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  #1  
Old 08-08-2018, 01:53 PM
imgliniel imgliniel is offline
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Oh my god I'm back on an orchid board! (a rescue thread)
Default Oh my god I'm back on an orchid board! (a rescue thread)

Interesting to me how you can never be done right? Once you are bitten by the orchid bug I never lets you go. I haven't had plants in any form in my life for several years now, and here I am, back on orchid board, with a rescue Phal.

Short version, long long ago young me picked up an orchid from a home improvement store because it was pretty. Had some typical beginner issues and came here. Several years later went through a not so nice divorce and complete upheaval of my life, and had to give away the whole collection at that point. (I actually was going to re-home some here, but a friend that was local who has a serious green thumb and beautiful covered patio at her 5 miles from the beach home took them, as well as my cactus orchids (Epi's).

Now my life has settled, I have a lovely new home, much better people in my life then my ex, and my girlfriend got me a phal for valentines day.......

And here I am back on an orchid board. Unfortunately I re-potted the valentines day one and I am fairly certain (and she agrees) that the bark I got was contaminated, Because within 48 hours most of the pot was filled with mold. It may not survive the collar rotted pretty bad pretty fast. It is sitting out of any medium or water on a shelf and I am waiting until I see some kind of new growth to do anything with it. Basically just waiting it out to see what it does. I'm hoping maybe it throws a keiki as a last ditch reproduction effort and I can run with that.

So I went to Lowe's to return the contaminated bark, and came home with a little classic white and yellow phal off the clearance rack. I knew it was in trouble. Somewhat wrinkly leaves, no roots in the moss that I could see. But the stem and collar still looked clean. I had been reading about full water culture and wanted to experiment with something like that or other bare root types of cultivation. And this one seemed to be struggling but not so far gone that it might be a good experiment.

So I took it home, ripped (gently) all the smashed compressed sphag out of the pot. None of the roots were really any good, but it had three little root spikes at the top that were. So I washed it, cut all the dead ones off with sterilized scissors. I used tweezers to pick off any trace of medium I could find, treated it with fungicide, and let it sit on a shelf to dry for the afternoon.

Then I got a little empty and cleaned jar, and filled it with water, and put the little one in it. I had just the tip of the stem in the water. After a day or two, I could see the little root tips looked moist, so I thought yeah! ok, this could be good! well... Yesterday I noticed a bit of fungus starting in the stem between the lowest leaf and the next leaf (a good inch almost above the water line). (god damn it!) So I took it out, disinfected the jar, treated the orchid with fungicide and left it out on a shelf to dry overnight. I treated it with fungicide again this morning.

Now what.... What did I do wrong? Is this a common issue with the full water culture thing? Should I have just put the orchid ABOVE the water letting the roots grow into it? Can I put something in the water to prevent fungus? Start with a semi water culture (the soak and dry rotation)?

Suggestions?

PS I write novels I know, I'm sorry haha.
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  #2  
Old 08-08-2018, 02:46 PM
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Dollythehun Dollythehun is offline
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First of all, welcome back! Glad your'e here.

Second, congrats on getting your life back on track!

Third, I don't grow in FWC, so I can't help.

Lastly, please watch your language, there are fussy old ladies on the OB.
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  #3  
Old 08-08-2018, 02:58 PM
Dumb chemist Dumb chemist is offline
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You ask what you did wrong. I will be as kind as possible: You do not put the roots of an orchid in water (I will contradict myself in the next paragraph.) Orchid roots need air just as they get it in the forest. The roots absorb water from rain storms and then feed the water to the plant. Submerging the roots in water can cause them to die. This is why orchids are planted in bark/pebbles/moss in order to have a compost that drains well.

Now my contradiction: In the past, I have had Cattleya orchids grow their roots down into the humidity tray that the plant pot is resting in*. Their roots have remained submerged for months at a time and have looked allright. Mind you, this was a decision that the plant made and not mine. I have had the roots adhere to the humidity tray bottom and look fine.

I would go to Amazon and search for "orchid mix". There are many; but, you need to select orchid mix for phals and order a small bag which should be enough for 1 orchid. Plant the orchid in a suitably sized orchid pot (available from Lowes) and use the orchid mix. Water well and do not water for one week then water weekly. Place the pot in an east or south window. You should see new growth in 2 to 3 weeks.:

* I do not set the pot in water. I place the pot in 2 or 3 pots so as to raise the pot with the plant up so that the plant pot is above the surface of the water. In this way, the plant is setting in a humidity tray with its roots not in the water.

Good luck.

Last edited by Dumb chemist; 08-08-2018 at 03:03 PM..
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  #4  
Old 08-08-2018, 03:12 PM
imgliniel imgliniel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dollythehun View Post
First of all, welcome back! Glad your'e here.

Second, congrats on getting your life back on track!

Third, I don't grow in FWC, so I can't help.

Lastly, please watch your language, there are fussy old ladies on the OB.
Firstly, thank you!

Second, thanks again

thirdly, I never have either but I want to try!

lastly, noted. Said ex was a marine and I may have picked up some.... uh, colorful language over those years and the ensuing split. So thanks for the heads up now! I'm a very sweet young lady, I promise.
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  #5  
Old 08-08-2018, 03:17 PM
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Dollythehun Dollythehun is offline
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I married a Navy Chief 35 years ago...'nuff said.
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  #6  
Old 08-08-2018, 03:22 PM
imgliniel imgliniel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dumb chemist View Post
You ask what you did wrong. I will be as kind as possible: You do not put the roots of an orchid in water
I politely beg to differ. In traditional mediums such as those you mention (orchid mix bark, sphagnum moss) no, you do not put the roots in water. However there are other systems for cultivating orchids including semi hydroponic and full water culture methods where you do indeed put either the roots or the pot, or some combination there of, in water. Here is a link describing the full water culture method I interested in trying and referencing in this post.

Hydroponic Orchid Growing - How To Grow Orchids In Water

---------- Post added at 12:22 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:18 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dollythehun View Post
I married a Navy Chief 35 years ago...'nuff said.
Well there you go!

I sat through the ex'es court martial, in retrospect I'm not sure why.... But I'm sure you can imagine how fun that was!
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Old 08-08-2018, 03:31 PM
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Dollythehun Dollythehun is offline
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Hats off to you, girl!
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  #8  
Old 08-09-2018, 08:31 AM
Dumb chemist Dumb chemist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imgliniel View Post
I politely beg to differ. In traditional mediums such as those you mention (orchid mix bark, sphagnum moss) no, you do not put the roots in water. However there are other systems for cultivating orchids including semi hydroponic and full water culture methods where you do indeed put either the roots or the pot, or some combination there of, in water. Here is a link describing the full water culture method I interested in trying and referencing in this post.

Hydroponic Orchid Growing - How To Grow Orchids In Water

---------- Post added at 12:22 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:18 PM ----------



Well there you go!

I sat through the ex'es court martial, in retrospect I'm not sure why.... But I'm sure you can imagine how fun that was!

Forgive me for my idiocy. I have not heard of either "semi hydroponic or full water culture methods" for orchids. I was taught by Jim Rice to use the traditional culture methods and nothing else. I only have 6 orchids so either method would be significantly too much work. If you find either method advantageous, you have my blessing (FWIW).
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Old 08-09-2018, 01:50 PM
Arizona Jeanie Arizona Jeanie is offline
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Hello IM, and welcome. I have one phal (of 5 total) in vase culture (or full water culture, I'm not sure what the right term is), and it's doing very well. When I first heard of this method I was incredulous, so had to run out and buy a cheap phal with a nice flower to try it out. This one was healthy to start with, so it might be a bit of a different situation. Here's how I've done it, I know there are different methods.
I removed all the potting medium, of course, then set the roots down into a pint jar, with the leaves resting on the rim. I had to prop the leaves up with chopsticks across the top (thanks Estacion Seca) for about the first six months. I started out filling the jar with water, up to the base of the leaves, every day, leaving it soak for about an hour, then draining it almost completely. Ambient humidity here is exceedingly dry. The roots quickly grew down to the bottom of the jar, and we graduated to a quart jar. When I got tired of looking at that it went into a 1+ liter vase with a narrow neck. That actually has been working great. Then I noticed that the roots seem quite happy resting in the bit of water in the bottom, so after the plant had grown a lot of roots that were accustomed to the water culture, I started leaving an inch or two of water in the bottom of the vase, and only doing the full soak and drain once a week. (Besides, I was getting a little tired and forgetful about the daily routine.) The stem is not anywhere close to this remaining water. I fertilize weekly/weakly, just fill the vase for an hour with the same solution the other phals are getting. I can highly recommend the addition of some of Ray's Kelpmax to encourage vigorous root growth.
I've had no problems with mold or fungus, but I keep the crown of the plant out of the soak, plus I water in the morning and everything here dries really fast. I wouldn't treat anything with a fungicide, I find that using any chemicals, especially on the roots, can do enough damage to the growth tip to stop it dead. I do get algae--constantly. About once a month I take the whole plant out of the vase, rinse it (the plant) well in plain water, and wash the vase with soap and water and a bottle brush before replacing the plant. The algae doesn't seem to hurt anything, it just gets unsightly. It also seems to be the blue-green type algae (maybe a bacterium?), a reminder of some of the first life on this miraculous planet of ours.
I don't know how this would work with more than a plant or two, or without a sink handy, but this plant is doing very well. It's bloomed every year, gets at least two new and nicely sized leaves each year, and keeps putting out new roots. It just generally does everything the phals in bark are doing, and it's fun to see those roots out where you can watch them. So yes, this can work, I'm now a believer!
Oh by the way, I'm one of those little old ladies, thank you for keeping language respectable here.
Happy gardening!
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  #10  
Old 08-10-2018, 05:48 PM
MT-Phal MT-Phal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dumb chemist View Post
Forgive me for my idiocy. I have not heard of either "semi hydroponic or full water culture methods" for orchids. I was taught by Jim Rice to use the traditional culture methods and nothing else. I only have 6 orchids so either method would be significantly too much work. If you find either method advantageous, you have my blessing (FWIW).
Both of you are actually correct and incorrect. You do not **place** roots into water, but you can **allow** them to grow into it and they will be fine. Most orchids have roots which will adapt to their environment, which is why new roots having grown into SH or water culture can thrive but the older roots of a plant will die off. This is why timing is utmost important when transitioning a plant into SH or hydro from the more common mediums and why the roots of your plant can thrive in the humidity tray.
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