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newbie trying to save phal...did I do everything right?

This is a discussion on newbie trying to save phal...did I do everything right? within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello! I'm new to this forum and new to orchids. Sorry this is a long ...

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  1. #1
    duckblue is offline Junior Member
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    Default newbie trying to save phal...did I do everything right?

    Hello!

    I'm new to this forum and new to orchids. Sorry this is a long post!

    I got a phal last year that eventually died from root rot after I realized it was packed in sphagnum moss and I also watered it too much...learned my lesson! A month ago I got another phal as a gift. I went to check the roots immediately, the poor plant had a serious case of root rot (sphag packed again!) despite having beautiful flowers on a double spike (was probably its way to try to save itself...wonder whether "cheap" growers do that in purpose to sell flowering plants, but I disgress...).

    Anyway, I repotted it right away in pine bark, although I made the mistake not to cut out the dead roots. I put charcoal at the bottom of the pot, and the whole pot on a rock sitting on gravel covered with water (the big flat rock prevented the pot from touching the water). I soaked the whole plant and pot in water and then drained it and didn't water after that except than occasional misting on the roots. I was keeping a close eye on the roots and there was no further rot.
    2 weeks ago one of the bottom leaf started to yellow and eventually died. The flowers also started to wilt. So I placed the whole thing (gravel and pot) inside a loosely closed plastic bag to increase the humidity level around the pot (another leaf was looking wrinkled).

    Two buds started to appear on the spike, so today I've tried drastic measures to try to help the plant instead of letting it kills itself with too much flowering.

    I unpotted the whole thing, cut all the dead roots with a clean knife after misting the roots to see what was live or not. As I suspected, only one root is left, it's about 1 inch long. That root was initially much longer but the long part died and only that 1 inch was firm and green so I trimmed it. It looks like there's a tiny bud also beside the area where the spike came out, so I'm hoping this is a root bud. I dipped the whole root area in rooting hormone gel.

    As hard as it was, I also cut the spike down close to where it started, to try to give the plant a rest and a chance to grow roots before exhausting itself making flowers.

    Anyway, because of the tiny root I moved it to a much smaller pot. I don't have sphagnum so I put charcoal at the bottom and loosely packed pine bark (drained after being soaked in water) in the pot and sat the plant on top, the bottom leaves resting on the opening of the pot. I put the whole thing once again on my rock that sits on gravel + water. Then I placed everything inside a big plastic bag. I closed the bag loosely at the top. The leaves are not touching the bag. The whole thing is sitting in a chest of drawers in my bedroom, south-east exposure, no direct sun, a little away from the window to try to reduce the light level a bit (it's still bright though). The temp is around 20C during the day, humidity in the bag right now is 75%. I'm planning to leave the bag open at night when the temp is lower (we lower the temp at nights).

    Did I do things right? Is there something I should change? Is there something I should do on top? Do you think there's a good chance my phal will be saved? There are 3 leaves right now, and only a 1 inch root

    Sorry for the long post, but I want to make sure I'm doing everything possible to save this plant...

    thanks for your help!

  2. #2
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    Gin
    Gin is offline Senior Member
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    Sounds like you have done a very good job with it , The only caution I have is to be careful of rot if you do any misting , especially the crown area .
    I bet the nub is the start of a new root . If I have one in trouble going send it to you Gin

  3. #3
    duckblue is offline Junior Member
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    Default thanks!

    Hi Gin,

    Thank you so much for your reply! I'm just so anxious about this plant, I hate when plants die on me. Thanks for your imput re: misting. What I meant, is that I don't mist the leaves to avoid any water in the crown, but I very slightly misted that tiny root instead of watering the plant. The root was pale green so I knew it was OK and the plant didn't need more water than that. That was before I re-potted again today, but I'm planning to do the same thing if necessary.

    BTW, I just checked and the humidity dropped around 58%, I guess it's good for the night but maybe I need to seal the bag better during the day?!?

  4. #4
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    Gin is offline Senior Member
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    I forgot to say.... Welcome to the forum I don't think I would seal it too tight it needs air flow , when bagged the enemy is rot . Gin

  5. #5
    duckblue is offline Junior Member
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    Default thank you!

    thank you for both the welcome and the advice.

  6. #6
    duckblue is offline Junior Member
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    Talking IT WORKS!

    Hi everyone,

    Just wanted to post an update because it's thanks to you all that I saved this plant (after posting here and reading many other posts): the little bud that I thought was a root bud is indeed one and recovering very well, it grew a bit and now has a very bright green end typical of healthy roots.

    I didn't loose any more leaf so this phal is staying in its warm cosy environment until I get a good root system...

    My advice to other newbies like me: try the bark with a huge tray of water underneath the plant, making sure the pot doesn't touch the water, and wrap the whole thing loosely in a big transparent plastic bag. For me, I find a little less stressful to do that than using sphagnum because I know for sure the roots are definitely not in contact with water. As long as the humidity is high and the temp is warm (helps with the humidity too) there's a good chance your phal will recover!

    My first phal died, I tried to rescue it but it was too late, so I'm so excited about this one!

    Thank Gin for your help!

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