Houseplants forum: I think I damaged my Phal orchid

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Name: Marie
Ohio (Zone 6b)
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GrannyMarie
May 29, 2016 3:57 PM CST
I bought one of those carousel planters and repotted my phal in it in fir bark (no moss) three weeks ago. In this planter I can't see the roots which I use as an indicator of how the orchid is doing and when to water, etc. It dries out quicker now which I'm fine with but I can't examine it's root system except for the roots that are coming up through the bark and are looking pretty bad. I'm not sure if they're air roots or not. Plus one leaf is starting to turn yellow. I'm not sure if it's just in it's normal growth cycle or if it's my fault. Also one leaf has curled badly. I'm not sure anymore how to judge when to water since it dries out so fast now. The humidity has been fine and I moved it further away from direct sun light in case that was a problem. I am really bummed.
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Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
May 30, 2016 1:31 PM CST
Hi Marie,
Your Phal really looks pretty good in my opinion. Phals do tend to be a bit fussy, some would even call them "divas". They don't really care for repotting, especially when in bloom. They tend to "pout" a bit, but always "bounce back". The yellowing of bottom leaves is also quite normal. The older leaves die eventually. As long as you are seeing root and leaf growth, I'd say everything's good. Don't let her completely dry out, but don't over do the water either. I try to water mine at least once a week, but also mist a couple times weekly.
Moving away from direct sun was a good idea. Bright light is ok, but direct sun is a bit much. I've got a couple that do receive the tiniest bit in the early morning, but that's all.
Your media does look a bit on the dry side in pic.#3. I'd probably give it a good drink and maybe add a little more moist bark on top.

Hope this helps,
Good luck with it, and if you get the chance, come on over to the orchid forum. http://garden.org/forums/view/orchids/
Great people, and experienced orchid growers. Eager to help. I've definitely learned a lot from them. Smiling
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
May 30, 2016 2:13 PM CST
I agree with Tara, Marie. These are epiphytes, so in truth all the roots are "air-roots". Phalaenopsis, by its nature, is always trying to grow out of the bark, thus those roots on the top of the bark. Is this 100% Douglas fir bark?

Oh, because your media doesn't seem to hold moisture well, I would not hesitate to water every 3-4 days during the spring and summer months. Rather than simply pouring the water over the bark, I would fill a bucket, bowl, or basin with tepid water, at enough depth to just cover the top of your bark media. Leave it submerged for 5-10 minutes. You need that bark to have time to soak up the moisture so that it can slowly release it. If you are simply pouring water over the media, it is running through too quickly to really wet the bark. You may need to hold your hand over the media while the pot is submerged. These things tend to float. Whistling

Phal. often give me fits.
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Name: Marie
Ohio (Zone 6b)
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GrannyMarie
May 30, 2016 2:18 PM CST
Thanks Tara. Whew, I'm relieved to hear I haven't done damage to my orchid. I actually do read the orchid forum but everyone has so many orchids they grow I was always hesitant to ask about my two little houseplant orchids. *Blush* I have learned a lot as well just from reading. Smiling
Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
May 30, 2016 2:22 PM CST
I'm glad you thought to mention that Ken, about the watering. I keep a basin on hand just for "soaking" some of my orchids. And truth be told here, my Phals are now getting a little bit of cut up sphagnum mixed in with the bark. They seem to be responding nicely to it. The fact that they don't have "bulbs" for extra water retention, means in my estimation, that a bit more frequent watering/misting is necessary.
Name: Marie
Ohio (Zone 6b)
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GrannyMarie
May 30, 2016 2:34 PM CST
Ken, thanks about the watering technique! I will be sure to soak instead of just pouring water through. I checked the bag again and I was wrong, it is not Douglas fir bark like I thought. It's just Miracle Grow orchid potting mix, course blend.

Thanks again Tara!
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 30, 2016 2:38 PM CST
Tara, I too incorporate perhaps 20% chopped up sphagnum moss in some of my mixes. It does seem to hold moisture a bit longer but not too long.

That's fine, Marie. I just did not see anything other than what looked like fir bark.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Marie
Ohio (Zone 6b)
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GrannyMarie
May 30, 2016 2:45 PM CST
Would it be better if I added some sphagnum moss (and 100% Douglas fir bark)? When I bought this phal it was packed in a lot of S.moss and wouldn't dry out. I read in the orchid forum that using just bark is a good thing especially for novices to get used to orchids and how to water. I think I am learning that balance is the key. Smiling

Also, what is the cause of the one curled leaf?
[Last edited by GrannyMarie - May 30, 2016 2:47 PM (+)]
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
May 30, 2016 3:05 PM CST
Just leave everything as-is, Marie. When the plant has quit blooming you can prepare a better media if you wish.

That curled leaf may have been caused by some sort of restriction against the side of the leaf. Perhaps the inflo. stem was there is some sort of stake that kept the leaf from flattening out. I don't really know though. The leaves look fine to me.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Marie
Ohio (Zone 6b)
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GrannyMarie
May 30, 2016 3:10 PM CST
Ok, will leave well enough alone till after it is done blooming. Smiling
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Aug 18, 2016 4:41 PM CST
How are things going at this point?
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Name: Eileen
Palm Bay, FL
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imadigger
Aug 20, 2016 12:48 PM CST
I finally learned how to not kill any of my Phals. I always ended up watering too much, or then not enough! On another forum someone suggesed putting a few ice cubes on top of the mix once a week. So that is what I've been doing. So far it is working out great. I just picked up four little mini phals at wallyworld last week, and I put just one ice cube on top of mix. They also are going great.
And yes, the old leaves do yellow. I cut off the bloom stalk when all flowers are gone. I cut and leave one little ring (I'm not sure what to call it) so it may sent up another flower stem. My daughter's two have sent up keikis. One she cut off and potted it in it's own pot. Isn't Mother Nature wonderful!
Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Aug 20, 2016 1:12 PM CST
imadigger said:
And yes, the old leaves do yellow. I cut off the bloom stalk when all flowers are gone. I cut and leave one little ring (I'm not sure what to call it) so it may sent up another flower stem. My daughter's two have sent up keikis. One she cut off and potted it in it's own pot. Isn't Mother Nature wonderful!


Yes Mother Nature is wonderful! I agree

I learned that if you cut the stalk just above the 4th node, you'll have very good success at getting a re bloom. Or a lot of times what I have done is just leave the full stalk until it sprouts a new one, and then cut above that.

Name: Marie
Ohio (Zone 6b)
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GrannyMarie
Aug 24, 2016 12:31 PM CST
purpleinopp said:How are things going at this point?

I'm sad to report that my phal died. Sad I switched to soaking it instead of just watering it but I couldn't save it. Will buy another one and try again.

Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Aug 24, 2016 1:31 PM CST
Oh, sooo sorry it didn't work out. I agree, trying again sounds good. Room for improvement! :+)
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