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Question about phal. roots...

This is a discussion on Question about phal. roots... within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I am new to this forum , and still kinda new to the orchid thing ...

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  1. #1
    lizard72 is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Default Question about phal. roots...

    I am new to this forum, and still kinda new to the orchid thing too. We recieved a phal almost a year ago from friends who moved. It was in bad shape, but we took it in and re-potted it. It has done very well, new leaf growth, roots, and now a flower spike.

    About 2 weeks ago I noticed that several of the aerial roots have sections on them that are turning a brown/rust color, and are shriveled in appereance. The rest of the root looks healthy. What could be the reason for this, and how might I fix it. I don't want to loose the roots that it has worked so hard to grow!

    Any insight would be appreciated.


  2. #2
    peteMc's Avatar
    peteMc is offline innocent bystander
    Join Date
    Jul 2004


    I have a couple phals with similar sections of root, and was very surprised to see bright green tips branch out of them. Others will know - and share - more, but my guess is that the root core is still healthy and the velamen has dried out around it.

    I've done what I can to up the humidity and have had much less of that happen to them.


  3. #3
    Heather is offline Banned
    Join Date
    May 2004


    I've had that just happen with one, a species phal, new to me, and recently repotted (but in a similar mix to what the grower was using.) Tip seems green and velamen healthy, but I've watered a bit more frequently and I mist daily.

    I'm not so familiar with phals though, so perhaps someone else will chime in with more of a reason. Good luck and WELCOME to the forum!!

  4. #4
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
    Real Name
    Bruce Brown
    My Grow Area
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Cattleyas & Slippers
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Member's Country Flag


    Welcome Beth!

    The thick layer of protection on your phal roots (velamen) can become damaged and will dry out (or become mushy if too wet for too long.) Unless the internal part of the root was also damaged, it will most likely heal or branch as peteMc suggested.

    Probably your roots were damaged by another pot or an accidental bump against a shelf or table. Since the damaged area is dry, you should not worry about an infection.

    Another probable cause could be too strong of a fertilizer. The velamen could have been burned. If this was the case I would think that it would be more wide spread than just a few spots.

    My guess is that it just got a bit too dry. Try misting the exposed roots with H2O. If the plant looks healthy, it probably is. It sounds like you are doing a great job with growing it! Be sure to post a photo when it blooms for you!

    Once again, welcome to the forum!


  5. #5
    LJA's Avatar
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    Louis J. Aszod
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    Feb 2003
    Clarksville, Arkansas
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    Beth, welcome!

    Roots can also turn brown when they've stopped their active growth phase. When they start growing again, new roots will often branch out from them. So for now, no worries!

  6. #6
    Jmoney's Avatar
    Jmoney is offline Senior Member
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    paphs, phrags, catts, vandas
    Join Date
    May 2004
    West Hartford, CT
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    if you're growing inside the home, and have accordingly low humidity during the winter, the aerial roots will more often than not shrivel up during these dry months. you can spray them every morning, but I'm not sure that will help keep them alive unless you spray them like 10 times a day. the roots inside the pot, if healthy, will be more than enough for good plant growth and blooming. aerial roots are just for show in my book.

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