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Comment...Phal ???...And Thank You :)

This is a discussion on Comment...Phal ???...And Thank You :) within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; As I've learned many a time...when seeking info on virtually any subject...just go find a ...

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  1. #1
    JBTrig is offline Junior Member
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    Thumbs up Comment...Phal ???...And Thank You :)

    As I've learned many a time...when seeking info on virtually any subject...just go find a good FORUM. I've read dozens of your posts in the archive and for a newbee to Phal's I've learned much in little time...my eye's hurt...

    Thank You...and if I may a couple of questions that I realise have been asked many times before...yet it seems like things change and any extra opinion or comment to help would be most welcome...

    1. To Mist or not To Mist ? one camp says twice a day another says I'll rot their brains out...so I mist once or twice a week...?

    2. Remove The Spent Spike ? (A)some say as close to the plant as possible some say leave an inch or so...?...(B)If I leave it whole in hopes of it blooming at a node...is that weeks...months...?

    3. Phal Phood ? Dr. Wang seems to say BALANCED 365 days a year and I see the term "UREA FREE" quite a bit. The closest I could find as a stop-gap was Urea Free 20-10-20...If it doesn't cross the advert. line...is there a particular brand(s) that would be prefered...?...20-10-20 isn't exactly balanced...

    4. My Mix ? Apprx...50% Med. Bark/30% Sml. Bark/20% #3 Pearlite...at times I think it drains too well. I tend to water more frequently in smaller volume and my plants seem pretty happy...any thoughts?

    ...one last thing...this idea of Balanced Food 365...is that something that would likely transfer to my Cymbidiums as well ?

    Quite a Mouth Full for a 1st Post ...Thanks Again...Great Forum!!!

    John

  2. #2
    Mehera's Avatar
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    Very nice to have you John, and you are right about the helpful people here; I have learned a lot in my 6 months here.

    I'm sure someone more experienced will weigh in, but for now I will just say that I have collected quite a few phals and most of them are doing pretty well. I live in a dry climate, so may be different than you, but I reserve misting for the aerial roots--I feel that it would be too easy to get puddles in the leaf axils and end up with crown rot. I think cranking up the humidifier in dry weather does more good.

    I use a standard urea free orchid fert like you mentioned; everyone seems happy.

    My mix is small coconut chunks, chopped sphag and a small amount of expanded clay pellets (which I also use for s/h culture on other orchids). The right mix depends on your conditions and how often you want to water, so it will be different for everyone probably.

    Do you have all phals? About how many so far?

    Again, welcome. We're glad you're here!

  3. #3
    Diane's Avatar
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    Hi John!

    My phals are all in a small bark/perlite/charcoal mix. I do mist every day in the morning, very lightly, but mostly because I have a fan that runs in the morning and I want to reduce moisture loss. I don't mist enough to cause any puddling, anyway. I feed my phals every week with my own blend of stuff, with about every 4th watering being just water to flush out the pot. I water them once a week, sometimes twice a week when it is really dry. I run a humidifier year round.

    I feed my cymbidiums with a time released 13-13-13 supplemented with monthly does of fish emulsion, and bloom fertilizer starting in September.

  4. #4
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    1.I do mist the surface of the medium & aerial roots of my Phals in s/h first thing in the morning but i keep the rest of the plant dry.
    Why ?
    Basically i think it is a feel good factor for me.As long as the plants are dry well before night when the temps are cold i cannot see it doing any harm.
    2.I cut as close as possible to the bottom.If you are trying to get the spike to flower again i would cut it @ the first node below the actual flowers , i also cut it before all the flowers have dropped so i know the sap is still rising.Usuaully if the spike does not start to show regrowth within a month i cut it completely.
    3.Balanced fert works for me.Weekly/weakly is an often used expression & i think quite a reasonable fertilising regime.The lower concentrates you use the less chance of having salt buildup in the medium.Just because a plant does not show stress from a higher concentration does not mean it is using all the fert.
    I use a mixture of natural & nursery properiety fert @ low concentrations with rainwater.
    4.Mix depends on your growing enviroment.Most of my Phals are in s/h(including the species) & grow & flower well.If your plants are happy with your mix then stick to it.
    With Cymbidiums i do feed a lot heavier , i use the same ferts & strengths as for my other 'chids but supplement with Osmocote granular feed in the begining of spring.When they are brought in Nov/Dec they get fed every couple of weeks with my normal weak feed.
    Last edited by uncasteeb; September 17th, 2006 at 10:20 AM.

  5. #5
    bench72's Avatar
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    Well, just gonna add my two cents worth!

    Here goes...

    Welcome John!!!!

  6. #6
    Piper's Avatar
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    LOL, Tim-O!

    Hi John, and welcome! I'm just going to prove that if you ask five different people what you should do, you'll get five different opionions!

    I don't mist, but it's because my orchids are in close proximity to fine wood furniture. Sorry 'chids - just get used to it!

    They enjoy good humidity, but what that means depends on where you live. In arid locales, or places with cold winters where the humidity plummets, you have to humidify. If you live in FL, humidity's not your problem. Hot temps are.

    Where you cut the spike is a matter of asthetics. It looks better if it's cut as close to the plant as possible. Unless you're hoping to rebloom the spike. Then cut, as Steve said, between the tallest non-blooming bract node and the lowest bract that produced a flower. Be aware that some species and primary hybrids maintain green spikes that should not be cut - they can rebloom or form keikis. For most hybrid Phals this is not the case. But if it looks green and healthy, don't cut it!

    How balanced your fert is depends on your potting medium. If you pot with bark, you want higher nitrogen, because the bark will leech the nitrogen away from your plant. I used a balanced fert, but don't get around to applying it weekly, so I add Osmocote a time-release fert to my pots. I pot my Phals in sphagnum, because I can better judge their dryness. Phals want even moisture. They don't want to be sopping, but they don't want to dry the roots all the way out between waterings as Catts and Dends prefer. With sphag I know exactly when to water. As the top dries out, before it's extra crispy, I water. I have a harder time judging bark, so I reserve that for the genera that want to dry between waterings.

    You haven't asked about light. The common thought is that Phals want less light. I live in New England. Our light's not strong, and there are screens on my windows, which filter quite a bit. I used to grow my Phals in full, all-day sun without problems. I wouldn't move any Phal suddenly into full light. But I've found that they grow more aggressively and flower more frequently with more, rather than less, light. They're in bright indirect light now, because I have more Catts and Dends that demand the sunniest spots.

    Well, that's a mouthful for an answer! Have fun here!

    McJulie

  7. #7
    JBTrig is offline Junior Member
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    Red face Thanks All For Your Help :)

    Yep...no perfect..correct answer...

    It is a bit of a slippery slope...My Father has grown orchids since he was 15 and even now at 80 it's hard to find a horizontal surface in his home that doesn't have an orchid on it...outside...at last count he had 17 Cymbidiums on 2 bread racks on his deck...and his indoor favs. are Catts, Dens & Phals.

    So I've finally been bitten...and pretty much by Phals...there's just something about those flowers and the independent nature of the plants. At times they seem almost more like pets than plants!..."get back in your pot"...A friend gave me 2 quite ill phals about 3 months ago and now it's gone to 15 on 2 plant stands I built with florecent lights...and one rogue oncidium...I must be doing something right because the original 2 are now very healthy looking.

    They all seem happy so I guess I'll stick with misting lightly, carefully, at the right time of day. And, given my "bark" mix I guess the 20-10-20 might not be such a bad choice of fertilizer.

    As to my Cymbidiums...gifts from Dad...we go with a feeding program of 30-30-30 and then 0-10-10 bloom boster...

    That was about my plan on the spent flower spikes...It's a NOID but the flowers were beautiful...thought I'd give it about a month...then again it seems the sooner I cut the spike(s)...the sooner the plant will spike again...and I guess that's the trade and choice we have to make...and I do think I'll cut them close...cutical scissors work quite well

    Which comes to a question I didn't ask...a bit on the subject of forced flowering...If I was to attemt to do so...How long does a plant need to rest before it might possibly throw another spike?

    Thanks Again for Your Time,

    John

  8. #8
    Piper's Avatar
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    No worries about questions, John!

    The time between spiking is an arcane mix of your plant's genetics, how happy it is in its environment ie, culture, how mature it is, and voodoo.

    I have some that stubbornly refuse to rebloom, but they had stress during their last bloomings; and I've one energizer bunny I've had for ten years that has leaves the size of Rhode Island - I finally cut its flower spike after six months and it still had 11 healthy flowers. That guy blooms twice a year!

    You can hope, but other than care for your Phals lovingly, there's little else you can do. Under the right conditions, they'll rebloom when they choose. Be aware that rescue Phals may have been deeply stressed and make take more than a season to recover and resume a normal blooming cycle.

    McJulie

  9. #9
    JBTrig is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks Again You All...Great Forum...I'll have another ? or 2...

    John

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