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Brand new orchid grower with a new phal

This is a discussion on Brand new orchid grower with a new phal within the Phalaenopsis ('moth orchid') Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; I've grown a variety of plants over the years and had a friend give me ...

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  1. #1
    craig-o's Avatar
    craig-o is offline Junior Member
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    Default Brand new orchid grower with a new phal

    I've grown a variety of plants over the years and had a friend give me an orchid. The tag was still with it (luckily) and it is a phalaenopsis. My friend had it about 2 years and it has not bloomed since she got it.

    I've lurked around here for a few days reading what I thought might be relevant. I'm interested in getting this plant healthy and blooming and have come to a few conclusions (right or wrong) I would like to have validated.

    First, I think the plant has not been receiving enough light. I believe the leaves are too dark. I moved it to a bright southern facing window in my house. It will get a few hours of relatively direct light during the day, but most of the day it will get bright, but indirect light.

    Second, I think the plant may need to be repotted. I was told the plant had been given fertilizer, but I was not able to get any specific information about what fertilizer, how much, or how frequently. I did flush the medium by pouring about a gallon of room temperature tap water through the pot three days ago and am waiting for it to dry out. Additionally, after approximately 2 years, the medium may need replacing anyway.

    I have attached a few pictures for review. I appreciate any insight or advice.
    Attached Images Attached Images    

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    Yes, it looks like the planting medium is breaking down, so time for a repot. Get a bag of fir bark chunks, soak in water overnight. You can probably reuse the pot it is in now, if there is good drainage with it. With your fresh bark soaked, carefully remove this phal from its pot and remove the old medium from the roots. Soaking the roots in tepid/room temp water for 10 or 15 minutes will help you figure out which roots are live. The live ones will be plump and firm after soaking. Any that are black are rotted, any that are soft/squishy are rotting and need to be removed before repotting. After cutting off the rotted or broken roots, I like to soak again, this time in Hydrogen Peroxide for 10 minutes or so. Then you are ready to carefully pack new bark around the roots and secure your phal in its pot. You may want to pull it back from the south window far enough that it does NOT get any direct sun, maybe just off to the side where the light remains bright.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cindiras View Post
    Yes, it looks like the planting medium is breaking down, so time for a repot. Get a bag of fir bark chunks, soak in water overnight. You can probably reuse the pot it is in now, if there is good drainage with it. With your fresh bark soaked, carefully remove this phal from its pot and remove the old medium from the roots. Soaking the roots in tepid/room temp water for 10 or 15 minutes will help you figure out which roots are live. The live ones will be plump and firm after soaking. Any that are black are rotted, any that are soft/squishy are rotting and need to be removed before repotting. After cutting off the rotted or broken roots, I like to soak again, this time in Hydrogen Peroxide for 10 minutes or so. Then you are ready to carefully pack new bark around the roots and secure your phal in its pot. You may want to pull it back from the south window far enough that it does NOT get any direct sun, maybe just off to the side where the light remains bright.
    I agree. Repot that phalaenopsis and keep it out of the direct sun light. It will tolerate brighter light than you have given it before taking the photos (wide dark green leaves). Increase the light, but no direct sunlight.

    How to Repot a Phalaenopsis Orchid | River Valley Orchidworks

    Cheers,
    BD

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    Thanks for the feedback! Looks like I have a something to do this weekend. Not sure I've ever seen fir bark at the garden stores I've visited, though I have not looked. Is there another medium I might look for as a backup? Also, what is the soak in Hydrogen Peroxide for?

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    The peroxide is to stop any bacterial infections, and don't worry, it won't hurt your plant. Most garden stores have a separate area with growing materials for orchids, just don't get the stuff that looks like dirt.

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    Thanks! That makes sense, just never heard of that.

    Any ideas on the curled leaf?

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    That happens sometimes when a plant is dehydrated, but don't overwater, b/c it won't help. just get it on a normal watering schedule and it should be fine. There are lots of articles and posts about phal care, so just look around, I'm sure you find some better info than I could give you.

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    You have all the right ideas! Ditto to all the advice above. Repot it definitely, with coarse bark that will allow more air to the roots. Watch the sunlight and be sure the leaves don't burn. If you are concerned if they sunlight is too strong, feel the leaves...if the leaves are hot to the touch, the plant needs to be shaded. Phals don't need direct light to bloom - just very bright indirect light. Lastly, after you repot it, I would say to water it 1x a week and fertilize weakly (just a dash of fertilizer per gallon), with every 4th watering being just plain water. Good luck!! Don't overwater!!

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    Some leaves are curled because the plant was turned at certain parts of their development, or because of water shortage, or because it felt like it Don't worry too much about it!

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