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  #1  
Old 01-24-2018, 02:33 PM
greenpassion greenpassion is offline
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Hi all. One of my phals is one that I had rescued from my very own (yes, I admit it ) negligence. This phal had spiked and bloomed spectacularly late spring last year, but while it was in bloom I began to notice that the plant was in distress. I unpotted it and low and behold I had a bunch of rotten roots. I cut the spike off, flowers and all, cleaned up all the rotten roots, and repotted in a much smaller pot (after cutting away all the dead roots the original pot would have been much too big). So this phal WAS a rather large phal, and after going through all that, It's now a small plant with 3 leaves. I had repotted it in a 2" rand air cone pot, in bark, and it has been on my glass shelf under led lights with 15 other phals, on a heat mat. Up to now little phal has been doing very very well. New air roots, a new leaf, and I was so pleased that I was able to save it. Well, recently I've begun to notice that the bright green roots tips have stopped growing, and seem to be 'shutting off' as it were. There was one nice fat root that has been making it's way down into the medium that now has stopped as well. I've been watering this little one nearly every day as it's in bark, in a very small pot (2") and on a warming mat. Well, around 2 weeks ago I broke down and began doing the skewer method with all my orchids, and was surprised to learn that the skewer in this little 2" pot was slightly moist one day after watering. So for the last week I've watered every other day. But now this phal has developed limp leaves, and it's not anchored as well in the pot. So I guess I have several questions here. One, although I've heard that one can't over water in bark, could I have been overwatering here? And two, do roots stop their growth stage due to cultural changes, or do they stop as a matter of course?
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Old 01-24-2018, 03:26 PM
rbarata rbarata is offline
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Quote:
One, although I've heard that one can't over water in bark, could I have been overwatering here?
There are many factors that influenciate water evaporation so that statement de per si is wrong.
I have phals in really small pots, with bark, and I only water them once/week. So I think watering everyday or every other day might be too much.

About the second question, I really don't know the scientific reasons behind it but I suspect both are true.
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  #3  
Old 01-24-2018, 03:58 PM
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Let me ask this: when you have thoroughly watered the plant and the pot has drained, are all of the spaces between the bark chips full of water?

If "yes", use a coarser bark.

if "no", stop worrying.

Stop stabbing it with skewers. That is not a very good way to judge watering in bark.
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  #4  
Old 01-24-2018, 11:22 PM
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The only way to know how the roots are doing is to check the roots. It might be that the bark has decomposed and is holding more water or has become compact. Phals do not usually mind being unpotted, unlike many other orchids.
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Old 01-25-2018, 01:37 AM
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Lack of active root growth after a 'busy' period shouldn't be a cause for concern, especially in winter. Roots are not going to be in active growth 100% of the time. I've often seen them take a short break and then resume growth again, but I don't know if it's culture related, or something they would have done anyway.

For Phals in clear pots, I find that root color is a far better indicator of when to water than skewers are. When I see them starting to turn from green back to silver I wait another day and then water. I'm never been a huge fan of the skewer method.

I would unpot the plant and check. If the roots are fine, the limp leaves may be from too little water, and your original watering schedule was better for it. If the roots are in bad shape, you'll know that you were likely overwatering.

I doubt the quality of the medium is a problem since you repotted it last spring.
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  #6  
Old 01-25-2018, 11:40 AM
greenpassion greenpassion is offline
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Huh. That's interesting. All along I thought the skewer method was so popular, but I was reluctant to do it because I didn't want to poke roots. I don't continually stab them though , I put the skewers in and leave them. I pulled them out to check the moisture on the skewer and then put it back exactly where it was before. At any rate at some point today or tomorrow I'm going to pull it out the pot to check the roots.

---------- Post added at 10:05 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:56 AM ----------

And I always suspected that may not be true that one cannot over water in bark. I totally understand the course bark reason. This Orchid is in a medium grade bark, with lots of air holes and slits in the pot, but as Ray said perhaps the bar is not coarse enough.

---------- Post added at 11:40 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:05 AM ----------

Okay so I unpotted it and lo and behold the roots were rotten! So there are only two air roots that were on top of the medium that are viable. I cut away the dead roots, repotted it back in the bark, and soaked the entire thing in a solution of KelpMax for about 15 minutes. I had to use one of my shells to Anchor it to the medium. I'm so disappointed. I still can't be clear whether I under-watered it or over watered it and why these roots died. When I unpotted it it was completely dry, and I had just watered this last night. If it's dried out that quickly...??
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Old 01-25-2018, 05:08 PM
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What are temperatures like?
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Old 01-25-2018, 11:35 PM
greenpassion greenpassion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estación seca View Post
What are temperatures like?
Very good question ES. My temperatures are fine. Around 68 70 degrees. I have these phals on a warming heat mat. The fact that I watered this particular phal one day before, and it was dry the very next day after, has had me wonder maybe that I have the matt on too high? Which leads me to a larger question. There's been a lot of post about the benefits of heat mats. Which I totally agree with. But I've often wondered how much is too warm? I live in a very cold climate and I keep the heating Matt's up through the winter. My other orchids in tiny pots or large are doing well, except this one, which was doing so well and now is failing...
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Old 01-26-2018, 01:05 AM
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Do the Matts mind when you put orchids on them? <<Sorry.>>

Put a thermometer on the mat and find out how warm it is. If it's over about 80 F / 27C that might be causing rapid water evaporation, and you'll have to water a lot more often. If it's over about 90 F / 32C that could cause root damage if they dry out and it's not so humid.
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  #10  
Old 01-26-2018, 10:33 AM
greenpassion greenpassion is offline
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I did as you said with a thermometer ES., and it said 91. F. And that is after having turned it down last night a bit. So I turned it down more. We'll see...

Last edited by greenpassion; 01-26-2018 at 01:56 PM..
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