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Orchid bark medium turns bad

This is a discussion on Orchid bark medium turns bad within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Originally Posted by Chicknlegs Thanks T4ltrman. You're exactly right it's "the fines" that killed them. ...

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  1. #11
    Catt Mandu's Avatar
    Catt Mandu is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicknlegs View Post
    Thanks T4ltrman. You're exactly right it's "the fines" that killed them. I tried to flush them out when watering but when it dries they just attached back to the roots. Can't believe I was shown twice at two different stores with one person telling me he had 15yrs experience using that bark for phals which is impossible because mine didn't even last a month.

    I did pot a little deep but only because the phal had barely any roots and only very short so the rim of the pot had to hold it in place. But the spag topping is only thin and placed very loosely. I have been spraying carefully everyday to keep spag moist but not to get any water in the crown or between the leaves. I've held off on watering them for a couple of days now just so the cut roots can dry and heal.

    I've also put some ----rooting hormone gel on the stem and the roots to promote root growth.

    Now I'm thinking that the pot might be too big since it only has very short roots, but I'm trying to refrain from repotting them AGAIN, but it is plaguing my mind hmm...
    Posted via Mobile Device



    I went to our local gardening store which is a major franchise here and they did not have coconut chips with the husks but something called coir, which I think is bark that's similar in texture to coconut chips but bigger.

    I've read that you can actually purchase them from the pet shops as they're used for reptile habitats as well. But you have to soak and rinse them everyday over a week or so as they have a lot of tannins in the husks and can leave a lot of stains in your clear pots and stain the orchid roots roots. But that's just what I've read.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    I hate to be the one to say this but you will _____KILL_____YOUR____ORCHIDS_____ if you are constantly re-potting them!! Unless the bark you potted with was rotted into mush before you potted, the bark is not the problem. There should be no need to re-pot 3 times in 3 months. I grow all Phals in the coarsest fir bark I can find, usually inexpensive. Sometimes I add some very coarse charcoal; they do fine for years.

    Also, you are watering way too much. The daily spraying will eventually kill the remaining roots. If you are in a humid climate, water once to twice a week. If you are in an arid climate (and I mean like Arizona or Great Victoria Desert), water every other day. The medium should be nearly dry before you water again. Constant moisture kills. I would also get rid of the sphagnum (again, unless you are in a desert part of Australia). You want the existing roots to "think" they need to go looking for water (yeah, of course they don't think, but you get the idea).

    Coir and coconut husk chips can be an OK medium, but be very careful as these materials often need repeated rinsing and soaking with high-quality water, preferably with Epsom salts added, to remove excess sodium salts. Sodium salts are much more of a problem than the tannins. If you don't have the desire to do that soaking and rinsing, stick with a coarse fir or pine bark mix intended for orchids.

  2. #12
    Carolla's Avatar
    Carolla is offline Senior Member
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    Yes, to Catt Mandu! I AM in a semi desert. I use some moss with my coarse bark, but I often only water once a week or even two weeks. My Phals often dry entirely up for some time before I remember to water them and they thrive. My humidity is usually about 20%. They are used to it though, orchids will often adjust to pretty much anything IF it doesn't rot them! and if you give them time. Your latest potting effort looks fine, now just give it time and not too much water and it should be fine. Only if it turns really bad should you change anything.

  3. #13
    T4tlrman's Avatar
    T4tlrman is offline My name is Terry and I'm an addict ~
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    Take a breath Carol... (sheeesh)

    Quote Originally Posted by Carolla View Post
    The more you change the pots on your orchid, the more likely you are to kill it. It looks fine, leave it alone at this point. The roots need to grow into the new media before the plant will thrive. The roots stop growing when they are disturbed and won't start again, it will then have to wait until the next growth cycle for more roots. For me growing Phals is all about happy roots. A change in the root environment (which is necessary every so often, as the potting media breaks down or the plant outgrows it's pot) means the plant will have to grow new roots as they adjust as they grow on the cellular level to the conditions they grow in and will slowly (or quickly) die back in a new pot with new media and a change in growing conditions. One of the biggest things you need to grow Phals is to know when to just neglect them and when you have a potting emergency on your hands. Mostly I am successful with Phals because I am lazy and don't do a lot of messing with them and don't over water them or repot them very often (every couple of years). Keep the roots healthy, let them do their thing and don't let water sit on the top to rot it and you are good. If its potted a bit deep, just remove some of the extra media at the top, but try to just adjust watering to let it dry out , then water it thoroughly, then let it dry out again. A little dilute fertilizer in your water that is allowed to wash through should be good. Your Phal has nice coarse bark, it would benefit from soaking a bit every few times you water, to really hydrate the bark, then letting it dry out. Sometimes less is more!

    Really most people have the most trouble just letting the plant grow at its own pace.
    ---------- Post Merged at 01:58 PM ----------

    The consensus is - you can't repot... now leave it alone and do what we say. OR ELSE!


  4. #14
    Carolla's Avatar
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    LOL Yessir!

  5. #15
    Chicknlegs is offline Member
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    Every time i wake up i get replies I guess everyone is at opposite times to me. Nice to wake up to in the morning 😉

    Thanks so much for all your inputs I am now happy with what I have. I will definitely be leaving the little guys at peace.

    T4ltrman I actually live in the South and it's a lot colder than the other parts of Australia (that are lucky enough to have tropical climates almost all year round) and we are in our last month of winter which has come late chill wise.

    So I think misting would probably still help them because the leaves are really wrinkly, droopy and roots so short I'm afraid they won't be hydrated enough.
    -----
    Posted via Mobile Device


    Thanks Carolla, you are right I do need to neglect them more, I'm just so anxious to see some sort of improvement. My husband thinks I've gone crazy checking my plants everyday and night like it was a baby.

    Do you think the low temperatures and high humidity without using a fan in the house contributed to root rot as well as the incorrect medium?
    Posted via Mobile Device

    ---------- Post Merged at 09:49 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Catt Mandu View Post
    You want the existing roots to "think" they need to go looking for water (yeah, of course they don't think, but you get the idea).
    I like your logic on this, you make a really good point Catt Mandu. I guess in the wild that would be an instinctive behaviour they have.
    Posted via Mobile Device

    ---------- Post Merged at 10:10 AM ----------

    I did see a video where a lady day all her phals on humidity trays and all the roots in the pots and the aerial roots all grew towards the water so I have tried using a sprouts growing tray for a similar effect. And it's also good for drainage after watering


    Posted via Mobile Device

  6. #16
    T4tlrman's Avatar
    T4tlrman is offline My name is Terry and I'm an addict ~
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    Default Good Morning from the Opposite Side!

    Just saw the pictures of your plants in the kitchen. Those are good looking mature plants. You're definitely doing things right.

    A mature plant has a leaf span of 8 to 10 inches and yours look like they're 15 to 17+.

    Keep on posting~
    Terry

  7. #17
    kissa's Avatar
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    The lower temperature is, the lower humidity / less watering should be. Otherwise orchids will rot. The higher temperature is - the higher humudity should / can be.
    It's just as simple as that.

  8. #18
    Chicknlegs is offline Member
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    Actually T4lrman the photos are a bit misleading. The leaves are only 9 inches (had to get the measuring tape out, we use cm here lols) but I've only had this one for a couple of months and it came like that and a with the new leaf growing. But the new leaf has stopped growing, it's got very short roots and now I think the fungus has spread to the stem and the leaves are yellowing 😞
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    ---------- Post Merged at 07:45 AM ----------

    Thanks kissa that's a good rule of thumb to remember
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    ---------- Post Merged at 07:52 AM ----------

    I am learning so much from you guys thank you so much.

    Now I remember during our coldest days my hygrometer was reading between 10-14c and the humidity was over 70% and the little sad face symbol came up to say it was WET. Silly me had no idea what that meant thought it was ok and left it. I guess you can only learn from your mistakes.
    Posted via Mobile Device

  9. #19
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    Yup, unfortunately we all learn only from our own mistakes
    With temperature 10-14C it should be dryish most of the time IMHO.
    Last autumn most of my orchids got their roots rotten when the temperature suddenly dropped and the central heating wasn't on yet *facepalm* And it was already too late to grow new roots as the growth period was over.
    So just a few days of about +15C in combination with just watered medium in double pots with no holes killed all the thin roots (like Miltonias have) and most of the thick ones (phal-like). So, especially if you have moss in the medium, you'd better be very careful with watering when the temperature drops down.
    Moss can be really useful and literally save some orchids, but can kill them very easily too. It's only a tool and it depends on us how we use it

  10. #20
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    Chickn,
    It's ok my family thinks I've gone bonkers too with the checking on the plants all the time. In the morning I stumble out of bed and roam over to where they are to take a look at them and to check my recovering orchid.
    @ Terry, the coconut is pretty easy to find online as either part of a premixed package or you can just by that by itself. The place I purchase from triple washes it.

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