Orchid Post Mortem: Polystachya

Orchid pros sometimes say that you’re not an orchid expert until you’ve killed your weight in orchids. Since I started growing them 20 years ago, I believe I’ve passed that benchmark, and here’s another for the scales. This African orchid, a Polystachya, looked fine in these 2006 photos. I bought this unusual specimen years ago at an orchid show, and even though it bloomed for me several times, it recently bit the dust.

Polystachya flowersPolystachya flowerPolystachya flowers and leaves

It’s frustrating enough to kill an orchid, but it’s more frustrating when I can’t figure out what went wrong. Mine started going downhill a couple years ago, when its annual cycle of new leaves pooped out. The old leaves and pseudobulbs stayed green until recently, but then gave out without producing any healthy new growth. Photos show the interesting yellow flowers which face downward.

Polystachya flowersPolystachya flowersPolystachya flowers and buds

Since I’d been able to provide adequate conditions for blooming in the past, I’m left to wonder what changed. It’s possible that it acquired a plant virus during a pest invasion, and declined over time. It may have been that our foggy summers, which have been extra cool for the past couple years, didn’t offer it enough warmth to continue. In its native range from South Africa to Tanzania, it’s undoubtedly used to warm conditions. Maybe some unidentified problem popped up, and some future orchid trivia will jar loose an explanation. Its cause of death may elude me, but at least its photos live on.

Polystachya flowerPolystachya buds and leavesPolystachya flowers

An orchid expert once told me that if I’m not killing

anything, I’m not learning anything. It’s frustrating enough

to kill an orchid, but it can be frustrating when I can’t

figure out what went wrong.

Explore posts in the same categories: Mini Orchids, Photos, Problems, Warm Growers

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5 Comments on “Orchid Post Mortem: Polystachya”

  1. Sarah Says:

    That’s too bad, sorry about your loss. Beautiful photos, though!

  2. Maria Clayton Says:

    Couldnt agree more with that, very attractive article

  3. minebybum Says:

    I enjoyed to c that thinks. Great informative and helpful article.

  4. Eric Lime Rickey Says:

    Hi, First of all I care for the quality of your photos and your post. That was interesting to read article. And Im lookin’ forward to see your next thanks.

  5. nancy Says:

    thanks for the wunderful pictures!