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New Phal owner

This is a discussion on New Phal owner within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello...I was wondering if someone would be able to let me know if I need ...

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  1. #1
    raeanne is offline Junior Member
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    Question New Phal owner

    Hello...I was wondering if someone would be able to let me know if I need to be concerned or not. I was given a large Phal a few weeks ago and it was doing great up until the other day. It had six flowers...two of which had brown spots and fell off. Four unopened ones have fallen off and two more look like they're about to do the same thing.

    It has six leaves, all dark green. One of the older leaves is quite small and look slightly shrivelled. It has one tiny black bug (but if there's one there are probably more) on it's underside. Another leaf looks like it's starting to go all shrivelly too. I've also noticed a very tiny pale bug on one of the leaves. A few of the leaves have whitish patches on them, and one of the leaves has small dark bumps on it's surface.

    I was wondering if any of these things are cause for concern and if so, what do I do about them.

    Thank you so much!

  2. #2
    LJA's Avatar
    LJA
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    Hi raeanne,

    If the plant seems like it's gone downhill all of a sudden after some weeks, I would suspect overwatering. Older flowers will sometimes get tiny black spots on the petals before dying off but usually those spots indicate a Botritis fungal infection. Combine that with the white patches on the leaves, and I would have to guess that fungus is definitely the culprit.

    Be sure you're not overwatering first off, (if you are, and the medium is soggy and mushy, you'll have to repot in fresh medium), then spray the entire plant with a fungicide designed for ornamentals.

    As far as the bugs go, you can wipe them away by hand, or, you might get a combination fungicide / insecticide and spray the plant with that to get everything.

    Bud blast like you're describing sometimes occurs for seemingly no explicable reason (usually it happens because of a sudden change in environment but it doesn't sound like that's what's happened in your case). Everything combined the way you've described (the shriveling lower leaves, too, though that as well is normal when it happens by itself) just really sounds like rotting roots, so check that first.

    Hope that helped!

  3. #3
    raeanne is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you so much! I actually was thinking that might be the problem. I've read about repotting but was wondering what the process would be if it's still blooming. Do I cut it back or leave it alone and repot it as is?

  4. #4
    LJA's Avatar
    LJA
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    Normally, you don't want to repot when the plant is in bloom because the process invariably disturbs and / or breaks roots, and that will cause the plant to drop its flowers.

    In this case though, with the buds dropping anyway, you're trying to save the plant; the flowers sound like they're already pretty much going / gone. I would go ahead and cut the spike all the way back to the plant's base (it'll be hard to, I know, but by doing it, you'll be focusing the plant's energy on growing its root system and not on saving its flower spike).

    After you pull the plant out of its pot, get rid of as much soggy potting material and dead roots as you can without breaking the firm, good roots that might still be left. Don't re-use any of the old medium: throw it all out.

    Then, repot in a medium that doesn't hold as much water: bark or bark mix, and withhold watering for a good week and half to two weeks. You can see a basic step-by-step guide about how to repot in the CARE section of our website.

    If you get to it soon, you still may be able to save the plant....

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