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Phalaenopsis leaves falling off

This is a discussion on Phalaenopsis leaves falling off within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I received a phalaenopsis for mothers day - it bloomed for a long time but ...

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  1. #1
    anneliebrewer is offline Junior Member
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    Default Phalaenopsis leaves falling off

    I received a phalaenopsis for mothers day - it bloomed for a long time but not the leaves are getting soft and falling off one at a time - it this normal

  2. #2
    JoeW's Avatar
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    Hi Annelie, and welcome to the forum. Could you post a picture or two of the plant? Some leaf loss is going to occur. Usually the oldest ones at the base will get used up by the plant, shrivel and yellow. Leaf loss throughout indicates a more serious situation. Most new growers (speaking from my own horrid experience) overwater their first orchids. The roots drown, and the leaves follow their demise because roots are not sending water to the leaves. Phal roots need air and they must be allowed to become nearly dry. Orchids purchased at a grocery store are often potted in sphagnum moss. The moss stays way too wet for too long and the roots rot. Does this sound like the situation? Joe

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    anneliebrewer is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you - the leaves are dying from the bottom - the rest look nice and green, there seems to be some moss - not much - should I repot the plant?

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    I agree, check your roots. The sphagnum thing is common, they pull the plant out of its old container and shove it into a larger pot filled with fresh potting materials and you water the plant too much for that ball of spag. in the middle and the roots rot off while the plant stays looking nice on the outside. By the time new growers realise there is a problem its too late and you are left thinking you killed it because it looked fine when you bought it. A nice skewer stuck deep into the potting mix for 5-10 minutes will tell you true....after removing place to your cheek, wet-dont water, cool and damp-dont water, dry-water. It's about the only way with phals unless you bring them home and completely repot even if in bloom or bud. You will lose flowers but not the plant.
    Good Luck
    Connie

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by anneliebrewer View Post
    Thank you - the leaves are dying from the bottom - the rest look nice and green, there seems to be some moss - not much - should I repot the plant?
    I am sorry Annelie, but it is difficult to say without seeing the plant.

    Most of the experienced growers here repot their plants into an orchid mix as soon as they can to get them out of the sphagnum. Look at the roots. If all that is left is something that looks like wire, the roots are dead. If the roots are mushy, they are going to be dead soon. If the roots are firm, the situation is quite hopeful. Go to the following link. There are a number of helpful articles there such as "Common orchid mistakes beginners often make, and how to avoid them".

    Orchids - River Valley Orchidworks - Care and Cultivation Guide

    Also, pictures help. See this link.

    OrchidTalk Orchid Forums - Grow Orchids! RVO Help

    Write back and let us know how you are doing. Joe

  6. #6
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    If it was store bought, it probable has styrofoam as the majority of the medium, in double plastic pots, and covered in sphangus moss. This is a bad long term enviorment.

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    anneliebrewer is offline Junior Member
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    thank you all - after talking to you I took the plant out of the pot and it had styrfoam and peat moss, the roots are soggy - I took out all the moss but hope the plant may survive. Why do the growers pot the plants that way - surely they must know it will kill the plant eventually. Now than to all of you I know better. Thank you again for your help

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    The sellers want to sell lots of plants. If one you like dies and you thought it was something you did and you want to try again, would you buy another plant? That is a possible reason for the 'packaging'.

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    You should know Annelie, I started out with a gift orchid. Now I have 25. They kept showing up. My wife asked if the phalaenopsis' were grex polygeminus 'Tribble'.

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    I have learned to always repot my plants. Growers, especially the big commercial wholesalers that sell to big box stores and garden centers, use a very water absorbent medium in order to save on water. Unfortunately it is not good for the plants root sytem for a long period of time. All of the orchid that I have lost were due to root rot. Good luck! Once you figure it out it is the greatest hobby you'll ever have!!! I'm at about 40 orchids in 6 months!!!

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