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Newbie Phalaenopsis check-up

Discussion in 'Issues, Disease and Pests' started by (-_-), Mar 29, 2018.

  1. (-_-)

    (-_-) New Member

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    Hi there,
    I was given a Phalaenopsis as a Christmas present - my first orchid!
    When I received it, it had five flowers, four leaves, and a healthy looking stem.
    Initially, I think I might have underwatered it. Concerned about its upkeep, I bought some 'Orchid Myst' online, and sprayed it fairly liberally - roots, leaves, and flowers (I rinsed the flowers after learning not to spray them!).
    A couple of flowers had already fallen off before using the 'myst', but a week or so later, they all fell off, plus one of the big leaves ... and now the stem is turning brown.
    Oh, and some of the exposed roots are shrivelling up.
    :/
    I've looked online for answers, and found it a bit overwhelming – maybe it's going dormant? maybe I should repot it? maybe the 'Orchid Myst' is too strong?

    Anyway, I thought it best to join this site and get some expert advice ... so thank you, in advance, for any help and suggestions :)



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  2. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    Location:
    Oak Island NC
    What I see is a an otherwise healthy plant that can use to be repotted and watered more frequently. Feel free to cut the dead flower spike off the plant; it will grow a new one.

    I think the most significant aspect of orchid-growing that folks need to understand is the, unlike terrestrial plants that respire almost exclusively through their leaves, orchids do the majority of that through their roots. That's why the correct choice of pot, potting medium, and watering technique play such a significant role in success.

    As long as the potting mix is "open" enough to allow plenty of air flow to the root system, you can water a great deal with no issue. The problems start when the mix is too fine, and/or has decomposed to the point where the voids between the particles are small enough to hold water via surface tension. Then, the air flow pathways are blocked, gas exchange from the roots is stifled, and the roots suffocate, die, and rot. (If you allow the medium to dry out, those pathways reopen, and that has led to the myth that "orchids have to dry out between waterings". Many orchids in nature stay sopping from multiple daily rains, so if water caused rot and led to death, they'd all be extinct!)
     
  3. (-_-)

    (-_-) New Member

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    Thank you, Ray.
    Lots of good info there ... very helpful.
    All the best.