Novice phal owner - rotten leaf, and crack in another leaf
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Novice phal owner - rotten leaf, and crack in another leaf
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:43 AM
katfemme89 katfemme89 is offline

Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 72
Question Novice phal owner - rotten leaf, and crack in another leaf

First of all I have to say I am in love with my new phal (little wing) and am impressed by the beauty of the blooms I have, but I am a novice, and I have noticed several things I find odd about my phal. I ignorantly took little wing out of the peat she was planted in and replanted her in some potting soil, but it looks like it has shreds of bark in it and it dries out quickly, so I don't think it should pose a problem with retaining water and causing root rot (or will it?) but anywho... I also water it every day, but I do not saturate it completely, I just spritz the leaves, and then spritz the soil until it is damp.

Now down to business: when I bought my phal, there was one leaf that had like a darker, transparent spot on it. I thought this was odd, but the leaf looked like its color was okay, so I just thought I would watch it and see what it did. well, today (about a week and a half later) I looked at the leaf and it looked like a lighter color, and had a brownish tint. I picked up the leaf to look at the underside, and it just broke off in my hand. i looked at where it broke off, and there seem to be two little bumps on the stem thing. Are these new leaves forming, or is it some kind of parasite or disease? Then, I looked at one of the "healthy" leaves, and there is a split partially down the middle. What's going on?

Now for pictures:
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Novice phal owner - rotten leaf, and crack in another leaf-008-jpg   Novice phal owner - rotten leaf, and crack in another leaf-010-jpg  
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Old 01-20-2008, 09:52 AM
jrhennek jrhennek is offline
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First you want to make sure that you are using a orchid potting mix and not a houseplant potting soil. Watering every day is not good for the plant and you will kill the plant roots by overwatering. Depending on your growing conditions (Humidity, air flow, light, temp, potting media) will depend on how often to water,which might be once of twice a week or longer. The Bumpy watery leaves looks like it might be frost damage. The plant may have got nipped by frost while it was shipped to the store that you bought ot from.

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Old 01-20-2008, 10:07 AM
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camille1585 camille1585 is offline

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Firstly, it would be a good idea to repot your really pretty phal into an bark orchid medium. Be sure to soak the medium very well before potting.Water when it almost dry. The easiest is to put a wooden skewer down in the medium. When it feels cool but not wet to the touch, water. How often to water depends on your growing conditions.
The problem with potting soil is that you can very easily develop root rot and there is not enough air cirulating around the roots.

As for the leaves, since the dried out out was a lower leaf and the other leaves look fine, I wouldn't be too worried. Phals lose lower leaves once in a while. As for the cracked leaf, I don't know much about it, but my gut feeling is that I don't think it's a problem since there's no signs of rot or other along that crack.

Hopefully more experienced members will pitch in!

Completely orchid obsessed and loving every minute of it....

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Old 01-20-2008, 10:46 AM
lily99 lily99 is offline
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I agree with the other posters who suggest repotting in orchid medium such as bark chips and watering when the medium is just barely damp, about once per week.

I also have a phal with a cracked leaf. I am not sure what causes it, but it does not seem to bother the plant.
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Old 01-20-2008, 11:36 AM
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Dorothy Dorothy is offline
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Just a few suggestions that may have been already said -
Please repot that phal in either a bark mix or coconut husk mix .. it will be much happier
I would suggest a container that is clear (helps to monitor the condition of the roots) and has slits along the side which allows for better air circulation to the roots and allows for better water drainage - such as
(Here is the site the above container is from - View our Products and Shop Online )
You can use the terra cotta as a cache (a pot used as a decorative cover that you insert a potted plant into).
Phal roots like to be a bit bound so make sure the pot is on the smaller size ... it should be just big enough to fit the roots in but not too big where the roots are swimming in the medium.
With hybrid phals -.. they love to dry out between waterings so you can go as long as a week before watering - this is just a basic rule of thumb as every environment's conditions are different. Every day watering is tooooooo much for a hybrid phal.
Phals like bright light but NOT direct light so keep if you keep it by a sunny window .. make sure you have a sheer curtain to sheild away those sun rays
Read as much as you can, ask as many questions as you like (There is a plethora of orchid folks here that will help you in any way they can) and take your accumulated knowledge and go with what sound good for you .. experiment .. keep a little log/ schedule of your phal (including .. for instance .. how much light it gets, if by a window - what exposure, when you water/fertilize) and see what happens
This site has a forum specifically on Phalaenopsis - check it out! ..
There are tons of posts (questions and photos) in the archives - you can use the search option to find anything phalaenoptic (I think I just made up an new word )

I hope this helps

"Nothing beats the orchid -- as an offering of love"
- paraphrasing Marlowe Hood from 'Orchid Fossil Quells Evolutionary Quarrel'

Toto, I Have A Feeling We're Not In Kansas Anymore! ...

Last edited by Dorothy; 01-20-2008 at 11:43 AM..
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Old 01-20-2008, 02:47 PM
katfemme89 katfemme89 is offline

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Thanks for all the feedback you guys! I feel so dumb though-- I threw away the little plastic container that came with it because I didn't think it needed it lol. Ugh. Oh by the way, what store might they have the orchid potting mix? or would i have to buy it online?
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:28 PM
CodiMN CodiMN is offline
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Hi katfemme89,
Orchid mix is sold at many places. I usually get mine at a local orchid nursery. BUT, many "box" stores in the U.S. are carrying orchid mix that would be suitable for you to get a start. If you have Lowes or Home Depot, they usually carry a orchid mix for general use.
Once your hobby starts growing tho, I recommend you find a reputable nursery that carries orchid "stuff."
BTW, where are you? I'm in Minnesota, and we have Orchids Limited nearby and Winsome I usually swing by there for random orchid fixes...uh I mean, my orchid needs.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:48 PM
katfemme89 katfemme89 is offline

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Hey Codi! thanks for the recommendation. I do, indeed have Lowes and Home Depot... I'll stop by there sometime and try to find some potting mix for my orchid. I live in Bowling Green, Kentucky... we don't really have many specialized stores around here... just a few florist shops... but I'm sure if I search enough I'll find an orchid haven.

Oh btw... The soil I'm using now dries out REALLY quickly, and it looks like it has some bark in it anyway... so do you still think I need to repot to orchid mix? I'm not challenging anyone's orchid know-how, I'm just wondering if I could experiment a little, or if it would be dangerous to my orchid to leave it in the mix it's in now?
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:54 PM
Ross Ross is offline
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Hi Kat! Glad you joined. Hope we can be of help.

The idea here with most epiphytes (Phals included) is to simply provide a substrate to support the roots. This is NOT like growing houseplants. You will be providing the nutrients your plant wants with really weak doses of regular fertilizer, then you will be flushing the substrate (the bark, or whatever) with pure water in between times. This is why the mix you have may not be the best. While it seems to get really dry right now, wait till you start fertilizing it regularly, and it will turn to mush. Take the advice of the other posters and try to find some orchid bark mix. If you can't find it locally, there are supporters of this board that sell it on-line. Oh, and Dorothy's advice to find some clear pots is a great one. Actually any "tupperware" style container will work just fine. Make some holes for air and drainage and you're good to go. I like the "clear" pots because I can keep an eye on the roots and see that they aren't turning brown on me.

Last edited by Ross; 01-20-2008 at 03:56 PM..
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:19 AM
katfemme89 katfemme89 is offline

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Thanks Ross!!! I will try to buy some bark mix ASAP. What kind of fertilizer should I use? What have you had the most success with?
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