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  • 2 Post By Carolla
  • 1 Post By kspalding

Phal lost most of its roots

This is a discussion on Phal lost most of its roots within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; Hi Everyone, I currently have two phals in spike and a third one that looked ...

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  1. #1
    Traci's Avatar
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    Default Phal lost most of its roots

    Hi Everyone,
    I currently have two phals in spike and a third one that looked okay (nice green leaves that are firm, sending out new roots monthly or every other month etc) but I noticed it was starting to lean in its pot. I decided to help it sit up more so I took the medium out to repot. To my shock 90% of its roots were mushy and dead, mostly in the center of the pot. It did have some healthy ones against the clear pot it was planted in which is why I thought it was okay inside.
    This history on the plant is that I purchased it last May at an orchid show and at the time it had monster roots all over the pot, in the inside, everywhere and gorgeous blooms. Once it finished blooming, I repotted it from sphaghnum moss to a bark, perlite, hydroton mix. It sits with the rest of the orchids and is in the same row as the two in spike. I am not sure what I did wrong with this phal because it received the same treatment as the rest. I did cut all mushy dead roots off and I used some physan 20 on the plant and repotted again in fresh medium and this time included some stryofoam packing peanuts at the bottom of the pot to take up space. It still has a wide root base but it isn't as deep as it was pre root loss. I had to put it back in the original pot because it wouldn't fit any of the other. Is this a cultural issue or do some orchids not take to changing their media and thus most of the roots die off and new ones sprout?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    ksriramkumar is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    root rots can happen due to various reasons. good that you have identified and have treated the same. keep a close watch on the roots.

  3. #3
    Catt Mandu's Avatar
    Catt Mandu is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Hi Traci

    I live in Georgia (so warm/hot & humid like Louisiana, maybe more so where you are).

    My experience, in our climate, is that Phal roots do better in terracotta pots. The reason is that the terracotta wicks away excess moisture, something plastic can't do. Plastic net pots also work well (they don't wick, but do dry well). I like to let Phal potting medium dry almost totally before watering again. It sort of depends on the plant, but I find that indoors, in winter, most of my Phals need a good watering once to twice a week, with a nearly total dry-out in between watering. When you do water, really drench/flush the medium (works best in the sink).

  4. #4
    Traci's Avatar
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    Thank you both. I will look for some terra cotta pots. I saw some that had holes drilled in the sides for phals. Maybe this guy is just a little tempermental since he was being grown in a nice green house for years and years.

  5. #5
    Carolla's Avatar
    Carolla is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the change of potting medium (necessary I think in this case) will cause the roots to naturally die off. This is because the roots, as they grow, actually adjust their structure to the conditions they grow in. Any change of conditions at the roots will cause them to fail, either slowly or quickly. However, your conditions will be quite different from that green house, can't be helped. That is why it is recommended to re-pot orchids that are just starting active root growth. It may be a timing issue with re-potting it. That's one reason its a little hard to tell sometimes what causes the roots to go bad.

  6. #6
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    Just keep in mind that airflow is crucial at this point. I find its often better to not pot them until the roots are more sustainable. I usually trick the roots into growing out further by staking plants high enough where the roots sorta touch the soil. Then two or three times a day mist just the top layer of the soil and let the roots seek out the water.

  7. #7
    Traci's Avatar
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    Hopefully he will turn around for me especially with the weather warming up soon And ots of potential for root growth.
    Thanks to everyone for the advice. I had been looking forward to this one coming into spike soon but I guess I will be lucky if it just survives.

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