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Phal Orchid flower browning

This is a discussion on Phal Orchid flower browning within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I have had my Phal under a covered patio (indirect light) within a large screened ...

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  1. #1
    Bandelierbear's Avatar
    Bandelierbear is offline Junior Member
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    Jane
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    Arrow Phal Orchid flower browning

    I have had my Phal under a covered patio (indirect light) within a large screened pool enclosure in SE Coastal Texas for almost 3 weeks. Ad have follow closely on its needs for watering. It was in full bloom when I received it as a gift. I have no clue how long it should bloom, but this past week....a couple flowers have browned/drooped....I pinched them off. the plant looks still gorgeous with many full blooms. I just am wondering if this is NOW normal for the plant's flowering to stop & begin to "slough off". Bottom line...just not sure how long the flowering period is for a Phal. I feel I have done everything I can to help it along, as I received such great input from welcoming members when I first posted in the "Intro Member" section. I only hope that what I am seeing is normal....and not a problem for my one and only orchid. help! Many thanks always....

  2. #2
    Bandelierbear's Avatar
    Bandelierbear is offline Junior Member
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    Jane here again...I Noticed this AM that the stem of the flowers that are drooping and browning were yellow. There are now a couple more doing that. And, at this rate, it will be flowerless soon. And, I found a small leaf at the base that also yellowed. The temps have been in the upper 80's & low 90's due with some rainfall outside of the patio (orchid is under the patio where it gets no rain or direct sun) that we have had in the last couple days. I did water it a week ago & gave it its first "weak" application of fertilizer a week ago. And it is still very, very moist after a week. I hope I didn't overwater it this time! Maybe it is the fertilizer? I used 1/2 strength of the 30-10-10 Orchid Grow by Miracle Grow.....giving last week its first application after having what seemed to be a happy plant for 3 weeks. When it was initially and briefly in the house (where there was very, very poor natural lighting in 72 degree temp), I had to water every 4-5 days. Now, that it is outside, while the humidity is much greater (today noted at 65%), I am finding it to stay much damper for much longer. Although it marks a week today that I last watered it, I don't dare water it today and doubtful for the next few days ahead. This morning, It is overcast, and I am setting it out a little more in the forefront of the patio (maybe more natural light? again, it will not be direct sunlight) with a pedestal fan (way off on the other side of patio) turned on to circulate the air a bit. This is a plant that my son gave me for a gift. I asked him if he got it at the grocery store florist, and he said yes. It appears to be sitting in a little sphagnum moss. I can't see anything else besides that and its roots. I can't manage to even loosen it out of the container when I tug to pull it out to view. So, I don't tug anymore .It's almost as though seems it were tightly fastened to the inside base? I know nothing yet about repotting but would be reluctant to do so at this point....don't wish to stress the plant? Based on what I've read, I figured I would have a longer blooming period with this Phal, but then again....who knows how long it had been blooming at the grocery store before my son brought it home to me? In the meantime, until I hear from someone, I am trying to read any threads on Phal care, etc in the forum. Maybe this is nothing...I hope so. I believe I should be worried if more leaves yellow at the base, yes? All the other leaves appear healthy. Needless to say, I will continue to give updates....and trust I am "making much ado about nothing"!

  3. #3
    cucubirds is offline Senior Member
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    I understand your concerns about your phal. That what had happened to me when I started growing phals.

    The flowers drop & wilt could be due to sudden change in growing environment( from flower shop to your place). Another possible reason is your phal has passed prime blooming period & are now old & aged. Either case don't worry coz if you can grow it , it will reward you with beautiful bloom in times.

    My concern is sphagnum moss. You have to be very careful about watering. Moss retains moisture more than any other potting mix. It is very easy to overwater for a newbie. Remember overwatering is the no 1 killer for orchids especially potting in moss. Overwatering or extended wetness can cause yellowing leaves & root rot.

    You should take it out asap & repot in fresh potting mix. During repotting , trim any mushy,soft & brown roots. I would suggest you go with bark chips with a thin layer of moss on top of potting mix. Below is the article on repotting to have a look:
    http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...laenopsis.html

    Then keep in bright shade. Sparingly water in the morning till you see sign of new roots. Don't expose it to rain or direct sunlight after 11 am. Water again when it is slightly dry out.

    Good luck

  4. #4
    Bandelierbear's Avatar
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    Thank you so much, Cucubird, for your response. I am beginning to feel rather stupid. Before I received your post, I had been reading the thread, Phals in Moss, within the Phal Info forum (part of the FAQs category. I then watched Bruce's excellent video on 'How to Repot. Phal Orchid'. After going over all that, I immediately realized that as nervous or apprehensive as I was as a newbie, I needed to pull that orchid out and check out what was going on. Much to my dismay, everything I read was confirmed regarding spag moss retaining excessive moisture and root rot. Live and learn, live and learn! And, then, I pulled up your post to affirm what steps I clearly needed to take next. I guess I was afraid I might hurt my little Phal. I had a difficult time pulling it out of the cover container, as the roots were going through the drain holes at the bottom. I will have to secure the supply list and may not have everything until tomorrow or possibly even Thursday....so, I hope I won't be too late. in the meantime, I have cut away all the rotted roots, drilled some air holes up and down the sides of the clear pot (there are already holes in the bottom), and placed it on a slatted base where some of the roots that have come through the drain holes can hang freely between the slatted planter shelf. If that is not enough to make a difference, please let me know? I.E.....should I pull out as much of the sphagnum moss as possible and just let it sit in that clear pot until I can get all my supplies (bark, charcoal, perlite or scoria, a new pot, etc). Here are some photos I took thus far of "freeing it" out of that second container it was STUCK so very tightly in! Thank you again for all your help and the outstanding reference article on repotting. I am learning not to be so timid with my orchid! And, I am most grateful to have this wonderful forum! Maybe these photos will be helpful to other newbies like me!

    ---- vendor (photo) information removed -see faqs on posting----

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    I will send 2 more pics in my next post.

  5. #5
    Bandelierbear's Avatar
    Bandelierbear is offline Junior Member
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    2 more photos of my Phal.....now resting on a slatted shelf.

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  6. #6
    cucubirds is offline Senior Member
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    Your phal looks healthy but I can see some mushy,brown root in first picture. Just be careful on watering for the time being.

    Still I strongly suggest you to repot when flowering is done to ensure good health of your phal.

  7. #7
    Bandelierbear's Avatar
    Bandelierbear is offline Junior Member
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    , CuCubirds! I have since removed the whole plant from its very tightly packed, wet moss.....cut off any remaining mushy, rotted brown roots and placed it in a slightly larger pot to allow it to air/dry out some. This is only temporary until I can get the appropriate potting media, etc......as I have none of those supplies on hand as a first time orchid owner. Hopefully by taking these steps this week, my Phal will make it!

  8. #8
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    I pot my Phals in large bark - be very wary of fine medium as it can compact and kill the roots. They like a lot of air circulation in the roots (though they can grow in sphagnum moss if cared for properly, but its tricky). I live where it is very dry, so I add a small percentage of sphagnum moss in my pots to hold a little moisture. I don't water a lot (week, ten days or so) and they do great. They are tougher than you might think. Your plant looks very healthy and has a good number of healthy roots left, so don't panic.

    I've had my Phals bloom for a month or more, when they are happy and not stressed, then they start to lose the old flowers towards the plant, very normal. Yours may have bloomed that long already, or it may be a bit stressed from the move. I'm sure you could leave it on the counter for a week and it wouldn't care. Mist it a little maybe, don't let water sit in the crown is all.

    No worries!

  9. #9
    Bandelierbear's Avatar
    Bandelierbear is offline Junior Member
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    Ok, Carolla, and many thanks! I couldn't get the type of bark recommended in my area so I ordered it online. It should be arriving tomorrow. I made the conscious decision to finally move out of the "big city" after 30+ years.....a good hour++ drive. So, that is the price "I pay to live away" out here on the creek with nature!

    I certainly hope that bark coming in is large bark as you suggest? It was recommended for Phals. When you say "large", about what is the size of an average piece? If I am going to repot, I want to do this right! And, then...yes, I will try not to worry.

  10. #10
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    The bark mine seem to like (remember different conditions though) is probably 1/2" and larger. You can always screen whatever you get to remove the fine stuff, then rinse any dust out and soak it for a while before you use it. If you see little stuff in it (the one that I had trouble with had small bark, about 1/4" charcoal, a lot of dust, that sort of thing), then do screen it.

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