garden window

Plants really do talk – but do we listen?

My orchids are doing very well in the garden window.  It has taken me a long time to find plants that appreciate an eastern exposure, and orchids do!

A few weeks ago, I noticed my “brown-spotted yellow” orchid starting new leaves.  I have no idea what this one is called.  I picked up a few toss off orchids at the Phipps Conservatory annual spring flower sale a couple of years back.  It did bloom once, but hasn’t been one of my more prolific bloomers.  Unfortunately, I never did take any photos of it in bloom.  It looked something like this, if memory serves me right.

Orchid Dendrobium Minnie
photo credit – clown alley orchids

The new leaves were kind of crinkly, shaped more like an accordion.  I don’t remember seeing new leaves like this before, but I thought perhaps this was the way new leaves developed.  I took the “wait and see” approach.

Yesterday, as I realized the leaves were still crinkly, I started thinking that perhaps this plant is trying to tell me something.


I quickly Googled “crinkly orchid leaves” and discovered that this is really not the normal way this orchid presents new growth.  I read that crinkly leaves could be a sign that the roots are not taking up enough water.  Only one way to determine if the roots are unhappy.

Upend the pot and take a look!


An inspection of the roots revealed that while most of the roots were in fair condition – most were white and plump – the medium was completely saturated and clumpy on the bottom of the pot.  The medium breaks down over time, and these little roots aren’t making spaces through the medium so that the water could drain out properly.

So rather than not enough water, my orchid was sitting in a swamp.  The roots could not breathe!

In order to allow proper drainage, I added a few pebbles to the bottom of the pot before I refreshed the medium, and replanted.

Hopefully, this plant will re-establish itself and bloom once again.  I’ll be sure to capture the blooms then!




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