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New to Orchids, need some help with my Phalaenopsis

This is a discussion on New to Orchids, need some help with my Phalaenopsis within the Phalaenopsis ('moth orchid') Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; Hi, I received this plant as a gift and I really do love it. I ...

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  1. #1
    Courto is offline Junior Member
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    Default New to Orchids, need some help with my Phalaenopsis

    Hi,

    I received this plant as a gift and I really do love it. I am very inexperienced in regards to caring for plants, and this seems like a tough one to start with, but I will give it my best shot!

    I've only had this plant for three weeks. I watered it once after having it for a week. Shortly thereafter I noticed the leaves turning yellow and the buds looking dried and shriveled. It was recommended to me to wait a little longer before watering it again. I waited to water again for 10 days. I was hesitant to do so because the moss still felt damp, and I read it should dry out between watering. I also found recommendations about this particular plant needing some sun, so I put it on a table about a foot away from an east facing window about three days ago. Today the plant has lost three leaves and the flowers appear wilted. Note sure what else to do and worried that it is too late to save it... I am a total novice, so the most layman's advice would be very helpful

    Thanks for your expertise,

    Court
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  2. #2
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    Brutal_Dreamer is online now Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    First - remove it from that sphag. Then, cut off the spikes about one inch above the leaves. I suspect root rot from the look of the leaves and the potting media. If the roots are still viable, repot into a bark mixture and keep in low light until the plant develops some new leaves and roots. check out our article section for some specifics on growing phal orchids. Good luck to you, court.

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
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    court, the rot most likely began while the plant was still in the store. For you to see symptoms after only a week, means it was most likely not caused by anything you did or did not do to the orchid. Be sure to put the spike (stem) of flowers in a vase of water when you cut them from the plant so you can enjoy them for a while. When you unpot this orchid, soak the rootball in water for about 10 minutes. Any roots that are plump and firm after soaking are good, live roots. The mushy, squishy feeling roots are rotting and need to be cut off before you re-pot this phal. Orchids need air around the roots as well as moisture. Many of us have problems with sphagnum moss as a planting media because it will stay wet quite a while (and that leads to root rot). Unglazed clay pots that breath, glazed pots with multiple air holes in the sides, plastic pots with good drainage or even baskets from a thrift store make good planting containers for orchids. When you look at the roots on your Phalaenopsis, you will notice they are very thick. Some orchids have thin, hair like roots, and you need to 'match' the sizze of the root to the size of the planting medium. Large thick roots will usually do better in a course potting medium such as fir bark as it will allow for more air to reach the roots. Finer rooted orchids usually do better with a small sized bark ship, or mix. Good luck withyour pretty phal!

  4. #4
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    The advice from Bruce and Cindi is excellent and repotting soonest possible is imperative!
    Phaleaeopsis in particular dislikes direct sunlight (they do however like good lighting) and especially hates too much water. With my experience I highly recommend filling the pot half way to the top with small to medium sized bark (preferably "Orchiata") and then place 3-4 pieces of PUMICE Stones on the bark where the bottom of the good roots will touch. Then fill the pot gently with more bark all the way to the top.
    Thereafter I give one good watering mixed with Vitamin B root grow, but make sure there is good drainage from the pot (no water in a saucer underneath the pot). Then leave the plant alone for 10 days to stimulate new root growth. Thereafter water/fertilize sparingly (too little is always better than too much because of rotting). Good luck!

    Cheers, Michael

  5. #5
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    Welcome Courto. You've already got all the right advices above. As mentioned phalaenopsis DO NOT like to have 'direct' sun, but 'filtered' either through a shade cloth or curtain, I believe the sun exposure coupled with the probable root rot have advanced the wilting of the blooms and shriveling of the foliage

  6. #6
    Courto is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks everyone, I will apply your excellent suggestions asap, and let you know how it goes

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    Quote Originally Posted by cindiras View Post
    When you unpot this orchid, soak the rootball in water for about 10 minutes. Any roots that are plump and firm after soaking are good, live roots. The mushy, squishy feeling roots are rotting and need to be cut off before you re-pot this phal. Orchids need air around the roots as well as moisture........Good luck withyour pretty phal!
    I second this! Look for mushy, squishy roots. If you have any you are unsure of, gently pull on the roots in question up and down their length. If the outer root slides off of the thin inner root, it is dead and rotted. Cut those off.

    There is a nice general repotting article click here on the forum. It should help you with your first repot!

  8. #8
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    Sorry to see your phal looking like that, but you got excellent advise here and I hope you will be able to save it! I just wanted to give you another idea that saved 6 baby phals that I received in bad condition and now they are doing great: I soaked them for 10min in H. Peroxide after cleaning the roots, and after that I mounted them facing down so the water don't stay in the crown. Now they are growing new leaves and roots and look happy.

  9. #9
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    I GROW PHALS IN SPHAGNUM MOSS AND HAVE NO ROOT ROT. jUST MAKE SURE U ARE USING CLAY POTS SO IT CAN BREATHE. iF YOU CAN GET TO JUDGE THE WEIGHT OF THE POT YOU WILL KNOW WHEN IT NEEDS WATER AGAIN. DIRECT SUN IS NOT A GOOD IDEA BUT LOWER TEMPS AT NIGHT IS

  10. #10
    douglas is offline Member
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    Michael, I am curious about the vitamin B root grow. Is that a product you can buy in a garden shop?

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