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Poor rootless phal

This is a discussion on Poor rootless phal within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; So I have a NOID white phal that I purchased about a year ago from ...

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  1. #1
    Laura81 is offline Orchid Wrangler
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    Default Poor rootless phal

    So I have a NOID white phal that I purchased about a year ago from the grocery store. I repotted this plant immediately into orchid bark mix because the bark it came in was extremely broken down, nearly a soil-like consistency in the middle. Obviously, the phal's roots were not in good shape. I had to cut off the majority of them as they were rotten. It only had about three decent roots at that time.

    Over the winter it put out 4 aerial roots, which are about 5-6 inches long now, and a keiki. Today I took it out of the pot to examine the roots below the surface. Unfortunately, it has not grown any new roots. I can tell from the leaves that the plant is somewhat dehydrated, so I have been misting the aerial roots several times a day with a very weak fertilizer (1/8 strength) solution. I have also been watering every 5-6 days with 1/4 strength 20-14-13 fertilizer alternated with plain water. It still has all the leaves it started with, and the crown seems OK.

    Is it possible to soften up the aerial roots by soaking to try to get them down into the media? I don't think the phal will get enough moisture from the misting alone. Or do you think a rooting hormone would help things along? If photos would help, let me know.

  2. #2
    Gilda is offline "Master of the Moth and Phrags "
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    Your phal is dehydrated . I would not mist the roots with fertilizer several times a day... mist only with plain water. I personally do not like bark mix for phals..especially near rootless phals. I find it too drying.
    I have moistened aerial phal roots and and put them in the medium. Some will say they willl rot, I did not find this to happen. I grow semi hydroponically now ,and if I had to switch to another medium it would be loosely packed sphagnum moss with broken styrofoam peanuts mixed in and at the bottom of the pot. Pot size is important too, with little to no roots , a 4inch pot might be too big. Pot for the root size not the leaf size. Good Luck !

  3. #3
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    cindiras is offline Senior Member
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    You might want to go without any potting medium for a while. Soak your phal's aerial roots in tepid water for up to 10 minutes a day to give them a chance to soften and absorb water. Put the phal back in its empty pot until the next day. The daily dunk can get to be a tireing routine, though. So, take your phal out of the medium for one of those 10 minute soaks, check the medium in the pot for dryness and rot, change if it is breaking down. Set the phal on top of the medium in the pot, add a stake of some type to fasten the phal to. Don't bury the base of the phal in the medium, just have it touching the top. That is why it is important to have a stake to fasten the plant to. They seem to need to be firmly fastened to something before they put out roots. For watering, I hold a cup of water under an aerial root and dip it in for a few minutes for the ones I have that don't have roots in the medium.

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