Recently repotted mini-phal from sphag to bark mix: roots shrivelled/rotting
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Recently repotted mini-phal from sphag to bark mix: roots shrivelled/rotting
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  #1  
Old 07-24-2014, 01:44 PM
Bahar Bahar is offline
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Recently repotted mini-phal from sphag to bark mix: roots shrivelled/rotting
Default Recently repotted mini-phal from sphag to bark mix: roots shrivelled/rotting

Ten days ago, I repotted a mini-phal from 2 in pot in sphag to a 3 in pot in medium orchiata mix with charcoal, perlite and a bit of sphag (Ray's Better Off Moist). Within 24 hours, i noticed a couple of the once healthy roots shrivelling up, and now all of the roots have done the same. The only part of the roots that are still firm are the portion of the roots near the base that were/are not in the medium. I've read that some phals don't tolerate going from moss to bark. since I potted this one the same way I repot all others (using physan, wearing gloves, sterilizing tools, cutting off dead roots, etc) and it's the only one having a problem, I think it's the moss to bark transition.

I ordered KLN yesterday and expect delivery by tomorrow. Should I take it out of the medium immediately? If so, what then? I was thinking about cutting off dead roots, soaking in physan and then putting it in a vase or bowl with water in the bottom (keeping what few roots are left above the water. Should I do this?

What should I do once I get the KLN?

Before repotting, this plant had an abundance of thick, healthy green roots with green tips. It has 5 leaves, but a bottom one is yellowing, and the one above it is starting to wrinkle. It still has the old flower spikes (they haven't dried out and i normally don't cut them off unless they do). Should I cut them both off so the plant can use its energy on growing roots?

Also, I noticed white mold on dead roots 3 days after repotting. I doused it in listerine, and the mold appears to be gone.

I have the plant in a shaded area near SE window. The temp is 69-73 degrees. Humidity right now is 75%. Have a ceiling fan running constantly.

I would appreciate any advice as to what to do once I unpot and trim dead roots!!
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  #2  
Old 07-24-2014, 07:58 PM
WhiteRabbit WhiteRabbit is offline
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Did you soak the bark? How often have you watered since repotting?
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  #3  
Old 07-24-2014, 08:48 PM
james mickelso james mickelso is offline
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Recently repotted mini-phal from sphag to bark mix: roots shrivelled/rotting Male
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Sounds to me like the problem was there long before you repotted it. If you damaged the roots taking off the old moss, damaged the roots repotting it into bark, damaged the roots watering it too much after repotting, then there is your answer. I regularly repot from moss to bark (orchiata/sponge rock/charcoal/and occasionally some moss) and I never have any trouble. I also repot from bark to moss. And moss to lava cinder. And moss to mounting. It is usually in how you handle the plant during the repotting. Phal roots are quickly injured even when we try to be careful. It often times takes me an hour to clean off the moss from a 3 inch pot. I water once and then leave it alone for a few days up to a week to let any minor damage heal. Just because the roots looked green and healthy before repotting doesn't mean they were without issues. Here are a few (yes the same old batch I repotted 3 months ago) that went from bark to moss and moss to bark. And one that went into cinder with a little moss on top to help keep it a little more damp. It's in a very small clay pot with a large hole in the bottom. So don't believe that old wives tale about not going from one to the other no matter which way that is.
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  #4  
Old 07-25-2014, 12:24 AM
Bahar Bahar is offline
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Recently repotted mini-phal from sphag to bark mix: roots shrivelled/rotting
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I usually soak bark in physan/water for a few days before potting, but because I used Ray's Orchiata mix, I followed Ray's directions to not soak the bark but pour boiling water through it twice and letting it cool before repotting. The 2 other orchids I repotted the same way that day are doing fine.

James, I think I was really careful with the roots. I took my time getting the moss off the roots and only had to trim 2 roots ( I dabbed cinammon on the wounds like I usually do). If there was a problem before the repot, wouldn't I have seen some type of sign or symptom? The plant appeared to be thriving- flowers stayed on for 5 months, a new leaf grew right before I repotted, and the roots appeared very healthy and were growing like crazy.

As to watering, I waited 48 hours before watering it. A few days later, when I noticed white mold on a dead root, I doused it with hydrogen peroxide, which didn't get rid of the mold. A couple days later, i used listerine, which does appear to have killed the mold.

Any advice as to how to proceed from here?
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:22 AM
james mickelso james mickelso is offline
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Recently repotted mini-phal from sphag to bark mix: roots shrivelled/rotting Male
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Well as you can see it wouldn't have been just because it went from moss to bark. I've been repotting rescues for a long time and have had few issues with roots failing. I wasn't there when you repotted so I can't say what caused it but I doubt it was strictly the change in media. Roots fail for many different reasons. Finding the cause can be difficult. I would leave it alone until it re-establishes roots. The Plant should have enough energy to grow a root or two. Even if the leaves wilt, the plant will function. The white mold (snow mold) tells me the media was too wet for too long. Mold is a sign of excess moisture. And stagnant conditions. Is there enough air flow through or around the plant? I also think that pouring boiling water through bark is not exactly what is needed to control sporing bodies. A good fungicide would be more appropriate for that. You'ld have to boil the water with the bark in it for 20 mins minimum for those sporing bodies to be killed off. I just like to pot up the plants and then control my moisture levels by letting the media dry out fully and then watering again with justy enough water to get the roots wet. I always say, and practice, water the roots. Not the media. I dip all my orchids in a 5 gal bucket with my fertilizer, root hormones, calcium/magnesium suppliments, and the occasional fungicide thrown in for good measure. I use a blend of RO and City water. I dip the pot in up to the top of the pot, never getting the foliage wet. I dip it once unless the media is fresh which I them dip twice. never have a problem with the method. Others do it differently. My way works for me,. My media is dry the next day. I water the smaller plants a couple times a week and the larger specimens once a week. From what I gather from you, it just sounds like too much moisture in the media. My GF has a few phals that I have given to her and she waters them "occasionally". Roots are somewhat withered but the plants leaves are plump and the things flower a couple times a year. Ones in the bathroom and the others are in the kitchen.
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  #6  
Old 07-25-2014, 04:39 AM
MattWoelfsen MattWoelfsen is offline
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Default Recently repotted mini-phal from sphag to bark mix: roots shrivelled/rotting

FirstRay's advice to pour boiling water twice is to maintain the chemistry in that potting media so that your plant gets potted with damp media. You don't want to wash away the benefits if you treated that mix like you would ordinary bark mix from the store.

White mold, as James stated earlier is the result of the potting media being too wet, too long. Pouring hydrogen peroxide and then Listerine on the problem adds more liquid and keeps the potting media and the roots wet. Mold is an opportunistic entity that is always in plants, it becomes visible when the environment is too wet, too long and there is cold, stagnant air. This is the plant equivalent of drowning roots,

This has happened to me before and I followed your solution too, and I got the same result--dead roots, desiccated leaves, mold, and a near death experience for the plant. I was also going from sphagnum moss to a similar special potting mix.

At the point where you discovered the white mold, if you had pulled the plant out of its new pot, you would have seen how wet the roots were. This is what I did. I was aghast that mold was evident in NEW media! I pulled my plant out of its new pot and I let it dry out. I un-potted the media and let it dry out to just damp. The next day, I put dried out plant, just damp potting media, back in its pot.

I put the plant in an area where it got plenty of fresh air and warmth. I continued to let the plant be for several days until pot and plant was completely dried out. Re-watered it, let it dry out again, and repeated. I use slotted, clear plastic pots. This type of pot allows me to see the root ball. With the slits in the pot, air can flow into the pot. I also put in a small inverted net pot inside the root ball--some people use styrofoam--to allow air to access the core.

Phalaenopsis roots, despite their appearance, are very sensitive to the changes in their environment. I think they are as easy to kill as the small Oncidium roots. So when I repot they are in that pot for a long time--two years. I also give myself some insurance by repotting only when I see new roots growing. Even then I wait for the roots to grow a half inch. The only precaution I take is to try to pot them early in the day in a warm space. I also do not use any other liquid but water. I used to do all the additives like Pysan and SuperThrive which caused me to use gloves, but that seemed to increase the speed of death. So now just water in media.

Sometimes even my best intentions are for naught. Many orchids have sacrificed their lives so that I can have a learning experience. I hope we have helped you save one plant from going to orchid heaven.

This is my favorite pot for Phalaenopsos


Last edited by MattWoelfsen; 07-25-2014 at 04:52 AM..
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  #7  
Old 07-25-2014, 06:17 AM
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Recently repotted mini-phal from sphag to bark mix: roots shrivelled/rotting Male
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For re-potting Phals I take a simple approach that always seems to work.

Remove the old moss or bark.

Inspect the roots, snap off the dead ones, or trim with sterile scissors. Rinse decomposed material off the roots.

Thoroughly clean the pot if the plant is going back in the same pot. If using a different pot, use a new one or an old one that has been cleaned and sterilized.

I repot Phals with dry, clean, coarse regular fir bark. The bark in the lower half of the pot is mixed 50-50 with something inert like styrofoam packing peanuts. The rest of the pot is filled with plain dry fir bark, or mixed with coarse charcoal.

I let the repotted Phal stay dry for at least a day, sometimes two (this allows any roots injured during repotting to heal). I water once a week only for the first couple weeks. When I water, I do so thoroughly.

Re- potting this way, I never see root loss or setback, even with plants in bloom or spike.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:15 PM
Bahar Bahar is offline
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Recently repotted mini-phal from sphag to bark mix: roots shrivelled/rotting
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Thanks guys. It sounds like I should just let it be and make sure to let it dry completely before waterings.

One thing that just dawned on me is that the Orchiata mix I potted it in has a bit of sphag mixed in. I've always used either straight bark or bark mixed with perlite and charcoal. Of course the moss retains moisture longer, so I need to adjust my watering for this plant ... or maybe i'll remove the moss. The only reason I ordered this mix with the moss is because I figured since the plant had been in moss for at least 6 months (when i bought it), it would be less of a shock than goinng from straight moss to straight bark. Maybe that was silly. Yes, I think I will remove the moss so it's just a bark mix which will dry faster and which is what I'm used to.

Can anyone advise me on how best to use KLN? I've never used it or anything like it before. I ordered it because I've read many posts praising it's usefulness in stimulating root growth. Should I soak the plant in it or just water with it? I'm waiting for it to arrive today, and don't know how detailed the directions on the label are.

Matt, that is a fantastic pot! Where can I order those from? The one's I've ordered are clear plastic and have good bottom drainage, but no slits/holes on the sides. I thought about burning holes in the sides with a hot screwdriver or some such object but am afraid of inhaling toxic fumes! My father-in-law tried drilling extra bottom holes in one for me, but the plastic is so thick and brittle, that it created a crack across the entire pot. I guess I have real good drainage now! :-)

and charcoal
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:04 PM
MattWoelfsen MattWoelfsen is offline
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Hello Bahar, this pot is from repotme.com. It is my favorite pot. KLN is root hormone. It does not replace fertilizer. I use it about every three weeks. I put it in with my water and let it drain normally. The special mix you got from FirstRays was designed for plants like Phalaenopsis with bits of sphagnum moss. I have a similar mix from Roberts Orchid Supply out of Columbia Station, Ohio. Your logic in getting this mix is good. I have done the same. You have to adjust your watering regime. Clear pots help you determine water requirements--green roots, good. Silver/gray roots means water.
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Old 07-26-2014, 05:10 AM
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Recently repotted mini-phal from sphag to bark mix: roots shrivelled/rotting Male
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Bahar, I agree with the approach your recent post: remove the moss. Let the bark dry between watering.

Every grower, and growing environment, is different. Ray's mix may be fine for some situations but your mix is not drying out enough and the moss makes drying more difficult.

I used the KLN, lowest dose recommended on the bottle, every 2-3 weeks. I did see improved root growth. After a year the stuff in the bottle ages & becomes less effective so stick with a small bottle unless your collection is large.
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