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  #1  
Old 02-11-2023, 12:18 PM
Optimist Optimist is offline
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Phragmipedium leaf tip issue ongoing Female
Default Phragmipedium leaf tip issue ongoing

I am watering my phrags with RO water and this has not stopped the leaf tip browning on my Phrags. It only happens on the new leaves. I am just wondering if someone else can offer any other option? I am going outside right now to grab some rain water, but It rains so rarely that getting rain regularly is not an option.

Any suggestions?
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  #2  
Old 02-11-2023, 01:14 PM
Gardening in WM Gardening in WM is offline
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I don't know the history of the plant or why it is browning on new growth, there can be a few reasons but the most likely culprit would be a lack of calcium which is an immobile nutrient and shows in new growth when lacking as the plant grows.
RO water and Rain water contain hardly any nutrients. Tap water on the other hand contains enough on average for most orchids. The fertilizers need to be adapted accordingly, one low in calcium for tap water and one high in calcium for RO or rain water.

Your fertilizer bottle will give you clues if this is an issue. Look at the numbers on the bottle, there will be the main macro nutrients, NPK, magnesium, sulfur, iron etc. calcium should be roughly as strong as the highest of the other numbers. If it isn't then this could be a problem causing your issues. For example if you label says 8% N, 3% P, 10%K, 2% Ca, that would be too little calcium which would need to be amended with a cal-mag booster.

It could be an issue with the roots not being able to absorb water as efficiently as they should, that can result in the same or similar problems.

It can be pests, even microscopic you never notice fully causing damage.

It can be damage from external factors, like lack of watering, too high temps, pesticides can cause damage to weak developing leaves too, some are more sensitive than others.

Otherwise it could be that your substrate is decayimg causing acidification in the pot or your water ph is not in the right range to start with, this can potentially lead to poor absorbtion of certain nutrients and signs of a deficiency.

Generally orchids need so little nutrients, most of the time problems on the leaves at mine are due to pests. It's pretty much every time. Even with ro water orchids tend not to develop such severe problems that microspopic mites can and do cause on the other hand.

But calcium is important, arguably the most important nutrient orchids need as they cannot relocate it from other parts of the plant, it's immobile so they need a regular constant supply of it when we water our orchids. Even just adding it on a monthly basis might cause the plant to run out of reserves before the next top up.

Just some things to go through and consider if they could be an issue or not.

I literally had a plant at mine I have been monitoring for an entire year. It has not grown at all in that time. It was always highly suspicious but I could never fully figure it out. When I thoroughly inspected it with a magnifying glass and torch this month I spotted 2 spider mites. So they never took over and I never noticed them as a result. But the plant did not grow at all. Now I know why but I wish I had known a year ago. It's still something that is hard to spot on time but generally I try to provide the right temperature, the right humidity, the right light, a good substrate and good water so they should grow well. If they don't most of the time it's pests. But other growers do make mistakes I do not do anymore like leaving the plant in too much light to get sunburnt which can also cause a new leaf to dry up. You need to think about the most likely reason it could be happening and try to avoid it in future.
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  #3  
Old 02-11-2023, 01:24 PM
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Roberta Roberta is offline
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Phragmipedium leaf tip issue ongoing Female
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optimist View Post
I am watering my phrags with RO water and this has not stopped the leaf tip browning on my Phrags. It only happens on the new leaves. I am just wondering if someone else can offer any other option? I am going outside right now to grab some rain water, but It rains so rarely that getting rain regularly is not an option.

Any suggestions?
Photo?

That would help in diagnosis.

---------- Post added at 10:24 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:20 AM ----------

lack of Calcium is not likely to be an issue in New Mexico. (A bot would not necessarily know that) High-solids water likely IS an issue. Paphs are forgiving of hard water (in fact, like it... as noted by Brandon Tam of the Huntington Botanical Gardens) But Phrags tend to need good water. They grow in areas that have seeps that are constantly wet. Many people grow them sitting in a saucer of water. Also, since they need to be kept wet, the mix tends to break down quickly. Phrags tend to need repotting annually, some Phrag growers do it every 6 months.
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  #4  
Old 02-11-2023, 01:53 PM
Gardening in WM Gardening in WM is offline
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you are calling me a robot?
Are you this rude with all new members? What kind of forum is this?
Fine if my advice is not welcome here then have your forum free of bots but I am no bot. I would be the most intelligent artificial intelligence in the world and worth billions of dollars. Sadly I am just a hobby orchid grower trying to find friendly people to help grow my plants, I thought that was what this forum was for. Clearly I was mistaken and will move over to slippertalk in future then.
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Old 02-11-2023, 01:55 PM
Keysguy Keysguy is offline
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Phrags just tend to do that and I've never really noticed a differentiation between old and new leaves. A picture would definitely help.
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Old 02-11-2023, 02:08 PM
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Hey Optimist, I use RO on all my phrags as well. (Actually on everything). You're using a fertilizer for RO water? Mine are all in semi-hydro so I don't have to do the repotting as Roberta mentioned, but in a bark mix, etc, I'd sure at least examine that aspect.

I have a few that get the brown leaf tips regardless of what I do. The one that gets it worst is a miniature-sized repeat blooming red Phrag (its name escapes me right now). I always figured it was the particular genetics of that plant. Are some worse about it than others? I'll try to remember looking up the name later today.

They all bloom well regardless, so I just shrug my shoulders at them at this point (some of them I've had for a couple decades) and occasionally snip away brown tips if it bothers me. I've always just chalked it up to variation in humidity and humidity getting too low at times, especially in winter months. That's just my own speculation.

As long as you've grown orchids, it's probably something subtle and/or particular to phrags or certain genetics within the phrags. I have a couple of paphs that also do the dry brown leaf tip from time to time. Genetics or humidity are my best guesses.

---------- Post added at 01:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:06 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardening in WM View Post
you are calling me a robot?
Are you this rude with all new members? What kind of forum is this?
Fine if my advice is not welcome here then have your forum free of bots but I am no bot. I would be the most intelligent artificial intelligence in the world and worth billions of dollars. Sadly I am just a hobby orchid grower trying to find friendly people to help grow my plants, I thought that was what this forum was for. Clearly I was mistaken and will move over to slippertalk in future then.
Why are you taking Roberta's comment personally? It doesn't appear to be directed at you.
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Old 02-11-2023, 09:39 PM
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Roberta isn't rude.
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Old 02-11-2023, 09:55 PM
Keysguy Keysguy is offline
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I don't think it's water quality WW unless the Phrags are turning against Mother Nature. I supplement with city water but 90 % of the water taken in by my plants comes from nature. And my mid-winter average humidity is +70% so I'm going with genetics.
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Old 02-11-2023, 10:01 PM
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Roberta Roberta is offline
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I don't think it's water quality WW unless the Phrags are turning against Mother Nature. I supplement with city water but 90 % of the water taken in by my plants comes from nature. And my mid-winter average humidity is +70% so I'm going with genetics.
There's city water, and then there's city water. I don't know about the OP's location but most the southwest has liquid rocks coming out of the faucet.(Lots of calcium carbonate) High solids, and alkaline. Might not be the cause, but something to consider. Not particularly a problem for Paphs, many of which grow on limestone cliffs in southeast Asia and China. But the areas where Phrags grow in South America (like slopes of the Andes) the water is pretty pure.
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Old 02-11-2023, 10:07 PM
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Low humidity, right? During warm spells the rate of transpiration with low humidity may just be too fast for the roots to keep up. The leaf tips would be the first to be damaged since they're farthest from the roots. My phrags are in a sunroom where it's usually at least 50% relative humidity. I don't have leaf tips turning brown.
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