Checking root health of small Phalaenopsis
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  #1  
Old 08-19-2019, 10:19 PM
AEKass AEKass is offline
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Checking root health of small Phalaenopsis
Default Checking root health of small Phalaenopsis

Hi All:

I'm hoping to get some feedback about what I think is a small Phalaenopsis. As some background, I've had this plant for a number of years, and gotten help for its care on here before. Recently I moved from Chicago to Silicon Valley, CA (it's been about 2.5 months). After this orchid dropped its last flower I clipped the stem and re-potted it in a larger plastic container that has drainage holes with Phalaenopsis Monterey Dark Imperial Orchid Mix by rePotme.

It's in a west facing window. Most of its roots are above the medium. I'd noticed lately that it seemed to be drying out more often so I increased how often I've been watering. The plant has always had smaller leaves, but several older ones seem to be dying. It is, however, growing a new leaf. I have a humidity gauge, and it has been consistently in the proper range.

The plant has new roots, but some of the older ones are dead. None are mushy, but I was a bit concerned about the color. Is this brown-ish color normal for old, dead roots? Hoping to get either reassurance that the plant is fine, or advice on improving its health.
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  #2  
Old 08-19-2019, 10:50 PM
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Paphluvr Paphluvr is offline
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I'm having a hard time telling if the plant is potted or if you're holding it in your hand. Yes, there are several dead roots showing. If it is supposedly in the pot it wasn't done correctly. The base of the plant should be slightly buried in the potting mix. Maybe you can find a good video on proper repotting technique?
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Old 08-19-2019, 10:51 PM
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There are lots of nice new roots. Looks great. The old, dead roots can be trimmed while you have it out of the pot. It looks like one of the old ones sprouted new roots, so keep that one even if the main root doesn't look great. Fresh medium will need more frequent watering than the old. Also, the ambient humidity in Silicon Valley is probably lower than it was in Chicago, so that also leads to more rapid drying.

If the oldest leaves die, that's normal. Your're fine as long as it is growing new ones from the crown. Be a bit careful of that west-facing window. As the sun shifts with the seasons you could end up getting a direct blast of sun that could toast leaves. A sheer curtain can prevent that. (Whenever you relocate, in that first year you need to observe changes in sun direction, and be ready to react to the inevitable surprises) But in general, that looks like a very healthy plant. Follow the advice of Paphluvr and plant it a bit deeper - most of those higher roots will fit in the pot, and that will certainly help with hydration.
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  #4  
Old 08-20-2019, 09:51 AM
Mountaineer370 Mountaineer370 is offline
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I think your plant looks fine. It seems to have a decent amount of good roots. I usually don't cut anything off unless it is mushy. I have found that roots on Phals that are always inside the pot will have more of a brownish-yellow color rather than the silver-green color of the roots that get exposed to sunlight. Also, some of the roots near the tops of my older Phals, the ones that have been exposed for a long time, tend to turn a little brown and woody, but again that seems normal in my experience and they still seem like viable roots.

I don't know if the pot in the photo is the old one or the new one, and it's really hard to tell what size it is compared to the plant, but you want to make sure your pot is just large enough to get most of those roots inside. I do leave aerial roots near the top outside of the pot, though. Some here prefer to try to stuff them inside, but I find that they are not pliable enough to do that without breaking them. (Soaking them has not helped in my case.)

It's also very normal for Phals to lose their lower leaves as they grow older, and in my experience, repotting is a little stressful no matter how badly the plant needs it or no matter how careful you are, and sometimes it speeds up the loss of the lower leaves a bit. If the plant is putting out new roots and new leaves, it's doing fine.

I, too, would think the California climate would require more frequent watering than Chicago. On my plants that have numerous aerial roots, I will mist them in between waterings.
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:07 PM
AEKass AEKass is offline
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Hi All:

Thanks for the replies. My apologies for not making it clear in my original post that I was holding the plant and wasn't showing it potted. This post has a photo of it re-potted. Most of the roots are now inside the pot.

The west facing windows to provide some bright sun, and I've noticed a few sunburn spots on the leaves unfortunately. I can move them to a north facing window, but the area gets a bit less light than their current location.
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AEKass View Post
Hi All:

The west facing windows to provide some bright sun, and I've noticed a few sunburn spots on the leaves unfortunately. I can move them to a north facing window, but the area gets a bit less light than their current location.
I'd suggest moving these to the north window, at least until fall - the fall/winter sun angle is lower so there will be less chance of sunburn in the afternoon. Phals really are low-light plants. They want as much duration of light as possible (you might even supplement with a lamp so that they get as much as 12 hours a day of gentle light) but they don't want intensity. You can't make up for lack of duration with higher intensity, you'll just toast leaves.
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:47 PM
AEKass AEKass is offline
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Thanks Roberta for that advice! I think they'll still get 12 hours in the north facing window, just not as bright. I was def. incorrectly thinking they needed more intensity than the north facing window afforded.
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