Phalaenopsis with dry crown
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Old 12-16-2018, 06:11 AM
Smirre Smirre is offline
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Phalaenopsis with dry crown
Default Phalaenopsis with dry crown

Hello orchid growers,
I'm completely new to this forum and sadly have to start my membership posting on a problem with one of my phalaenopsis complex hybrids.
I bought this little phal in a garden center a few weeks ago because it is peloric. It didn't have a lot of healthy roots, only two which are more or less green and sturdy. I repotted it into clay pebbles and put a little sphagnum on the top to better keep the moisture and encourage root growth. Now, unfortunately, yesterday when I was watering my other plants I sort of bumped into it a little, and one of its leaves just snapped. When I checked to see what had happened, the other leaf on the same side came off, too, although I barely touched it. There is no crown/stem rot or anything that looks like a bacterial infection. I am very careful with the other two leaves now, but it looks like the top leaf is going to come off as well, because the crown seems to have dried up completely over night.
I have been growing phals for five years now, but I've never come across something like this. Do you think I should keep the flower spike in case the plant wants to produce a keiki from it? Or should I cut it and help the orchid direct its energy towards growing new roots and leaves? Will it even be able to grow a new leaf from this dried up crown?

I hope you can see the photos, not sure if I inserted the links correctly.

Thanks for your help and suggestions!
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Old 12-16-2018, 09:19 AM
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MrHappyRotter MrHappyRotter is offline
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Phalaenopsis with dry crown Male

It sounds to me like your Phal has some kind of infection if leaves are just falling off like that in quick succession and the crown is dried up. It's very unlikely under normal conditions that a crown would dry up literally over night, it's probably just a situation where you didn't notice anything was amiss until leaves started falling off.

The photos you posted are minuscule thumbnails. While I can get the gist of things, they don't really provide much in the way of detail, so I'm basing this mostly on your description.

Regardless of the underlying cause, when a plant has lost its crown, is rapidly losing leaves, and has a very limited root system, things are pretty dire. Orchids often bloom when they are on the verge of death, which seems counter productive, but one theory is that it provides them one final last ditch opportunity to set seeds and reproduce.

As far as care goes in this situation, there are different schools of thought. What I would do is cut the flower spike so that the plant isn't investing any more effort into blooming. Then make sure to keep the plant some place very warm, 75F to 80F (24C - 27C), in elevated humidity and with excellent air flow. Then hope for the best. If it still has enough life left and if there's not a significant systemic infection, it'll eventually produce basal keikis (assuming the crown is completely dried up and gone). You might also consider treating it with a systemic fungicide. Topical treatments probably won't suffice. Personally, I wouldn't bother either way unless the plant was very valuable.
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Old 12-16-2018, 10:24 AM
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Ray Ray is offline
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Phalaenopsis with dry crown Male

The plant apparently suffered from crown rot, and the advice given is right on. Certainly don't let any moisture get in the crown, and you might sprinkle some cinnamon powder in it to completely dry it out and protect it from new infections, but other than following Mr HR's advice, there's not much more that can be done.
Ray Barkalow, Orchid Iconoclast
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