Removing mini phals from LECA to investigate roots?
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  #1  
Old 11-29-2022, 08:52 PM
locus-of-control locus-of-control is offline
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Removing mini phals from LECA to investigate roots?
Default Removing mini phals from LECA to investigate roots?

A year ago I put two mini phals in semi hydro. They're both in glass jars with holes drilled near the bottom for ventilation/reservoir. They seemed to have really taken to it and grew lots of new roots and some leaves. I water them with diluted dyna-gro orchid/superthrive, monitor/adjust pH, and flush them out from time to time.

So I've noticed the smaller one has stopped growing and it hasn't grown a new leaf/roots in months. It's definitely not dying but it's also not doing anything. Also have spotted a questionable looking root on the larger phal.

Should I remove them from the LECA to see what's going on with their roots? I would keep them both in the same jar and use the same LECA they have been in. I also want to clean the jars and the LECA (noticed some white stuff), how should I go about doing this? In the past I've just boiled the LECA and cleaned the jars with rubbing alcohol.
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Last edited by locus-of-control; 11-29-2022 at 09:21 PM.. Reason: pictures
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  #2  
Old 11-30-2022, 12:25 AM
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I water them with diluted dyna-gro orchid/superthrive, monitor/adjust pH, and flush them out from time to time.
Before answering we need more information. How much fertilizer are you measuring out and adding to how much water? How much Superthrive? Do you use fertilizer and Superthrive at every watering?

When you water, do you, every time, fill the entire container to the rim, then let it drain down to the reservoir?

What do you mean by flush them out from time to time?

What are your ambient temperatures? Humidity?
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  #3  
Old 11-30-2022, 02:20 PM
locus-of-control locus-of-control is offline
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Removing mini phals from LECA to investigate roots?
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The directions on the fertilizer say 1/2tsp per gallon so I've been doing 1/4tsp. Superthrive is 1/4tsp per gallon, not really measuring it out but it's a couple drops. I have been filling the jars and letting them drain on their own. I'll flush them out with clean distilled water before adding new water with fertilizer.

They've been in the same location (SW window area) since I've gotten them. Pretty significant temp differences between seasons since I don't have AC in the main areas of my home. Over the summer they were in very humid/warm conditions but since the seasons are changing it's now very dry and the temps hang around 68-70. About a week ago I noticed their jars are freezing so they've been on a seedling mat.
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Old 11-30-2022, 04:24 PM
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Removing mini phals from LECA to investigate roots? Male
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hey there, welcome to the ob!

not sure what you mean by the jars are freezing, but it’s been 68-70? or was that the summer temps and now the jars have frost?

if they do have frost or freezing, then yeah that’s probly too cold. if it’s 68-70 high temps then meh, they r just maybe slowing down in the lower light would be my guess. unless they r straight up dying i wouldnt stress over slow winter growth. unless they are actually feeezing, then yeah, you gotta move em.

maybe cut back on the ferts a bit and flush more often till you see em rebound. we feed ours a weekend mix about every week, but only let em sit with ferts in the res for about 2 days. then flush heavily and keep the res with plain water u til the next fertilization. im not super experienced with s/h either, but salt buildup seems like it can run away pretty quickly if you keep a lot of dissolved solids sitting in there

Last edited by tmoney; 11-30-2022 at 04:30 PM..
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Old 11-30-2022, 04:39 PM
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Superthrive is meant to be used rarely. Using it every time you water could cause trouble. Many people report deformed Phal flowers with plentiful Superthrive use. Lots of (most?) people grow Phals well with no Superthrive ever. I would just drop that from my regimen.

Phals are hot growing orchids. They like being hot and humid. 68-70 F is tolerable but it would be like you outside in light shorts and a tank top in early Spring.
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Old 11-30-2022, 04:54 PM
locus-of-control locus-of-control is offline
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Removing mini phals from LECA to investigate roots?
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My bad, I was being hyperbolic describing them as freezing. They're cold to the touch (esp in the morning) and seem to hang onto cold a lot longer than my phals in plastic liners and my plants in ceramic/terracotta pots.

---------- Post added at 03:54 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:52 PM ----------

Good to know about Superthrive. I'm watering everyone this week and wont use it. The phal that stopped growing was still like this when the temps/humidity were high in late summer/fall. But you're right, what they're currently in now isn't helping either. They're on a heat mat now and I'm looking into a humidifier, is there anything else I could do in an old drafty house during winter?
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Old 11-30-2022, 05:29 PM
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The heat mat is more important than the humidifier for most hybrid Phals.
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Old 11-30-2022, 11:45 PM
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Removing mini phals from LECA to investigate roots?
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I agree, adding heat will be the most helpful environmental change. Keeping mine warm all year lets them grow all year.
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Old 12-01-2022, 09:28 AM
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Removing mini phals from LECA to investigate roots? Male
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Quote:
Originally Posted by locus-of-control View Post
The directions on the fertilizer say 1/2tsp per gallon so I've been doing 1/4tsp. Superthrive is 1/4tsp per gallon, not really measuring it out but it's a couple drops. I have been filling the jars and letting them drain on their own. I'll flush them out with clean distilled water before adding new water with fertilizer.

They've been in the same location (SW window area) since I've gotten them. Pretty significant temp differences between seasons since I don't have AC in the main areas of my home. Over the summer they were in very humid/warm conditions but since the seasons are changing it's now very dry and the temps hang around 68-70. About a week ago I noticed their jars are freezing so they've been on a seedling mat.
What is the formula of the fertilizer and how often are you watering with it?

Concerning the cold containers, LECA holds a lot of water and is still nice and open and airy. That allows the water to evaporate quickly, leading to evaporative cooling, especially in a dry environment. If you’re measuring 68-70, the roots are probably in the low 60’s.

As others have said, phalaenopsis are hot growers; deep shade and approaching 100 degrees would be great.
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