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What should I do?? My orchid has some weird looking leaves and roots..

This is a discussion on What should I do?? My orchid has some weird looking leaves and roots.. within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; Originally Posted by orchidyeah I've seen somewhere that you're supposed to pre-soak the bark mixture ...

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  1. #11
    Catt Mandu's Avatar
    Catt Mandu is offline Senior Member
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    Cattleyas, Phalaenopsis
    Join Date
    Jun 2012


    Quote Originally Posted by orchidyeah View Post
    I've seen somewhere that you're supposed to pre-soak the bark mixture before repotting.. I didn't know to do this when I repotted. I also saw that if the bark dries out completely, it doesn't absorb water as much as before, and to fix this you let the pot soak for 24 hours. Would this be a smart thing to do or should I just stick to my routine of soaking the orchid for about 10 minutes every 3-5 days? I live in a dry climate with not a lot of humidity, and as of late it's been especially hot. I also have a fan going most of the time so there's a lot of air circulation in the room.
    I will state first that what works for me may not work for everyone, and growing conditions play a big role in terms of what will and will not work. I live in the southeast USA, Georgia, where I grow outdoors at least half the year, then under lights fo the rest of the year. Temperatures and humidity are higher here than in many other places in the USA.

    I never soak my bark before repotting. I also leave orchids for a couple days, or longer, without watering, after I have repotted them in dry bark (this pertains to Phalaenopsis, Cattleyas, and many other epiphytes; there are exceptions). The reason I leave the bark dry is to allow roots to dry in case there were injuries during repotting. The dry period allows injuries to heal over, reducing root loss. Again, this practice works for me. If you live in Phoenix AZ of Los Angeles, where it is drier, or a dry apartment, you might prefer to do something else.

  2. #12
    Carolla's Avatar
    Carolla is offline Senior Member
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    Under Lights
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    Phals, Catts, Onc. Alliance
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    Dec 2012
    Eastern WA State, USA


    Judging from how the plant looks, I would water it more often, or soak it for a while when you water. I live in a dray climate and add sphagnum moss to my Phals (about 1/3 of the potting mix) to hold water a little longer. I tend to underwater and they still get thirsty sometimes.

    What I see of the roots looks good. Water enough to keep them fat... your pot looks dry in the pictures and the funny looking bottom leaf does look like an older leaf that is ready to give up. Your plant should probably hold the older leaves better as it adjusts to your care (and your care adjusts to the plant). Leaning is fine, most of my Phals choose to lean no matter what I do to them! Imagine a big old monster that has 16 leaves, each leaf over a foot long that grows flat sideways in its pot! I think I have a picture... Its a couple of leaves bigger now and has gnarly roots all over. I finally found a larger pot for it and will repot soon, as it just finished blooming two spikes for me! I keep it in heavy pots so it won't fall over. BTW, I soak it every so often in the sink (hardly fits anymore) and then wipe down the leaves and dry them to clean off dust and be sure it doesn't rot.
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  3. #13
    raybark's Avatar
    raybark is online now Senior Member
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    Ray Barkalow
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    Oct 2012
    Buckingham PA


    No need to soak the pot for 24 hours. Modify my earlier commendation, and using only warm-ish water, put the thing in the sink and water it several times at 15-30 minute intervals. Each subsequent watering will allow the bark to absorb a little more water. After a few repetitions, it'll be fine.

  4. #14
    Kauaiguy's Avatar
    Kauaiguy is offline Senior Member
    My Grow Area
    Outside 24/7
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    Cattleyas Challenging to grow
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Kauai, Hawaii


    I agree with all that suggested that it needs more moisture. I also like KSRIR suggestion in using a wooden skewer (or the wooden tip of a pencil) or a digital kitchen scale for monitoring the moisture of a pot.

    A wooden skewer/stick/pencil will turn darker in color when it gets damp, and a kitchen scale will give you the weight of the potted plant in ounces. The problem I see with using a scale is that as the plant grows it will weigh more, so one will have to account for that.

    Anyhow here are three pics of a Dendrobium keiki planted in perlite. Also note that before watering it weighed at 13.62 oz and after watering 15.77 oz. However, I don't use this method as I have over 120 orchids, so can you imagine how long that would take? LOL!

    Phals require a little more water than Cattleyas, so I will water more often. Won't say how often because it depends on your environment. Here in the island of Kauai, it rains almost daily ... so I have to take that into account. Good Luck!

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