Paphiopedilum Orchid House plant wilted and sad

Asked July 24, 2016, 1:31 AM EDT

Hello! I have owned a little Paphiopedilum orchid, not entirely sure of the species, for a few years. It's bloomed twice, which I'm very proud of, as I'm a student and I move quite often, causing constant stress for my little guy. There were a few leaves that died off, and a few very small new growths, but after some intense heat and being left out of the sun (and possibly overwatered) at a friend's house while I was away, it's become very wilted and drooped. I checked the roots - it hasn't been repotted since last year - and they were somewhat rotted. I left for a short trip without time to trim them, and returned to find they had dried and the plant was in the same condition, no worse than before. Drooped, wilted leaves, but green. I can't tell if they're soaking up sun, if the chlorophyll is healthy or not. Do you think I should repot the little guy? Or simply leave him in the same shade/slight sun spot for as long as I can to let him get back to good health? I'm conflicted about the stress I'm putting it through. Attached is an image, though a bit blurry. I can send more in the daylight if needed. If he needs repotting, I'll get some mix. Fertilizer? I just watered about 4-5 days ago, and will wait a good amount more to ensure I won't overwater. Does this also sound like a good plan? I majored in horticulture at UMN, but I constantly find myself over-thinking my plants problems and trying to solve every potential problem at once. Does this happen later in life, too? (A question for thought). Thanks so much for your time! Lila Westreich

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Hey Lila,
Do you have any good roots--you mentioned some were rotted. If you have not trimmed those rotted roots off yet--do so now. Transplant into an orchid planter (air holes) and with an Orchid potting mix. If you have green on your plant then it still has chlorophyll and should photosensitize still. Make sure it has bright light and no direct light. Lightly spray the leaf with a foliar fertilizer--it is the only way it will take in food (through the leaves) under this much stress. When using a foliar fertilizer the leaf will take in what it can within a couple of hours and then it is done. Much less work than going through the roots.
I hope you are in time to save your plant--they are tougher than they look. A