Orchids forum: Funky leaves on Phals

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Name: Lisa Olson
Washington DC (Zone 7a)
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5601Lisa
Jun 6, 2017 9:24 AM CST
A few of my Phal orchids have developed ugly leaves. They're all spending summer under a tree, northern exposure. Think they're victims of a slugfest?
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Jun 6, 2017 9:30 AM CST

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Moved to Orchid Forum where hopefully you'll get some help from the members here. Thumbs up
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Name: lindsey
wesley chapel, fl
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sugarcane
Jun 6, 2017 10:05 AM CST
Hi Lisa,
I'm sorry to say that your orchid is notoriously difficult ( if not impossible ) to grow out doors. In nature they pretty much grow upside down with the roots on the top and the leaves hanging down , so when it rains the water wets the roots and the leaves act like an umbrella . When we put them in pots and sit them outside, water can collect in the crown and rot the leaves and plant...or a nick on a leaf gives fungus a chance to settle in. Fungus is generally a roundish black spot surrounded by a yellow ring. These Phalaenopsis Orchids do well on covered porches or under the eave of your house. You might be able to rescue them by cutting with a clean razor or knife any of those ugly leaves..about a half inch from the ugly part and applying cinnamon to the open cut leaf ( a Q-tip makes a great application tool) You can also cut off the old flower spikes. . . and I would flush the pots with either brown listerene or peroxide...both will kill any fungus that might be living in the potting media. I would also move the plants, possibly back indoors if you don't have a covered porch. Also, at the top of our orchid forum are some great pinned posts that have TONS of helpful information that you might find useful. Good Luck...and keep us posted!
lindsey
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jun 30, 2017 5:06 PM CST
Sugarcane has pretty much said it all. Your Phals have rot problems. In my experience, they seldom recover once affected. You can try cut and treat with cinnamon but since rot spreads very quickly and deeply, the rot has often progressed way past what is easily visible.
Make sure they are dry by nightfall and trying to grow them outdoors that far north can be most difficult.
I hate to sound heartless but toss them and buy new ones, they are cheap enough.
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Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jun 30, 2017 5:19 PM CST
You can still try and just cut off the damaged leaves, but got to move it indoors. I cannot grow my Phals outdoors, it will be meal for slugs, snails and grasshoppers, and it will burn in our very dry heat. Cannot join my other orchids in the growcamp since those ones love more frequent watering than my Phals.

The crown of your plant does not look damaged yet, but cut off the damaged leaf now, so it will not spread the damage further.


[Last edited by tarev - Jun 30, 2017 5:19 PM (+)]
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Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Jun 30, 2017 5:24 PM CST
Just curious. Washington DC is hot, hot, hot in the summer and sticky humid. Why would that be too far north?
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Jun 30, 2017 7:22 PM CST
Different kind of heat. Ca. Fla.. most of east coast all get hot, but humidity is very different, as are fluctuation from night to day, and Phals are basically cool growers. I can't grow mine outside either, and I don't do houseplants...except for one Phal that I'm trying to save. The only reason I keep that one in the house is that I have a swamp cooler on my roof which helps keep the house cooler AND more humid that our outside. The temps outside may be 80 in the shade, and 90 in the orchid shack, but humidity gets very low once the sun comes up. The house, I can control to a point.
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Jun 30, 2017 7:38 PM CST
OK, so it is the heat that gets them, I knew I was missing something.



Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Jun 30, 2017 7:49 PM CST
That's my theory. Whistling
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jun 30, 2017 8:38 PM CST
Yes, they are such cool season growers, I like to think of them like growing cool growing succulents, but in more shady conditions and in a different media of course.. They will spike when weather is cooler. The rest of the year just happy to stay warm but lots of airflow, so I always run our ceiling fans here or open windows, weather permitting.

Definition of cool temps may be relative, for me it is already cool when it is 65F to 80F, since we easily climb to 90F and higher during the long, dry, warm to hot months.
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jul 1, 2017 4:50 AM CST
Phals are not cool growers. They come from Southeast Asia. However, they prefer a temperature range of between 65 and 80.
They do very well in temps above 80 but watering practices must change along with increased air movement. 90 plus stresses all orchids, and people too!
Phalaenopsis growth slows down if they stay below 60 degrees for long periods, like a D.C. Winter. When growth slows, they only make a new leaf or two per growing season. Natural senility, the shedding of older leaves, causes them to lose a leaf or two per year. Thus they seldom get larger and gain size. Make a leaf, lose a leaf is a hard way to flourish.
Florida weather now in Fort Myers is 92 for four months followed by 75 at night and my Phalaenopsis are not crazy about being that warm. I have a fan on them and water more often.
D.C. Weather is fine for a lot of orchids but I would leave my Phalaenopsis indoors for the summer on Long Island. The indoors provided a more stable climate.
Crown rot is caused by water sitting on the leaves or in the crown for hours on end. This is where a fan can help!
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Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Jul 1, 2017 7:01 AM CST
I grew up on Long Island and do miss those cool evenings they enjoy. Changing weather patterns sure have them roasting during the daytime now though.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jul 1, 2017 8:36 AM CST
Long Island is a difficult climate to grow orchids. Last year was beautiful. Two years ago the town where I lived did not have a single day over 90!! Which is amazing. Several years back NYC set a record with 39 days of 90 or more.
This year on LI they did not see many days over 80 until late May and then boom it was 93 in early June! Luckily it was for two days.
But with orchids an occasional 90 does not bother them, three in a row means more water, five in a row they begin to feel it and after a week of 90's, you need fans, misting and other cooling measures.
Alas, this my life in SW Florida which is why I grow fewer Cattleyas but more Dendrobiums and Catasetum Alliance stuff. Aerides are good warm growers too. My entire collection has two 18" oscillating fans on them 24/7 and they are under 50% shade cloth.
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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Jul 1, 2017 9:44 AM CST

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Growing outside in Summer as I do, it helps to have some small trees for a bit of shade and don't even entertain the thought of growing happy and healthy Pleurothallids! Those gorgeous colorful Masdevallias? One Summer outside, even with nice cooling under a Jap. Maple, and they are toast. Through the years there were some exceptions which can take the NJ Summer, but I can count them on one hand.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Jul 1, 2017 11:19 AM CST
Yes, they do grow in Southeast Asia, but typically they are in the mountain highlands where the air is quite cooler under the canopy of trees, with torrential rains that helps cool them down and the crosswinds, with occasional misty fog in the mornings. Of course there are the professional growers who ably manipulate growing conditions there, so the can force it.

Now as I have said cold conditions will be relative, some will have dry cold, some will have wet cold. After we soar in the excessive hot and dry conditions, anything below 100F, will feel cool for us, and much cooler as it further goes down, yet 70F should feel just fine and wonderful on any typical day. Thankfully our conditions here is always so dry, so there is quick evaporation of water after watering, sometimes just way too fast though, so have to protect the Phals much better indoors here to avoid being roasted dry.
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Jul 1, 2017 11:41 AM CST

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If I may - one usually defines Orchid growing temperatures as such:
This is from the Hausermann 's Pages.

CORRECT TEMPERATURES are of great importance in growing and blooming orchids successfully. We classify orchids as WARM GROWING, INTERMEDIATE or COOL GROWING.

WARM GROWING varieties prefer a temperature range of 64 degrees F at night, 72° F during daytime and 80° F with sun.

The INTERMEDIATE temperature range is 60 degrees F at night, 68° F during daytime and 75° F with sun. Some varieties, especially spring blooming Cattleyas and Dendrobiums, require the low night temperature to set buds.

COOL GROWING plants prefer a temperature of 55 degrees F at night, 65° F during daytime and 70° F on sunny days. Varieties like Cymbidium, Odontoglossum, some Dendrobium and Masdevallias require the cool temperatures to grow well and to initiate flower buds. During hot summer weather all varieties will tolerate high temperatures. Additional shade and occasional misting, however, will help to keep plants cool, and growing well.


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