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Phal buds failing - not a disease

This is a discussion on Phal buds failing - not a disease within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; here is my two cents, you said its not pests and than you mentioned its ...

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  1. #21
    chemist's Avatar
    chemist is offline Senior Member
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    here is my two cents, you said its not pests and than you mentioned its not mealybugs, did you check for other pests?! I know for sure (had them) thrips will cause bud blast and its not so easy to see them at first especially if they are at young stage. You can ask where they would come from? I dont know. I grow phals on windowsill and last year winter i got them.... im not sure if i introduced any new plants in there but they were there
    this time i have one phal that keep loosing buds... while others are fine. For sure i opened every single blasted bud and looked for suckers but i did not see any, so no answer why on that phal basically all but one out of 5 on each spike (there are 2) got blasted... They stay in same place, my only thing that i dont have time to water as much as watered before so instead of two times a week i water once. but here is strange thing. the phal in question is in 6" pot (big phal so no oversized pot) others are minis in 2-3 inches pots and last ones doing just fine even though you would think they get bone dry between watering and would drop buds due to that....
    so go figure.

  2. #22
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    That is a good two cents worth. AOS has a good article on thrips on orchids. They can cause the kind of damage seen here. They pupate in the medium which is another reason to repot and throw away old medium.
    I keep a couple of butterworts near my African violets which are a magnet for certain species of thrips that attack the pollen. Just recently I believe I saw thrips stuck on the buttowort leaves.

  3. #23
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    I move them not intentionally, but because I have 30 phals growing in two different windowsills, and I take them all out to water at the same time. I don't keep track of which is in which window. I just grab them, and put them back in one of the two locations. When I noticed the newest leaf so much smaller, I moved this from the bright light window to the other window. The bright light window is great for spiking but I'm pretty sure it causes this problems of spiking/flowering outpacing leaves and roots, which has happened with other plants in that window. But it's a great place to successfully flower Phals.

    "putting them in the dark" would mean the furthest location from the darker window setting (deeper, further back, smaller window), which is probably more typical Phal light.

    ---

    I just cut open one of the yellowing buds and examined it with a loupe - I'd say nothing doing bug wise. I've had thrip damage on a Catt and they ran hogwild on my Cymbidium (leaves) this summer. There's no tell tale sign of anything.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by orchidmanmarin View Post
    I move them not intentionally, but because I have 30 phals growing in two different windowsills, and I take them all out to water at the same time. I don't keep track of which is in which window. I just grab them, and put them back in one of the two locations.
    You should be able to solve that problem by taking a picture or better yet tagging your plants for location. Put one tag colour for each window. I have glass shelves in my front room window. All of the plants in that window are tagged as to what shelf they are on and which shelf location. So, shelf A is at the top and there are three sections, 1,2,3. Then shelf B etc. The sill is D. There is a table in front where plants go when flowers start to open. I do run into problems occasionally when a plant has very long spikes.

  5. #25
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    Forgive my frustration, but...

    I can't see how a human being can move 30 plants from two windowsills all at the same time. If the issue is caused by moving them and putting them back in the wrong place then fix it. Only move one window's worth at a time. Seems easy enough to me.

    If you have had a thrip problem then you still have a thrip problem. You won't see live thrips in a dying blossom because they need fresh sap to suck. Once the blossom is almost gone they move on to another fresh blossom which is the place to look for them.

    The AOS article says: "They most often attack buds and new growths with their rasping mouthparts, sucking the plant sap."

    There could also be pests in the medium that are destroying the roots. I am guessing that you do not repot very often if at all. I have frequently found snails and slugs in the pots of orchids that came from the vendor. I have also seen mealy bugs in plants the come from vendors. I remove all orchids from the medium the day I receive them - always. Each orchid and every other plant I have is taken to the sink and inspected at least twice a month. I would find it hard to believe that in a collection of 150 orchids in California that there are no mealy bugs, no snails eating the roots, no slugs or any other kind of pest.

    We do not know if you have a root rot problem which will lead to a gradual decline of the orchid like you are seeing because you do not want to take the phal in question out of the pot. The medium may not be the kind that can break down but rotting roots invite fungus, bacteria and pests which will spread it to other plants.

    You stated at the beginning of this thread that this is a problem with all of your phals ever since you have had them as well as a problem with all of your other orchids. Therefore, it would follow that you are not successfully blooming your phals in any window. Orchids will not kill themselves by over-blooming. There is no such thing. Sometimes if they are going to die they will use the last of their energy to put out a few meager blooms in the hope that a few seeds may survive to perpetuate their genes.

    You have a management issue which has resulted in pest, fungal and bacterial infections which only you can solve.

  6. #26
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    Flower buds also yellow and fall for other reasons. One is traces of ethylene in the atmosphere - not enough for us to be aware of, but for plants, a very different matter. I don't know if you use heating ( sorry if that sounds a daft comment - maybe no-one needs it Cal ?) but if you do, the traces of exhaust gas from the heating appliance, boiler, furnace, whatever, could be the answer. As a child in UK many years ago, before anyone had central heating in UK, we had a a "gas fire" where the flames heated ceramic lattice shapes so that they glowed red and gave off radiant heat. Long before even seeing my first orchid, I couid not grow african violets (saintpaulia) in the house ; traces of whatever in the exhaust gases killed the plants stone dead. Many years later, I set up a new greenhouse for paphs, and installed a so-called greenhouse heater burning natural gas ; My paphs grew each leaf smaller than the last. The annual repotting involved buying a set of ever smaller pots.It took a few years before another orchid enthusiast , also an industrial chemist, gave me the answer. I threw the gas heater away, and put in an electric fan heater - and all was well.

  7. #27
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    It just occurred to me - the each leaf getting smaller than the last - another reason for that is unsuitable water. I had it once after moving house, only ten miles, thought the water was the same - but it was not, it was contaminated with run-off from fields where farmers used massive doses of nitrogen growing cabbages. I switched to RO, and bingo , six weeks later the width of the leaves doubled - the new growth - not the part already grown - so dramatic , almost unbelievable. Leaves ( phally ) half grown, ended up very strange. The older half towards the tip, then suddenly twice as wide going back to the leaf root.

  8. #28
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    How about a salt based water softener?

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by 78Terp View Post
    How about a salt based water softener?
    A definite no-no with orchids, I'm told, although some phal species grow in places where they get brine splashed. It should also be remembered that this kind of water treatment does not remove lime from the water, but merely converts it into a form where scale doe not appear - but the total ionic content can still be way too high.

  10. #30
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    Default This must be it...Bud Blast

    Quote Originally Posted by sciencegal View Post
    Forgive my frustration, but...

    I can't see how a human being can move 30 plants from two windowsills all at the same time. If the issue is caused by moving them and putting them back in the wrong place then fix it. Only move one window's worth at a time. Seems easy enough to me.

    If you have had a thrip problem then you still have a thrip problem. You won't see live thrips in a dying blossom because they need fresh sap to suck. Once the blossom is almost gone they move on to another fresh blossom which is the place to look for them.

    The AOS article says: "They most often attack buds and new growths with their rasping mouthparts, sucking the plant sap."

    There could also be pests in the medium that are destroying the roots. I am guessing that you do not repot very often if at all. I have frequently found snails and slugs in the pots of orchids that came from the vendor. I have also seen mealy bugs in plants the come from vendors. I remove all orchids from the medium the day I receive them - always. Each orchid and every other plant I have is taken to the sink and inspected at least twice a month. I would find it hard to believe that in a collection of 150 orchids in California that there are no mealy bugs, no snails eating the roots, no slugs or any other kind of pest.

    We do not know if you have a root rot problem which will lead to a gradual decline of the orchid like you are seeing because you do not want to take the phal in question out of the pot. The medium may not be the kind that can break down but rotting roots invite fungus, bacteria and pests which will spread it to other plants.

    You stated at the beginning of this thread that this is a problem with all of your phals ever since you have had them as well as a problem with all of your other orchids. Therefore, it would follow that you are not successfully blooming your phals in any window. Orchids will not kill themselves by over-blooming. There is no such thing. Sometimes if they are going to die they will use the last of their energy to put out a few meager blooms in the hope that a few seeds may survive to perpetuate their genes.

    You have a management issue which has resulted in pest, fungal and bacterial infections which only you can solve.
    Not sure how you arrived at all these conclusions, but I already explained the exact components of the potting mix of this plant and that it is less than one year old and so could not be broken down yet unless the laws of physics are contravened or I bought the worst lot of orchiata ever made (the bag of orchiata itself I bought less than a year ago, too).

    But, on a happier note I did find this helpful AOS article on Bud Blast - they list many causes, a small handful of which have been discussed in this thread, and I think I've found the culprit:

    "Ethylene gas given off by ripening fruit....can also cause bud blast"


    Obviously it's the bananas on the other side of the kitchen. I would never have suspected them!!!!!

    Oh, and I move the plants from the windowsill 2-6 at a time, not all at once; carry them outside; repeat, etc. It would definitely be easier if I could move all 30 at once!

    If I said it is something that always happens to all of my Phals, that was my error. What I meant to say was that this is something that has occasionally happened to some of my Phals, some of the time.

    At any rate, when that flower drops I'll look at the roots, but the AOS article is very helpful and covers the full range of possibilities. Maybe I should have looked there first - but I didn't know it was called Bud Blast (which would make a great name for a Toy Story-type character, don't you think?!)

    thanks one and all for the advice

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