Orchids forum: overwatered! Help!

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Name: Betsy
Texas (Zone 9a)
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piksihk
Jun 18, 2016 2:54 PM CST
Both of my phalaenopsis were overwatered - few brown roots and leaves are wrinkly; I repotted with dry medium and new clay pots ( they were in the clear plastic pots from store). They are on east facing windowsill. One has a new root growing and the other has a stub of a root. Now what?
Do they need more light? Do I need to keep them dry? how much water? or do I mist them? Help.....Ken, Ursula and GordanH.

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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Jun 18, 2016 3:19 PM CST
Betsy, I grow a few Phal., and have done so for years, but I never grow many. For me at least, Phal. don't seem to like my hot weather all that much. Anyway, it sounds like your plants are well on their way to recovery. They do like lots of air flow around their roots. Some people can successfully grow them in pure long-fibered sphagnum moss, but most can't because of an over-watering issue.

I like an eastern exposure. Perhaps your plants are even getting some early morning sun, and if so, that's excellent. I would keep the media on the dry side, just heavily misting the leaves and whatever roots are exposed in the morning and then letting everything dry. When those leaves start showing signs of growth, whether that's plumping of the mature leaves or new growth, I would then begin to water thoroughly again and I would do that whenever the media appears dry. That could be every 3-4 days or every week. It just depends on temperature, humidity, and how much air movement there is.

Here's a trick. When you begin watering again (for the first few weeks), get into the habit of putting tepid water into a sink, just deep enough to touch the top of the media. But before putting the pot(s) into the sink, pick up the pot(s) and notice the weight. Then, allow the pots to sit in that sink for 5 or so minutes so that the media is well soaked. You may have to hold your hand over the media so that it doesn't float out of the pot. Then let the pots drain for a few minutes. Pick up the pot(s) again and notice the weight. You should be able to tell that there is now water-weight that was not there before you did the soaking. When you get used to this weight differential, you can literally pick up a pot and tell whether the media is wet or dry.
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Betsy
Texas (Zone 9a)
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piksihk
Jun 18, 2016 4:02 PM CST
Thanks, Ken.
God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther
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
Jun 18, 2016 4:28 PM CST
Keep in mind that I don't grow many and have "issue" growing some of them. There are many folks here that do grow them, some grow a lot of them, and have better results than I have had. I would hope that some of those who successful grow Phal. chime in with their experiences and recommendations.
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: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
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ctcarol
Jun 18, 2016 4:33 PM CST
Betsy, What medium did you use when repotting? Is it in air conditioning? These things are also important. I have mine in fine bark mix, and use a swamp cooler, which helps keep the humidity a bit higher. The pot is also on pebbles in a large shallow dish of water. I only water mine every 10 days or so. I poke my finger into the medium to check moisture before watering with rain water. If you're lucky enough to have good water, tap water is ok, but if you have hard water like I do use rain or distilled, and don't ever let it stand in the crown of the plant. The lifting to check the weight works but takes some practice. In my case the plant+ size of the pot makes it too heavy for me to tell the difference. That's what fingers are for, isn't it? Good luck rehabbing your Phal.!
Name: Betsy
Texas (Zone 9a)
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piksihk
Jun 18, 2016 5:33 PM CST
Carol, the medium is the one for phal. from lowe's. They're both in clay pots in the kitchen's east facing windowsill out of direct sun.
So I need to give them more humidity. Can they take some sun or just indirect sun?
God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars. ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther
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
Jun 18, 2016 6:48 PM CST
In an east window, all they will get is morning sun. Early morning sun, as I stated before, is great.
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: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jun 18, 2016 7:13 PM CST
I agree Thumbs up
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 18, 2016 8:30 PM CST
Betsy,

My Mother in Law, a sweet 90 something year old Japanese lady used to receive Phalaenopsis orchids as gifts on a regular basis. Her care theory was that if they got limp, water. If they got yellow, water more. Limper? More water!

I often went to her house to discover these orchids literally floating. I would gather them all up and pull them out of the pot and ring the roots to get rid of the excess water. Then I would leave them on the counter for a couple days and repot.

So my advice is: Let them dry out a day or so on the counter. Repot as usual and water as usual (dry potting medium is not going to help them feel better). About half survived.

If you are seeing new roots, you have won the battle. Hurray!

Daisy
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 19, 2016 11:15 AM CST
I agree with Daisy on the new roots. Well done on the rehab. Phals do easily get that wrinkly leaf thing, and it can take a little while for the leaves to plump up again so don't worry about that. A lot of people give up, and throw out their plants when they start to do that, which is a shame as they usually are just pouting and will recover.

They also sometimes pout about a change of position, so if you can find a place where they can live all the time, that is best. Your east facing window is great, as Ken said but the sun at this time of year can be pretty intense so keep an eye on it. Morning sun through the cooler months is great. Mine get direct sun in the morning until about 9am and then are entirely in shade. (but I am in Florida, very strong sun)
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
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
Jun 19, 2016 11:34 AM CST
Early morning sun is what I want, nothing after 10:00 AM for me in the spring and summer months. During the fall and winter, with the sun so low in the southern sky, the intensity is far less and the sun exposure will probably be less as well. I prefer a southern exposure during the fall and winter just to get more hours of (weakened) sun.
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jun 28, 2016 11:25 AM CST
I also grow Phals. I actually keep it drier but in cool conditions indoors by our west facing window. I always think of it as a cool temperature growing orchid. During our hot and dry summer, it seems not to mind being dry longer, as long as I have our ceiling fan running from time to time. It loves the cool air around it, more than making it too wet. But I do water thoroughly the root zone once a week during summer. I also observe after winter, whether it made blooms or not, it seems to go on a dormant phase, not doing anything, best to keep it dry then. Once I see new roots and leaves forming, then I know it is back in business and ready again for my watering regimen. I have left these plants for over a month when I am out of the country, and they don't suffer much, I guess it was during late winter to early Spring, during its rest mode.

Though my Phals are by a west facing window and north facing sliding doors, the window is tinted, and we get good shade from city trees. When our outside temps are hovering in the triple digit mark and higher, I also draw our sheer white curtains to further cool the area. Works well so far. I also try to avoid wetting the leaves, just the root zone. Less fungal or bacterial issues that way.

I got good root growth from my Phals, and they just ramble around, outside their containers, showing me it wants to feel more air and some good light. In some ways, it reminds me of growing them like Cattleya, grow them drier, the difference is the light, Cattleya needs more light, but Phals are okay with less light or dappled light.

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