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Mew to the boards and to orchids - phals

This is a discussion on Mew to the boards and to orchids - phals within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Dear board members, Edited to add: Please excuse the title error! NEW of course, not ...

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  1. #1
    Fiorentina is offline Junior Member
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    Default Mew to the boards and to orchids - phals

    Dear board members,

    Edited to add: Please excuse the title error! NEW of course, not MEW!

    I am a new orchid owner and I am completely clueless! My husband gave me two beautiful large phals (I figured out a little bit of the lingo!), and two days later a friend gave me a very small, delicate one. Well, after only a week or so, the two large ones dropped all of their flowers, followed shortly by the smaller one.

    The little one is still in its vase (glazed ceramic) and the stem is dried up. The leaves are emerald green and shiny and I am keeping it moist but not too damp. I'm watering it with lukewarm tap water and it is not getting any direct sun.

    The other two were in a large basket. After a few weeks and when all the flowers were gone I removed them from the basket which I found was full of water! I took them out of the plastic pots they were in, and left them in colandars to drain outside during a hot and humid spell. (I live in northern NJ.) Then I brought them back in and they are currently sitting in our bidet where I water them every so often to keep the roots moist. I cut back the stems. The leaves are still bright green, except one is starting to yellow near when it attached to the base of the plant. The cut stems are still green. The roots are dark to lightish green.

    I know I need to repot them and take care of these poor things, but I am at a loss! I recently finished my PhD (hence the orchid presents!) and just finished teaching a summer class. Now I have the time and some energy I'd like to take care of these poor plants. I am not very good with houseplants, but I have a great outdoors garden, including a vegetable garden, so I do have a bit of a green thumb! My mother is great with orchids, but she isn't around to help me now.

    I hope this post isn't inappropriate or too long. I would appreciate some information, directions, and links!

    Thanks in advance!
    Fiorentina

  2. #2
    LJA's Avatar
    LJA
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    Fiorentina, welcome to the forums!

    If the two large plants were immersed in water, that's what caused them to drop all of their flowers suddenly. Their roots have more than likely started to rot. If you're near a store with a garden center, you might pick up a bag or two of orchid bark and repot those guys after cutting away any dead and mush roots. We've got a repotting guide on the site here. Go to the middle of the page, click the link "How do you repot an orchid?"

    A lower leaf turning yellow is usually normal on Phals, so if you've caught the root rot early enough, that shouldn't be a cause for concern. If the yellowing leaf is not one of the two lower ones, that could mean problems, and you should repot the plants as soon as you can.

    The littlest one sounds like it's doing fine--though you should probably start fertilizing all of them.

    That link to our care section above is geared toward begining orchid growers, so that's a good place to start collecting "how to" information, and be sure to use the forum's search function for keywords like "root rot," "repotting," etc. since there's a lot of info that's been posted about that stuff.

  3. #3
    Diane's Avatar
    Diane is offline Can't Re-Member
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    Welcome! Sounds like you are one hardworking lady. Congratulations on the PhD. I gave up after my Masters... You should be able to take care of the Phals, they are really pretty easy. Try looking at the Orchid Care link at the top of the page. Make sure that you don't let them stay too wet, that is probably what caused them to drop their flowers in the first place. Orchids are tougher than we think, once you get them potted up and settled I think you'll be fine. I grow mine in a mix of bark and perlite. But there are plenty of options, just bark, coconut husk, charcol, etc.

    You will get plenty of good advice here, please let us all know how it goes.

    I see Louis snuck in with an answer just as I was typing mine.... but since we said the same thing... I feel better becuase Louis is THE GURU!

  4. #4
    LJA's Avatar
    LJA
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    Don't believe any of that guru stuff. They're making it up.

  5. #5
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    Lark_Bunting is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LJA
    Don't believe any of that guru stuff. They're making it up.
    Nonsense, you wouldn't be known as Yoda if you weren't our great guru! I would like to know how to insert that cute figure (and others I see being used) in my posts. Can anyone help me out?

    Oh, and welcome Fiorentina. I'm new, also, and mostly just a lurker.

    Lark

  6. #6
    Diane's Avatar
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    Lark - click on the little smiley face in the tool bar of the text box. Then click on the smiley you want. Be sure to click show all smilies first....

  7. #7
    Lark_Bunting's Avatar
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    Hi Diane !!

    I just did not how to do this. Now I can address as he deserves!

    Lark

  8. #8
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    orchidaddict789 is offline Senior Member
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    Hi! Welcome!

    Many people think orchids are very very delicate and they die easily...but I found phals to be tough. To check for root rot you can feel the leaves, and do they feel soft and droopy (bad) or smooth and hard (good)?

    Good luck with your orchids! Phals are great tough plants to have...

  9. #9
    Fiorentina is offline Junior Member
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    Default Thank you!



    I did it! I went to my local plant store (which was having a 40% off sale, yay!) and purchased two new pots, special orchid potting mix, and some fertilizer. I cleaned the pots (one clay, the other is glazed ceramic, really lovely!) then went to work on the poor phals! All the roots were greenish color and were really tightly woven together. I cleaned out all of the old potting mix and trimmed off the mushy and the dried up roots. I just left all of the nice green ones, not many white ones at all. I settled them in the pots with the mix, and I added a stake to one so it would stand up straight. I didn't removed the yellow leaf, I'm going to wait until it drops by itself, is that ok? They look nice, so I'll keep you posted! I watered them all (even the little one that seems ok) with tepid water that has the orchid food in it.

    Thanks again for the help! I'm going to hang out here more and see what I can learn.

    I think that is totally the correct icon for you!

    Best,
    Fiorentina

  10. #10
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    Welcome to the forum ! Congrats. on your PhD , the orchids are a relaxing way to wind down . Should add ...watch the glazed ceremic pots they do not let air to the roots and tend to keep the plant wet . Best bet are the clay azalia pots shorter than the standard pots . Gin

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