Leaf die-back, S/H Phrag. schlimii
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  #1  
Old 05-30-2021, 07:47 AM
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Leaf die-back, S/H Phrag. schlimii
Default Leaf die-back, S/H Phrag. schlimii

I received a very healthy and established Phragmipedium schlimii from Ecuagenera about a month and a half ago, which I put directly in semi-hydro.

It was in bloom with more buds on the way; most of the existing buds bloomed, though all flowering now seems to be over. I can see new roots and what I think is the start of a new growth, but in the last week or so, I've noticed leaf tip die-back and yellowing on maybe a quarter of the leaves. (From what I can tell, it's the oldest leaves across a number of growths.)

Since this is my first experience with both Phrags and S/H, I'm anxious that I'm in the process of murdering this plant! What level of leaf loss is acceptable in the Phrag life cycle and/or transition to S/H?
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  #2  
Old 05-30-2021, 08:11 AM
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Leaf die-back, S/H Phrag. schlimii
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It does indicate that it was all a bit much for this one. Being transported in bloom, being in a completely new environment, having the root system disturbed and then trying S/H for the first time which might have a learning curve.
You might have noticed recently the people that have been advocating S/H for years have suddenly all decided it needs rockwool cubes added to it now.
Why if S/H works perfectly every time for every orchid for every person? Rockwool cubes are the next progression and I'm sure it will not be the last so just be aware of that.
S/H can cause a lot of stress and worst it can promote a fungal infection at the base of the plant.
If the plant survives the transition to S/H then it should do fine but there is always that transition period and S/H is inherently more damp which should encourage better growth but at the same time store bought orchids have fungal spores on them that don't cause an issue with periodic drying out but moved to S/H too soon before the spores die off properly then they can flourish and weaken a stressed orchid.

What you should do, I am sure someone will advise. It's not easy to advise if there is even anything to worry about, if the plant needs intervention or if it is just adjustment stress, I am just mentioning things I know to help you decide.
A picture yould help.
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  #3  
Old 05-30-2021, 08:27 AM
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Leaf die-back, S/H Phrag. schlimii
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Thank you for your thoughtful response!

Since this arrived healthy and bare rooted and is a species that likes having "wet feet," I figured it was my best opportunity to try S/H, but I totally agree with what you're saying; there are a lot of reasons this is the only orchid in my collection in this setup!

The new roots are the main reason I remain hopeful that this could work out, but I definitely need to keep an eye on their progress relative to any further decline.
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Old 05-30-2021, 08:32 AM
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Shadeflower is correct about the potential for shipping stress, but there are other possible causes.

I seriously doubt the plant was grown in S/H culture previously, so the existing roots are not “tuned” for that environment, and are not working as effectively as they might. Encourage new root growth and that will improve things. I must say thought, paphs and phrags seem to be some of the easiest plants in that regard.

How did you prepare the LECA, what is your water quality, and what is your feeding regimen? Phrag leaf-tip dieback is common when the plant is overexposed to dissolved solids, whether that be from the water, from manufacturing residues in the LECA, overfertilization, or buildup over time.
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Old 05-30-2021, 08:40 AM
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Thanks Ray. You're right that this plant is new to S/H, so I think most of the decline could be attributed to its old root system calling it quits. Hoping that the new roots will begin to make up for it in time. I'm really impressed by how quickly they're coming in.

As far as the other variables, I rinsed and soaked the LECA ahead of time, I use NYC tap water, which is veru low in dissolved solids as far as tap water goes, and have a dosmatic injector feeding MSU at around 20ppm N (if I remember the numbers correctly.) Given all that, would you recommend occasional flushing with fresh water, and if so, how often?
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Old 05-30-2021, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadeflower View Post
It does indicate that it was all a bit much for this one. ...
You might have noticed recently the people that have been advocating S/H for years have suddenly all decided it needs rockwool cubes added to it now.
Why if S/H works perfectly every time for every orchid for every person? Rockwool cubes are the next progression and I'm sure it will not be the last so just be aware of that.
...What you should do, I am sure someone will advise. It's not easy to advise if there is even anything to worry about, if the plant needs intervention or if it is just adjustment stress, I am just mentioning things I know to help you decide.
A picture yould help.
On the rock wool cubes issue, I've been experimenting for about half a year with them. Have incorporated them into SH for about 12-15 of them... out of about 100+/- orchids at the moment. For me, it's an experiment to see if the addition is an overall improvement for certain genus. Jury is of course still out, as it's only been half a year.

Can only speak for myself, but I don't advocate any type of medium to another, unless someone shows interest in trying it. I grow everything in semi-hydro... because for me it works best. A mixed bark medium also works in my environment, but SH for me works better. Over time, I fail using straight sphag because it doesn't suit my cultural care, but know folks who have tremendous success with that method.

I don't know of anyone "advocating" to use rock wool, at least on this forum. I think it's just something that folks who mostly grow in SH are trying out. Kind of like some mix sphag in bark mix, some use straight sphag, some straight scoria, etc, etc. It's just something to try, depending on one's environment and culture, to see if it adds or detracts to the way one grows.

I've transferred lots of phrags and paphs into SH. (Maybe thirty or so over the years.) My observation is some of them jump to SH without a blink. Some get that brown tip older leaf when transferred, some don't. I've always figured it had something to do with the specific parent plant, but it's just a guess. My track record growing paphs and phrags in a bark mix was less than stellar.

I have a recent phrag that was in bark mix when I received it, but also two ongoing spikes in bloom. I waited until it appeared no more were going to come, then divided and transplanted it about a month ago into SH. Both are doing the brown leaf tip thing now, but new growths aren't. I always ignore it, and it slowly re-establishes.

I would flush with straight water at least once or twice a month if using semi-hydro, if your setup is that it automatically adds the fertilizer with each watering.

And yes, a picture might help.
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Old 05-30-2021, 12:29 PM
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Leaf die-back, S/H Phrag. schlimii
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Thanks, WW, that is helpful to hear about your most recent one. Guess I should have read a bit more about when is best to make the transition but since it wasn't potted, I figured one ill-timed transition upon arrival would be less harmful than two.

It does seem like the brown tips are limited to certain growths, so I will hold off on freaking out just yet. And I'll flush it tomorrow for good measure.

Thanks all!
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Old 05-30-2021, 02:04 PM
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It wasn’t potted? And yes, regardless of transferring... transfer once to your medium of choice, then wait. If it’s very much different than the medium it was grown in it takes time. Switching back and forth is just super hard on the plant and it can’t grow roots that accommodate a different medium.
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Old 05-31-2021, 07:31 AM
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Yeah, I got it from Ecuagenera so it arrived in a bag with some sphagnum. But it was in tip top shape so I'm hopeful it will bounce back before too long!
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Old 05-31-2021, 08:37 AM
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Once again, someone who has proclaimed he’s “never done S/H” has proven a lack of understanding of the method, the inability to accurately understand what he reads, and apparently doesn’t understand that much about orchid-growing, either.
Quote:
You might have noticed recently the people that have been advocating S/H for years have suddenly all decided it needs rockwool cubes added to it now.
Why if S/H works perfectly every time for every orchid for every person?.
Orchids are “niche plants”. Each of them has its preferred combination of cultural parameters. The intelligent grower, understanding that his or her growing environment may not meet the requirements of each and every plant equally, will either only grow stuff that fits, or modifies small things to “fine tune” the environment for the plant in question.

I have never heard anyone claim that “S/H works every time for every orchid for every person”. Quite the opposite, in fact, again because of the “niche” nature of orchids and the different environments we grow in. I believe this statement was a childish attempt to discredit individuals and the technique, and nothing more. At the very least, it demonstrates a lack of understanding.

I have had some of my plants in S/H culture since I acquired them more than 25 years ago. When I moved them out of a greenhouse and into a home environment, I had to make adjustments for some of them - some are still thriving in “straight” S/H, some are still grown that way but had the rock wool cubes added, and I have moved others out of it altogether.
Quote:
Rockwool cubes are the next progression and I'm sure it will not be the last so just be aware of that
The one intelligent, factual part of the post! It was, unfortunately, followed by some additional and incorrect info that demonstrates a lack of knowledge and understanding over a diverse range of subjects.

Quote:
S/H can cause a lot of stress and worst it can promote a fungal infection at the base of the plant.
If the plant survives the transition to S/H then it should do fine but there is always that transition period and S/H is inherently more damp which should encourage better growth but at the same time store bought orchids have fungal spores on them that don't cause an issue with periodic drying out but moved to S/H too soon before the spores die off properly then they can flourish and weaken a stressed orchid.
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