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  • 1 Post By Brutal_Dreamer
  • 3 Post By nlnelson
  • 1 Post By suliabryon

how to save my phalaenopsis orchid?

This is a discussion on how to save my phalaenopsis orchid? within the Phalaenopsis ('moth orchid') Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; Someone gave us an orchid as a gift about a year ago, and me usually ...

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  1. #1
    suliabryon is offline Junior Member
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    Default how to save my phalaenopsis orchid?

    Someone gave us an orchid as a gift about a year ago, and me usually having a black thumb with plants, wanted to do the best by this beauty that I could. My Mom has had great success with her orchids for years, so I called her and followed her advice to the best of my ability:

    ~ only watered when the top inch or so of moss was bone dry. For watering, I would saturate the moss, let sit for about ten minutes, then carefully upend the pot, holding plant and moss in place and allowing excess water to drain back out through my fingers. Every few days, I might lightly spray the leaves with a spritz of lukewarm water from a spray bottle, thus keeping them dust-free and trying to simulate a moist but not wet environment.

    ~ when the plant dropped all of its blooms, I carefully cut back the two stalks and waited patiently. My mother warned me it could be a long time for the plant to bloom again, but not to worry, especially if it started growing new leaves (which it did).

    A couple of weeks ago, one of the old leaves yellowed and fell off. I panicked, called my mother, but she said this wasn't unusual when growing new leaves. Well, this week a second old leave yellowed and fell off. I might not have worried much, except that this leaves the poor thing with only 1 old leaf yet, and only a half grown, if healthy looking new leaf.

    I had been getting ready to repot. My Mom gave me a bark mix to use instead of the moss the plant came with, and I finally picked that up from her recently. Deciding this new falling leaves situation required a look at the roots, I went ahead and pulled it from its pot.

    The pot it came in had a drainage hole, which I always assumed any excess water from my watering would drain through. Imagine my horror when I pulled the plant free of its pot to find it jammed into a smaller plastic container with no drainage, and packed so tightly from moss the poor roots were totally root bound and water logged! Even if the the top layer of moss was drying, I'm sure the stuff packed tight into that container has never been getting dry! Here are pictures of my poor, poor orchid. What can I do to save it? What roots do I trim, and what do I keep? Is there any hope??

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  2. #2
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is online now Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Hello,

    Welcome to OrchidTalk. You will need to clean up those roots. Remove the dead ones and repot in a tight, free draining bark mix.



    cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
    suliabryon is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks! I ran down to the local nursery and picked up an orchid pot and orchid bark. I've trimmed as much black as possible. Is there anything I should treat the plant with? I'm sure this is a shock to its system.

  4. #4
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is online now Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    You can use some root stimulator to help get the roots growing again. It will need to be kept in lower light as it heals and grows healthy again. It will take some time.

    cheers,
    BD

  5. #5
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    hey, you caught it while it still has some roots, so that's good! some lose all their roots when grown in moss. many sellers are packing their phals in moss these days. the usual recommendation for that is to re-pot asap into bark. you can water bark more often without the roots rotting, as it will dry out more with more air exposure to the roots than moss. i personally have great success with moss, but there is a trick to it. only give them a sip of water twice a week. you want the moss to be like a sponge that you have wrung out. damp, not soggy and full of water. the little bit of water will slowly seep through the moss, making it all damp. let is sit for a while, then check to make sure the moss is wet enough but not sloppy wet. once you get used to it, it's very easy... but in the meantime, bark is easier for people who tend to overwater. just let it dry a bit between waterings, but not really bone dry. also, make sure not to get water int he crown of the plant, between the two top leaves, this can cause a bad rot that will kill the plant very quickly. always check for that when watering or misting the plant.

  6. #6
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    It looks like your clever phal managed to save a few of it's roots by sending them outside of the small internal pot, so that's good. Repot as Bruce says and yes, it may take some time for it to recover, but not as long as you might think. As a bit of encouragement, here is a link to one of my phals that had just a few little 2 inch long roots this time last year, and below are pics from this evening showing it's new leaf and roots everywhere!

    So, good luck getting your phal cleaned up and hopefully it will be back to it's normal self next year!

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  7. #7
    suliabryon is offline Junior Member
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    Wow, thank you all for the advice. I hope I caught it in time to save it. Nelson, that success story is very encouraging indeed. I can only hope mine will look half as good a year from now. It's taken months to grow the new leaf it has, so I'm thinking it will be a bit longer before it's looking so...robust.

    Question: why are the people selling orchids commercially sending them out to unsuspecting buyers wrapped in the equivalent of orchid coffins, instead of something that has a chance of surviving? I'm personally amazed that mine has managed to survive for over a year.

  8. #8
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    Katherine is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by suliabryon View Post
    Wow, thank you all for the advice. I hope I caught it in time to save it. Nelson, that success story is very encouraging indeed. I can only hope mine will look half as good a year from now. It's taken months to grow the new leaf it has, so I'm thinking it will be a bit longer before it's looking so...robust.

    Question: why are the people selling orchids commercially sending them out to unsuspecting buyers wrapped in the equivalent of orchid coffins, instead of something that has a chance of surviving? I'm personally amazed that mine has managed to survive for over a year.
    The moss is lighter to ship than bark for one thing. And the stores don't expect you to keep it after it has lost it's flowers. They consider them disposable. And your gift was in a ceramic pot for show which did not allow air to the roots. No worries, you can heal this orchid. You said that you bought another pot. I hope that it is very small, as orchids like their roots bound. If it had been my orchid I may have put it back in the original pot, if it were a sturdy pot. As it is now a 4" pot may be too large. And you did remember to soak the bark?

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