Mini Phalaenopsis compromised plus no new growth in long time
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Mini Phalaenopsis compromised plus no new growth in long time
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  #1  
Old 03-04-2014, 10:57 AM
lotis146 lotis146 is offline
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Mini Phalaenopsis compromised plus no new growth in long time Female
Question Mini Phalaenopsis compromised plus no new growth in long time

Hello again!

This time I'm here to discuss my mini Phalaenopsis which I've had for over four years. This little bugger has always been potted in a sphagnum moss medium; last spring I repotted it in what I now realize is a MUCH TOO LARGE pot with the moss (oops, I kept some of the old stuff) and my store-bought Orchid mix of charcoal, lava rock & bark, but mostly moss on top as this is what it's lived in since I've had it. I always only used to water it when it dried out completely then filled the tiny 1-2" terracotta pot completely with water and let it absorb it all, any left over was dumped out.

Over two years ago the spike died and never came back. I've thought I killed it several times but managed to keep it alive. It's lost and grown several new leaves since I've had it although it hasn't grown a new one in maybe six month. It also hasn't had a very good root system in a long time. Right now on the surface it looks like it has one healthy root and I'm not too sure there are any better than that as I pulled the bundle that it is of itself and moss out last night and without removing the moss I don't see any roots. At the same time that my full size Phalaenopsis' leaves started to go limp and wrinkly so has this one. It's not nearly as wrinkly or limp but it is. I've been watering them (I think this happened because I've under-water afraid I'd over-water) but not too much has changed other than that it's not getting any worse. I'm going to repot it today, probably still in the moss but back into a super tiny pot (don't have the old one).

In addition to asking if you have any tips with regard to how to make its life better (like my others, I'm going to start fertilizing for the first time, is it okay at this stage?), what do you have to say that it's never grown a new spike in years, only some leaves here and there? Is putting it back in a very tiny pot (given its lack of roots) the best thing to do? What about a tray of pebbles and water below it? Is it true that putting air roots under the medium might kill them? An air root might be the only thing I have right now, should I bury it in the medium (not sure I can as it's no more than 2 inches if that) when I repot?

Thanks for all of your help everyone, my Orchids will be oh so grateful and so am I. ;-)

Lotis
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  #2  
Old 03-04-2014, 11:26 AM
nutgirl nutgirl is offline
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Sorry about your Phalaenopsis.
Problems often start with the roots (or lack of). The plant won't grow or bloom if it doesn't have a strong root system.

If it was me, I'd concentrate on getting the root growth going. If your plants don't have any healthy roots then you might try the "shag n bag" approach used by many. (Search it on Orchid Board)

I wouldn't worry about fertilizer until you have healthy roots. Be careful with watering. A moist environment is good, a wet one is bad.
I leave the air roots alone. They are where they want to be and if you bury them them may just give up.

Hope you have success,

Maureen
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2014, 11:37 AM
lotis146 lotis146 is offline
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Mini Phalaenopsis compromised plus no new growth in long time Female
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Thank you very much, I'm going to look up "shag 'n' bag" and focus on the roots as you said. I'm assuming then that is why I haven't grown more than a few leaves, which I'm glad I've even had that.

Grateful for the advice!
Lotis
(Hoping shag n bag doesn't mean toss it, cuz I won't till it's totally dead! ;-) )
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Old 03-04-2014, 04:52 PM
Brooke Brooke is offline
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Your Phal can absorb fertilizer through the leaves, particularly under the leaf. I know professional growers who never fertilize the pot, they only spray the fertilizer.

Keep your plant warm and I'm sure you can regrow the roots. After the roots are big enough to repot, increase the light slightly.

Brooke
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Old 03-04-2014, 04:57 PM
cbuchman cbuchman is offline
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Mini Phalaenopsis compromised plus no new growth in long time Female
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Sphag isn't a perfect medium. Depending on your water it can break down very quickly. In my environment, sphag turns to mush in about 6 months. So pot in it carefully. Phals what a moisture retntive medium, but not a soggy one and air to the roots is critical.

To kick start roots, I often soak the plant before potting in KLN (or use a seaweed/kelp fertilizer which can be easier to find locally) at 1/2 strength. The auxins in KLN should not be overused or you will achieve the opposite effect of root growth!

Good luck!
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:27 PM
nutgirl nutgirl is offline
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Sorry, my finger slipped....I meant to type "Sphag n bag"

Maureen
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:46 PM
james mickelso james mickelso is offline
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I have repotted in many different media and all of them work depending on how you use each one. Since this one is going downhill, I would repot into sphagnum moss and use KLN or some type of kelp like Kelpmax from Ray here. The secret to using moss is to use it loosely. Take some and pull it apart. Put some in the pot and then put the phal in. Then loosely stuff some around the roots or root area if it has no roots. You can rest th leaves on the edge of the pot by potting it a little deeper into the pot. This way you can water the moss while still allowing air to circulate around the media. It works like a charm. Better than bark based media at this stage. keep it warm and give it medium light levels. Brooke is correct in that you can water and fertilize your phal by spraying water/fertilizer on the undersides of the leaves. I do this with some of my rescues using a spray starch bottle. Mix in a little Kelpmax. Try it.
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:03 AM
Lani Lani is offline
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Mini Phalaenopsis compromised plus no new growth in long time Female
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Shag n bag could yield some interesting google results...
Sorry I should be more mature. Lol.
Good luck with your phal
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Old 03-05-2014, 01:37 AM
james mickelso james mickelso is offline
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Mini Phalaenopsis compromised plus no new growth in long time Male
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we have enough "mature" () people here. I'm not one of them. so have fun.
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  #10  
Old 03-05-2014, 11:01 AM
lotis146 lotis146 is offline
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Mini Phalaenopsis compromised plus no new growth in long time Female
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Thank you everyone, great advice! I have not already heard about spraying a fertilizer mix of sorts under the leaves I will keep that in mind for the future for all of my plants.

Last night I went ahead and repotted the mini (in addition to my Paph. & Phal. with the twin keikis, though the mother plant is waiting to be potted today).

As I think I said before, when this mini was given to me it was in a very small two inch terra cotta pot. It stayed there for several years (I think I've had it maybe 4-5) and at that time I thought it was ok because it was still alive! But it has only ever flowered once all this time and hasn't had a stem in a couple of years (geez). So I used sphagnum but in combination with new Orchid mix of charcoal, bark & lava rock in addition to some other bark mix. I soaked them all for over half an hour prior to potting.

The last (which was my first) repot I did I knew even less then and was too timid to cut any roots, plus I didn't know I should remove all the old medium, which in this case was only sphagnum. So I left the mass of moss under it that when dry was a big clump that was one and the same with the plant (!). This time I knew better and removed this bundle.

Not surprisingly I discovered it didn't have much in the way of root structure, at all, about a handful. I cut away any old dead ones as well. I will say when I repotted I used a majority sphagnum as I've seen at nurseries this is what they tend to use with these minis, including the nursery I'm pretty sure this one came from. I did put some heavy, chunkier pieces of the variety mix in the bottom and kind of made a few different layers using the different mixes ending with the moss. I didn't use any kind of fertilizer with the repotting but perhaps I will with a little bit under the leaves; I have some plant food that encourages root growth so I will use that.

I did by the way buy a new 2" terra cotta pot, basically starting from scratch with this little guy as I had repotted it WAY TOO big last time. I planted it a bit deeper and left the one most prominent - and healthiest of them all - air root out. I put this little guy in the other room that's window is 90% blocked. A little light comes in and just barely reaches it and the others. Is this too little light, too shaded?

I will post pictures when I can and appreciate all the help and encouragement you all have offered. I feel pretty positive about this endeavor and will keep you posted on my plant's success (*fingers crossed everyone*).

I hope to gain valuable knowledge from this experience so that I learn, become a better Orchidist, and have something to offer others in need.

:-D Cheers everybody and best to you and yours.
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