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Root rot and maybe also crown rot on my phal

This is a discussion on Root rot and maybe also crown rot on my phal within the Phalaenopsis ('moth orchid') Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; Hi everyone, I'm new to this group and I'm looking forward to learning from you ...

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  1. #1
    ceh824 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Root rot and maybe also crown rot on my phal

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to this group and I'm looking forward to learning from you all. Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer me!

    I bought this phal in May 2016. At the time, I basically knew nothing about orchid care and hate to say that I didn't do such a great job with it. I repotted it for the first time on July 10th. The old bark media was decomposing and there were a lot of dead roots. I cleaned it up, put it in new sphagnum moss, and started watering it only when the top of the moss started to dry out.

    I recently noticed that there were still rotten roots toward the top, though. I am just now starting to fertilize my orchids and give them probiotics, but I know that I shouldn't fertilize if there are issues with rot since it can be like salt in a wound. On Monday, I decided to take it out of its new pot to see what was going on and unfortunately found more rotten roots once it was out of the pot.

    I went back through and got rid of the rotten roots with a sterile tool and then put cinnamon on the cuts I made. I repotted it in a smaller plastic pot than it had been in previously. All of its leaves held up during the process and it seems to be okay, minus the fact that there is still rot on some of the leaves. I also noticed some black spots on the crown and I'm not sure if it's something to be worried about.

    Here are photos of the rotten roots, the roots after being cut, and two closeups of the black spots on the crown: There is also a photo of the orchid when it was in bloom.

    What do you all think? Thank you!

  2. #2
    78Terp's Avatar
    78Terp is online now An Avant Gardner
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    Hi-
    For images to post they need to be no larger than 700 pixels on the largest side. Then use the Insert Image tool under the picture frame icon to add it to your post.

    BTW- Growing Phals in sphag moss at home is quite challenging for most of us. Many of us use a bark, perlite, horticultural charcoal mix for most orchid types including Phals. Orchids do most of their breathing by the roots so we always like to give air room to get to the roots. Bark mix helps accomplish this more so than sphag.

  3. #3
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    Welcome from Ontario, Canada! What Harvey said

  4. #4
    ksriramkumar is offline Senior Member
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    Hello and Welcome from India. Concur with Harvey. Posting a picture would help

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    ceh824 is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    Sorry, everyone. I tried to add images the first time—here's take two.

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  6. #6
    78Terp's Avatar
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    Looks good to me. You did a fine job cleaning up the dead roots. I do really think you will be more successful growing in bark mix. If it had crown-rot, which I see no evidence of, then you would lose the center and top most leaves and they would already be gone. Potentially black dead tissue remaining.

  7. #7
    Carolla's Avatar
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    I agree, it's likely to do better in bark. However a couple of things - first when the media decomposes before you re-pot it, the fresh clean media will be significantly different in texture and how it holds water. The roots develop specifically to grow in the media its in and when it changes, they slowly die off as it grows new roots. For this problem try a kelp root simulator. Second - if you are going to keep it in moss, but sure its dry most of the way through, not just on the top or you will rot the roots for sure. Third - be aware the Phals need both air and moisture at their roots, hence it being better to use a more open media than the moss they usually come in. That said, it looks pretty good actually.

  8. #8
    ceh824 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for that input, Harvey, Chris, ksriramkumar, and Carol. I have a few follow up questions and some more background info.

    The media that I have is made of sphagnum moss, sponge rock, and cork chips. I wasn't thinking about the second and third ingredients when I initially posted this. When I repotted the orchids, the ones that had come in moss were both doing really well (growing new leaves), but the moss was really packed in there. When I repotted them, I left the moss much more loose so it can dry out between waterings. I also put a few styrofoam peanuts in there on the advice of a YouTube video. The two that came out of moss and were repotted into moss seem to be doing well. Do I need to repot those or just monitor them for now?

    This one came out of a bark media. I didn't realize that the roots develop specifically for the media (thanks, Carol!). Is what I'm seeing here die off of the roots because of that? If I put it in bark, it will still need to regrow the roots it's currently losing, right?

    Also, do any of you have recommendations for bark media?

    And then, finally, what are your thoughts on saucers? I've been keeping all three phals on a saucers for a couple of weeks to keep them humid, but maybe that's having a detrimental effect on this one?

    Thank you so much!

  9. #9
    78Terp's Avatar
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    There must be an orchid centered store in NYC? Go there. A Google for Orchid Nursery NYC gave me at least 3 results on Manhattan. They will have what you need. And I am sure will be happy to answer any questions you have. Sell you a couple more orchids perhaps too!

  10. #10
    Carolla's Avatar
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    In any case, it will likely lose most of its roots because whatever you do will be different from what its used to. Pick what you want to try, then support it and use kelp extracts to get the roots going.

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