've found that even if I the new environment was better suited for the plant, lots of masdevallias and pleurothallids can be fussy when changing their growing environment (or after shipping). I do my best to optimize the new growing conditions and keep my fingers crossed that it makes it.

    Definitely measure your water quality and ambient humidity. I think distilled water is a good idea until you do measure your water quality. Masdevallias don't want to dry out for very long, so watch out with the fan. If it's been in sphagnum for over a year, it's time to repot as sphagnum sours quickly. Hopefully getting it out of the dark room will do it some good.

    This is a nice guide on growing masdevallias:
    Culture of Masdevallia & Dracula

    Good luck and I hope it makes it!
     
  3. Gabriel Urbina

    Gabriel Urbina Member

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    I agree with nodrog6, masdevallias seem to be quite fussy when they're moved around. Even if they are moved from a less than ideal environment to an ideal environment they drop leaves, and usually dramatically.
     
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  4. Brassavola Stars

    Brassavola Stars New Member

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    Unfortunately it just dropped a dozen more leaves. It has very few left. I think the fan was probably a mistake. I have it outside again and I have been watering it with distilled water. I don’t think it was in the moss for too long as it wasn’t really broken down or anything. Since I’m in the NYC area near the LI sound and the Hudson, the humidity is always decently high between 55% and 85%. It’s very disappointing to me that this happened. It isn’t the first time either.

    I wonder if it can recover even if it loses all the leaves?

    I have to say, these are easily some of the most frustrating plants.
     
  5. nodrog6

    nodrog6 New Member

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    I’m sorry, it really sucks to lose plants like this. I have had plants drop all but the last two or three leaves, then grow back. That was my fault for not repotting them sooner and nearly all the roots had died in the old media. Sometimes they keiki before they die and you can repot or mount the keiki.
     
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  6. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, it is possible to recover from complete leaf drop, but no guarantees. Keep it a bit drier but not bone dry. It can be a slow process. Have you checked the pH of your water? You say NY has good water, but water agency can use additives that can kill many orchids. Also, they can change the source of the water that may affect the water qualiity and don't necessarily have to say. You should be able to find the water quality analysis from you local water board on line.

    A picture of the plant might help with diagnostics. Are you fertilizing it and if so what are you using at what concentration?
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2021
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  7. Brassavola Stars

    Brassavola Stars New Member

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    I have not fertilized it yet. I have started watering with distilled water also. I will try to get a picture of it tomorrow when it is light out if the plant is still with us by then. The ph of my water is allegedly between 6.85-7.7 so it seems to be biased to be slightly alkaline. It is pretty clean except for chloroform, chromium, and a few other disinfection byproducts.
     
  8. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Were you fertilizing before it dropped its leaves?
     
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  9. Brassavola Stars

    Brassavola Stars New Member

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    Hello all,

    Thank you all for your replies.

    I did not fertilize it at all. I only recently got it from the store. I had it maybe 20 days at the most before this started happening. I think maybe it was the shock of going from the vendors greenhouse to the dark room?

    I did not want to bring it to my greenhouse immediately to quarantine it. Also, my greenhouse tends to get very hot (90f+ which is also much hotter than the greenhouse it came from) so I thought I should wait until it was cooler to introduce it into the greenhouse. Maybe that was a mistake as my greenhouse is still going to be more similar to the vendor's environment than a dark room in my house.