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Help! Dead Roots on Mini-Phal (and orchid Newbie)

This is a discussion on Help! Dead Roots on Mini-Phal (and orchid Newbie) within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Help! I just tipped over my mini- phal while I was watering and noticed that ...

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  1. #1
    jburd is offline Junior Member
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    Exclamation Help! Dead Roots on Mini-Phal (and orchid Newbie)

    Help! I just tipped over my mini-phal while I was watering and noticed that almost all the roots are dead! They are gray, dry, and shriveled!

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    I am very new to orchids, but this plant looks extremely healthy above ground! He's even working on new leaves. I water all my orchids weekly and I allow my mini's to sit in water for a few minutes to ensure that it soaks the substrate. I fertilize with a urea-free fertilizer weekly at a rate of 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. I got them back in May and I have been researching so much so that I can take good care of them! What am I doing wrong?

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    hank3443 is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Jess, Not sure I can help but I have mostly miniature phals. and most of them are in clay pots but not all, I've had a hard time with
    timing my watering and potting mix but I definitely water more often then once a week even with pure moss, depending size of pot. I
    would water a little more often, if in doubt pull plant and check. I hope will help you Hank........

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    cgorchid is offline Junior Member
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    Hi Jess - I have several mini phals. and I have killed my fair share for sure. Mine prefer to be on the dryer side as not to rot the roots. They also prefer to be kept warm. I have all mine in clay pots planted in moss. I have tried several locations in and around my home and greenhouse as well as outdoors. The ones in brighter light did better than those in lower light. Because our environments vary, check your plants before you water. Don't assume because it has been a week that you must water. Timing is only a guide. If there is no air circulation or low light you will have to water less often than one located in breezy warm conditions. To me your roots seem like they are killed from over watering. But what confuses me is that your medium is still new, I see no breakdown. Did you just re-pot? Are there any healthy roots?

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    jburd is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks Hank! They came to me in a ceramic pot with no drainage holes. I repotted them in plastic hydroponic pots with LOTS of air holes. I thought they would be happy to breathe, but maybe this little one would prefer to be moist. =( I removed the dead roots and there are some (few) live green roots remaining. My other mini's that I repotted at the same time look great (growth & roots). It's pretty dry in the house when the heat's on . . . should I water every other day or so? What else can I do to help this little plant recover?

    ---------- Post added at 04:51 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:50 PM ----------

    Oops, forgot to mention that I repotted in July. =)

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    hank3443 is offline Senior Member
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    I water about every other day when inside under lights, it gets pretty warm but I do check by weight. Mine are still outside so
    I have to gauge it by the weather, during hot weather I water every day and my mounts (2) times a day, but not when under lights.
    You can also put some moss on top to try to keep them moist. Also when inside mine are over trays of water and I also us a mister during the day.

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    Most of the roots look dead to me. I would pot it in clay pebbles and keep it somewhere warm and humid. My orchids love to be potted in clay pebbles. I had a few orchids in poor condition and they successfully recovered after repotting. I kept some of them in my old fish tank with a small fan installed inside and it worked great. I still keep my Schillerianas in it

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    jburd is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks again Hank and Aneta! =D I saw something about the "Sphag and Bag" method online and thought that might be a good one to try. It sounds similar to the clay pebbles, although the clay sounds much prettier and more practical! I put him in a glass vase with glass beads and sphagnum moss. I covered it all with a clear plastic bag and placed it on a humidity tray on a sunny windowsill. I hope that will help him recover and make more roots . . . any thoughts on this method, good or bad? I think I found one root that didn't look too rotten =(. He was in pretty sorry shape when I got him, but the other mini that I got with him is thriving. Not sure what this guy is trying to tell me. =/

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    jburd is offline Junior Member
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    I just realized that I forgot to thank Cindy for responding too! I couldn't find any good healthy roots on him, but I found a few that weren't squishy, so I thought I'd give him a try. Today I found fungus on him though and I bought some fungicide, but I think he's probably a gonner =(.

    One of my large phals finally dropped his blooms today so I went to repot him and found that he is also suffering from root rot! I planted them all in clear hydroponic pots with a phalenopsis bark mix so I could see the moisture and root health. I thought I was actually UNDER-watering everyone at times because the mix looked so dry! Where they are is definitely lower air-current, but it gets ok light in the morning. The past several week it has been very cloudy though and I wonder if that has some affect on them =(.

    I realize that these are my first Phals and that I will make mistakes, but I don't want to lose all of my little guys ='(

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