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Watering Phals, when?

This is a discussion on Watering Phals, when? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Phals are much less fussy than some other genera. Tightly packing doesn't work so well ...

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  1. #11
    Piper's Avatar
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    Phals are much less fussy than some other genera. Tightly packing doesn't work so well with the fussy ones.

    Julie

  2. #12
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    I see, thanks for that info, Julie.

    Qing

  3. #13
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    Well, the thing is that those Phals in terra cotta pots with relatively loose Shag and mixed with packing peanuts dry up very quickly. So I need to water every three days. My mom complains that is too often and that I'm killing the plants that way. But of course, I don't listen to her; she has a real BLACK THUMB. On the other hand, what is packed like concrete (two Phals in bloom in one pot) stay "wet" for looooooong time. Meaning like I don't need to water for weeks. That bothers me too because eventually I loose roots. Another thing is that the roots in the overly packed pots grow outside/around of that Sphag ball using it as a tree trunk from what I can observe, not inside the Sphag. It seems to me that the grower takes out the whole plant from 4'in pot and sticks it into a 6'in pot and adds new Sphag around the roots, so there is a light layer of Sphag, a layer of roots (most of them, if not all), then a concrete-like ball of Sphag in the middle.
    Again, how can the growers get these gorgeous Phals to grow so huge and flower so dramatically impressive in those conditions? Ok, I know they have greenhouses... so do many other non-commercial growers and they don’t get those results in the same conditions (I’m talking about the Sphag here).
    For a novice like me is like been too torn between two (growing) possibilities. Should I, or shouldn’t I?

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    It mystifies me how that tight sphag yields such good results for the pros too. All I know is that every time I have left a plant in those conditions while waiting for the blooms to finish I have regretted it. I have a little phal in my hospital corner right now because of that. This seems to happen no matter HOW CAREFULLY I water the plant knowing of the potential problem. In my case, I think it happened because of a combination of two things: the plant had been "potted on" for sale and was vastly overpotted in sphag for the size of its root system to begin with, and it was still the cool time of the year before the plants were revved up and growing strongly. More than the poor dears could handle.

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    We can cry on each others shoulders, Mehera? I've been there, oh, so many times! More than my heart can handle!

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    How long can I keep the overwatered Phal bare root before its roots start to desicate/dehydrate waiting for it to grow new roots?

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    Qing, if your plants are happy then I wouldn't change anything!

    Loosely packed sphag does require more frequent watering and it can get to be a pain if your collection grows very large.

    Air to the roots is very important however, and should be a priority over watering convenience. Otherwise, it's easy to water incorrectly. Aerated roots are much more forgiving about overwatering.

    You might want to consider semi-hydro (aka S/H.) I don't use it, but many here do and it's probably the lowest maintenance way of watering. Plants have to adapt to it, and some don't adapt well, but I think Phals tend to do well in it.

    It's definitely worth working all that old potting mix out of the tightly packed ball. Those poor roots are just suffocating in there! Soak it well first to make the roots more pliable and then just work patiently at it.

    A lot of nurseries force the plants into bloom with high light and high fert, and when you get them home they just up and croak because they've given all they have. That's why I've stopped buying from unknown sources. I don't trust florists, box stores, grocery stores or nurseries that I haven't worked with before (unless another grower recommends them.)

    Julie

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    Quote Originally Posted by pflaume View Post

    How long can I keep the overwatered Phal bare root before its roots start to desicate/dehydrate waiting for it to grow new roots?
    I would not leave it bare root, if it does have some viable roots now. I would repot in a nice, loose mix of bark, moss and peanuts at the bottom. Wet it well once, then mist daily and water as the media becomes dry more than halfway down the pot - I'm thinking every 10 days or so in my environment, but you'll have to addapt to your conditions.

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