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Phalaenopsis trouble

This is a discussion on Phalaenopsis trouble within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; HELP! I joined this forum so all of you orchid growers could give me advise ...

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  1. #1
    Janelle is offline Junior Member
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    Janelle Winston
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    Unhappy Phalaenopsis trouble

    HELP! I joined this forum so all of you orchid growers could give me advise on WHAT to do with my Phal. Here's the story. I've had my phal for five years. It was blooming when I got it. They died and went away in good order and then the plant did not bloom again for five years. After trying MANY things, I re-potted the plant in an orchid mix,(moss, bark etc etc) and knowing that clay pots tend to suck the moisture out of plants, I lined the pot with a zip lock bag, despite the warnings to let it drain. I sprayed in daily with a squirt bottle and had it in an west facing window where it got lots of indirect sunlight (I live in Alaska where it is light 24 hrs in the summer and 4 hrs in winter). I also fertilized it weekly. The point is, it shot off a spike and looked like it was going to bloom beautifully at last. Imagine my horror, when after I moved to a new house, the blossoms, never having opened turned red, shriveled up and died one at a time. (There were seven of them) I frantically tried everything online, from removing all fruit from the house, getting a sun lamp, partly re-potting the plant being careful to not disturb the roots too much. I took out the zip lock, thinking maybe root rot was happening. I also changed the location of the plant into a west facing window. The blooms all died anyway. Now it has this long spike with a two little buds that are very tiny and not growing. I can't tell if they died or not. A leaf just died, though another one is growing. (It really has two plants side by side and for some reason, they never have more then three leaves at a time.) I don't know what else to do to the thing. HELP!!!!! ANY suggestions, would be great!!!!!

  2. #2
    HollyHock76's Avatar
    HollyHock76 is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    I'm just a novice, but I'll tell you what HAS worked for me. I have all of my plants indoors now, (I live in zone 7b). I have mostly Phalaenopsis. They are all in a South facing window. When I get a plant, the first thing I do is repot, commercial growers have perfect conditions for growth, but the stores that sell the orchids usually don't know how to care for them, and they have them potted to sell, not to thrive! Often the mix will be dry as a bone, or soaked. I do not move them around, they get watered once a week (unless they get really dry), I only repot them when the roots start to outgrow the pot, or AFTER they bloom. As for fertilizer, I use a very weak solution every other watering. So far they seem to stay rather satisfied with this formula. I've had most of them for 6 months to a year, and they have almost all bloomed. I'm interested to see how they do this summer then they move out to the covered patio.

    You mentioned that the real trouble started after you moved, that was probably the killer. I've had buds fall off after bringing a plant home from the store. They don't travel well.

    The roots and light seem to be the determining factors as to the overall health of the plants for me. When I repot and find any roots that are thin and soft or dry, I just cut 'em off. I figure that its more healty to have a small bunch of healthy roots than a large bundle of rotting and over-moist (fungus breeding) roots. Indirect and bright light is a must. Make sure that your pot is draining well, these plants don't need to be wet, their roots can absorb moisture from the air and the medium that they are grown in.
    Good Luck!!
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  3. #3
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Hi Janelle,

    I am sorry you have had so much trouble, but the fact that you have kept the plant alive means that you are doing somethings right. Hopefully, we can help you get this survivor to bloom. Here is an article from our orchid library that details exactly what phals need to rebloom and thrive. Take a look at it and ask all the questions you want. If you want our opinions on the buds, you can post a photo and someone may be able to tell you if they are still alive or if they are no longer developing. It is sometimes hard to tell though.

    Cheers & welcome to the forum,
    BD


  4. #4
    Gin's Avatar
    Gin
    Gin is offline Senior Member
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    Could be the move to a new house , different conditions , If the plant is near the window the misting could of cooled the plant causing the bud blast . Just guesses . Gin

  5. #5
    Janelle is offline Junior Member
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    Default Update on Phal Orchid

    Well, after the last post, I have done many things to my poor orchid. First I discovered that the flower spike had really and truly perished. I re potted the orchid and it's a very lucky thing I did because it had root rot in a major way. The mold was like little tiny white balls that were hard and clustered together. It was all the way up into the center of the root system. SO I washed it all out and scrapped it off the core of the plant, cut all the poor dead roots away and then got a new pot, new orchid mix soil and replanted it. I also cut the flower spike because I wanted the plant to put it's energy into recovering. Now, my concern is the light/water situation. I just noticed today that one of the leaves is getting a little spongy and wrinkled. I am posting pictures so you can see it. It's slight right now, but I don't want to let it die before I take action. I'm also concerned about the roots. There doesn't seem to be many healthy ones. There is dried up one on top (should I cut it off?) and then a couple of hard ones, but they look sort of shriveled. What do you guys think? Is the light too close to the plant? I water when it seems dry, and really flush it out. I don't know, what do you think?
    Thanks,

    PS I can't seem to get the pics to attach. I try again later.

  6. #6
    Gin's Avatar
    Gin
    Gin is offline Senior Member
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    Shade it off from bright light , You can put a plastic bag over the plant leave the plant in the pot , don't seal the bag leave loose on the bottom and cut a few air holes in the top , It will help hold the humidity up . The white balls might of been a type of fertilizer the growers use time release .Be sure to not over water it ,hopefully it will produce some new roots . Hope this helps .. Gin

  7. #7
    cindiras's Avatar
    cindiras is offline Senior Member
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    White balls might have been slime mold, although what I saw of slime mold was more gray. Should Janelle hold off on watering for a week or two do you think? I kept my slime mold survivors (A.K.. ROOTLESS WONDERS) fairly dry in the pot, but misted with a weak solution of foliar feeding fertilizer water every other day. New roots are appearing now.

  8. #8
    articuno75's Avatar
    articuno75 is offline Orchidolic...No need for cure.
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    The best thing to do would probably let this air out for a spell so that more rot doesn't settle in. Have you treated with a fungicide yet? Peroxide will help. I would not recommend fertilizer yet, but I would recommend Superthrive if you have it. This will encourage root growth. I wouldn't put a bag on it, cause if it's got root rot, it's a sign that there's too much moisture. Putting a bag on it can cause fungus and the possibility of crown rot. Air circulation is going to play a major role here. Once the plant has aired out, you can mist in the mornings and water as usual. Air circulation is going to be a key factor. The "dried up" roots sound like air roots. Have to wait and see the pics. Air roots are fine and shouldn't be removed.

  9. #9
    GiovannaD is offline Senior Member
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    I find that when changing the growing conditions dramatically while a phal is in high spike and whilst it is forming the buds, its is very likely that those buds will drop. It happened to me when I brought a huge amabilisXschilleriana home, straight from the florist who kept the plant in 18-20C indoors under artificial (store) lights.
    It had barely spent 2 nights in my house, along with my other phals, which were doing great, when the biggest buds stopped growing, gradually yellowed and dropped. Then the little ones dried up and the plant kind of...stalled. Mind you, the roots were in perfect order, fat and green. When I repotted it into s/h pellets, 6 months later (the plant had not grown much, maybe half a leaf) the leaves yellowed one after the other and within 3 days it was gone. Never knew what happened to it, it just gave up.
    My advice is: it's winter. phals grow very little during that time and drastic changes may shock the plant. Water only when necessary, give it some light and be patient.
    I made the mistake of repotting 2 phals in the winter after I had made some mistakes (overwatering then underwatering, less light, misting in the winter, pruning the dead roots and repotting) and they took about 8-10 months to recuperate. Try and keep it alive through the winter and it will be better in the spring.
    Last edited by GiovannaD; February 9th, 2008 at 04:06 AM.

  10. #10
    Janelle is offline Junior Member
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    Here are the picks of the plant. So, should I keep it dry? Should I keep it in the light.. (my grow light is about six inches from the plant. I didn't know if that might case a leaf to wrinkle?) Should I back off on the light? Should I still give it food, and keep it on the humidity tray? ( I live in Alaska where there is seriously about 2% humidity in the winter.)
    Your advice is wanted.
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