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  • 1 Post By Chris in Hamilton
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  • 1 Post By ceh824

Help! Terrible case of roots rot on my phal

This is a discussion on Help! Terrible case of roots rot on my phal within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; ...

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  1. #1
    ceh824 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Help! Terrible case of roots rot on my phal

    Hi everyone. I'm recently back from a ten day trip and someone else has been caring for my orchids while I was gone. In the past couple of days, I've noticed drooping leaves on one of my phals. It's been growing a new leaf for a while and seemed to be doing well, but I took it out of the pot earlier and was met with an upsetting scene of rot. At this point, it only has three roots left. I'm not sure what the conditions were in my absence—the person who was watering them was supposed to follow specific instructions, but didn't leave me records on what they actually did.

    Right now, I have the orchid soaking in warm water and some Maxcorp Liquid Seaweed.

    I'm thinking about using the sphag and bag method to try to save it. The orchid had been in a sphag, sponge rock, and cork chip mixture. Bark has been recommended to me, but I haven't been sure of what to buy.

    I would greatly appreciate any help. Thank you so much.

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  2. #2
    Chris in Hamilton's Avatar
    Chris in Hamilton is online now Senior Member
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    It doesn't look too, too bad Colleen. I'd pot it if it were mine. Just be sure to stabilize it in the pot so it won't flop about if you have to move it or it gets bumped. I was wondering what the white stuff is where the leaves join. Just reflection?

  3. #3
    78Terp's Avatar
    78Terp is online now An Avant Gardner
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    I agree with Chris. It has a couple roots, hopefully the kelp will stimulate a new one soon.

  4. #4
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    Where you have roots, there is hope! The "sphag & bag" method is difficult to use on a large plant. Root rot is a symptom of too much water too long in the pot and not enough air to dry the roots and allow the roots to breathe. Did you loose bottom leaves too?

    I would do a couple of things to get this back on the road to recovery:

    1. Gently remove the yellow material on the base of the plants. This is material from dead leaves. These could be several layers of dead leaves. Sometimes there would be little root nubbins emerging from the growing stem that can't grow further imprisoned by these sheaths. These are also good hiding spaces for pests.

    2. Get a 3" net pot. Layer the bottom and sides with wet New Zealand Sphagnum Moss or high grade Chillean sphagnum moss--this product costs more than what you typically find in home garden stores. If you have a reptile pet store, that's where you can find this product. Reptile people use this moss to raise their pets. Carefully set the plant in the center, and gently stuff more sphagnum moss around the plant's base, allowing the moss to hold it upright.

    My preference is to tilt a Phalaenposis to the side because sometimes water can be captured by the stem. If it doesn't drain and stays moist, it can develop crown rot.

    Place plant in a warm space where it can receive plenty of bright, indirect light, and lots of fresh moving air. Watch the moss and don't water it until the top of the moss feels crispy. When you see or feel that, take it to the sink and water the pot, avoid watering the leaves, until the moss looks hydrated. Return to its grow space. New Zealand Shapgnum Moss, when new, has some anti-bacterial chemistry, but over time, maybe two years at the most, it will provide good moisture. You will see recommendations of weekly, weakly fertilizing, that is a good idea, but with moss, the next time you water should be just water to flush out any fertilize residue.

    Note: I am a sphagnum moss grower. Some people will advise against moss because it stays too wet too long. But using a net pot, growing the plant where it has fresh, moving air will provide consistent moisture to the roots over a longer period of time and it helps reduce the need to water.

  5. #5
    ceh824 is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you, Chris! Yes, the white stuff is just a reflection.

    ---------- Post Merged at 03:05 PM ----------

    Thanks for this advice, Matt. I appreciate it! To answer your question, I expect that I'm going to end up losing one if not both of the large bottom leaves. They're still attached for now, but they look pretty unhappy.

    I removed the yellow material and did find one little nubbin. Hopefully there are more soon. I luckily have both a 3" net pot and New Zealand sphagnum moss here already so I'll go ahead and repot this now. Some follow up questions:

    1. When you say "warm," how warm should it ideally be?
    2. How long would you say I should wait before fertilizing this particular orchid? And am I done with the root stimulator or should I do that again sometime soon?
    3. I previously had this on a plastic saucer to keep things humid (it was in a net pot inside another plastic pot to keep water from pooling at the bottom of the plant). Should I put it back there or leave it off for a while (or forever)?

    My other orchids are in a sphagnum moss, sponge rock, and cork chip mixture so I appreciate the tips on the moss—I'd like to make this medium work for me. Thank you!

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