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HELP! phal. orchid root rot/no roots/leaves dying

This is a discussion on HELP! phal. orchid root rot/no roots/leaves dying within the Phalaenopsis ('moth orchid') Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; Hello everyone! I am new here and new to the orchid world. ---- Vendor information ...

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  1. #1
    britneysanders is offline Junior Member
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    Default HELP! phal. orchid root rot/no roots/leaves dying

    Hello everyone! I am new here and new to the orchid world. ---- Vendor information removed - see FAQs on Posting ---- I now have two orchid and those 2 plants are my first plants ever.
    After watching many utube videos I decided that I would repot one of my orchids. I bought potting soil that was a mixture of bark, charcoal, & ceramic. (Not real fond of the medium but it was all I could find at the moment.) I couldn't find any clear pit's so I reported in a brown pot.
    Days after I reported one of my leaves started turn a little yellowish and fell off. I thought maybe reporting it was hard on it and went on with my daily routine. Within a week I started noticing some of the roots look as if they were rotting. (My first mistake was I took the air roots and put them into the medium when I reported it.) Against my better judgment I decided to repot it again to see if there was any root rot... much to my belief, all of the roots were rotted. Ugh! I cut most of them off all the way but decided om a few of then to just pull the outer rotted part off and left the stringing inside. I did this due to having no roots... I thought it would help hold it in place some. I sprinkled cinnamon on them and repotted.
    Again... I lost another leaf. I had to stake the plant up and put bread ties around the stake to hold it in place so it wouldn't move. 2 days after I started noticing white mold on the crown/root...where I cut them off right by the crown. II dabbed peroxide on the molded parts... and watered my plant and prayed...surprisingly I started noticing a new leaf growing! Yea! So exciting.
    However today I noticed another leaf starting to fall off... I'm afraid that my plant isn't going to make it.
    Help! I must be doing something rifht... since a new leaf is growning... But how do I get roots to grow? What about the white mold? Did I handle that right? What should I do? Any advice.
    Please help.
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  2. #2
    Chris in Hamilton is online now Senior Member
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    Welcome from Canada! Best way to get help is to show us what you're seeing. Are you using a sterile cutting tool?

  3. #3
    78Terp's Avatar
    78Terp is online now An Avant Gardner
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    Hello from Colorado!

    That 'stringing inside' is the actual root. The outer layer that is usually plump, firm and green when wet is called vellum. It's kind of like a sponge for the root. Also, you should avoid getting cinnamon on the roots as it is too harsh for the tender roots. It's a learning curve when you get into orchids and want to be successful. Sometimes there are errors during this period. But it is how we learn. We all have been there!

  4. #4
    britneysanders is offline Junior Member
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    I can take some pictures but the problem with that is...there's nothing to really take pictures of as my plant has no roots. Lol I think I have gotten rid of the mold problem with the peroxide.
    So I shouldn't put any cinnamon on the roots that I cut?
    Do you suggest that next time there's a root thats rotted, that I just pull vellum and leave the root?

    So the main question is... how do I encourage root growth? My plant has no roots... I have it tied to a stake with a bread tie right now..
    Like I said a new leaf is growing. So that has to be a good sign but doesn't it need roots?
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    ---------- Post Merged at 05:59 PM ----------

    And thanks for the welcomes!
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    78Terp's Avatar
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    Yes, a new leaf is a good thing and yes we need to encourage new roots to happen. Others will have to describe the method to you.

    I am not really good at describing the recovery method. But understand, that orchid with no roots is at least 2 years away from blooming again if it is saved. I believe you would trim the entire rotted structure vellum and root. It is useless when the vellum is no longer plump as best as I know.

    I have mold in my bark only one time and it turned out to be badly in need of repotting due to breakdown of the bark. IMO, that is what allowed the mold to grow (the broken down and wet bark). I repotted and have had no issue with mold in that orchid since.

    Go get another orchid and use the info you have gained to do better with this one. And when you repot, make sure that you soak the new bark media overnight so it is able to retain moisture and not desiccate the leaves.

    Do you know how to determine when an orchid needs water? It is death for it to sit in water in a saucer beneath it.

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    Chris in Hamilton is online now Senior Member
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    "So I shouldn't put any cinnamon on the roots that I cut?"

    Cinnamon is good for putting a bit on any cuts or breaks in living tissue. Try not to get it anywhere else especially on live roots. Tends to desiccate them. Wouldn't do much for dead roots except maybe kill any fungi on them. Better just to cut them off.

  7. #7
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    Carolla is offline Senior Member
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    If you repotted it and it started to fail, my question is - how often do you water it? Do you let it dry out pretty much first? Orchid roots need air, or they will rot right off. It probably badly needed repotting, most of the orchids you buy do, but I agree that tucking in the air roots won't help them. I learned here that your orchid roots actually adjust their physical structure as the grow to fit the media they are in, so repotting them will tend to kill them off, as new media will be different (even if just due to the old stuff breaking down) and the roots won't thrive in it.

    Kelp based root stimulants, such as Kelp Max, do wonders for stimulating new root growth - I've seen my Phals toss out a whole flush of new roots a couple of weeks after I've used such stimulants. There are also other natural supplements that help with weakness, rot, insects and disease that I plan to look into.

    I hope you are able to post pictures, even though there is little there to see. Seeing the plant itself, the dying leaves and the new one, as well as the media you used, could be very helpful in giving suggestions as to help your plant. Good luck!

  8. #8
    britneysanders is offline Junior Member
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    ---- photos with vendor information removed!! -see faqs on posting -----
    Posted via Mobile Device

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    Chris in Hamilton is online now Senior Member
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    Well, its in a lot better shape than some we've seen. 1st observation, I myself wouldn't grow a Phal in course bark and stones, dries out so fast that you would probably need to water it every day. I also would take the pot its planted in out of the pink decorative pot. Orchids need air around their roots. 3rd how the heck did you manage to post such big pictures!

  10. #10
    britneysanders is offline Junior Member
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    I'm not sure about the picture. Lol I actually posted about 5 more but they didn't post for some reason? Today I noticed that the two bottom leafs are very limp and wrinkling. I'm so scared that I'm starting to loss it.
    What type of medium would you suggest just for this orchid?
    And for all other orchids would you suggest a stag. Moss and bark mix?
    Also, how much should I wanted the plant? How is it going to get water with no roots? Help what should I do? I'm going to fertilize it today. Figure crossed. Then Wednesday I'm gib to buy that kelp max. So hoping that really turns my plant around and helps it grow roots.
    so you think I should replant it again but in a different meduim. Should I replant it in a smaller pot also since it has no roots?
    Help! And thanks for your help
    Posted via Mobile Device

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