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  • 2 Post By Dazed
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phal roots shriveling

This is a discussion on phal roots shriveling within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; hi! i bought a phal a couple of weeks ago. it is from a nursery, ...

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  1. #1
    marci is offline Junior Member
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    Default phal roots shriveling

    hi! i bought a phal a couple of weeks ago. it is from a nursery, has three green spikes with one currently flowering, and is in a ceramic pot with bark and a plastic 'riser' in the bottom to be a water well, so no chance of it sitting feet wet. i've been watering once a week, in the range of a cup, but i'm starting to see root shriveling. some are thick and greenish-silver, and some are grey and feel empty. i tried to search on here, but i don't think i know enough to search for the correct terms because i couldn't find anything about shrivelly roots. it gets indirect light, and the leaves look good, and no flowers have dropped so far.

    is this from underwatering? if not, what else could cause it? how do i do a better job? thanks.

  2. #2
    Dazed's Avatar
    Dazed is offline Senior Member
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    Hi again, just responded to the original post briefly. As I mentioned before you need to post some pics for us to give you better help, but it sounds like the roots are dead, and it may be because the plant isn't getting enough water. Now normally I repot mine as soon as I get them because I want to be sure that there is not rotting of roots in the pot. I believe that the pot may be keeping the media too moist, is it one of the glazed type? What kind of media is it in, bark, a mix of bark and something else or clay balls? Basically, if the media is too wet then it kills the roots, then there is nothing for the plant to absorb the water with inside the pot, so the areal roots ( the ones outside the pot) look dried out, and eventually the plant will become distressed, the leaves will get limp, the flowers will blast (die), etc. As scary as it may sound you may have to take it out of the pot to see if there is any root damage and repot.
    The basics: Orchid Growing Mistakes to Avoid | River Valley Orchidworks
    The media:http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...ng-medium.html
    The repotting:http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...laenopsis.html
    Hope I didn't freak you out too much, remember you can ask anyone here for help if you think of any other questions, and there are no dumb questions.

  3. #3
    marci is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    thanks for both of your posts!

    yes, the pot is glazed. the media is bark only. i took some pictures - let me go to the 'how to post pictures' tutorial & i'll try to post them.

    ---------- Post added at 03:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:11 PM ----------

    sorry, i'm horrible at posting photos & i can't figure out how to do it. it says they are too big, and i resized them to 700x700, but it still says they are too big.

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    Well I usually use the basic paint shop program on my pc to reduce the pics. I make them anything less than 500x500 and they fit most times. You can just upload it from your pictures after you edit and save them on you computer. You'll get the hang of it in no time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marci View Post
    thanks for both of your posts!

    yes, the pot is glazed. the media is bark only. i took some pictures - let me go to the 'how to post pictures' tutorial & i'll try to post them.

    ---------- Post added at 03:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:11 PM ----------

    sorry, i'm horrible at posting photos & i can't figure out how to do it. it says they are too big, and i resized them to 700x700, but it still says they are too big.
    Set the DPI (Dots per Inch) to 72. That will allow you to upload the photos.

    cheers,
    BD

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    marci is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    just an update, though without pics.

    i did have the flowers drop, but have a new flower and 4 new buds. i'm soaking once a week or so for 10-15 minutes, and watering about a cup several days later. anyway, by whatever luck, it seems to be working!

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    Good for you Marci and welcome to OT!

    If you want another tip, here ya go: I use a regular spray flask and give all my phals a shower every morning, leaves and air roots. That has solved my watering conundrum and worked a treat in the past 2 years.

    Cheers!
    Laura

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by marci View Post
    just an update, though without pics.

    i did have the flowers drop, but have a new flower and 4 new buds. i'm soaking once a week or so for 10-15 minutes, and watering about a cup several days later. anyway, by whatever luck, it seems to be working!
    Marci, I just saw this thread. I was about to type "It needs more water!" but then I saw this update that you posted.

    I grow my phals exactly like the one you have...in glazed pots with bark. I find that in my climate (Northeastern Pennsylvania), mold and mildew grow like crazy on clay, so I use ceramic pots with the air bases like you have (the little "elevator" thing at the bottom). The glaze keeps the mold away, and the bark allows enough air flow to keep the roots from smothering in a glazed pot. It's a perfect balance.

    I have about a gazillion phals at this point (I'm a bit of a species addict), and any phal in a pot smaller than 6" gets watered about every 3 days or so. When I water them, I take them to the sink and completely drench the bark until the water flows freely from the bottom of the pot. Once the water drains, I put the pots back on their shelves.

    If you have your phal in bark with an air base in your pot, your phal needs much more water than your original ration of 1 cup/week. Even if it doesn't have an air base (my air bases are only in my largest pots), the plant still can't subsist on one cup of water a week. If you think about how they live in nature, they are used to alternating between drenching showers and periods of drying out. The orchid roots need some time to soak in the water that you put in there...if you only give it a little bit, the roots don't get enough to really plump up and soak it in.

    It sounds like you have a good system down now. Before I got really good at knowing when my phals needed watering, I would stick my finger down into the bark and feel how wet it was. I would wait until I could feel just a bit of dampness at the bottom of the pot, and then I'd water. I've found that this works really well, although I was always a bit stressed about the roots on top, because the top of the bark would dry out so much faster than the stuff underneath.

    I see you are adding a cup of water a couple of days after soaking. That's a good way to give your plant a little extra boost. You can also combat the top-dryness by misting the top of the media and any aerial roots in-between waterings. This will give moisture to the driest parts without making the still-wet stuff at the bottom even wetter.

    Anyway, I hope you see great results with your phal. Sometimes we worry so much about overwatering that we forget how much water the plants truly require to keep all of that beautiful foliage going! Someone once told me that there's no such thing as "too much water" as long as your roots are drying out within a reasonable amount of time. If you think of how nature does it, orchids aren't drowning if they get too many rain showers in a day, because the roots are allowed to dry in between. So as long as your roots can breathe and you see that they're not rotting, you can be much more generous with the water.

    Just watch for fungus growth in the bark. I've found that bark is a favorite habitat for what I call the "white fluffies." It's pretty insidious...one day everything looks great, and then, three days later, you've got fuzz all through your bark. The "white fluffies" will attack particularly quickly during a rainy spell or after a couple of overcast days where you're not getting much sun. I would recommend getting some Physan (available online) and keeping it on hand just in case you run into a situation where you see fuzz. Then you can just water with a diluted mixture, and voila...no more fuzzies!

    Anyway, I probably threw way more info at you here than was necessary...lol...I tend to be a babbler...but anyway, I wish you lots of luck. Your orchid should do fine in its ceramic pot with its air base and bark. Keep an eye out for the fluffies, make sure it gets lots of water, and you will have a happy plant!


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