Help Needed: sickly Dend phal in compact sphag. Repot?
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  #1  
Old 05-03-2019, 12:35 AM
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HailStarscream HailStarscream is offline
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Help Needed: sickly Dend phal in compact sphag. Repot?
Question Help Needed: sickly Dend phal in compact sphag. Repot?

Hi all! Just made an account to get some answers about my clearance Dendrobium phal, so I can't post pictures right at the moment... Anyway...

So the story is: I'm shopping around at Lowes for succulents (leaves off the ground!) and there I see her - a Dendrobium on clearance. Off course I had to buy her because surely having 14 phals is not enough orchids right?! What better way to learn how to take care of a new species than getting one on clearance (so I won't feel bad when I potentially kill it)?

I bring it home and it is looking pretty bad. The pseudobulbs are shriveled, leaves are wilted, and the sphag is really dry. If this was a phal, I would be fine with rehabbing it, but I don't know how to start taking care of the Den? My biggest concern is the potting media. The plant is in a wood box hanger with REALLY compact sphag. This thing can't breathe at all and the roots look brown and rotting. I watered it about two or three days ago and the moss is still damp. My instincts scream to repot the darn thing, but I read they hate being repotted and Toxoplasma_Gondiii on r/orchids advised me to leave it alone for a few months to settle. I still want to dig it out of that moss so I'm here for a second opinion.

I dug up a corner of the moss to get a good look at the roots and it appears to be two separate plants, still in the nursery bark, stuck together. Of course y'all know how nurseries are. They just plop the whole plant, broken down media and all, into a bigger pot when need be. The "bark" isn't even bark anymore so much as soil. As far as how the roots looked, the only green roots I could find were the ones already above the media and even those were looking sad.

Considering the bark soil at the base and the anaerobic sphag, would it be a good idea to repot? I'm not even sure what media I should put it in. I was thinking a sphag, lava rock, bark mix? Surely, that would be big enough not to fall out of the box slats and would retain enough water so I won't have to water but once or twice a week?

Thanks all for the advice! I'll post a picture when I meet the 5 post requirement.
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  #2  
Old 05-03-2019, 06:57 AM
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Help Needed: sickly Dend phal in compact sphag. Repot? Female
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I see you are in a warm climate, so your growing methods may be different.

Were it mine, I'd repot into small bark. You can mix in some moss if you like. I find these plants to be top heavy, so I use a clay pot. Keep the pot small as they don't like to be overpotted.

You should be entering a growth season now. It's a good time to repot. These are generally easy plants. Even crappy looking ones usually bloom well. The nicest of mine aren't reblooming, the ones that have been abused do the best. Hope this helps.
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  #3  
Old 05-03-2019, 12:05 PM
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Listen to Dolly, and repot. If you don't want to water daily, avoid the basket and use the clay pot or plastic inside a cache pot. Soak the sphag before repotting (use a kelp mix to give the roots an extra boost) to help with removing the old and opening the roots up for the new medium. If you have green roots on the surface, the plant should be fine.
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  #4  
Old 05-03-2019, 12:54 PM
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Help Needed: sickly Dend phal in compact sphag. Repot?
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Thanks! It just finished aborting its blooms when I took it home and now has a new green node that I suspect is a spike. Is flowering considered the growing season for these guys?

Also I have some old 5" pots from unpotted phals do you think that would work? I have enough orchiata bark to fill up one of those pots but not the wood box.

ETA: I have a cache pot since the den will be too heavy for such a little pot.
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Last edited by HailStarscream; 05-03-2019 at 01:04 PM..
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:11 PM
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Help Needed: sickly Dend phal in compact sphag. Repot? Female
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I wouldn't go that big. I'd stop at 4" unless it's got a huge root system. Mine do markedly better in small pots. This is the growing season in my zone. Better to repot it while the future spike is tiny.
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:25 PM
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Help Needed: sickly Dend phal in compact sphag. Repot?
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I should have enough posts to upload pictures now!

I just checked and I actually have 3" 4" 4.5" and a whopping 6.5". I think I'll try for the 4.5" first since it is actually two plants in that box.

dend-phal-1 imgbb.com
den-phal-3 imgbb.com
dend-phal imgbb.com
den-phal imgbb.com
den-phal-2 imgbb.com

ETA: oops forgot to mention again, There are some black spots on a couple of the leaves that might be spider mite bites. I'm not entirely sure, but I didn't see any bugs.
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Last edited by HailStarscream; 05-03-2019 at 01:28 PM..
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:35 PM
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Help Needed: sickly Dend phal in compact sphag. Repot? Female
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It actually looks pretty good. I wouldn't worry about the foliage. The point of putting it in a smaller pot is so that the roots don't move around otherwise it'll damage them. You might take a piece of wire and put it over the top of the crown and fasten it around the pot so that they don't move or you can use a rhizome clip. Anyway if it was mine I would pot it and quit worrying.
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Old 05-03-2019, 01:43 PM
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Help Needed: sickly Dend phal in compact sphag. Repot?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dollythehun View Post
It actually looks pretty good. I wouldn't worry about the foliage. The point of putting it in a smaller pot is so that the roots don't move around otherwise it'll damage them. You might take a piece of wire and put it over the top of the crown and fasten it around the pot so that they don't move or you can use a rhizome clip. Anyway if it was mine I would pot it and quit worrying.
Thanks so much for the help! I'm definitely going to get it out of that Sphag and into a more manageable pot! I'll try a bit of floral wire and see if that helps keep it up.

Good to know it isn't too out of shape. Probably just a little dehydrated from sitting in the heat outside at Lowe's.

Another quick question since I'm not familiar with dens. There are a lot of brown, broken roots that are spongy but not flat and papery. Is this the equivalent of yellow broken roots on a phal? Not optimal but definitely working? How do I know which roots are bad and which are alive?
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  #9  
Old 05-03-2019, 01:56 PM
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Help Needed: sickly Dend phal in compact sphag. Repot? Female
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I'd just pot it up. When in doubt, don't cut. The roots will help anchor it, dead or alive, and may even wick some water up.
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