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Phals in mosss

This is a discussion on Phals in mosss within the Phalaenopsis ('moth orchid') Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; I like Phals and always have them around. In the process, I have noticed a ...

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  1. #1
    fxxxy is offline Junior Member
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    Question Phals in mosss

    I like Phals and always have them around. In the process, I have noticed a strange thing about them. They almost always are in sphagnum moss. When I take them apart for repotting, the moss is usually wet in the center, and packed very tight, which
    I think must inhibit drainage. The roots are almost always in bad condition. However, some of these plants have 2 flower spikes, with numerous blooms, and heavy turgid leaves, sometimes very large. My question is: how are they raised to this size only to collapse after a few weeks or months? I can't figure out how they reach this "good" condition only to lose the roots and deteriorate. It takes some time to bring plants to such apparently great condition. So why don't they continue to prosper? Are they so neglected in transit and storage? It is puzzling that after several years in fine condition, they lose roots and become spindly specimens with floppy leaves. Any ideas, anyone?

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    I've seen orchids sold in pots without drainage holes. I think they must have been placed in those right before being shipped to the store. Also, stores that don't specialize in plants don't usually provide the best care for orchids. Orchids wrapped in plastic with no air movement, being watered from the top with the water just sitting stuck there between the leaves...And sometimes the orchid displays are right by the door, so in winter you could add the cold draft to those problems. That's my guess. Also, it seems some of these stores expect you to just throw the plant out when it's done blooming anyway. Some people don't even know that if cared for properly, the orchid can bloom again in the future.

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    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    Pure sphagnum moss is probably the single best material for growing young Phalaenopsis in warm (tropical and sub-tropical) conditions. Taiwan is the leading exporter of Phalaenopsis and nearly all are produced in sphagnum.
    Here in a more temperate environment, the pots lose there water less quickly leading to root issues. I have grown Phals in loosely packed Sphag and clay pots with very good success in my home where the lower humidity. has them dry quicker. The roots attach themselves to the pot and stabilizes the Phal as they get larger.

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    riverbendva is offline Junior Member
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    I have three mini-phals, all of which came potted in the tightly packed sphagnum moss described above. Two of them nearly died, so I repotted in a phal mix. The third, while not re-blooming, seems quite happy, with plump, upright leaves and new root growth. My question is-- should I repot it to be safe, or leave it in the sphagnum moss? Also, the pot it came in has no drainage at all. I've been watering very carefully and draining excess water by tipping the pot over.

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    Most of the phals we get are from Taiwan and come grown in sphagnum and as noted are plump and turgid with beautiful blooms. These are mostly produced for the market as 'disposable orchids' to be discarded after blooming and not for longevity. They actually have a 'shelf life' if kept in the original sphagnum. Nowadays, I discard all the sphagnum as soon as I get home and mount them or pot them in charcoal (this works for me). I'm sure any other open mix will do. I think we can make an analogy here with forced-fed Peking duck that are produced for the roast Peking Duck market .-

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    No one right answer to the sphag Q, River. It really comes down to your growing environment and cultural conditions. Many of our members from hot humid areas like Florida, make it a point to avoid using sphag -- at least in pots -- because it stays too wet and breaks down too quickly in their conditions. However, I have grown any number of phals in sphag over the years with nary a problem .... but I am in a temperate area with snowy winters so mine are stuck for a large part of the year inside with very dry air.

    The pot is something I think all the members here would agree on -- it has to go. It is unwise to grow just about any plant in a pot lacking drainage holes. And that goes double so for orchids. Repot that puppy -- pronto.

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    My policy about Phals in moss is, if the roots and leaves look good and the plant is blooming well, I leave well enough alone. If I detect anything wrong ( usually roots), they get repotted into bark.

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    what you are noticing is a specific technique being used to grow phals and dorit hybrids. the secret is the tight ball of moss made firstby tightly wadding moss into a small pot, then pull out and wrap the roots around the ball and stuff the whole thing into the small pot. don't put roots through the moss, just around the outside of the ball. you can continue to keep them thriving, if you water sparingly. this method does not need the same running under water for 15 minutes you might give to your cattleya orchid potted up in loose bark mix or mounted. you just give them a sip of water every few days. the water will soak through and keep the moss like a wrung out sponge. i have had some grow and thrive and bloom for years in these little plastic pots with moss. i have also taken some out and used a bark/treefern/moss/pellet mix and do quite well, but i water them more. if i watered the moss-only ones as much, they would all die.

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    I cannot grow phals in moss, so I must repot if I get one in sphag. It will just rot the roots away. How to Repot a Phalaenopsis Orchid | River Valley Orchidworks

    cheers,
    BD

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    riverbendva is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks to everyone for the info. The two that I did repot were done because they clearly weren't happy in the moss. After reading these replies, I'll be repotting the third as well. Our weather is currently quite humid, so no need for anything that will hold much moisture.

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