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 Post subject: Sick orchid - maybe?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:58 pm 
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Hi, wondering if anyone can tell me what is up with this orchid? It started flowering 4 months ago and has looked fantastic. But last week one of the most recent flowers suddenly withered and died - within about 36 hrs. Now more flowers are going the same way but strangely only ones on one side of the stem. All at the same time. All my other orchids look well look look well. Top of the plant looks good. Care: lives on a table in a south facing window but doesn't get direct sun. I water it about weekly, when the roots look dry. Feed it approx every 3 waters. I wipe the leaves with a damp cloth every so often. It was repotted about a year ago in bark based orchid compost. The only questionable thing is that the pot has a lot of moss in it. I didn't put it in, it has grown there. I asked a garden centre orchid person about this and she said shouldn't be a problem unless it holds too much water and blocks air flow which maybe it is doing now. If so what do I do? Pull it out and clean away as much of the moss as I can? I would be grateful for any advice. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Sick orchid - maybe?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:35 pm 
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Just let the pot roots stay a nice silvery colour before rewatering or you will virtually drown it and don't let the pot stand in water.
Ed



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 Post subject: Re: Sick orchid - maybe?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:31 pm 
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Hi phraggy, are you saying you think that is why the flowers are dropping? Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Sick orchid - maybe?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 6:54 am 
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I suspect that there is nothing wrong with your plant, it looks fine to me. After a long flowering the plant has decided it is time to stop and is now getting rid of the flowers. It is odd that it is only flowers on one side dying off though. Is it possible that he sun did hit that side of the spike?

As for the moss, this is always a problem when using clear pots. Moss requires light to grow well so a simple solution is to stand your clear pot inside a ceramic container to cut out the light.

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 Post subject: Re: Sick orchid - maybe?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:40 am 
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The moss may be a sign that it is being kept on the damper side of things, I have not repotted my phal in over a year and it has near 0 moss growth and is kept in a glass outer pot to expose roots to light for purpose of photosynthesis. Though I do allow it to dry between watering, which will keep moss growth at bay!

I feed 1/4-1/2 strength weekly, flushing with clean water every fourth water.

4 month = approximately 16+ weeks - Average bloom time for Phal Orchids is often said to be around the 10 week to 3 month mark. So your's has done quite well indeed! :)

If one side is dropping faster it may actually be that that side receives more light, I have noticed on phals in the past (especially with 2 spikes) that those blooms exposed to more light will fade quicker than the side which is not.

Just my thoughts on the matter ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Sick orchid - maybe?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:58 am 
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Another tip for you to make it reflower quickly is to cut the spike above the 2nd or 3rd node while there is still one or two flowers on the spike. If you let all the flowers die before cutting the sap will have ceased to rise and the whole spike will die. So cut off when a flower or two is still on and keep the sap rising up the spike.

Ed



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 Post subject: Re: Sick orchid - maybe?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:44 pm 
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Thanks for all the advice everyone. It is doing well then, isn't it Michele? Is that time frame for the whole stem or for an individual flower? The stem is still producing buds as can be seen in the first photo. Interesting yours has no moss - there is definitely a moss party going on in that pot and another is developing a batch. I guess spores escape once it gets in one and moves to the others.

Hi Terry, yes, it is possible that the sun hit the spike at some point - it was hard to keep it off them in spring when the sun was lower and I had to keep moving them but it is flowers from the other side that suddenly kneeled over. Glad you think it looks well. You suggested a ceramic pot. I'm a really beginner at this, but I thought orchids needed the clear pots to photosynthesize?

Thanks for the tip Ed, will do that.


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 Post subject: Re: Sick orchid - maybe?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:35 pm 
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JulesA wrote:
.................Glad you think it looks well. You suggested a ceramic pot. I'm a really beginner at this, but I thought orchids needed the clear pots to photosynthesize?


I am not a great believer in the theory that orchids NEED to photosynthesize using their roots. I have read conflicting academic papers in the past and have not been convinced one way or the other.

What I am sure about is that the many plants I have grow perfectly well with their roots in the dark. I do however like clear pots for some plants as I can see how the roots are doing. As you have found however too much light encourages the growth of moss in the pot which quickly negates the clear material. For this reason my clear pots go into a dark pot while not in flower and into a ceramic pot for aesthetic reasons when in flower and on display.

The vast majority of the pots I use are black.]

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 Post subject: Re: Sick orchid - maybe?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:41 pm 
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Very interesting Terry, thanks. I have wondered as have noticed them growing happily in ceramic pots.


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 Post subject: Re: Sick orchid - maybe?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:09 am 
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JulesA wrote:
Is that time frame for the whole stem or for an individual flower?

As I have had a spike stay green and popping out a lonely bloom from time to time from the tip, for over 9 months, I'd day it's likely flower life span and not Stem or Spike lifespan. I left it just to see how long it would last, cut it back when the plant decided to produce 2 brand new spikes this year. Though Ed's tip about cutting the spike back to produce more blooms is a good one, I just left mine to see what would happen.

As for keeping roots dark, it's a personal choice based on observation and what I have read. The photosynthesis of the roots is definitely not the primary source of photosynthesis. I have read and observed how the roots of a Phal will tend to avoid the dark. It's like they are a sensor for both moisture and light at times.
So keeping the outer and inner pot clear basically reduces the amount of aerial roots early on, you'll still get aerial roots just not as many as it's easier to keep them in the pot.

That being said, there is nothing wrong with either way. Personally I think a mass of aerial roots looks nice and if a dark outer pot helps reduce the build up of moss for you that's no bad thing - what ever works best for you :)

This is quite a good read. http://www.aos.org/AOS/media/Content-Im ... Part_2.pdf



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 Post subject: Re: Sick orchid - maybe?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 9:38 am 
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Thanks Michele, for the link and the info. I had wondered why my orchids showed no inclination to throw out ariel roots. That explains it, makes perfect sense.

At the moment, the plant seems to be showing no desire to ditch any more flowers, so that is good.

Thanks for all the help everyone!


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