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Phal (I think) in trouble?

This is a discussion on Phal (I think) in trouble? within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Alright ladies and gents, please diagnose this one for a newbie. I read the F.A.Q.'s ...

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  1. #1
    dps62a is offline Junior Member
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    Default Phal (I think) in trouble?

    Alright ladies and gents, please diagnose this one for a newbie. I read the F.A.Q.'s but feel the need for more info. The g.f. brought this one home (my first) and tasked me with keeping it alive. It's been about three months - woo hoo! The pics hopefully will show what worries me: the sudden yellowing of one of the leaves, along with part of one of the two spikes. The other spike with the two newer buds looks ok, although it seems like the flowers are never going to fully open or "unstick" (another question on that below). The spike with the more mature flowers (they were in bloom from the get go and seemed like they'd last forever - how cool is that?!) has some yellow going on as of late, located in the area of the older, fading flowers. The watering schedule and plant location have not changed, and the plant has not yet been re-potted. I water once the media appears pretty dry on top and the weight of the pot is light, typically every 7 days or so. I live in NorCal and the room faces the east with blinds shut, but it still seems to get a fair amount of indirect light through them, even being across the room. As you may see, I've snipped a few of the fading flowers just above where the flower meets the spike (ok?). Some of flowers have appeared ready to open for several weeks but don't quite pop. One bud that looked ready for weeks even started to turn brown at its tip when I lightly pryed it open. Is it ok to "help" them along a little bit in that way or no? Sorry for the long post and my sincere apologies in advance for my photographic "talents" !
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  2. #2
    nabakov5's Avatar
    nabakov5 is offline Cecilia, You're Breakin' my Heart.....
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    I think you've got a healthy plant there. Phal blooms can last for three or four months, but eventually they will drop, which is what yours is doing. The blooms will drop starting with the oldest and work up the stem. I think your yellowing leaf is normal too. It's the plant's oldest leaf; it's normal for a leaf to drop occasionally. As far as your blooms that won't "pop." I recently had the same issue. I gave the buds a little flick of the ole' snapper finger and they popped open for me, though I'm not sure what causes some flowers to not open fully. But it looks like you have some nice healthy roots and a well established plant. It's just ending its blooming cycle. You could always cut the stem back and see if you can get a rebloom, but if you are worried, I'd just cut the whole stem and let the plant rest until next time.

  3. #3
    smartie2000's Avatar
    smartie2000 is offline Senior Member
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    The plant is healthy The oldest leaf is expiring and that is normal.

    However I think the spike in the first photo is not going to bloom any further. I see the starts of it becoming yellow in the first photo. For healthy plants I usually cut it back to the next node and the plant may decide to send another spike from the next node eventually (an unhappy plant usually won't send another spike, so I don't see a problem with leaving it there).

    I'm not sure why the blooms in the second spike look the way they do. Perhaps it was from stress from moving them to a new house? Or is it a lighting issue? I am somewhat concerned about that because I don't usually see that

  4. #4
    Kerry's Avatar
    Kerry is offline Too much to learn, let alone re-member!
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    Smile Don't worry, all looks quite normal

    Hi there

    I am in agreement with the above responses, you have had this orchid in bloom for 3 months and it is perfectly normal for the flowers to start to fade at this point. The yellowing of the first spike seems to reflect that the spike has had enough now. Try cutting it down to just above one of the next nodes down the spike. It may send out a further branch from there if it is feeling like it. A node is the bit - e.g. in the picture of the 2nd spike just above the end of the support cane - where it looks like the stem has a slight sheath around part of it, and sometimes looks a bit like a bud/ tip of new growth emerging.

    Again, the lower leaf yellowing is normal - if it was a middle or top leaf that would be something to worry about. On a couple of my plants, if you look closely at it, you can see that emerging roots have split the leaf. Some others you can't see anything like that , the leaf is just dying off.

    The flowers on the second spike are unusual, but it could be that they are peloric, and for some reason these blooms have mutated slightly. It would be worth searching on peloric on the forum as there are lots of examples. I have a Phal Baldan's Kaleidoscope that, bizarrely, has perfect blooms on one side of the spike, but those on the other side, i.e. every other bloom, the colour is mutated and the petal basically looks a bit funny. I have seen plenty of examples of peloric blooms where the petals just don't open, looking exactly like yours.

    There do seem to be different extents of peloricism (sp?) and sometimes you get three lips instead of one lip and two petals, other times it is like yours or mine. I have read that it can be due to influences on a growing spike/ developing bud, when the plant itself has not developed a stable and contstant mutation and is not uniformly peloric.

    Oh, and I have tried to help things along a bit with opening myself - with a paph as it had aphids tucked into the sepals and I wanted them out. I did slightly damage the edge of the sepal, so it's worth being careful. There have been plenty of times I have thought, that bud's going to open, only to see it grow for a couple more weeks. It might be that you are being a little bit too over eager, or that the bud just isn't going to open - particularly if the spike is at the end of it's life.

    Sorry for the long answer, I hope you are feeling reassured by our answers, and I am sure that other people will chime in and give you their thoughts too...
    Last edited by Kerry; April 6th, 2007 at 03:38 AM. Reason: I am a terrible speller

  5. #5
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
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    I will just say to the other responses. Looks normal. And I recommend you cut the spike off about an inch above its base. Let the plant grow, give it good fertilizer and light and enjoy large blooms on the next blooming cycle.

    BTW - Welcome to the forum!

    Cheers,
    BD

  6. #6
    dps62a is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for feedback and pep talk, everyone. Much appreciated! Just to confirm one thing: once the newer flowers on the end of the yellowing spike begin to fade, I should cut the spike, but where? Above the first node you see below the twist tie in the first pic or just above the base / roots?

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Quote Originally Posted by dps62a View Post
    Thanks for feedback and pep talk, everyone. Much appreciated! Just to confirm one thing: once the newer flowers on the end of the yellowing spike begin to fade, I should cut the spike, but where? Above the first node you see below the twist tie in the first pic or just above the base / roots?

    Thanks again!
    I would cut above the base. One inch up on the spike.

    Cheers,
    BD

  8. #8
    Kerry's Avatar
    Kerry is offline Too much to learn, let alone re-member!
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    Hi Again

    If you really wanted to see if the plant will bloom for you straight away, then you could cut it above the node that you have mentioned. However, I think BD (being way more experienced in all things orchids than I) is giving you the best advice for the health of your plant.

    Remember that flowering does take a lot of energy from the plant, and it may well need time to adapt to your situation before it is a totally happy-bunny (sorry was that a really bizarre english phrase I used?) and it is actually ready to flower again.

    Thanks

  9. #9
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    They don't rebloom straight away when conditions aren't perfect or if it's not ready to bloom, so leaving the spikes on isn't a problem by cutting above the next node. Some spikes sit there untill their next blooming cycle anyways.
    If you want to give your plant a break to grow bigger then cut it off, just in case it does send more buds. New spikes usually give better blooms anyways

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