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  #1  
Old 09-25-2022, 09:04 AM
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AndreaM83 AndreaM83 is offline
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Hello!

My name is Andrea, from Milan, Italy. As the title of the thread rather shamelessly reveal, I'm an absolute beginner when it comes to orchids. My first two Phalaenopsis were a gift from my partner during the grim months of lockdown in 2020, while the most recent addition is a Vanda we both fell in love with last week, after spotting her in an unassuming supermarket flower store.

I have a few questions regarding my plants, and it is in seeking guidance (I really care about them, and I want to treat them as best I can) that I came here. I really want to thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

VANDA

This is our new Vanda. She sits by a window facing north-west. We live on the top floor of our building and the room, our bedroom, gets plenty of natural light all day long, with slanting sun rays streaming in late afternoon.

The two yellowing leaves were already like this when we bought it, though it seems to me that the yellow is somewhat spreading. My foremost concern right now, though, is the roots. My plant has a lot of old roots still hanging, that I don't know if I should cut or not.

Moreover, I noticed this morning that some root tips are turning brown. I've watered the plant the day I bought it by putting the roots under the shower (like the guy in the store told me to), and this was last Saturday; then I watered the plant once again on Thursday by dunking it in a bucket of water with a 20/20/20 Orchid fertilizer in it (again, as instructed by the store clerk). Yesterday, I nebulized the roots because they were looking a bit greyish.

I'm also attaching a more general picture of the roots, in case it's useful. Judging from the few videos I've watched, it's not entirely clear to me how I should judge the roots in order to understand when I have to water, and it seems also to me that there is no consensus on what's the best way to water a Vanda.

This is the situation as it is right now. I'm scared the Vanda is not well, and I'd really appreciate if you guys could share your opinion on her wellbeing and advise me as to how care for her as best I can.

PHALAENOPSIS

These, on the other hand, are my two Phalaenopsis. Ever since they lost their first beautiful flowers in Autumn 2020, they haven't flowered back, though they often sprout new leaves. They are in a very bright-lit room, facing south. I water them once per week, I give them a fertilizer once every month, and I've also tried some other tricks, like putting them outside during the night to experience some thermal excursion or dunking them in a solution of water and beer. All to no avail. They seem (at least to me) in good general condition, but no new flower.

For these two, I'm looking for tips on how to convince them to put on new flowers

That's it from me now. I want to thank you all in advance for any tip you can provide, and please, excuse me for my long message.

Andrea

PS: Sorry for the links. I tried to put in the pictures straight-away, but for some reason they were not displaying correctly.

Last edited by AndreaM83; 09-25-2022 at 09:09 AM..
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  #2  
Old 09-25-2022, 10:30 AM
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Welcome to the Orchid Board!

Most people can't show photos until they've made 5 posts.

First, don't cut orchid roots. You can't always tell which are a live and which are dead. This applies to all orchids.

Bare-root Vandas need to be watered every day, and sometimes twice if temperatures are high. Lack of water is probably causing the yellow leaves. When you water them make sure the roots are completely soaked so they turn from white to dark green. It is fine to soak them in water for an hour each day. It is fine to fertilize every 5th watering. The 20-20-20 fertilizer is fine for them. A prominent Vanda grower in Florida, Motes Orchids, recommends using 15ml of fertilizer powder in 4 liters of water. This is very much more fertilizer than other orchids would need.

Vandas need high light and high humidity. Their roots suffer in heated homes with low humidity.

Phals flower once a year. When sold in flower they often have been forced to flower early, so they may rest a year. They are low light plants. They do not ever need sun shining on their leaves.

The best place to learn about Phals is a sticky thread here. From the left yellow menu choose Forums, then Beginners. Near the top is a sticky thread, The Phal abuse stops here.
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  #3  
Old 09-25-2022, 11:24 AM
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Dear estación seca,

Thank you very much for your kind answer.

I didn't water today because I thought (I think I read this somewhere) that the blackening root tips could be a sign of overwatering. Do you think it's impossible? Also, if I can pester you some more, given that it's now mid-late afternoon where I live, do you recommend watering the Vanda today, or tomorrow morning first thing?

Thank you also for pointing me toward the Phal thread, which I'll be sure to peruse.

Andrea
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Old 09-25-2022, 01:10 PM
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Yes, water now. The black root tips are probably from insufficient water and partly from low humidity.
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Old 09-25-2022, 01:35 PM
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Thank you so much!
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  #6  
Old 09-25-2022, 01:44 PM
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As long as bare-root Vandas dry between waterings they can be watered very frequently. Any orchid grown bare-root or mounted on cork needs very frequent watering.

If you have a terrace in Milan both would enjoy the summer outdoors. They should come in when nights go below 15C.
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Old 09-25-2022, 01:50 PM
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Thank you!

We do have a terrace, though, being on the right floor, it gets very hot and very sunny in the summer, without the easy possibility of mounting any kind of shade. Perfect for us to sunbathe, less for the flowers I think
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Old 09-26-2022, 03:31 AM
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Welcome to Orchidboard Andrea!

Photos that post sideways is a 'feature' of the forum, and the bug has never been corrected. We are all used to it by now, so go ahead and post photos that way!

As to your Phals, they look really healthy and your care sounds good. The only question I have is how far from the windows are they? If you keep them several meters from the window then it is probably too dim. Light still looks very bright to us at the other side of the room, but intensity drops off very quickly and for plants it's almost complete darkness. The best spot is right next to your south facing window (but no direct sun). If they are already there, then patience!

You got them in 2020 and and sometimes Phals skip a year of blooming since they are still adjusting to life outside a greenhouse where they had perfect conditions and lots of food. For this season hope is not lost yet as the spiking season is only just starting, and for winter blooming Phals you can expect to see the spike starting between now and Christmas.

One last question, is there air conditioning in the room the Phals are kept? Phals need to experience a general temperature drop (day and night) of at least 5°C to trigger blooming. This naturally happens in the fall, but if you kept the room cool all summer then they might miss that important trigger.
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Old 09-27-2022, 04:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camille1585 View Post
The only question I have is how far from the windows are they?
They are quite close to a south-facing window, I'd say a little less than one meter. They have a bit a direct sun on them, late morning and early afternoon respectively. If it's too much, I'll try and move them a little farther in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by camille1585 View Post
One last question, is there air conditioning in the room the Phals are kept? Phals need to experience a general temperature drop (day and night) of at least 5°C to trigger blooming. This naturally happens in the fall, but if you kept the room cool all summer then they might miss that important trigger.
Unfortunately yes, during the summer the AC is on in the room they are in, because we live in an open-plan loft, so there are no doors between rooms and given that we are on the top-most floor, the air would get very hot otherwise. I tried to recreate this drop by putting the Phals outside during the night for a week, but then I stopped because our minimum temperatures dropped already to around 11° C, and I feared this could be too cold for them. (The maximum is around 22-21° C right now.)

As for the Vanda, I'm back with more questions.

1) For the past few days, I've been watering the plant each day for up to 1 hour, by submerging the whole root apparatus in water, as recommended. However, it seems to me that they yellow is spreading on two leaves, but only on the two. I entertain the possibility that I'm just paranoide but if it's not a water problem, could it be something else? Is there something that I should check for to exclude other possible problems? For example, this morning, by inspecting the leaf closer, I noticed a tiny, almost imperceptible crevasse between the two halves of the leaf.

2) Despite the waterings, some root tips remain or are becoming black and rough to the touch, while many others are green and soft, often even in fair proximity of each other. Am I doing something wrong with the water? Again, should I look for some other signs that something is amiss?

Thank you again for all the help you've given me and the guidance, finding this forum was a godsend!
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  #10  
Old 09-27-2022, 02:44 PM
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Vanda roots never look great when humidity is low. Low humidity also causes dying back of root tips.

Plants moving from a warm, humid greenhouse may drop older leaves because water loss from normal transpiration is higher in a lower humidity environment, and roots dry faster so they can't take up as much water as in a higher humidity environment.

Look up a thread here from jcec1 on Vandas in Glass Vases. It works well in the UK, and you have more light.
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