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Underwatered Phal

This is a discussion on Underwatered Phal within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; My mum bought a phal about 3 weeks ago in bloom. I had bought one ...

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  1. #1
    Kerry's Avatar
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    Question Underwatered Phal

    My mum bought a phal about 3 weeks ago in bloom. I had bought one at the same time and mine was pretty dry. Anyway, she hasn't watered it at all for the past 3 weeks and all the blooms have dropped, the leaves are very flaccid and the roots are looking quite sorry for themselves. It has now been watered, but I wanted to check if there was anything we should do.

    To top it all off, it looks like there is a basal keiki growing through the bark, but the leaves of that are looking really wrinkly, one is basically yellow.

    Are you able to tell me if phals can bounce back from being underwatered?

  2. #2
    pavel's Avatar
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    Depends on how far gone, but generally "yes".

    If the roots are in really bad condition & if it is in a rather heavy mix, you may need to repot it into a lighter mix 'til the roots recover. Might not be a bad idea if it is REALLY bad shape to pot it up in some sphag

  3. #3
    Kerry's Avatar
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    Thanks - I thought that the bark mix looked very fine and degraded, and had suggested that we get some coarser stuff and repot it, as I didn't want to stress out the roots even more. I'll make sure that we do it. I still can't believe my mother got a keiki - even if it must have been there at the time she bought it!

  4. #4
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    The keiki is often a plant's way to continue it's "life" if momma plant thinks she's dying. Distressed Phals and Dends will often throw them.

    Don't rely on a simple watering to rehydrate your plant. Repot it in sphagnum moss, as Pavel suggested. Use the New Zealand sphag, or any long fiber sphag. They hold moisture better and allow good air exchange. I'd soak the plant in a sink or bucket for may 20-40 minutes every few days. Just be sure not to pack the moss down too much. You want to get moisture to the roots, but air has to get in too.

    Phals are pretty hardy. It doesn't sound like it was abused for that long a period of time. It might surprise you within a week or two!

    McJulie

  5. #5
    Kerry's Avatar
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    Well it certainly did surprise me. My mum texted me to say that the phal had made a surprise recovery by Tuesday morning. All blooms pert and everything much better. I have asked her to make sure it gets a good water at the weekend, and then go back to her normal watering schedule which generally seems to suit her phals.

    Thanks to you all for your advice.

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