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Bottom yellow leaves in paphs and phrags

This is a discussion on Bottom yellow leaves in paphs and phrags within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; My paphs and phrags seem to lose many more lower leaves to yellowing than any ...

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  1. #1
    Cinderella is offline Senior Member
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    Default Bottom yellow leaves in paphs and phrags

    My paphs and phrags seem to lose many more lower leaves to yellowing than any of my other orchids: phals, catts, oncids, mini cyms. I guess this must be a culture problem as they are all grown pretty much the same. Could it be water quality?

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    Possibly, but mine are grown in Southern California tap water, and they don't seem to mind. Perhaps to much or too little water?

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    Early dropping of the bottom leaves is normally a sign of root stress ,check them & see how they are.

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    One of them is in bud....my Don Wimber. And it blooms forever so I don't want to disturb it. I can check the other, Scroderae, the bum won't bloom.

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    Are you fertilizing them regularly, Cind? Many times, they'll "use up" their leaves to give themselves energy at the start of new growth or blooming.

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    Cinderella is offline Senior Member
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    Fertilizing once a week with MSU. I was thinking more about it this AM....it really wouldn't be possible that all of my paphs and phrags have bad roots. Three of these are in bud also. So I don't think the roots could be the culprit....something else I am doing?

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    ...it really wouldn't be possible that all of my paphs and phrags have bad roots.
    These are all in S/H, right? Are you dumping out the old solution and flushing the reservoir when you water, or just topping off when it's low or dry? If you're just topping off, it's very possible that the roots in the reservoir have gotten super-saturated with fert salts and are rotting. I think it might be worth checking out, if you haven't already.

    When you say "lower leaves," is it the lower leaves on the old, previously bloomed growths, or on the new ones that are in spike? If it's the old ones, that's very normal. Old growths on Paphs and Phrags will eventually die off, losing their lower leaves first. At the same time, upper leaves on Phrags will get floppy, and instead of making a nice fan shape, they'll start drooping in every direction.

    What have the temps been like over there? Here, we've had a lot of 100+ degree days over the past month--not good for Phrags that are besseae hybrids and many Paphs....

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    Hi, these are all growing in s/h and when I water, I fill up the pot most of the time so I imagine the old water is being pushed out. Are you supposed to empty out the reservoir first and then water? I have not been doing that.

    The yellowing growths are all on the old growths which have mostly bloomed before except for my Delrosi which only has 1 fan so far, got it as a small seedling. Who can grow that anyway? (I should probably give it to you, Louis, I have heard they are impossible to bloom). My Schroderae has a floppy top like you described and my Don Wimber did too a few months back but I staked it up and now it is budding.

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    Didn,t realise that the paphs where in s/h.
    I must say i have had mixed results with my paphs in s/h.Dropping bottom leaves was 1 of the reasons i changed to different bark mixes.
    My largest roth had just started a new growth when i checked it,s roots & there was stubs about 1 1/2" long , so into a bark mix he went.My Paph supardii(the base is so fat it,s got to be in bud soon) when unpotted had all it,s roots intact & there was a handful of active root ends actually in the res.
    The supardii originally dropped bottom leaves but now it is working on leaf number 9.
    Most of my paphs are roths or roth hybrds & are in various bark mixes to see what works for me & my conditions , maybe changing the type of LECA would give me more confidence to try some more in s/h again.

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    Cinders, thanks for the offer on the Delrosi but you should keep it. You'll get it to bloom--that's a really nice plant. The trick to blooming it (along with many other primary roth hybrids) is to give it high light, cool temps in winter (low 50s) and very little water over the winter--almost drought conditions, to where the plant is almost to the point of wilting. That initiates spikes for the spring. Not hard, you just have to remember to do it, and not give in to watering when you feel bad for it! I don't know how big yours is, but seedlings can bloom on leaf spans that are around 25 inches.

    The problem with not flushing S/H pots out is that evaporation leaves fertilizer salts behind. If all you're doing is filling up without dumping and you're fertilizing every week, the concentration of fertilizer in the reservoir can get really high, burn the roots, and kill them. Combine that with high summer temps (both the plants you mentioned don't like the heat) that can make leaves yellow and die anyway, and you've got a great combination for stressed orchids. Keep them cool, and dump out any leftover solution in the reservoir (or keep filling past overflow for about 10 seconds to flush the pots).

    Floppy tops on new growth happens sometimes, and if you do just like you did, stake them up straight, that will fix them. Floppy tops on old growths is just par for the course--nothing you can do about it and nothing to worry about. Old growths will eventually just get floppier, more and more yellow, and finally die.

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