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HELP!

This is a discussion on HELP! within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hi everyone, I need an answer ASAP! I have a Phalaenopsis 'French Spotted' that has ...

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  1. #1
    Quinmutt3's Avatar
    Quinmutt3 is offline Junior Member
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    Unhappy HELP!

    Hi everyone, I need an answer ASAP! I have a Phalaenopsis 'French Spotted' that has been steadily losing leaves (It only has 3 left). At first I thought it was the humidity levels... but just now I took it out of its pot to check the roots and discovered many of them were rotted! The store that sold it to me told me to keep it planted in pure sphagnum moss, but I'm finding that its holding too much moisture ( i only water once a week ) and causing the roots to rot. What I really want to know is, is it ok for me to repot the phal. in a bark orchid mixture for more aeration for the roots? let me know, since i dont know what to repot it into! thanx.

  2. #2
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    Quin - I grow all my Phals in fine bark. I usually just use bark and vemiculite or perlite, or plain bark. My phals are very happy that way. Just be sure to cut away all the rot, let the plant dry a little (an hour or two) while you are soaking the bark to get it ready for the Phal, then pot it up! Good Luck!

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    Hi Quinmutt,

    Sphagnum moss typically takes a *long* time to dry off. Phals do best under consistent dampness but *not* soggy conditions. Figuring out that level of best moisture for optimum growth takes some experience, and you're liable to kill a few plants along the way.

    Phals are epiphytes, and their roots need air. At the nursery here, given our twice-a-week watering schedule, we grow them in a bark mix that's cut 50% with fine coconut husk (CHC). Given our conditions of temps and light, that allows the plants to stay moist enough consistently for best growth while still allowing air to access the roots. You're going to have to do some experimenting to find out what mix works best for you under your growing conditions. Gilda (master of the moth!) grows hers with a different type of mix, commonly referred to as a "mud" mix. It contains no bark, but the elements that constitute it still allow for excellent drainage. Gin, on the other hand, *does* use sphagnum for many of her Phals, but she waters accordingly so the roots don't stay soggy. Diane, in contrast, uses fine bark. Point is, all of these successful growers use the mix that suits their conditions and watering schedule best.

    So, to answer you question, yes, you can repot your Phal in a bark mix that allows for more air to the roots, as long as you realize that you'll need to water the plant more often than you would in sphagnum or mud.

    I always tell new Phal growers to stick a Q-tip down into the medium. If the cotton ball at the end comes up wet, don't water yet. If it comes up just barely damp, go ahead and water. That will at least give you a good starting point to figuring out what kind of watering schedule will suit the conditions under which you're growing your plant. From that point on, you can experiment and adjust according to your location and habits.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for all the advice everyone, im soaking bark to repot my phal. into right now... the climate at my house is just too humid for the pure sphagnum moss. thanks again!

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