What to do with a Phal with roots, but no leaves?
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  #1  
Old 01-06-2013, 11:46 AM
supersheep supersheep is offline
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What to do with a Phal with roots, but no leaves?
Question What to do with a Phal with roots, but no leaves?

Hi!

I'm new to both this forum and growing orchids! I was given a Phal by my parents which had finished flowering so they didn't want it any more. They had already cut of the old flowering stem.

Anyway, it had healthy roots and leaves until a few weeks ago. Then, I noticed it had some bugs on which I identified (from pics on the net) as mealy bugs. I think I was too harsh in how I tried to get rid of them, because I accidentally knocked off a couple of leaves. I also think the insectide I used was too strong, because now the other leaves have recently dropped off and the main base of the plant is shrivelling up.

The roots still look healthy and green though.

I do think it's probably had it, but I'd like to try and rescue it, but I'm not sure what to do for the best now. I've browsed some threads on here, but am still not very sure.

I'd be so grateful if someone could let me know how best to try and rescue my phal with no leaves, but seemingly healthy roots.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-06-2013, 01:41 PM
Silje Silje is offline
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There's no need to kill the plant to get rid of the mealy bugs. Normally a cotton bud does the trick

Anyways... Now it is a rescue plant, and let me tell you...one can have a lot of fun (or headaches, depending on how you see it) with those guys.

If the plant is still alive and do not continue shutting down due to the pesticide or whatever, it is possible to make a leafless phal grow new leaves. I think it all depends on the plant's overall health and 'will to live'.

That can go either way, I suppose and I'm sure others will have other suggestions, but I would probably take this plant out of its growth medium and put it in a 'hospital box' - in my house that is a clear plastic container with a bit of moist (never soggy or very wet) sphagnum moss in the bottom. Then I would leave the box in a fairly bright and warm spot (I think warm is probably more important than light at the moment). Every other day or so, I'd check on it, open the lid and just provide a bit of fresh air and at the same time make sure the humidity in the box is high, but at the same time not too wet.

And I would fertilize it weakly weekly, I think. Just dip it in a weak solution and let the roots soak it up.

If this phal wants to live, it will make a move pretty soon. While dendrobium canes can lie in moss for ages before they decide to sprout, my experience is that phals tend to show signs in either direction pretty soon.

I'm looking for a blog about a leafless phal rescue. I'll put on the link once I find it.

Here it is!

Good luck!

Last edited by Silje; 01-06-2013 at 01:49 PM..
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  #3  
Old 01-06-2013, 04:38 PM
supersheep supersheep is offline
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What to do with a Phal with roots, but no leaves?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silje View Post
There's no need to kill the plant to get rid of the mealy bugs. Normally a cotton bud does the trick
LOL! I know, I was soooo gutted when the leaves snapped off...

But I definitely want to try and resurrect it, so thanks for the advice.

Just a few quick questions - do you cover the roots with the moss, or lay them on top? And should I put it on it's side, or back in the clear pot so it stands up?

Thanks so much for the help!
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Old 01-06-2013, 04:52 PM
mattryan mattryan is offline
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was in the middle of posting an answer when puter crashed, so I'll start again. I angree with Silje has said. I'm enclosing a pic of the set-up that I used. My phal had alot of roots or I wouldn't have bothered. I placed it inside the green cup and had sphagg sitting on top of the stones, about an inch of water in with the stones. I took it out a couple times/week and totally wet the roots, every once in a while it dunked in fertilizer and placed back into this container. It was placed on the kitchen floor away from direct sunlight. It took months to get to this point, not weeks and will be years before it blooms again. But that being said if you like a challenge it can be done. If it wants to survive it will, sometimes they do, most times they don't. We've all killed our share so don't get too down on yourself if it doesn't work out. I have only managed to save 1 so far. Goodluck!!

Cheryl
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:38 PM
supersheep supersheep is offline
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What to do with a Phal with roots, but no leaves?
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Thanks Mattryan.

I definitely do like a challange and don't mind if it doesn't bloom for years. At the moment, I just want it to survive!

I'm a bit confused though, did you put the roots bare in the green pot, or with the moss or other potting medium?

Here's a picture I've just taken of the orchid. I hope it looks healthy enough!
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:42 PM
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RosieC RosieC is offline
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Just a reference back to your other thread about heat or light. This one I would give heat rather than light, too cold and it won't grow well and at this point with this one growth is what you want.

I'm not an expert in saving ones that have gone this far, though your roots do look to be alive which is good. I'll leave Mattryan to answer you questions on her method.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:21 PM
mattryan mattryan is offline
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Glad to see a picture. Yes the roots that I had left were about the same as yours. I put it bare root basically just resting on the top of the green cup. You don't want the roots to touch any water or they will rot, as they like to dry, that is why i watered the roots several times/week. The humidity in the closed jar keeps them from descicating (where's my spell check!). Yes as rosie says heat not light...in glass the light might burn the orchid you're trying to save, think magnifying glass and sun. Goodluck as I said it is a challenge, but can be fun. Any other questions feel free to post there are so many peeps here that can give great advice.

Cheryl
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:33 PM
supersheep supersheep is offline
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What to do with a Phal with roots, but no leaves?
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Thanks a lot Mattryan! I will definitely see it as a fun challenge. I bought myself a nice new orchid from the supermarket today (see my avatar!) so if this one dies, I've got this pretty one anyway!

I'm sorry for all the questions, but I'm just wondering, does the sphagnum moss serve any other purpose than to help keep the humidity in the jar high?

I haven't got any sphagnum moss, though I can easily buy some, but wondering if damp kitchen towel (like strong tissues) would serve the same purpose?

Thanks a lot for all the help and glad the orchid didn't look too awful in the picture!
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:51 PM
mattryan mattryan is offline
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Beautiful new addition. That's how we all got started, bought another whist trying to save or had to drown sorrows after losing an orchid..lol. If you can find a glass jar add rocks and some water close it and you are fine. If plastic thats why peeps say use sphagg, or paper towel, because you can't put rocks in a bag, but it does the same thing. Humidity is what you want..but always check or you end up with mold. If mold you are keeping it too humid..not good. I always opened every day if not every 2 days. After this just bascially forgot it...because it's when you stop checking everyday expecting new growth it might surprise you. I found a glass jar way better for me I never got the mold or the worry with the leaves touching the plastic. Goodluck!

Cheryl
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:06 PM
Silje Silje is offline
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A kitchen towel should do the trick as well, I think. Or perhaps some cotton or paper towels. It's just to keep the humidity up. Personally I just find that it's easier to keep the moss suitably moist than anything else.

Our setups are very similar. I normally put the plants in a clay pot inside the plastic box making sure they don't touch anything that can be too wet for them. I don't want my rescue Phal roots to be so moist that they turn right green, except just after watering them/dipping them. A light green, with a hint of silver is better I think. Then the roots are dry enough to not rot and at the same time moist enough to be happy.
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