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  • 3 Post By OrchidAddict
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  • 2 Post By tucker85
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  • 1 Post By orchidaddict789
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Possible cold damage or another problem? Pics included

This is a discussion on Possible cold damage or another problem? Pics included within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have a Phal violacea that was shipped to me from the south, and the ...

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  1. #1
    orchidaddict789's Avatar
    orchidaddict789 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Possible cold damage or another problem? Pics included

    I have a Phal violacea that was shipped to me from the south, and the mailman handed me the box so it wasn't sitting outside. All the other violaceas/bellinas in the same box are ok, but this one has started showing strange symptoms.

    The lowest leaf just shriveled overnight...which is strange because the plant has nice roots and is neither overwatered nor under watered. I thought, "I've never seen a phal leaf shrivel overnight, but maybe this phal is just normally shedding its lower leaf." Nope. What happened later was far from the norm. This morning, I noticed some pitted/sunken areas on the undersides of the two largest leaves. And these pitted areas are starting to feel soft to the touch...I'm afraid they're going to shrivel overnight!

    I'm growing it indoors, at 70 deg all day and indirect sunlight with supplemental T8 lighting. It is potted in the mix it came in, consisting of perlite, charcoal, and peat moss (which I plan to switch out of). Roots look fine.









    Any ideas? Thanks for any input!
    Last edited by orchidaddict789; November 18th, 2012 at 07:48 PM.

  2. #2
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    OrchidAddict is offline Senior Member
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    Hey there! I actually had this happen to one of my violaceas too. But in my case the problem was in the packing. The plant had been taped down into the pot, but the packing material was covering some of the leaves and smooshing them into the wet media. They ended up with "damp rot" or "soft rot," (or whatever the term is) on the leaves that were in contact with the media while traveling. It ended up losing three of its leaves, but the others are doing just fine, and a new leaf is growing now.

    This looks like a case of damage in transit. For whatever reason, it looks like the bottom-most leaves on your plant got smooshed during packing or spent too much time in contact with the moist media. I think you have that "soft" rot situation going on here because of physical trauma. The good news is that it won't spread to the newer leaves; it will only affect the ones that were damaged during transit. So once your bottom leaves fall off, you should be okay.

    As long as the roots look healthy, which you say the do, the plant should bounce back. It may take a little longer to recover because of the lost leaves, but I don't think what's going on here is a fatal problem. Just make sure to give it lots of TLC.

    I hope it works out! Violaceas are so sweet!

  3. #3
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    Some of what you've shown is mechanical damage, as Jenn mentioned, and some does look like mesophyll collapse, possibly due to the cold.

    I can telly uou from personal experience that a phalaenopsis violacea will do better if kept warmer than 70° in the daytime.

  4. #4
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    I agree with what Jenn and Ray have said. You'll lose the bottom leaf but that's pretty normal for a plant that has been stressed. The last two pictures look like mesophyll cell colapse like Ray said. It's often caused by low temperatures. I agree with Jenn that the plant will probably improve under the proper conditions. Good luck.

  5. #5
    orchidaddict789's Avatar
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    Thank you, Orchidaddict (nice name), Ray, and Tucker!

    Sorry I haven't gotten back to you guys earlier. It looks like the lower leaf most likely did get smushed (the media was damp when I unpacked it, and there was plenty of packing material placed on top of the plant). Shortly after I took the photo, half of it started turning transparent, so I removed it. The leaf with the mesophyll cell collapse worsened--the "dimples" turned brown and the leaf started yellowing, so I cut off the damaged area, which consisted of nearly half the leaf. Fortunately, the pitting on the other large leaf did not get any worse.

    Unfortunately I cannot turn up the heat any higher in my house for the sake of electricity bills, but I do have the violacea, along with my others, on a heating mat. The ambient temperature may be a tad higher than 70F, but the roots feel much warmer.

    I was so worried about this plant. I'm glad it isn't getting worse, and hopefully the plant will be OK despite its injuries.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by orchidaddict789 View Post
    Unfortunately I cannot turn up the heat any higher in my house for the sake of electricity bills, but I do have the violacea, along with my others, on a heating mat. The ambient temperature may be a tad higher than 70F, but the roots feel much warmer.

    I was so worried about this plant. I'm glad it isn't getting worse, and hopefully the plant will be OK despite its injuries.
    So happy your orchid seems to be recovering! Good job!!

    I see you're concerned about the temps in your place. Have you thought of getting any type of enclosure for your orchids? I see you are in MD, which is just a couple of hours south of me. I bought a small greenhouse over the summer (PM me if you want to know where I got it...it was cheap...only $40!!), and it fits inside my house in a nice corner of my grow area. It's about 6' tall x 3' wide. It's only about 18" deep, so if I push it against the wall, it doesn't stick out very far.

    Anyway, I'd initially planned on using it for seedlings once I get started breeding my orchids, but when Hurricane Sandy came and we lost power for almost a week, I stuck all the orchids in there that would fit to keep them from getting too cold (I took my vandas with me to the place we were staying, and anything that could tolerate cold just sat out).

    I was initially planning on taking it down once we got back, but when we returned I was surprised to see that some of the orchids actually looked happier after being in the greenhouse than before, even though it was cooler in the house. The humidity in there really perked them up! Now that the house is at normal temps, my phals are going absolutely crazy in there! They LOVE it. I've got a few of my species plants spiking, and some small plants that were struggling are now flourishing. It was the best investment EVER. I highly recommend one if you are concerned about temps not being warm enough for your warm-loving violacea. You'll see a difference in rate of growth because of the humidity in the tent and the fact that it catches sunlight and heats up more than the ambient air does outside.

    I zip mine up in the daytime so the orchids can enjoy the heat and humidity, and then at night I open mine up fully so that the orchids get air circulation. Fungus or mold has not been a problem, and the day/night temp differences seem to be encouraging the plants to spike.

    If you have any questions, feel free to pm me! I don't know if it's feasible for you to get one, but I'd highly recommend it! (You can get smaller sized ones too, if a 6' high enclosure is too big. You can get ones that have a couple of shelves and sit on top of a table. I'm just amazed at the results I've seen since putting my phals in the tent! They're SOOOO happy, and taking care of them has become extremely easy.)

    Good luck!! Make sure you post bloom pics of your pretty violacea!

  7. #7
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    Hello OrchidAddict, thank you for your help! I am so sorry I haven't gotten back to you earlier! I got the flu and couldn't do anything for several days, and after I got better, there was so much work I had to catch up with…including watering my 100+ orchids.

    That greenhouse sounds really interesting! I'm glad to hear that your orchids enjoyed living in the greenhouse. I am sure the humidity and warmth does wonders to orchids. I think that would be great for my violaceas, and also my other orchids. I am also a little concerned about some of my mounted orchids. I normally shy away from mounted ones because I know I can't keep up the humidity during the winter, with the dry air and the heating system that makes things worse. But last summer, I could not help buying several mounted species. They were doing quite well over the summer, growing outside with daily hosing, but ever since winter came, I noticed they've started sulking and some of their roots dried up.

    And about my violacea--I'm so happy to say that it is growing! When I received it, I sprayed the leaves with a fungicide that leaves whitish residue on the leaves. Today I was looking at the newest leaf, and noticed a small margin of leaf tissue near the center that does not have the residue. That means the leaf got bigger!

    Here's a pic of it today. The one in question is the one in the middle. Too bad it grew "smaller" because it lost two leaves since I made my first post about the plant. I got the other two a couple of weeks earlier. The one on the right has grown nearly 1" since I got it! All three are line bred indigo violaceas, which are as blue as phals can be.


  8. #8
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    I would be interested in information about this little green house, please.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katherine View Post
    I would be interested in information about this little green house, please.
    Katherine, I'm so sorry I've been out of the loop! My daughter's been sick with the flu for the past week, and I've totally fallen behind with everything. I'll pm you!! You must be so excited for your indigo violaceas! I'm obsessed with everything blue...I've got two Norton crosses (one a violacea and one a bellina) that promise to be brilliant, but they were really expensive as full-grown plants, so I had to buy seedlings. It will be a while before I see blooms from them, but it will be worth the wait, I'm sure! I'm off to send you a message about the greenhouse...

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