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  #1  
Old 12-28-2011, 03:49 PM
Kearneyweard Kearneyweard is offline
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Beginner Needs Help With Unknown Orchid Female
Default Beginner Needs Help With Unknown Orchid

Hello everyone! I am new to this message board and also to orchid-growing. I received my first orchid a couple of weeks ago and its flowers have started to wilt and I am unsure as to why. To make matters worse, I do not know what type of orchid I have, although I think it is a Phal (I've included pictures).

I acquired the orchid from my mother who had it for a month after she brought it home from my aunt's funeral. So it was originally grown or cared for by a florist. Initially it was in a plastic bag with a hole in the bottom and was then placed inside a wooden box. Unfortunately, it stayed like that until I bought a new pot for it last week.

I have to admit that I was prompted to buy a new pot because I noticed the back flower starting to wilt. I researched how to repot and when doing so I noticed that the medium was moldy and some of the roots were brown/black. So, I very carefully removed all of the old medium that I could and put new sphagnum moss in. I also read that you should cut the brown/black roots but I was unsure the correct way of doing this and don't own a pair of shears or whatever they are called. It is incredibly obvious that I am a novice at orchid-growing, isn't it?

Also, I watered the orchid after repotting and put a tiny bit of fertilizer in the water but afterwards I read on this forum that you should not fertilize the orchid when it is in bloom. I do not think this has caused the wilting though because it began before I fertilized. Also, I read that when the leaves are dark emerald green that means the orchid is not receiving enough sunlight so I moved it to a window. It was originally on my bar which may have caused the wilting because I have had the heat on since it is cold here, and I noticed that there is a vent right above the bar. Now that the orchid is by the back door, it is receiving colder air and indirect sunlight but the wiliting has continued. I will say though that the leaves have lightened up to a healthy-looking light green but then again, who am I to say what is healthy?

Bottom line, I am trying very hard to keep this little sucker alive and am looking for some advice or insight regarding the wilting. Also, if the flowers do fall off how do I tell if it is still a viable plant and how do I care for it to encourage another bloom? Thanks in advance for any help that is offered!

Before repotting.


The roots. Sorry the picture isn't clearer.


Here is the new pot and new medium. Is the size okay? There are a plethora of drainage holes on the bottom which is great but I think I might need to switch to a heavier pot because the orchid keeps trying to tilt over and I have to prop it against a weight or something.


Here are the leaves BEFORE moving the orchid to the back door. They are a dark, emerald green. There is also a small white blemish on the bottom leaf that has been there since before I received it.


Here is a picture of the leaves AFTER moving the orchid to the back door. The white stuff in the center on the leaves is just sphagnum debris. I blew it off after taking the picture. The small white blemish is still there though.

Last edited by Kearneyweard; 12-28-2011 at 03:53 PM..
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  #2  
Old 12-28-2011, 04:14 PM
mattryan mattryan is offline
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Welcome the the orchidboard kearney! So to start off it is a phaleanopsis. There's no way in knowing how long the phals blooms have been open, they might just be at the end of their lifespan. The roots should be firm and green (the ones that get light) or white (the ones that don't). No black or mushy, cut them off. Now it should be in a pot with lots of drainage holes the roots need to breathe so to speak. Most people change the phal right out of the sphagg and into a bark mix, because moss tends to stay too wet for too long (using a wooden skewer will help you not to overwater). There's all kinds of threads about re-potting and mixes on this forum. Phals like the same temps as you do with in-direct bright light. This is short form you will find everything you need here on this site. Oh and the leaves look ok. Give it good culture and it will bloom for you for many years.

p.s. if your phal starts looking bad eg. losing roots, cut the spike put it in a vase so it can use it's strength to get healthy. Goodluck!


Cheryl
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  #3  
Old 12-28-2011, 07:33 PM
Merlyn Merlyn is offline
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Yes it's a Phalaenopsis and I agree that the blooms are most likely at the end of their cycle. There is nothing wrong with using sphagnum moss. I have 28 and they're all in sphagnum. It depends on YOUR environment and MOSTLY on YOUR culture as to what suits you better. For me it means I don't have to water as much and I average about every 5 days in the winter for my Phals. Guarantee if you opt for the bark mixes you'll have to water more often ! Again, that's a generalization as it ALL DEPENDS on YOUR environment and culture.
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  #4  
Old 12-29-2011, 01:11 AM
NYCorchidman NYCorchidman is offline
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beautiful color by the way!!!
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2011, 02:40 AM
Shiffdaddy Shiffdaddy is offline
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Agree with everything everybody has said! To add to this. Try placing a stake in the pot to attach the flower spike to. This will keep it from falling over, assuming you havent already cut it off.

Once you cut the spike off you will no longer have the issue of the plant tipping the pot over as most of that is caused by the weight of the spike.

Another tip that really helped me with growing phals is to water once the roots have turned a shiny silver color, do not water when the roots are green or you will most likely rot them in the sphag.

Good luck!
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  #6  
Old 01-01-2012, 05:11 PM
Kearneyweard Kearneyweard is offline
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Thank you everyone for your comments! Two of its flowers have fallen off with a third one looking to fall off soon. The remaining four still look good and are going strong. I have accepted the very real possibility that all of the flowers will fall off and when they do I will cut the spike and continue to care for it. Hopefully, even though I'm a newbie, I will be able to encourage exceptional growth and ultimately another bloom. Thanks again!!
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  #7  
Old 01-02-2012, 03:37 PM
gnathaniel gnathaniel is offline
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Looks like you're doing good! I'll chime in with the pro-sphagnum crowd, Phals do best for me mounted or in sphag as I find it easier to gauge how wet the medium is; I let them get just crispy dry and then saturate again. Many Phals, especially those with pulcherrima ancestry like yours probably has, are actually quite dry-tolerant so generally underwatering is a better bet than over.

Also, if the spike is still green you can leave it on there. Many Phals will branch and rebloom off of living spikes and may also put out new vegetative growths ('keikis') from unbloomed nodes. Spikes don't consume any energy from the plant once they've grown and in fact a stressed plant can pull mobile nutrients such as nitrogen from a live spike to aid in growing new roots. Spikes also photosynthesize and don't lose as much water through transpiration as leaves do, so IMHO there's rarely a good reason to cut one off before it's dead. Hope this helps!

--Nat
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Old 01-02-2012, 04:59 PM
Kearneyweard Kearneyweard is offline
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Default Now There's a "Leaf Problem"

Thanks for your response, gnathaniel but I guess I spoke too soon! Unfortunately I had already cut off the spike before reading your post. I took a look at the roots today, because one of the leaves has started to turn yellow/brown (pictures attached), and a majority of them looked absolutely atrocious! So now that I know how to cut them off properly, because of reading these forums, I cut off all of the mushy and black ones. It still has about 5 or more good roots so I hope it'll survive. If not, I'll be buying another one and will try again! Lol. I will keep trying until I get it right!!



The other leaf is looking great ... FOR NOW. =] Hopefully it'll stay that way.


*NOTE* The white cut/blemish has always been there, even when it was in good health, so I do not think it is indicative of anything.


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  #9  
Old 01-02-2012, 05:29 PM
Zoi2 Zoi2 is offline
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For my 2 cents: Your pot looks awfully large for your plant. Pot size should be determined on root size, the roots should just fit into the pot. By using a large pot, your potting media doesn't dry out quick enough and the roots stay too wet.
Your media (moss) appears to be quite high on the plant. Having the crown of the plant that close to the moss will make it hard to keep water out of the crown (center of the plant) and avoid crown rot.
Joann
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  #10  
Old 01-02-2012, 06:29 PM
Kearneyweard Kearneyweard is offline
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Thanks for the suggestion, Zoi2. I think the photo is a bit misleading because it does look too big for the plant. However most of the roots are growing sideways so underneath all that sphagnum, lay the roots. Also, the pot is slender near the bottom where the roots are. I did follow your suggestion and took a big chunk of the medium out so as to avoid crown rot. That might help the pot size too because now all of the medium is at the bottom with the roots, which of course is near the smaller part of the pot. Thanks so much for your help! =]
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