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help with phalaenopsis wanted please!

This is a discussion on help with phalaenopsis wanted please! within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello. I've just joined this forum , and hope I'm asking my question in the ...

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  1. #1
    loolah is offline Junior Member
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    Default help with phalaenopsis wanted please!

    Hello. I've just joined this forum, and hope I'm asking my question in the right place.

    I live in Sydney, where it's winter. I've got three small phalaenopsis plants, all of which are either budding or in flower. They came planted in terracotta pots with holes in the walls and I have them in bright indirect light, sitting on, but not in, wet pebbles.

    I'm concerned about their surface roots. WHen they came these roots were plump, with green tips at the end. Now, some of them look dried out; they're withered, or wrinkled. Even allowing for some damage in transit, something seems to be wrong, in spite of the fact that the plants are busy making buds and flowering.

    I think the problem might be with watering. The trouble I'm having is that the instructions which came with them suggested watering every 2 -3 days, which seemed a lot to me. Other sources (books mostly) tell me to water every 2 - 3 weeks. That's a lot of variation and I'm uncertain about how often to water. Consequently I've been averaging about once a week.

    Could someone please help me with this, so that I can help my phallies? Many thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    orchidlady's Avatar
    orchidlady is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Loolah. What kind of medium are the plants in? If there are roots drying and withering it could be lack of humidity/moisture compared to what they were used to before you got them. It could also be due to not watering enough. Can you provide some photographs? As far as a watering schedule, every growing situation is different. You have to go by the conditions of your particular plants. It is best to water when the medium approaches dryness and this can differ widely depending on the medium, humidity, and air circulation where you are growing them.

    Susan

  3. #3
    margo's Avatar
    margo is offline Senior Member
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    Welcome to our group, Loolah! Glad to have you here!
    I am with Susan- I have mine in bark mix outside- hot and humid- and I have to water them about every 3 days. We would love to see yours!

  4. #4
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    Cjcorner is offline Senior Member
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    If you have some wooden skewers around...or clean popsicle sticks....try this: Place the wooden skewer into the medium for around 10 minutes. When you pull it out, place it against your cheek. If it feels damp and cool, it's still wet in the middle; wait to water another day or two. If the stick is dry and warm to the touch, it is time to water. Make sure to place the skewer as close to the middle as possible so you get an accurate idea of whether the roots deepest in the pot are still wet. Some growers place a plug of spagnum into the middle of the root ball and place wood mixture around the outside. You assume it's all bark and overwater....also, the middle roots stay too wet while the outer roots are too dry and dry out. This is why many repot their orchids as soon as they get them home. That and the bugs...
    Good Luck

  5. #5
    Bikerdoc5968 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cjcorner View Post
    If you have some wooden skewers around...or clean popsicle sticks....try this: Place the wooden skewer into the medium for around 10 minutes. When you pull it out, place it against your cheek. If it feels damp and cool, it's still wet in the middle; wait to water another day or two. If the stick is dry and warm to the touch, it is time to water. Make sure to place the skewer as close to the middle as possible so you get an accurate idea of whether the roots deepest in the pot are still wet. Some growers place a plug of spagnum into the middle of the root ball and place wood mixture around the outside. You assume it's all bark and overwater....also, the middle roots stay too wet while the outer roots are too dry and dry out. This is why many repot their orchids as soon as they get them home. That and the bugs...
    Good Luck
    Connie, the man wants to know about the care of his newly acquired chids not a lesson in baking a cake and testing whether it is done in the center

    Posting some pics would be helpful so we can see the new chids and better answer the questions you have......

  6. #6
    loolah is offline Junior Member
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    Hello Susan, Connie, Margo and Biker
    Thanks very much for your replies, and sorry to have taken so long to come back. I've been wrestling with technology in the interim (computers that wouldn't speak to cameras etc). Finally (fingers crossed) managed to haul a few pics onto a flickr account and hopefully they'll be of use in diagnosing what my problem is. Since my first message a leaf has fallen off - photo included.





    I found the stick test useful, thanks Connie, and postponed watering for a few days on account of it.

    And it's the first time I've been mistaken for a bloke since I was about 7 and wearing shorts, Biker!

    loolah

  7. #7
    sadie's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Bikerdoc5968;149737]Connie, the man wants to know about the care of his newly acquired chids not a lesson in baking a cake and testing whether it is done in the center QUOTE]

    I have used this same technique--just cutting a bamboo skewer short, but I leave it in the pot. Pull it out and you can see if it is wet or dry.

    And you plants are potted in coconut husks--at least that is what is visible. This will retain water more than actual bark. The leaves also look dehydrated. I would pull all of them out of hte pot and check the roots in the pot. It is entirely likely that plant isn't getting enough water because it was initially overwatered and hte roots have rotted. (You can pulll just one out for now if it makes you nervous--post a picture and we can tell.) THe roots should look silvery-gray or white with green tips, and they should be firm. If htey are dark brown or mushy, that means they are rotting.

    If they are rotting, you will need to repot. (If that is the case, we can walk you through it step by step--so no worries.) So pop one out of the pot, and show us a picture. Then we can go from there.

  8. #8
    orchidlady's Avatar
    orchidlady is offline Senior Member
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    Yes, it would help to see photos of the roots.

    Susan

  9. #9
    loolah is offline Junior Member
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    Hi Sadie,
    I did pop two out of the pot as suggested - not a happy sight. The more healthy looking roots are all above surface and the ones below are rather dismal. Help with where to go from here (if there is anywhere) would be very much appreciated.
    Sorry for the size of the pics - I think that's my next technology update challenge.
    loolah.



  10. #10
    bedt's Avatar
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    Hi loolah the roots do look very dry, could I suggest re-potting in sphagnum moss. As you live in an arid / dry climate, it would hold moisture a bit longer.

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