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  • 1 Post By OrchidAddict
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Got a sick Phal Bellina in the mail. How to nurse it back to health?

This is a discussion on Got a sick Phal Bellina in the mail. How to nurse it back to health? within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I'm hoping someone can help me rehabilitate my Phal Bellina. I recently purchased my first ...

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  1. #1
    OrchidAddict's Avatar
    OrchidAddict is offline Senior Member
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    Arrow Got a sick Phal Bellina in the mail. How to nurse it back to health?

    I'm hoping someone can help me rehabilitate my Phal Bellina. I recently purchased my first one online. It's a little guy in a 2" pot with three small leaves of very pale green. When it arrived it looked okay, but then I noticed that the bottom leaf was starting to look yellowish after a few days. When I carefully lifted it out of the bark to inspect the roots, I discovered sticky white mold throughout the media. The mold was gluing the bark to the rotting roots, and I had to do a lot of picking and cleaning to tidy up what was salvageable of the roots.

    I got a refund from the seller, and he encouraged me to see if I could save the Bellina. It has one good root left that was hanging in the air upon shipment and was not attacked by the mold. I have repotted it in sterile media and given it a happy environment, but I'm wondering if there's anything else I should do. So far it seems to be hanging on. I've kept it out of bright sunlight to not stress it, but I'm not sure that this is the best course of action...would more sunlight help it? I've been watering it fairly often, since it only has the one root to use, but I'm not seeing any new growth on it. I gave it a very diluted bit of fertilizer today.

    Does anyone have any tips that might help this plant perk up? I'd greatly appreciate it! Thanks so much!

    Smiles, Jenn

  2. #2
    espranch is offline Senior Member
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    Jenn, At this point in time, I believe that you've done all that you can do. The only other thing I would have done, is after picking everything off of the roots, I would have given it a bleach bath. ( nine parts water, one part bleach. )Yes, I've done this before and yes, it does work. It kills fungus and mold. Only a couple of minutes does it, and then I rinse with tepid water. The only thing you can do now, is watch, wait, and DO NOT OVER WATER! Good luck...Betty

  3. #3
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    Thanks Betty! I have never heard of giving a plant a bleach bath before (you can tell I'm a newbie to the forums!). Do you submerge the entire plant, or just the roots? I won't mess with it for now, since it's getting along okay for the time being, but if I need to do it in the future it would be helpful to know the process! Thanks, and hopefully I'll have happy news to report in a few weeks! -Jenn :-)

  4. #4
    espranch is offline Senior Member
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    Jenn, I usually submerge the whole plant. Then, I go over the whole plant with a soft water color brush, making sure there is no more mold/fungus between the leaves or other hard to reach places. After the cleaning,I submerge the plant in tepid, plain water to rinse it off. Then I leave it air dry for an hour or so. Re-pot when orchid is dry. Easy, and it works...Betty

  5. #5
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    Another suggestion - my 2 cents - I use a very dilute mixture of Physan in these situations - it is a powerful disinfectant that kills everything but the plant. I was advised to use it by one of the most experienced orchid expert on this forum - and it works for me. Also, if you'd like me to pm you, I might be able to direct you to some better sources for adding to your collection.

  6. #6
    OrchidAddict's Avatar
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    Thanks everybody!! Maura, I really appreciate the offer for recommendations! I'm not allowed to PM anyone yet because I'm still not a full-fledged member, but once I get my official membership and am allowed to message people, I'll send you a PM. Great advice about the Physan and the bleach bath! In good news, the orchid seems to be rallying. Today I gingerly lifted some of the bark aside, and where there was barely a bump before, there is now a new root that is already 1/4 of an inch long! That explains why I haven't seen any new growth topside...it's working on fixing its roots!

    I really appreciate all of your support! I'm feeling braver and better equipped to deal with orchid dilemmas already!

    Thanks, Jenn

  7. #7
    espranch is offline Senior Member
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    I'm happy for you, Jenn! Soon you'll be an orchid addict like the rest of us...Betty

  8. #8
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    Anonymous, That is a beautiful sentiment. I like the Creator idea! It is nice that you have found security in our world. I have found peace and madness over 50 years of on and off again psychotherapy. Yes at 74 I am still taking medication for what is now a bipolar disorder. I will be on medication for the rest of my life - short as that may be or long. I love all orchids! Phals, Oncidiums, Cattleyas, Phragmepediums (sp), miltonias, and more. Now to your question about phals. I am a newbie, but I read up on orchids in 5 howto books. I am too old to become an expert, but after buying 42 phals all of which were sick when I got them out of a store's trash or the discount shelf for a dollar or two each or free. I have yet to lose any of the orchids, but two oncidiums are near death. My expert with 50 years of collecting orchids and having his own business now, assures me that the plants can be saved. For fertilizer I am using Orchid food 19-31-17 which is a urea base fertilizer. All of the books advise against using a urea base fertilizer. But I find that 1/4 teaspoon per gallon makes my phals thrive. I have a thirty or forty year supply of the food and the company no longer makes it. Probably because of the bad press given to urea. Of my 42 phals, since July, I have had six bud and three bloom. My plants have produced one kieki with two three-inch roots. Underwatering the phals will cause the flowers to fall off the plant. So will overwatering. After the leaves have become dehydrated from too much or too little water, stop fertilizing the plants and use only distilled water until the plant begins to grow or flower again. Then, feed the plant with 1/4 teaspoon of powdered fertilizer per gallon of distilled water weekly. Fertilize three weeks and use distilled water the fourth week to flush the chemicals from the plant and pot. A month or two of just distilled water, drying the medium till the roots are a bright white to avoid overwatering, and then my plants have nearly all recovered. Repot if the roots are dead or dessicated. If the pot is wet, let dry out. Curtis

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