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Go Back   Orchid Board - Most Complete Orchid Forum on the web ! > ORCHID DISCUSSIONS > Beginner Discussion
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  • 1 Post By Kailyn
  • 1 Post By james mickelso
  • 1 Post By Shiffdaddy

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  #1  
Unread 01-03-2013, 04:46 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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Default Saving my Phals

Hey everyone
I just thought my story might be useful to some people out there and to prevent them from making the same mistakes I have! It begins with me buying a sad broken phal on discount because of the abuse it had suffered. My mother has a green thumb and I figured she might be able to turn it around. I happened to be leaving the scene for a year to back pack in Australia. When I returned home the plant was doing well it had another flower spike and produce a few flowers. Nothing too spectacular but we were happy just to see blooms. I got enthused and got 2 more grocery store Phals one big and one small. My first mistake was over loving the orchids I re-potted them in a grocery store mix (from a decent potting soil brand I might add) into a bark pearlite soil combo. It did not go well from there...The small phal died from crown rot fairly quickly. I went up to it one day and touched one of its leaves. its felt limp and sickly on closer inspection they were all rotting from the base and completely passed saving 3 became 2. I was rather upset at this and went to check on my other phals they to showed signs of rot. I immediately pulled them out of there pots and was horrified to see they both practically had no roots left. I took to the internet to figure out what I could do and read about rooting hormones and the bag method. The bigger phal still had a few roots left the smaller had none it was a nub with leaves attached. I had cut off the old growth spikes (no flowers for plants that need to put there energy into roots) and the rotten dead roots. I dipped the root tips and stem area in rooting hormone and put them in the bags. Then the battle began.. keeping the plants moist enough to survive while aired enough to keep mold from growing. It wasn't easy but after a couple month they plants who had stabilized in the bags started to look unhappy yet again. There roots had new growth and it was decided to try re-potting. I wasn't about to touch the grocery store stuff again it didn't drain quickly enough for the phals. This time we went out and got peat moss from outside it was left to dry in the sun to kill any bugs then re moistened and the phals were gently placed in them. The roots took off and we started feeding them again, small amounts of ground up decomposing peat was added to help hold the moisture as the moss dried very quickly and didn't hold nutrients well. I am pleased to say that they are growing new leaves and i cannot wait to see them fully recover. when i started this venture i thought they were doomed so please dont give up on your sick phals!
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  #2  
Unread 01-03-2013, 04:55 PM
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YAY! I love a happy endings
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  #3  
Unread 01-04-2013, 02:32 AM
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James says hello and smiles broadly at someone who cared for the living and didn't give up. Kudos to you. I keep repeating myself. Coarse mix for orchids unless you can provide a perfect environment. Then you can water to your hearts content. Good growing and may the gods of orchids give you flowers in abundance.
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  #4  
Unread 01-04-2013, 09:03 AM
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Thanks guys! I am not one to throw out a plant if there is any chance at life. I probably should also have mentioned these poor phals also had to deal with mealy bugs(the first one came with them we think and infested the house), under watering (i got scared after the root rot scene) and sunburn (when they moved into my new house before they found a spot there happy in). If they can survive all the abuse Ive put them through I truly think anyone who is will to put in the effort can save a over watered/sick phal. My 2 plants are now still in a very bright window but partly shaded by my more sun loving plants in front of them. They live on pebble humidity trays as its rather dry here, and are still in there homemade potting mix. I know many people swear by bark but I am really hesitant to try it again (and i have no intention of re-potting them any time soon as they seem very happy with what they are currently in.) I have seen websites where you can build your own potting medium does anyone have any thoughts on these?
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  #5  
Unread 01-04-2013, 02:04 PM
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Good story! I love Phals. When i first started getting into orchids it was the phals that got me, every interesting noid phal was in my shopping cart but it was a huge learning curve. The first 6-7 phals i came accross eventually died from root rot! Every single one! I kept trying different techniques and letting them dry for weeks and so on but nothing worked. Finally i started potting them straight away in a large bark perlite mix. Problem fixed! Since that day that i started repotting them into new fresh bark media i havent lost one plant and that was 2 years ago. I now have 10 phals and like 6 in spike right now . For all new comers! Keep trying and learning and you'll find what works for you in no time!

Ben
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  #6  
Unread 01-04-2013, 10:38 PM
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Bark. There are different kinds and grades of bark. Lots of soft pine and fir bark from the southern US and harder bark from the northern areas of the US and Canada. Then there is New Zealand fir bark. Hard as a rock. That is what I use and it fits the bill well. I also use large 1/4 to 1/2 inch sponge rock. I also incorporate charcol into my mix. Hardwood charcol. You can get a large bag of it at Home Cheapo and Lowes for around $25. You have to chop it up to get iot small enough to use but that is very easy to do. I use blade and anvil branch trimmers. But nearly any kind of trimmer will work. If you use the soft bark it will last a year. Northern type harder bark will go two maybe three years. New Zealand fir bark lasts 4 years at last. The harder the bark the slower it breaks down and the less rot/fungi/bacterial problems you have. But no matter what type you get there are always hitchhikers in it. Mealie eggs, fungi, bacteria, thrips...ect.
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