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New Phal owner! HELP!

This is a discussion on New Phal owner! HELP! within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I am not a senior member just a newbee, I had an orchid in that ...

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  1. #11
    maggs is offline Senior Member
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    I am not a senior member just a newbee, I had an orchid in that condition, I cut off the rotted roots carefully with a sterilized scissors, put some cinnamon powder on the cut areas to avoid bad bacteria, put it into some new cleaned moss in a plastic orchid pot, which I put slits on the sides too because there were none, and well I have back my plant so far cause I can look to see how the roots are coming along through the clear plastic(I did not like those pots but I want to see) I also wet it a few days after repotting and not the same day and there after every three to four days a week because of where I live in the west Indies it is HOT here and windy too, it is now flowering too.Try those things and enjoy seeing it growing

  2. #12
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    kerri.rock is offline Member
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    I got Orchid Bark Phal Mix and all they had was 6 in pots so I got those...however, I rescued some orchids today and put them in those pots. I have yet to touch my little flowering guy, I don't want to kill it...I want to figure out if this pot is too big or not...and what I should be doing! I also set up a humidity tray for the new ones. I re-potted and cut the dead roots (which were almost all of them) soaked the plants for a few hours, then set them on the tray. Should I copy that and do it with my little guy?? Thanks!

  3. #13
    Katherine's Avatar
    Katherine is offline Senior Member
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    The pots are way too big for the orchids. Put the orchids back into the plastic pots they came in or the same size, after removing the old medium. Be sure to soak your medium before you plant the orchid. DO NOT CERAMIC! even if it has holes because the roots will grow through the holes and then you will have to break the pot to get the orchid out. Find small plastic pots, you want to give your plant air at the roots. Did you watch the video?

  4. #14
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    kerri.rock is offline Member
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    I did watch the video, the containers they came in had one single hole at the bottom of the pot and this was the smallest pot that I could find, my new orchids are substantially larger than my first one, which I have not yet re-potted. I did however break it out of the ceramic pot to find a small plastic container with plenty of drainage. So should I try to find smaller pots with more holes? Or just leave them be for a while and let them acclimate? I read on a thread that you should put your orchid in a pot it can live in for up to two years...I figured 6 in would be small...

  5. #15
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    OrchidAddict is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerri.rock View Post
    The moss is really wet...I'm worried about rot...the plant is in an east facing window as well...I just want to do as much right as I can to ensure a long healthy life for my orchid!
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    Hi Kerri!! Welcome! Okay, don't panic...we'll get your orchid all fixed up. Your instincts are dead on to worry about rot. I can't tell you how many phals I've purchased from box stores that have been rotting away in their moss. As a general rule, the box stores tend to pack the plants too tightly, and then as the moss begins to compact the roots smother and begin to rot.

    I repot EVERYTHING I get from a box store as soon as I get it home (unless it's really, REALLY happy and in super-amazing bloom...then I might wait until the blooms drop, but I'll still repot it). The important thing here is to find out what you're working with root-wise. If your plant's roots are all rotten, then nothing you do is going to fix the problem as long as the plant keeps sitting in the nasty moss that's smothering it.

    You made a great choice buying bark. Ceramic pots work well with bark and phalaenopsis plants, so you would be fine with the ceramic pot (I think I know which one you were looking at...I have a bunch of them and all the orchids in them are quite happy in their bark and shiny pot with holes). You're going to need to get this sucker out of its pot to find out what's going on. Don't worry about the flowers for the moment...the overall health of the plant is much more important.

    You may need a butter knife to get the moss "unglued" from the sides of the pot it's in. If you give the plant a gentle tug at the base and it doesn't start to wiggle out (my guess is that it won't), you may need to do a little amateur surgery with your butter knife. I usually take the knife and wiggle it down in between the moss and the edge of the pot. Then I go around the edges of the pot, moving the knife up and down until all the moss has released itself from the pot.

    Then hold your plant by the base, give it a little wiggle and a tug. Keep wiggling and pulling until it wiggles out. (You may need some elbow grease here...the moss might still be sticking to the bottom, but don't worry...the plant can handle it as long as you're gripping it around the largest part of the base. You'll know where to hold it when you reach...just don't try to pull it out by its leaves and you'll be fine.)

    Once you've wiggled the plant out of the pot, get all that gunky moss off the roots. Go slowly and be careful...the roots will likely be glued to the moss in places, and if you just rip at the moss you can tear the roots. So very, very carefully pull away the moss and chuck it. Wetting the moss can help you get it off the roots during this step.

    Once your plant is free (hooray!!), take a look at what you've got root-wise. That will help you determine what size pot you will need to put the plant in. If you only have a few roots that are good, you will need to pot it down a size. If you have TONS of good roots, then you will need a similar sized pot. You can actually reuse the pot it came in if you like...just sterilize it first.

    Any roots that are smooshy should be cut off with a sterile (if possible) instrument like a knife or a pair of scissors. It's not the end of the world if it's not sterilized, because you'll be sterilizing your roots anyway in the next step. Leave roots that are brown, but not mooshy, intact.

    Once you've gotten rid of all your nasty roots, soak the roots that are left on the plant in a mixture of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water for about 5 minutes. It will NOT hurt your plant, but it will kill any mold or fungus or other nasties. It's okay if the base of the plant is sitting in the water. No big deal. After 5 minutes, rinse off the parts of the plant that were soaking with lukewarm water and proceed to repotting it.

    Now, with bark, you're supposed to soak it overnight so that it's soft and has absorbed lots of moisture for the plant. Otherwise the bark won't necessarily absorb much water when you water the plant; the water will just run over the outside of the bark and out of the pot, leaving the bark to dry out too quickly. So tonight, take a bunch of bark that's similar to the size of the pot you currently have the plant in, and soak it in plain water. Then do your repotting tomorrow, preferably in the morning, so that the orchid isn't sitting in extremely wet conditions as we move into the cooler night.

    When repotting, simply hold the plant at the level where you want it to sit in the pot, and slowly fill around the roots with the wet bark. Once the pot has been filled, run lukewarm water thoroughly through the pot to settle everything. If your orchid is lacking in roots, it might need stabilization for the time being. This is easy, because your plant is in bloom. Just use the stick that the spike is clipped to to stabilize the plant as it grows new roots. Then, you're done!

    Any flowers that are droopy on your orchid will not last long. But that's okay. You'll get new ones soon enough. When your flowers fall off, snip the spike (preferably with a sterile tool) right below where the last flower was. There are nodes all up and down the spike, and snipping it will trigger the plant to create a new spike from one of the nodes that's below the cut.

    Then just take care of your plant and wait for the new inflorescence. In a few weeks you should have a new flower spike initiating, which will give you a whole new spray of blooms.

    One note: you will need to water your plant more frequently when it's in bark than when it's in tightly-packed moss, especially if you have one of those pots with the air holes. You'll get a feel for how long you can go between waterings. You want to wait until the bark is nearly dry before you water again. The most common cause of death for orchids is over watering, which leads to root rot. If you're not sure whether you should water it, wait another day. It's much harder to kill an orchid by under watering it than by over watering, so don't worry about that extra day.

    Okay, I hope this has helped...feel free to pm me if you need assistance with anything in that ridiculously long post I just left! LOL We'll get your orchid all fixed up. Oh, and don't worry about that bottom leaf that's turning yellow. It will fall off...it's no big deal. The plant will grow new leaves over time, and it's common for orchids to have the bottom-most leaves go yellow. It's when the TOP leaves start turning yellow that you need to worry.

    Okay... I think I'm done now... hehee. Good luck!

  6. #16
    Katherine's Avatar
    Katherine is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks Jenn, and thanks for the bleach tip

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