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  #1  
Old 01-22-2018, 12:28 AM
erkell erkell is offline
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Phal with black hole
Unhappy Phal with black hole

Hi there,

I have a Phal that I received as a gift 4 months ago. I never re-potted it (probably a mistake) as it seemed to be going well (2 new leaves and new root growth). Recently I have noticed a dry black hole at the leaf base (almost looks like a cigarette burn). On the other side of the plant there is a black lump that I have never seen before! In the past week the roots have also started looking poorly. I am in Australia (middle of summer approx 35-40C every day) so I have been keeping it in my bathroom in a window with indirect sun and watering 1x/week, and it's in sphagnum moss and plastic pot w. large draining hole.

I am desperate to save this as it was a gift in remembrance of my Retriever who passed away recently.

Any help at all would be wonderful.
Thanks!
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Phal with black hole-phal-1-jpg   Phal with black hole-phal-2-jpg   Phal with black hole-phal-3-jpg  

Last edited by erkell; 01-22-2018 at 12:39 AM.. Reason: added photos
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  #2  
Old 01-22-2018, 01:08 AM
estación seca's Avatar
estación seca estación seca is offline
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Welcome to the Orchid Board.

I am sorry on the loss of your Retriever.

I don't think your orchid is fatally ill. I suspect that bump is a root that is trying to emerge, and the hole is a spot where a root tried to emerge, but died.

I have some suggestions, but we also need some more information from you for a more complete answer. There is enough time to think a little before you need to act, so relax a little.

You mentioned temperatures of 35-40C / 95-104 F during the day. Is this inside your house, too? If not, what is the temperature where the orchid grows?
What is the ambient relative humidity inside your house?

Sphagnum moss can be used successfully for Phals, but many beginners struggle to get the watering right. Ideally the moss will be lightly moist most of the time, and never completely soggy. Some people wait to water a Phal in sphagnum moss until the moss is crispy dry.

Many beginners water too much in sphagnum, and the moss stays very wet. Roots often rot when kept like this. When it is very hot, though, sphagnum may be a reasonable choice, since coarse bark might dry out too fast under such circumstances. I would probably use sphagnum moss for my Phals if my growing area were routinely in the 35-40C range.

Most orchids come to market having been in the pot for 2 years or so, and it is time to repot very soon after arrival. The moss in your pot looks pretty old to me. Phals can be repotted at almost any time, so now would be a good time to do so.

Your plant's leaves are wrinkled in a way that makes me think it's dessicated. Is the moss completely dry when you go to water? Watering once a week in temperatures like yours is probably not enough. Fortunately Phals are able to withstand a long spell of inadequate watering, though their leaves may wrinkle badly.

New roots also will struggle when it's very hot, with low humidity, and infrequent watering. I suspect this is what happened to cause the black hole and the black bump.

Once I know your ambient temperatures and humidity, I will be able to make some suggestions for how to repot.

You will probably also find a sticky thread here in the beginner's forum interesting. Click on Forums in the left menu, then Beginners, then look at the top section of sticky threads. Read some of the messages in the thread The Phal Abuse Stops Here.
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  #3  
Old 01-22-2018, 01:22 AM
erkell erkell is offline
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Thanks for your reply.

The temperature where my orchid grows ranges from ~24-30C during the day. I'm not sure about ambient humidity inside my house, however the average outdoors is 50% for this time of year - I suspect this would be higher and I keep it in the bathroom?

I usually re-pot my orchids in coarse bark as I haven't been able to keep phals alive in moss before (as you mentioned I water too heavily and end up with root rot). I think for this reason I have been reluctant to water and probably am not providing enough for this phal as I am waiting till the moss is completely dry.
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Old 01-22-2018, 01:49 AM
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estación seca estación seca is offline
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If you are comfortable with large bark, I would repot now into large bark. You will get a look at the roots.
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  #5  
Old 01-22-2018, 01:54 AM
erkell erkell is offline
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Thanks, I will give that a go!
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