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Dying leaves, what is the cause

This is a discussion on Dying leaves, what is the cause within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello, I am new to Orchid growing and have just transplanted a few plants. These ...

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  1. #1
    Azal is offline Junior Member
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    Default Dying leaves, what is the cause

    Hello, I am new to Orchid growing and have just transplanted a few plants. These are small plants with 3-6 leaves each. I have repotted into sphagnum moss, each plant is in it's own small pot and they all sit in a large glass "bowl" filled with rock to hold them in place.

    They have been growing like crazy, no yellow leaves or bad looking roots I can see. I have water every 2 weeks. Currently I can feel that the moss on top is dry but, in the bottom of the container it is slightly damp.

    I just noticed three leaves that are dead/dying. All were on the bottom of the plant, nearest to the root. They all fell off the plant as soon as I touched them. Here are the pics, all three seem to be in different stages of death.

    Can anyone help me figure out what I am doing wrong? Thank you,
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    I'm afraid that looks like rot - take the plant out of the pot and check the roots to see if they are mushy and rotten. Take more pictures of the whole plant and let it dry out if it is wet. It is likely it has crown rot (in the plant, from letting water get in the top of it) or root rot (the roots haven't had enough air and too much water and it is rotting from the bottom up). Unfortunately rot can be hard to stop in Phals. Others will give more advice.

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    Yes, I agree with Carol. Once the roots are not able to take in water, the leaves are used by the plant to keep it going. Once that water is depleted, then the leaves fall off. Let's see the roots... Good luck!

    cheers,
    BD

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    Happy roots make for a happy orchid.

    If you find the roots are rotten (mushy, brown or black) There are ways to encourage new root growth. The phal roots should look whiteish when dry and turn green once they get wet. Phals need to get to the dry point before they get wet again. That is what makes phal roots happy.

    I came across an orchid saying recently:
    Grow the roots and the orchid will follow.

    My orchids have benefited fromthis saying!

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    What type of orchid is this the leaves look similar to my digbanya (probably didnt spell that right).

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    Here are pictures of the roots of all three plants, and then a close up of one root. Many of the roots seem to have dried up to just a thin shell of a root. They don't have any thickness to them.
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    Thank you for the information thus far and I appreciate anything I can do to help these plants survive.

    These are Phals

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    The fat part is alive, the dried up part is rotten and dead, you can cut it off. The fat part won't likely grow again, but the good news is that you do have some root to work with. I would re-pot them into a coarse orchid media (generally I use the bark, about 3/4" and up for Phals). I don't know your climate and watering habits, but it is really dry here and I tend to under water, I add in some sphagnum moss because of that, about 1/4 of my media to hold some moisture. Your Phals need air to the roots and should be watered as soon as they are dry, but not before (or somewhere in that range). Use pots about the size of the root ball, if they are too large they won't dry out evenly and will remain too wet in the middle when the outside is dry. If you use clear plastic you can see the roots, but be sure plastic pots have great drainage too. I often use clay (since I don't over water anyway) with slots or holes in them. Be sure to soak bark, clay pots and sphagnum moss before you use them, if they are really dry they won't take up water well once you put the Phal in them.

    You can spray them with a fungicide to help. If you cut leaf tissue, you can seal the cut with cinnamon, but keep it off the roots, its too harsh for them.

    Keep your freshly potted Phals where there is some medium indirect light to recover, make sure there is air movement and that you keep water off the leaves and crown of the plant. I would recommend using something like Kelp Max in their water when you first water them and maybe even the first few times. I find that is a great root stimulant. Keep the root area on the warm side. You'll want humidity to go with the air movement too. I often soak my Phals for a few minutes or even half an hour to saturate the bark when I water. A sink or a dishpan works great.

    That is my basic Phal rescue protocol, it usually works for me. You might want to let us know where you live, what your climate is like and get a few more suggestions before you re-pot. My answers work for me, others have answers that work for them, it is largely situation dependent. I live in a dry climate and grow my Phals under lights in my living room or in my East window.

    Your Phals re fine drying out on the counter for a couple of days while you get ideas and what you need to work with them, just keep them out of sunlight so as not to stress them too much. They are pretty tough if you avoid rotting them.

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    Thank you so much for all the great information. I live on the east coast of NC. High humidity here...I have them sitting on a table about 3 feet from a door, no direct sunlight. I bought them off the "clearance rack" and repotted immediately, I used a moss that is specifically for orchids. I have only watered every two week, by soaking the plant in water for 5 mins, I put the whole plant/pot under the faucet, then let it dry in the sink for the day.

    I will leave them lying out to dry and tomorrow will try to find the "Kelp Max" and other stuff to repot them.

    Thanks again!

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    In cases of lack of roots I prefer to not pot the plant but leave the roots on top of the soil and misting daily based on requirements until the roots are more stable. Keep in mind that this works for me but may not for you. Soon however if the technique is working for you then you should notice new rooting coming up from what I call the stub (where the roots grow from). Sorry I started calling it this when I had an orchid lose almost every root and it looked stubby lol.

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    I have left the plants out to dry and now all roots seem dry. I am cutting off all the dead roots before replacing in the pots. I have been unable to find the Kelp Max, I guess I will have to order some, but I did find some other "orchid food" that promotes strong root growth. Do you think it is ok to put them back in the moss? or should I use bark or?

    It was mentioned leaving the roots above ground until I see growth and misting.....When I mist does it not hurt to get the foliage wet?

    Thank you.

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