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Absolutely NEW to Orchids and YOU all

This is a discussion on Absolutely NEW to Orchids and YOU all within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello everyone! I've spent the past several hours combing through the web to learn about ...

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  1. #1
    Kerriwyn is offline Junior Member
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    Default Absolutely NEW to Orchids and YOU all

    Hello everyone! I've spent the past several hours combing through the web to learn about orchids. I came across this board and have been reading many posts here. I have to say you all seem so very friendly I'm quite encouraged that I will be received warmly and given lovely advice. Thank you for allowing that feeling of welcome before ever having even spoken to one of you!
    My name is Kerri, I'm 30 years old and live on Long Island, NY. I wanted a new plant for my bathroom as the aloe I had for years and years got destroyed, unfortunately, this last Autumn while we had a lot of work done at the house. I did all I could to save the poor thing, but it received a lot of damage and, unfortunately, the new window in my little bathroom doesn't have a sill for it to sit on. Thus, a lack of direct light was the final straw. (Don't you HATE throwing away a plant? And even worse, watching it die? I donno, I had this thing for 15 years and it just finally died from root rot). Okay, so ANYWAY, lol, given that my home has VERY little direct light(it faces south east and has a HUGE silver-maple tree dominating not only the front yard but pretty much the whole area of the street here.
    The bathroom I am speaking of is on the second floor in the back of the house, thus, it faces north-west. It doesn't have shade issues from the tree, but, as I mentioned it does not have a place for to put a plant to receive direct sunlight. I kept seeing these gorgeous orchids at the grocery store and very much wanted to get one, hoping to put it on on the top of the toilet-tank where I had my other plant. I had read the plant tags on the orchids and they all seemed to say that little sunlight is required, indirect at most. That was perfect for me. However, I have a cabinet that I installed over the toilet about 3 feet above, so I had to wait until I found a plant that appeared to fit in the space. Last week I lucked out and saw a lovely double spired? specimen and brought it home.
    Go figure! It did not fit there! LOL. However, I just moved some things off of my sink and placed it in the corner there. It looks to fit well, is not in any direct sunlight and should be happy. (I hope).
    Wow, this is a long post. The saga of Kerri's orchid. I maybe should get out more. Right, digressing won't make this any shorter. So.
    Anyway, did my research, as I said, and it turns out I have a Phalaenopsis Orchid. A Phal? Apparently they're rather common and very easy. From what the web tells me. This plant, I don't know if its one or two plants, actually. I thought it was two, because it has two stems, both of equal height, both full bearing flowers...yet, there are only four leaves on the whole thing...so I donno. It's in a pot, I donno how big...big enough. It seems to be in appropriate media (things that would grow on trees) and the roots that I can see appear nice and healthy. The flowering spires are about 2 feet tall each. They're about halfway full of bloomed flowers with the other half full of buds. One stem even has another branch growing from it which appears to have little nodules of buds-to-be, if I guess correctly. So, all's well, right?
    Well, see I donno. I noticed, right away, when I got it home, the care tag said water well but infrequently, letting the plant's roots almost completely dry out between watering. It said the plant should NEVER be saturated for any continual length of time. Which told me, given that the plant WAS saturated when I got it, that it was already over-watered. I've not watered it yet and it still seems pretty heavy, never having had orchids, I'd just have to guess at the fluid level to be around 35% at this point.
    So, this large, showy, beautiful plant has 4 large leaves. They were full and felt well, but one was yellowing. In the past week it has gone from yellowing to completely yellow. Yes, it is a bottom leaf and I've read on your forums here that it is normal for these Phals to drop their leaves in this manner. What worries me though, of course, is the fact that this plant, so large, with TWO spears of flowers in bloom, should lose one full quarter of its foliage! I do not see any signs of other leaves turning yellow...
    Can you tell me if this is okay, and is it, as I suspect, a result of the plant having been over saturated while at the store? Should I pluck the leaf, or let it be? What to do?
    The plant is not in transparent container (which is good, I'd not want one for that room) but, converserly I can not see down into the root system to check for rot of any sort. Nor am I up to the task of trying to unpot it to check. Not while its in the bloom anyway. Would seem too risky.
    So, what do you all think/suggest? The room I have the plant in is somewhat small, but it does have mechanical ventillation via a vented exhaust ran in the ceiling. It IS directly under the vanity lights, about 4 feet below them, and these are 3 60 wat bulbs, however, the lights are only on MAYBE 30 ms a day and that is dispersed throughout the day.
    Okay, that's it for now. All that to solve the mystery of one yellow leaf! I've got to get some new batteries for my camera, else I'd just have posted a picture of the plant in situae and been able to edit this post to three sentences. Sorry, been lamenting all WEEK about those batteries. Will definitely have that for next time though.
    Thanks very much for reading and any advice you can give. I look forward to learning lots of great information from you. I'm feel quite different about this orchid plant thing then I ever have any other house-plant, I have to say. I never spent hours researching any other plant before, nor composing a speech! LOL So, I guess I found the right place.

  2. #2
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Hi Kerri,

    I would guess the leaf (being the bottom one as you state above) is just going through the natural phase and will die off completely. When it is ready to be removed, it will come off easily. If you cut it off, you will need to seal any 'wet' area where you made the cut to keep your orchid from getting an infection.

    Get some batteries and post up a photo for the most accurate advice, but it sounds like you know what is going on with this orchid. If the orchid is in full bloom now (no more buds) you can unpot it and try to disturb the roots as little as possible if you fear there is root rot, but if the other leaves remain healthy, and firm, it is just normal leaf die off.

    Great to have you join us.

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    Hi Kerri...I am a former LI person...Massapequa...
    Sounds like you bought a healthy Phal with 2 spikes. What is it planted in bark or moss? One really needs to be careful with moss for too many times it is overly packed in the pot and doesn't allow enough air room for the roots to survive and it won't dry easily causing the roots to rot and the leaves to die.

  4. #4
    sadie's Avatar
    sadie is offline Senior Member
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    Hey there. I'm with the above posts. A picture would be great, just to be sure. The only thing I would add to the above--if you loose another leaf in the near future, I would say you definitely have root rot.

    Welcome to the forum. As you have already noticed--it is a friendly group of orchid lovers. We always love to see new faces.

  5. #5
    JoeW's Avatar
    JoeW is offline Senior Member
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    Hi, Kerri, welcome! Check out this page for some "comfort". I have found this advice very helpful.
    Orchids - River Valley Orchidworks - Care and Cultivation Guide
    Best regards, Joe

  6. #6
    Kerriwyn is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks to you all. I was just worried that such a large plant should only have 3 leaves...also, assymetrical when this one falls off. I donno. I guess that's okay though.
    It's planted in what appears to be...dead flower blossoms of some sort. Sounds weird, but looks appropriate, from what I've read. They normally grow in the detrius of tree limbs, right? So then, little decaying flowery things would seem right. Stuff is very light and airy, like fluffy saw dust, only, it's not sawdust. I donno. I'll post some pictures when I can because I've questions on the plant but don't want to write any books, nor do I really understand the answers a lot of the time. I think in this case pictures to illustrate things are really helpful. Should be able to get some up next week. Thanks agian!

  7. #7
    ang709's Avatar
    ang709 is offline Loves 'chids
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    Hi, Kerri, and a belated welcome. From your description it sounds like your phal is growing in sphagnum moss. That's normal; most times when you purchase one it will be growing in sphagnum moss or in bark. Sphag holds water longer than bark, but many stores not specializing in plants seem to be unaware of or just ignore that fact and end up overwatering. It's no wonder it was so wet when you got it.

    Yes, often times pictures do help when you have a specific question.

    And as far as any questions, yes, everyone here is friendly and helpful, so feel free to ask away.

  8. #8
    GrumpyBear is offline Senior Member
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    i would try not to worry too much at this point (i know, it's so tempting to dote on them...), it sounds like the store wasn't watering properly (very common) but all you can do now is water on a good schedule and even if just a few roots survived (very likely) the plant will be fine and put out a bunch of new roots in no time.
    btw, it's one plant, they can just grow several 'spikes' of flowers.

  9. #9
    Kerriwyn is offline Junior Member
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    The leaf fell off on it's own. Now there are three. They're big and healthy though. Okay, so here are some pics. I have a few questions.
    Alright, I guess my FIRST question is going to have to be: How do you post pictures on here? The Insert Image link just dings at me and does nothing?

  10. #10
    Kerriwyn is offline Junior Member
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    Yes! I figured it out. It was being blocked with pop-up blocker. Okay, so maybe now I can post the pictures and then my questions...let's see...



    Alright, so my questions are:
    1. See those little branches coming off about halfway up each spike? How'd they get there and what is thought about them? Are they good?
    2. Where are these "nodes" I'm supposed to cut back at once the blooms are pretty well spent? Can you describe like, inch wise from the top end of these spikes where to cut?
    3. You can see (I hope) that there are yet to be opened buds on these spikes. A couple have opened since I have gotten this plant and their blossoms are much smaller than those already on the plant. Is this normal, if not, what is causing the diminutive size? I figured that they would stay closed until the right size was reached and then they would open up and be the same as the others, but that appears to not be the case.
    Hmmm. No preview for the post? I donno if the pics and all are going to show up like I hope. Oh well, here's giving it my best shot!
    Thanks for all the help!

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