04-18-2008, 09:44 AM
Orchids do most of their "breathing" through their roots. Most terrestrial plants do so via their leaves. Because of that basic, but very important difference, orchids must have a very "open" medium that allows the gas exchange to go on freely. The trick, of course, is to provide that and sufficient moisture.
Most likely your phals' roots have suffocated in the overly-compact, soggy medium, so have died. With no roots, the plants cannot take up water, so dehydrate.
I recommend removing the plants from their pots, removing as much of the medium as possible from the roots, trimming off the brown rotted ones (any that are firm to a gently squeeze are OK, just trim off all of the limp stuff), repot into an airier medium, and then keep the plant warm, very humid, and shady for a few weeks while they grow new roots and recover.
Using science and logic
to advance orchid growing