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  #1  
Old 01-02-2020, 02:58 PM
Zoey339 Zoey339 is offline
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Hi,

I'm kinda new here but I'm having a rough time and want to vent and maybe take suggestions. It's been about 6 months since I've became orchid crazy. Though my oldest I've had about 2 years. I know have roughly 30 orchids, mainly mini to medium phals. Winter has not been kind to my orchids. In the last 2 weeks
My paphiopedilum henryanum which was my first online purchase and I was so excited about is recently deceased. I'm very bummed about this.
My dendrobium trantuanii is not doing good and I cant find anything on the net about if I should be watering through the winter or not.
My no ID dendrobium, I think it's a phalaenopsis dendrobium, has not been doing good since I repotted it like 5 months ago. It produced three keikis and I finally managed to kill it. It lost all of its leaves and 2 of the keikis rotted. There is one keiki holding on to a leafless cane. It has baby roots. Plan is to wait until last minute to separate it but than I have no clue how not to kill this baby.
Alright I'm going to stick with phals. But omg, no!!! My jiaho pink girl I got 2 months came with a flower spike. Yay! Its roots werent in the best shape when it arrived packed in moss. I potted in the mix I used for most of my phals, fir bark, charcoal, sponge rock, coconut husk, and some moss thrown in. It's a fine mix and I probably over packed it. It was growing bubs it was doing fine. Than the bubs started falling off. I dug around in the pot and the roots were rotten. All of them!!! My bark even though it had been a week was still soaked. It was probably putting all its engery into the flowers and not roots and I killed off whatever was left. I now have it in a glass with water level right under the stem and i soak the stem for 30 mins a day. I have no clue what I'm doing but I saw it on youtube.
I ran around and checked on the other phals. I have another I've had a little over 2 months which just lost its flowers. This one also lost most of its roots but has 3 really really thick roots about 2 inches each. I think it will be okay. But what do I repot it in? Suggestions? Its normally about 50% humidity in the house. The way I've been watering is letting them soak in water for about 30 mins than draining the pots, once per week. Most of the phals at least are loving this. Maybe I'm watering too much for the winter. Or the shock from a repot with the addition of flowers was too much? I use a 20 20 20 fertilizer every other watering. I went on amazon and ordered clay pebbles, lava rock, and pumice. I have no idea what I'm doing. Someone help?
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  #2  
Old 01-02-2020, 03:15 PM
rbarata rbarata is offline
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I suspect, given the relatively small variety of orchid genera you have, that the culprit is the same for all of them.
Please post photos of the whole plants and, especially, of the medium and pots.

Give us also your conditions, especially temperature and humidity.
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:18 PM
Orchidking Orchidking is offline
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hi zoey,
welcome to the hobby and yes unfortunately winter time is the most likely time people kill their orchids.

Temps drop, people heat houses which dries the air and condensation forms. All not great for orchids. I honestly don't know how other people deal with it, I personally use indoor greenhouses, terrariums, whatever you want to call them but basically their own environment I can keep separate from my winter air and heat without all the heat escaping into thin air.

I love pumice, lava rock and clay pebbles but each require a bit of understanding how to use them... my best tip would be to use the clay pebbles as the base in your pot to help with drainage, use the pumice as a middle layer to retain water and the lava rock as your top layer. I am not going to explain exactly why, too much to explain, but that is how i do it for best humidity distribution in my pots. They are reallly good in that they won't decompose so you won't have to worry about replacing it, only when the roots outgrow the pot.

If too low temps is an issue for you then a reptile heat mat is a good option to heat the plant from below or a tubular greenhouse heater if more heat is needed. This can help. An enclosed heat, and humidity controlled environment is best but I guess not a worthwhile option for smaller growers.

Bottom line is Winter is always trickier and the true challenge. I lost one myself recently - kept it too cold.

Edit: as to your question on whether to water a plant (in winter) or not is to use bone dry medium and weigh the plant to start with. I was doing the same as you to start with but plants get stressed during transplanting and might not drink much so using sopping wet medium during transplanting can cause issues as you generally pot into a bigger pot so more to dry out.

Once you know the base minimum weight of your plant you then water it 30 ml of water to start with and weigh the pot every day- see how much the plant is drinking. This will give you a good idea of how much to water max for a week and also if the plant needs watering. If the weight stops dropping in winter time, let the pot dry out to the base minimum - keeping it just above the minimum weight till the plant starts growing again.

Last edited by Orchidking; 01-02-2020 at 03:44 PM..
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  #4  
Old 01-02-2020, 03:34 PM
Zoey339 Zoey339 is offline
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At work right now. I'll post pictures when I get home. The house temp is normally around 70. They were in separate parts of the house but both rooms are at the end of the house and doesnt get the best AC/heat so it probably does fluctuate with the temp outside. That being said I live in New Orleans and it doesnt get that cold. But obviously not nearly as hot as the rest of the year. I'll post pictures of everything when I get home in a couple hours
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Old 01-02-2020, 03:50 PM
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One thing to think about, especially with newly-acquired plants... roots are often in bad shape to begin with. Growers push the plants to bloom (and they may bloom as a last valiant attempt to reproduce themselves) so don't beat yourself up over problems that you inherited. Rather than soaking the plants, it is likely to be beneficial to water them by letting water run through the medium, then drain well - that pulls air into the root zone, and flushes out accumulated fertilizer salts and general crud. If the medium is fresh, it will have lots of air space. Most orchids are looking more for "humid air" in the root zone than "wet". Much better to water more often with a more airy medium, than something that stays wet. The inorganic materials that Orchidking is using can be very helpful in achieving that. Also, humidity in New Orleans area tends to be quite high, so all the more reason to use a medium that dries quickly.
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  #6  
Old 01-02-2020, 05:29 PM
Mountaineer370 Mountaineer370 is offline
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I've had the best luck with an airy, fast-drying medium. I like Orchiata bark, but any chunky bark should work. Some bark will decompose faster than Orchiata and require repotting sooner. I have just a few plants in a commercial mixture of fir bark, Perlite, and charcoal, and I like it well enough, but I have to be careful because it stays wet longer than the Orchiata.

I water each when the pot feels light and the roots I can see look silvery. I don't soak, I simply pour water over the medium and let it run right through. Some of mine get watered every two to three days, others can go five or six days. I have a small collection, only 18 plants (all Phals), so watering that frequently is not a chore.

It does sound to me from your post that the biggest problem is your media staying too wet and the roots consequently not getting the air flow they need to stay healthy. Also, you don't mention what kind of pots you use, but they need to have a lot of ventilation holes. I use clear plastic pots with holes on the bottom and the sides. From what you describe, it sounds like your house temps and humidity are okay.

I'm sure the pics you are going to post will be helpful.
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Old 01-02-2020, 06:08 PM
Zoey339 Zoey339 is offline
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Picture of the 2 dendrobiums. Pretty much accepted they are going to die but would love tips on saving that keiki. No more dens for me.
The two phals in their current set up. Normally water level lower on the rootless one but soaking the stem for right now. With their inner pots and outer pots next to them. The medium one has perked up alot with access to water. The pink girl I'm really worried about.
And a picture of my army of mini phals. Most doing good with new growth. The pink girl was here.
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Old 01-02-2020, 06:21 PM
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For the Den keiki, pot in medium bark. It may not do much right now, but as spring approaches, I think you can expect new roots.

I totally agree with Mountaineer370 - your phals are staying too wet, not getting sufficient air. Phals need to almost dry out between waterings. In nature, they grow on trees, getting rained on and then being dried as the sun comes out (but in a very humid environment... we need to grow them in pots to get the moisture in the root zone, but still have to recognize their need for air.) Many people on the Board (myself included) have had good results with Kelpmax as a root stimulant - a good soak in the suitably-diluted solution for the rootless plants, then pot them up in a well-drained mix, and treat monthly.
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Old 01-02-2020, 06:30 PM
Zoey339 Zoey339 is offline
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I completely agree they are too wet and not enough air. Suggestions on what to pot them in? I'll give what orchidking, I think it was, suggested a try other wise. Obviously not repotting all of them just these when they get roots and any that appear to need help. Should I stick with the water in the glass thing or try potting without roots? Defintely will look into the rooting stuff. Thanks
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Old 01-02-2020, 06:46 PM
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I like bark - medium size for the Phals. Personally have not done that well with straight inorganic over the long haul (I try this and that, ultimately end up going back to bark). I mix some perlite in with my bark to help maintain an open mix over time(I like Orchiata, it is quite long lasting) You could mix pumice instead of perlite. Your humidity is a lot higher than mine, but if you allow drying between waterings, I think that the bark (especially if you use a good quality like Orchiata) should have good lasting power.

If you're having some success with hydrating the ones with just the core of old roots, that says that those root cores (the actual active part of the root) still have some value. If it were my plant, I'd wrap some sphagnum moss around the "nub" and put in a small pot. Sphagnum is a little tricky, but it has some characteristics that can be useful in this situation - it holds moisture, but if not packed too tightly can dry out fast. Water just before it goes dry, otherwise it is hard to rewet. But the soaking in water does not encourage new roots... that's not the natural condition for Phals (though some people claim to be able to grow them in "full water culture" most people don't report that they have been successful at it for more than a year or two) Once some new roots start to emerge, it can be potted in bark, the sphag may help to keep it going until then.
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