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several phal questions (roots, leaves, spikes)

This is a discussion on several phal questions (roots, leaves, spikes) within the Phalaenopsis ('moth orchid') Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; Folks, I have several questions about my phal . I bought it in like May ...

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  1. #1
    jayB is offline Junior Member
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    Default several phal questions (roots, leaves, spikes)

    Folks, I have several questions about my phal. I bought it in like May 2010 from a nice grower at the farmers market. Its been a great plant, with the last of flowers expiring now after several months.

    1) i dont know exact vocab for this but here goes: there are 2 spikes on this orchid, and each has an "offshoot" where its kinda like another spike where there are couple more flowers of similar size. All flowers were fully open on all spikes for a couple months. I really enjoyed that the spikes had separate sets of flowers. Now that the plant is pretty much done flowering, im curious what to do with the spikes. I would like to maximize the number of spikes sticking out of the main spikes (provided that the spikes yield flowers) i've seen some wonderful phals that have a huge main spike with a bunch of spikes growing out of it. Ideally, I would like to get my phal to do that, but the most important thing to me is keeping the plant healthy and get nice, long lasting flowers. So I guess my question is, what do i do with this plant once all the flowers fall off? i assume that if i leave the spikes as they are, some spikes will grow out of them, but some smaller, less interesting flowers will grow, but nothing will grow out of the legacy parts of the spike. Which leads me to believe i should just cut it and let new ones grow. As a follow up, how come some phals have those nice big spikes with other spikes coming out (all with flowers at the same time) and is there a way for me to get this plant to do that?

    2) I have a single aerial root coming out of this orchid, when i bought the orchid, the root was healthy, under my care, its shriveled and probably dead. My best guess is over watering? ive been watering once a week or so, without regard to the medium as the moss always feels wet. i also keep decorative moss on top of the medium. As an aside, i feel like this plant ought to have more aerial roots (i looked under the decorative moss and dont see any).

    3) I had a big middle leaf turn yellow and fall off a week or so ago. The yellow, pictured leaf is a bottom leaf (i lifted the leaves above it up for the picture). I know the bottom leaves do fall off over time.

    Given the above, i assume i've over-watered this orchid. I took the decorative moss off and stuck it outside to dry out a few hours ago and intend to bring it back inside tonight. What do you think? Also, any advice on where to cut the spikes? Thanks in advance for your feedback - I appreciate it very much.
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  2. #2
    espranch is offline Senior Member
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    Hi JayB, Looking at your plant, my best guess is that it is getting too much water being in that spag. moss. If it were mine, I would re-pot it. I use medium to large fir bark, 60% 10% perlite & 10% chunk charcoal. mix together and cover with water overnight, before re-potting. Cut off ALL black or rotten roots before putting orchid back into a pot. I believe there is a re-potting guide on the forum for phals. ( which your orchid is ) The above is my opinion...please go to the phal. re-potting section of the forum. Good Luck...Betty

  3. #3
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    rich63 is offline Senior Member
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    Hello Jay, It looks as if the plant is potted to deep also. I also attached the post on re-potting a phal. I hope this helps. Take Care,Rich

    Re-potting my Phalaenopsis - Orchid Article Library

  4. #4
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    Cjcorner is offline Senior Member
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    I agree, it's repotting time. You'll find great articles on repotting here. If you want your phal to bloom nice big full flowers next season; you will want to cut your old flower spikes back to about an inch or two above where it comes out of the base of your plant. You are correct, you can continue allowing the plant to branch and bloom, but the blooms become smaller and eventually the plant can actually bloom to death. Good luck with your plant...if you read some of the articles on Phalaenopsis you'll learn more about your orchid.

  5. #5
    jayB is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    Thanks everyone! Sounds like I should repot, and I'll take this opportunity to choose a medium I'm more comfortable with...definitely something bark based.

    I don't personally like the spagnum moss (i assume that stuff is spagnum moss) much as it always seems damp, but the orchid did do very well for quite a while potted the way it is. I have a feeling its also currently in a pot that is a bit too large.

    thx again!

    jay

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