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  #1  
Old 12-08-2018, 11:39 AM
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I inherited a medium size Phal. from someone who was on the way to killing it. I unpotted it, and found degraded media and dead roots. There were 3 healthy ones, and I pruned the dead roots and repotted it in bark. I didn't have a small pot, so used one I knew was too big. it immediately put out two new small leaves, but the leaves stopped growing and the single large original leaf got leathery. Finally, after two months, I decided to give one last shot at saving it. Pulling it out, there were 3 dead roots and 2 live ones. I'm not sure what I did that was wrong, I cleaned the roots, cut off the dead roots, and am going to repot in a smaller pot. Any suggestions?
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:20 PM
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Evenly moist (not soppy), high humidity (invert a clear plastic bag over the pot and plant to simulate a small greenhouse), deep shade, and keep it VERY warm.

Watering with a good root-growth stimulant like KelpMax will also help.
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Old 12-08-2018, 12:41 PM
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Echo above. Phals are warm-growing plants. Very few people in cold-winter climates keep their homes warm enough for a struggling Phal to be happy.

Some lucky people keep healthy Phals alive through winters in the 60s through lower 70s F / 15-23C, but this is a gamble. A sick Phal needs much warmer temperatures to recover.

Get a heat mat and thermometer. Buy a used aquarium and get a glass top cut for it at a hardware store. Attach a knob for a lid with epoxy. Put the aquarium on the heat mat, put the thermometer on a stand in there, cover it and make sure the ambient temperature in there is between 78-90 F / 25-32C. Then put in the orchid on something to hold it off the bottom, so the heat mat doesn't heat the pot. Have a glass of water in there to keep the humidity up.
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Old 12-09-2018, 01:32 AM
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The above advice will likely yield a faster surer recovery, but what you’re describing sounds like a typical progression towards recovery at lower temperatures. I think with patience it can also recover without heroic measures. Most of the Phals I’ve received in poor health have some additional root attrition after repotting. Older leaves may be a bit wilty and new leaves small. I just leave them be (provide normal care) and as the new roots grow the old leaves firm back up. I agree that the move to a smaller pot is good, especially if you decide against elevating the temperature. I end up downsizing most of those that I get with bad roots (my only loss to date has been one that I left over-potted).

I keep my recovering Phals that I really want to pull through at room temperature: typically low 70s F. Depending on how bad initial health was, mine have recovered in 3-6 months.

Last edited by aliceinwl; 12-09-2018 at 01:50 AM..
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Old 12-09-2018, 07:07 AM
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Thank you all for your quick responses. I've let it rest with no water for several hours, watered it moderately, put it in a bag and placed it near the warmest part of the house out of direct sun. I'll see what happens. One thing I've noticed about Phals is that they tend to die a VERY slow death. I've had some that lingered for months before finally dying. I'ts frustrating for me b/c I tend to keep "fooling" with them to try to save them and end up stressing them out more. I need to learn to do one intervention and then leave it up to the plant.
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Old 12-09-2018, 12:02 PM
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Good luck!

How short are its remaining roots? If you can pot it up maybe you’d feel less pressure to mess with it? If you decide to leave it bagged make sure it gets good light.

I wasn’t going to mention this one lest I be considered mean, but... I bought one of those orchid garden pots that came with two Phals and really only wanted one of them. The one I didn’t want ended up having only 3 semi alive roots. Because indoor window space is really limited, it went outside back in August. I potted it up in a 3 inch clear slotted pot in a bark mix and staked it to keep it stable. Its getting no care beyond weekly watering. Light is very good, but with winter it’s seeing lots of low 60s F (I am bringing all my Phals inside at night this year). When I watered it yesterday, it had started pushing two new roots. As long as no infections set in, Phals have proven to be fairly bullet proof for me.

If the crown is alive and it has some functional roots, yours should be able to recover. Its a slow process and sometimes they look worse (droopy or even dropping leaves) before they get better.

I’ve noticed the best way to remove the inclination to keep messing with an orchid is more orchids ;-) Then, there isn’t time.
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Old 12-09-2018, 12:20 PM
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There are 3 roots which are long, aprox 5cm. One is missing the covering sheath part way down, but below that it is still green. The crown is dry with many scars from where all of the old leaves fell off. As I said, immediately after I got it and took it out of the degraded media, it put out two tiny new leaves, but since has been struggling. I'm worried that being stressed and in a humid bag, that it may succumb to some pathogen. I'm trying to make sure it isn't too humid in the bag. Pathogens love 3 things: Warm, dark, and moist!
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