Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers
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Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers
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  #1  
Old 09-22-2012, 08:58 AM
melimelo melimelo is offline
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Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers
Default Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers

Is my beloved orchid dying?

Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers-orchid-jpg

I was away for 5 weeks and had a friend coming over to water my plants, including a very healthy, beautiful, vibrant Phalaenopsis, which was happily growing and blooming constantly by this window for the past 1 1/2 year. Despite my written instructions to make sure that my friend never leaves water in the orchid pot and does not water more than once a week maximum, she somehow read it the other way around and not only overwatered it but made sure that she always leaves a lot of water in the pot. On top of that, when she started seeing that my orchid was getting sick - because of the overwatering - she panicked and watererd some more plus started applying a spray mist. When I returned, the leaves had lost their strength, were no longer firm and shiny and two of the bottom ones had turned yellow. The flowers had still not dropped, but they've been frail-looking.

Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers-orchid-flowers-jpg

Not knowing what to do, I did not watered at all for approximately 10 days and then took it out of the pot to examine it. A lot of the roots had gone paper-thin and on many of them the bark had gotten so attached it was like it had been glued. After reading posts in this forum I soaked the roots in water, trimmed off the roots that looked dead, separated the bark from those roots that seemed glued and put it back into the same pot. Since then the 2 bottom leaves fell off

Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers-orchid-dead-leaf-jpg

and the remaining leaves seem to be getting worse and worse.

Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers-orchid-leaves-jpg

[The little burnt spot that you may be able to see on the left top leaf was there long before these problems started, probably from water that stayed on the leaf and caused sunburn...?]

Last week, I thought I detected some mould on 2 roots and after I bought some new bark mixture I cut off those roots

Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers-orchid-roots-jpg

and added only a little bit of the new mixture to the old because the new mixture was very damp and I was afraid I would create more problems.

Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers-orchid-roots-pot-jpg


I don't know what I should be doing. I really love this plant and truly care about it and want to do all I can to help it stay alive. Within a year and a half it grew three spikes with beautiful flowers and up uintil August it was on full bloom. Any advice would be so appreciated. In the past 3 weeks it has only been watered once but it's not dropping off the flowers and it makes me think that the orchid is spending all of its energy on preserving the flowers which in turn damages the leaves... Also, I've just noticed these marks on the spike which didn't use to exist about a week ago.

Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers-orchid-stem-jpg


What should I do to help my plant?


Thanks so much in advance.

Last edited by melimelo; 09-22-2012 at 09:02 AM..
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  #2  
Old 09-22-2012, 01:18 PM
Carpe Diem Carpe Diem is offline
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Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers Female
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melimelo, please keep in mind that I'm a beginner and wait for the experienced members to reply.
I would get a smaller pot with very good drainage, get new bark mix and soak that for about 24 hrs. with a drop of K-L-N (a root stimulant) added to the water. Then I would cut off all spikes, take the Phal. out of the pot and inspect the roots, cutting off all dead, hollow, mushy roots and wash remaining roots under running water. After draining and rinsing the bark mix, I would repot in the smaller pot, trying to position the plant so I can see at least one root (told you I was a beginner ). I find it very helpful to put a scewer down in the pot, pulling it out periodically to check the moisture content of the medium, watering when it approaches dryness. After all of that, I would keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.
Good luck with your Phal.
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  #3  
Old 09-22-2012, 01:28 PM
naoki naoki is offline
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Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers Male
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Melimelo, you should cut the flower stalk, and keep the humidity around the leaves high (especially at night). When plants open stomata, moisture get lost from the leaf, and you want to minimize evaporation. Phalaenopsis is something called a CAM plant, and they open the stomata mainly during the night.

You could put it in an aquarium, or put a dome like things on top of it.

Then you should water normally (using skewer method or something). It may drop quite a few leaves to make new roots, but hopefully it has enough energy left to recover the root system.

When you repotted, how many healthy roots are left? So you reused old bark and added a little bit of new one? If you haven't repotted 1.5 years, it would be a good time to repot with fresh media.
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  #4  
Old 09-22-2012, 05:20 PM
melimelo melimelo is offline
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Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers
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Thank you, Carpe Diem and Naoki.


Carpe Diem, for a ''beginner'' that was a very sophisticated and thorough reply! Is the root stimulant the same as ''orchid food''? [see, these kind of questions really tell the ''beginners'' from the beginners! ]


Naoki, it has left 4 or 5 roots probably. Whether they're healthy or not, I'm not really sure, but I thought that they still had 'flesh' in them and some 'stiffness' when I examined them. It is in its original mix, i.e. bark, as I was planning to repot it upon my return and once the flowers would fell off, but given the condition in which I found it I have been quite ambivalent about messing with. Plus, an assistant at a flower shop told me not to do anything until the flowers fell off 'cause I would cause more damage... Would you suggest that I cut off the spike/stem/stalk [don't really know what the right term is] that has the flowers on?


It is hard to know how much of my 'messing' with the orchid is helping the plant and how much is doing damage, so thank you both for your replies.
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  #5  
Old 09-22-2012, 06:29 PM
Carpe Diem Carpe Diem is offline
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Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers Female
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melimelo, thanks for the compliment.
K-L-N is a hormone for root growth and used when transplanting or rooting new cuttings. I don't use it at all when the plant has a good root system. There are different brands of rooting hormones on the market, any of them will do. I use 1/2 the amount recommended on the label.
I give a weak solution of orchid food in 3 successive waterings and flush with clear water on the 4th watering, to get rid of any fertilizer salts that may have accumilated. Again, I use 1/2 the amount recommended on the label.
Although the spike question was directed at Naoki, I would like to suggest cutting the spike now, so the plant can direct all energy towards growing new roots and leaves. I wonder why the sales person thought it would hurt the plant to cut the flowering spike.
Keep hanging around the OB and soon you'll be as smart as I am. Seriously though, what I know about orchids I've learnt here on the OB, where everyone shares their knowledge and experiences freely and generously. I have a long way to go, but will have help from a great bunch of people.

Last edited by Carpe Diem; 09-22-2012 at 06:37 PM..
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  #6  
Old 09-22-2012, 11:38 PM
naoki naoki is offline
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Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers Male
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If it has 4-5 roots, you should be able to save it pretty easily. I wonder then why it is so dehydrated. Did the roots have growing tips (usually greenish or reddish, about 5mm-1.5cm)?

As Carpe said, definitely cut the stem. You want to let it use all energy to recover root system. Repotting it will increase the chance of saving it. But watch out for the watering schedule. The new bark doesn't retain water well, so you'll probably need to water more frequently.

What Carpe is talking about is this:
Amazon.com: Dyna-Gro K-l-n Rooting Concentrate Kln-008 0.009-0.011-0.006, 8-Ounce: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Super-thrive is similar product. Amazon.com: Superthrive 4oz: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Also cold-processed Kelp extracts contain natural hormones. e.g. Amazon.com: Organicare Seaplex Plant Supplement, 1-Quart: Patio, Lawn & Garden

They may help, and I would use it.

But retention of air humidity is one of main things you should try to do. What's the RH in your area?

Last edited by naoki; 09-22-2012 at 11:43 PM..
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  #7  
Old 09-23-2012, 07:08 AM
melimelo melimelo is offline
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Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers
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Okay, I'll cut off that stem today and put the orchid in the new bark mix. I'll take a photo of the roots while doing this so you can diagnose!

Last week I bought Westland Orchid Plant Food [the forum does not allow me to put the amazon link] ''compound fluid fertiliser 3-1.5-4.5'', which I haven't used yet. Do you think this would do or should I buy Superthrive, which, luckily, I found on Amazon.uk?

Unfortunately, in my area there isn't much of orchid expertise... even finding bark mix was a difficult task.

As for relative humidity, living in Ireland we're quite damp here! That being said, indoor levels are certainly lower, even though I air the house daily and I have a humidifier in the same room as the orchid and try to keep humidity to around 55.

Naoki, regarding why it looks so dehydrated, my sense is that even the roots that I call healthy are quite injured. They were certainly in better shape than the ones I cut off, but still not really full and fleshy. Maybe the pictures could give you a sense of what they're like.

Carpe Diem, yes, OB looks like an amazing forum, I'm so glad I've found it!
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  #8  
Old 09-23-2012, 04:07 PM
Carpe Diem Carpe Diem is offline
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Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers Female
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I have never used super thrive, but read on the OB that too much of it has adverse effects on the plant.
The fertilizer sounds fine. When you used that up, maybe you should replace it with a 20-20-20 orchid food. It is a good, balanced fertilizer.
I think the humidifier in the room should do the trick.
I can get bark from my local Florist, but everything else I have to buy from the Net. Guess there are not alot of people growing orchids in this climate.
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  #9  
Old 09-23-2012, 04:54 PM
Findish Findish is offline
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Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers Female
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Do you have a hydroponic store nearby?
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  #10  
Old 09-23-2012, 05:07 PM
Carpe Diem Carpe Diem is offline
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Phalaenopsis damaged and looks like dying but won't drop the flowers Female
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Findish, not me, I live in the boonies. lol
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