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Paph in bud has limp leaves

This is a discussion on Paph in bud has limp leaves within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have a vin-colored paph that had a limp leaf....I put it into s/h over ...

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  1. #1
    Cinderella is offline Senior Member
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    Default Paph in bud has limp leaves

    I have a vin-colored paph that had a limp leaf....I put it into s/h over the summer and it seemed to perk up after a few weeks. This Fall, I was surprised to see a bud because it had not grown 3 new fans like I had heard new buds require, only 1 new fan.

    The inflorescence has been growing fine under my florescent lights but today I just noticed that the leaves (especially older leaves) are very limp. They are most limp in the middle of the plant where they are a bit flopped over and bent. Maybe I am exaggerating a bit but they are certainly not stiff. Is the bud sapping it's strength?

  2. #2
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    LJA
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    Do the roots look ok? When leaves on anything start to go limp, it's usually a sign of not enough moisture getting to the plant. That sounds obvious, but it can be caused by root rot from too much water as well as underwatering. In my (limited) experience with S/H, you really need to turn the water over pretty frequently to promote gas exchange, otherwise the roots stagnate and die.

    Check that first. Otherwise, the plant might not be getting enough light, which also can cause floppy, droopy leaves, or it might have gotten heat-stressed, which can cause the same thing. I doubt it's heat-related, given we're in winter, but, depending where you're growing inside, it might be a possibility.

    Jason can say more, given his experience with Paphs and S/H, but those are some starting points....

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    Cinderella is offline Senior Member
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    Could it be heat stressed from being too close to the florescent light? I have it on the outside end where the light is not as strong but it should be plenty of light. Do I have to unpot the whole thing while it is in bud?

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    I'd be really surprised if heat stress is the issue, unless it's reaching over 100 degrees where you've got the plant situated. To me, flowers and buds are really secondary, especially if the plant is in poor shape, or has gone downhill. If something starts to look bad, I unpot it as soon as I notice, to see what's going on down there. Paphs have thick roots, so if you're careful, you can unpot it, check out the root system, and repot it again without ever seeing a difference in bud status: the roots won't even know they've been "disturbed." It's what I would do, anyway....

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    I'd do the same. Gently unpotting a healthy paph won't affect it, especially if you use s/h since you won't be packing it down at all during potting.

    The leading two causes of limp leaves are overwatering leading to root rot or underwatering.

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    Cinderella is offline Senior Member
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    Jason, how could I have either since the plant is in s/h? The lower pellets do stay really wet for a while. How can I tell if I have been overwatering or underwatering? I usually just water again when the resevoir is dry. I have not been fertilizing much.

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    I've noticed on a lot of my plants that get put in S/h the older roots will rot. I like to repot after a couple months to see the new condition of the roots. Then I can tell if I need to maybe reopt the plant a little deeper to get the newer shorter roots to more moisture.

    Just a suggestion, Kenner

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    It's really easy to get lulled into thinking that S/H growing is more "set it and forget it" than growing in traditional media--because of that reservoir, I have a feeling--but S/H comes with its own share of problems. If roots have grown down into the reservoir and the liquid there has become stagnant with little gas exchange, those long roots will have a tendency to rot. If you wait until the reservoir is nearly empty before filling it again, shorter and new roots near the top will tend to get moisture-starved, especially if the S/H media you're using doesn't retain water to some degree.

    I water the three plants I've got in S/H just as much and as often as I do everything else, regardless of how much water is left in the reservoir. I do that to both flush out the old liquid, and to re-wet the media at the top which may not be wicking up as much moisture due to the drop in the reservoir water level from evaporation and plant take-up.

    Debbie, if you're just topping up the reservoir when it gets dry and not regularly flushing the whole pot with a good drenching once a week or so--even if the reservoir still looks almost full, I have a feeling that the shorter roots on your Paph are getting way too dried out, and that's what's making the leaves on your plant go limp.

    The flushing out prevents toxins from accumulating in the reservoir and promotes the gas exchange the roots really need if they're going to thrive "underwater." You definitely need to unpot the plant and see what state the roots are in!

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    Cinderella is offline Senior Member
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    That is some good information, Louis. I had not completely thought about it before but my orchids with really good roots seem to empty the s/h pot in about 3 days or so. The orchids that are in bad shape or even moderate condition but not long roots have the water in the reservoir sit and sit down there without "drinking" it. I will start to water them weekly regardless.

    And I will unpot the paph and check the roots in the next day or two....it was really doing fine and the inflorescence was growing and growing and all of a sudden....el limpo.

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    Definitely post back once you've unpotted--maybe even with a pic. I'd be really curious to see what's going on.

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