Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pleated Leaves

I have a few orchid plants of different types sitting alongside the window in my home office.  They bloom sporadically despite receiving little attention.  I usually water them when I dust my office (i.e. haphazardly and not nearly often enough).  One plant, a gift from a friend following my mother's death last year, recently burst into bloom.  Its yellow flowers and soft, sweet scent provide a welcome greeting every morning.




The orchid's most unusual feature may not be immediately noticeable.  It's not the pretty flowers.




It's the leaves.

They're pleated

They unfurl from a cramped mass at the center of the plant 



I'd assumed the accordion-pleated leaves were a normal characteristic of the plant.   The orchid came without a label and, when I first noticed the funky leaves, I couldn't remember what the flowers looked like so I was at a loss to identify the genus.  When the flower buds finally opened, I realized that the orchid is some variety of Miltonia.  When I conducted an on-line search regarding pleated leaves on a Miltonia, I discovered a shameful fact: I've been guilty of orchid abuse.  The Miltonia's leaves aren't supposed to start out crimped.  This occurs as a result of dehydration.  Experts recommend watering twice a week, raised humidity, and regular fertilizer.

I repotted my orchid in a slightly larger pot with new orchid bark, added a pebble tray to increase humidity, and have increased my watering schedule.  This apparently won't help the pleated leaves - that damage is said to be irreversible.  But future leaves should be fine.




Hopefully, the orchid will forgive me and reward me with blooms for years to come.


All material © 2012-2014 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

14 comments:

  1. Did not know why it gets pleated leaves, thanks for that information.
    A beautiful yellow flower in the orchid.
    Best wishes for a wonderful weekend too you too.
    Mariana

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  2. That is such a useful tip Kris. I have one just like it!
    Orchids are supposed to thrive on neglect, but that clearly doesn't apply to Miltonia.

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    1. I'm glad the information is useful, Jessica. I have a Phalaenopsis that I treat far worse without repercussions but I guess every family has its prima donnas.

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  3. Fascinating info Kris. Have to say that the pleated leaves made the plant a thing of curiosity but being a product of neglect its best to rectify what actually caused it. Hopefully it'll ne sorted from now on :)

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    1. I'd deluded myself into thinking the pleated leaves were some kind of interesting plant feature!

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  4. Oops! At least you didn't kill it, which is what I usually do to orchids.

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    1. I wonder how long it will take to replace the pleated leaves with normal ones?

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  5. Indeed, abused or not at least it's still alive, and blooming, that's more than can be said for any orchid I've grown.

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    1. It's alive, blooming, and fragrant - I guess I can ignore those pleated leaves, although I would have preferred to think they were a special feature of the plant.

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  6. How interesting about the pleated leaves. I have the same thing on some of my iris that are planted in a particularly dry location. The flowers on your orchid are gorgeous and fragrance is a bonus. I have several orchids but they have stout leaves which would be hard to crimp. Like yours they suffer from weeks of abuse when we are traveling but still seem to survive. One of my jobs today will be to go to the woodpile and find some bar to repot. You have spurred me on.

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    1. It never occurred to me that leaves would pleat like that in response to dehydration. In looking into it, I discovered that the wrinkling of pseudobulbs also suggsts dehydration. I think I have some of those too...

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  7. Amei conhecer o seu blog, já fiquei por aqui!!!Achei maravilhoso!!!Visite-me:http://algodaotaodoce.blogspot.com.br/
    Siga-me e pegue o meu selinho!!!

    Obrigada.

    Amei conhecer o seu blog, já fiquei por aqui!!!Achei maravilhoso!!!Visite-me:http://algodaotaodoce.blogspot.com.br/
    Siga-me e pegue o meu selinho!!!

    Obrigada.

    Beijos Marie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting, Marie, and for taking the time to leave a comment!

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  8. I have a Cymbidium with pleated leaves, I didn' t realise that this was as the result of neglect. Oh dear. Your Miltonia is beautiful and fragrant too, how lovely. I have never had much luck keeping them going, unlike Phalaenopsis which seem to bloom practically non- stop.

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