Problem with Psychopsis mariposa 'Green Valley'

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Well-Known Member
Jul 20, 2011
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London, England
My beloved psychopsis has three spikes. Just a few months ago she gave me three simultaneous blooms and they were very delightful. A few months on she has again began to bud up but this time only two spikes are involved. A few months ago one leaf turned yellow then brown although it was a very slow affair. The brown leaf still remains in situ. Her spike however did not produce a bud whilst the pseudo bulbs withgreen leaves did.

Now to my horror, the two remaining spikes' leaves are turning yellow too. The pseudo bulbs are still very plump and dark green. The root system is extremely healthy. One can only assume that the remaining leaves will all turn yellow then brown and finally, drop off.


She is a pretty little thing.


Any suggestions as to what might be causing this would be greatly appreciated.
Do I see mealybugs in that first photo? That could be part of the issue.

The potting mix looks to be old. Is it?

Yes or no to either and I’d recommend unposting it and checking the roots.
Do I see mealybugs in that first photo? That could be part of the issue.

The potting mix looks to be old. Is it?

Yes or no to either and I’d recommend unposting it and checking the roots.
Hi Ray, the roots are fine - lots of new emerging ones with bright tips, the white spot is diatomaceous earth and the bark is relatively new - this year.

I am hoping that it is just sunburn. I might loose a few blooming seasons till she makes new bulbs and leaves again. Her bulbs are full and green even though the leaf has browned - it won't drop off either.

All I can say is that the leaves are yellowing / browning in the order that they appeared. The oldest was the first to go, now the second oldest, the next one looks like it will be soon joining in. This year's leaf is still bright green. Hmmm?
Best to clean and repot... Maybe cut off spikes. The plant might have ‘bloomed itself to death’ syndrome?
Wow. Bloomed to death eh? Gosh doesn't sound too good however I shall wait and see with the spikes.

Whilst the pbulbs are fat and green, I feel it best just to watch and wait. That no one knows for sure what the problem is, I don't feel as bad now. Thanks for your reply.
In my experience, psychopsis retain there leaves for a long time and can rebloom over and over for years on the same spikes, so there is certainly something that’s awry, even if we cannot identify it from afar.
Do I see mealybugs in that first photo? That could be part of the issue.

The potting mix looks to be old. Is it?

Yes or no to either and I’d recommend unposting it and checking the roots.
I agree, it looks like either mealybugs or scale (some larval and fuzzy) at the base of the brown leaf. Doesn't really look like enough to do this to much damage on the leaves, though, unless they are feasting heavily on the roots unseen. I'd follow Ray's suggestion.
I agree with the others. The plant is definitely stressed and showing this by losing leaves. Quite what is the cause is unclear! It Is quite likely to die if it carries on as it is at present.
I would cut off the flower spikes and repot and give the plant time to recuperate.
I have a psy. In the collection and had a similar issue. I found that every time I would water the plant would lose a new growth leaf. I finally worked up the courage to repot, what I’ve heard is they do not enjoy root disturbance And like to be pot bound. I potted mine in a shallow clay bulb pot. With a heavy helping of styrofoam peanuts on the bottom and a mix of small and medium orchiata or pinus radiata (kiwi bark), cut with perlite and charcoal.

Imo they need to breath a little and sulk when the media turns and they get too much water. Attached are pictures of mine. It’s in spike now, second flower about to open since repotting in February 2020. A few leaves got hit with a little mite damage In July before I could catch it.
I would recommend watering gingerly after repotting until the new roots establish.. And by that I mean only misting the sides and under the plant base Where the roots grow out..with a fine mist hand pump and hold back a true watering. That seemed to work for me. I still only water once a week at the most but can mist daily as needed.

I'm going to disagree with the apparent disdain for water.

I was never successful growing ANY psychopsis, but got a great deal on some plants to resell, so thought I'd try again. They all sold out and I decided not to worry about it. Several months later I saw a spike emerging from behind a bench.

Apparently, a plant had gotten knocked off the bench and fell into a S/H pot I had set on the floor after a repot. It got automatically watered every other day via an overhead deluge system, so rooted and grew just fine, eventually spiking and blooming in a constantly moist environment.
Goes to show plants can adapt to many conditions as long as other variables are in balance.

The bottom line is this. The plant is having issues now. Best to unpot, treat and repot. Leaving it as is with all the possible excuses and reasons won’t help one bit. That’s my experience anyways. And I’ve saved many this way.