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Pete will be happy - phal problems...

This is a discussion on Pete will be happy - phal problems... within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Okay, so my noid phal bloomed like crazy in Jan-Mar. It was in too tightly ...

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  1. #1
    Heather is offline Banned
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    Default Pete will be happy - phal problems...

    Okay, so my noid phal bloomed like crazy in Jan-Mar. It was in too tightly packed sphag. 4 of about 28 buds didn't open and I noticed some roots gettting a bit shrunken and brown. So, near the end of the blooming, I cut the spikes, unpotted, cleared out all the rotted roots, it had a good number that were still healthy. I repotted in a little loose sphag, and mostly bark. Its been doing ok, and this week has a new leaf. But, when I was just watering, I noticed that the 3 oldest leaves are looking a bit wrinkled. Am I underwatering now? I could believe that - I do rather neglect this plant more than my others. If I have only enough water for everyone else, I might skip this one, since it was so wet for so long. I do check the little bamboo skewer though, and it always seems damp, but I do water if dry. Those things just don't work for me.

    So, any thoughts?

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    Paphraguy is offline Former User
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    I don't grow that many Phals and I don't use sphag at all but it sounds like your Phal hybrid has been overwatered. Sphag holds a lot of moisture for a long period of time.

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    Heather is offline Banned
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    It definitely was overwatered (well, lets say wet - I only watered it like, every 2 weeks when it was in the sphag. - Too tightly packed.) But, now I wonder if I am overcompensating. I water maybe every week to 10 days and the media is overwhelmingly bark. Could the wrinkled leaves be a hold over damage from the earlier pot? It is really just the tips of them that are affected, and the newer leaves look great.

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    Paphraguy is offline Former User
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    I'm not sure as I'm no expert on Phals but the wrinkled leaves sound like from too much watering. If you tend to over water, just repot it in bark.

    I do know that Phals like to dry out some. Did you drill holes in the pot like you did for the Paph? Phal roots need air because in nature their roots are all exposed.

  5. #5
    Heather is offline Banned
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    It's in bark! Like a paph mix, w/ teensy pieces of sphag, but overwhelmingly bark.
    Yes, its in one of those chinese open pots - there's a pic in the display area if you want to see.

  6. #6
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    If you moved to a much smaller pot to accommodate the existing roots, and switched over from anoxic packed sphag to bark & loose sphag, then yes, I would say there is a good chance of there not being enough water. Can you tell us the pot size and pot type? Phals don't like it quite as wet as paphs but they require a great deal more water than catts during the non-growing season, for example.

    A combination of underwatering and the transition from having its dead roots cleaned up will cause the plant to use its water reserves which, unfortunately for phals, is in its lower leaves. Overwatering will produce the same effect but if that is due to complete root rot, you can easily tell by giving it the old "wobble" test.

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    Heather is offline Banned
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    Hey Jason, its in a larger pot than before. There is a pic in the display forum, I think its the "whatever else is left" thread. Its one of those chinese open clay pots that you see for orchids. I think it is about 6.5" diameter.

    I know I am not overwatering now. Thanks!

  8. #8
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    That pot looks glazed--if so, it should be considered plastic since it will retain moisture that way (although the slots will increase evaporation). It's hard to make blanket statements about watering frequency, but if there are enough healthy roots to fill a 6" pot, then I'd say that watering 7-10 days is unlikely to be too much. Like most orchids this time of year, phals will generally require more water with the warmer temps and brighter light.

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    I'm pretty sure that with the exception of maybe an inch from the rim, the pot is unglazed on the inside. I think if anything I am underwatering. As I said, I've been trying to kill the plant so I buy another paph. Oh, wait! Did I say that out loud? I meant slightly neglecting.


  10. #10
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    I was told that a glazed pot (usually only the outside is glazed) acts more like a plastic one when it comes to drying out. I've only used them occasionally and in the distant past, but that seems mostly accurate. Of course, the ones with holes in them will defy any easy comparison...

    Think of all the paphs that you could fit in the space vacated by a nasty phal in a huge 6.5" pot...at least 6 brachys, or 3 maudiae-types, or 2 NBS coryos, a single mature paph bel royal (ok so that takes up twice as much room as the phal, but it's ok, it's a paph).

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