frozen or not?

aunt_janeJanuary 17, 2009

Hello All! Happy New Year!

It is currently around 13 degrees in Boston! Very refreshing!

When I was walking home from work Thursday night, a neighbor had put in the trash a huge Phal NOID with a super thick spike that must have just finished booming. I felt bad for it so I took it in - it was compacted into moss (which always rots things in my house) so I unpotted it and found lots of stringy roots, white roots and a few green plump ones. I trimmed of the stringy ones and let it air out overnight. I sprayed it with water yesterday before I went to work and have been keeping it on a low radiator next to a South facing window. the radiator is warm, but the air around it is probably 64ish (big old windows = major heat loss! but that is a different topic)

Now the question - I repotted it in large loose medium in a plastic pot and set it in a humidity tray...the leaves which are a good 6-8" long each are 1) really dark green and 2)rather than holding themselves up straight are folded over and almost creased and limp...they are so sad to look at! This morning I noticed too that the leaves are wrinkled, so it seems they aren't getting any water...

Do you think this was completely frozen and is dead???

What else can I do for the poor thing?

Thank you!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm a newbie to orchids and probably not qualified to pass judgment but I'm thinking that if you have viable roots, the plant is not dead. The leaves might take a long time to recover, although I believe once wrinkled, they don't smooth out. You're a nice person to rescue this orphan!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 12:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Aunt Jane

If the plant was frozen, it will turn black in a few days. If it is just dehydrated, put the pot in a container of water for 3 or 4 hours and give it a good soaking. If it is just dehydrated, the leaves will plump up in a day or so, especially the newer ones. The 64 degrees is OK. The temp in my greenhouse is set at 60 because of the cost of propane and the phals are doing just fine. It sounds like you have done everything right. Good luck with the plant.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 3:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I moved my complete orchid collection by car in april 08. I left a couple of phals in the trunk of my car overnight on the continental divide of WY. Temps dropped into the twenties that night. I disagree that they turn black quickly after they freeze. I had one with a spike in full bloom that was as brittle as glass because it was frozen. That one died slowly by dropping leaf after leaf. It took may 6 to 8 weeks. I don't know at what point the roots died but by the time I tossed it, it didn't have any viable roots.

The other one kept dropping leaves - that's really not a good description of what it did. One leaf at a time just started turning a reddish brown from the tip down. As it changed color it started to desiccate. Here's the cool part. The phal had a spike that it had just started before the move. It was maybe 1in long. The plant did an about face on the spike and turned it into a Keiki. As the leaves slowly died one by one - the keiki was growing. it was getting really big for a keiki but no roots. Finally after maybe 5 months and with a leaf spam of 8 in per leaf the keiki started putting out a few arial roots. BUT the roots on the orig plant are still green so I'm not removing the Keiki from the orig plant. The one remaining leaf from the orig plant is almost gone so I'll be removing it within the next couple of weeks. I just repotted the phal to re-orient the keiki in the up position so it doesn't look so much like an off shoot. This was a big NOID that had white flowers with fushia lips. It was one of my favorites because it had a bigger leaf span than my others and it was SOO easy to grow and spike.

Will your phal die from being frozen? I can't say but from my experience it doesn't happen fast. However, I think it's more likely that your phal needs more water than what you're giving it. They are used to a lot of water when they are in moss so you have to really make sure they get enough water when you first move them from moss to bark. (in time they acclimate to bark) I also wonder if having it sit right on the radiator is too extreme. Direct contact may be keeping it too warm and that may be why it's drying out so soon. The tray underneath is good but humidity trays don't take the place of a good water schedule.

Also, I've had phals that will plump their leave back up when they get back on a good water schedule and I've had those that won't. For those that don't, the new leaves come in heathy but the older ones remain looking a bit sad until they eventually drop. I hope the plastic planter you have it in is clear. Nothing beats a clear plastic pot to keep an eye on how your orchid roots are doing. I order them online in various sizes just so I don't have to second guess the root health of my orchids. It also can help to see if it's too wet - not so good for telling if it's too dry though.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 8:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, look at it this way, it was a freebie plant. 13 degrees F, is pretty darn cold, and it doesn't take much to freeze a phalie. They don't like night temps in the 50s. I do agree with the previous comment that the effects of freezing may not show itself so rapidly. But when it does, you'll know. The leaves will yellow and turn black and quickly fall off. The plant is already desicated and most likely lost most if not all its roots. Soaking the plant is fine, but it really has no way of absorbing moisture. Letting it sit in water for too long will cause the plant to rot anyway, and water left standing in its crown will eventually cause crown rot, if it hasn't already. What the plant really needs is high humidity for the leaves to absorb moisture. You might try the old method of placing the plant in a plastic bag with moist long strand sphagnum moss. And for precaution cut off all dead roots and dust the end with cinnamon or spray the plant with Physan to disinfect the plant. Hydrogen peroxide solution would work as well to kill bacteria or fungus. Or dust the plant with Captan (used on roses) to prevent fungus. Bacteria diseases are hard to eliminate. They are a fast moving disease that causes black rot rapidly. I'd be less concerned about repotting the plant as trying to restore the plant's turgidity. But if all fails, and the plant dies, well it was free. It's just too bad the former owner tossed it so callously.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 5:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Outside in 13 degree weather? Sorry but, it's on it's way to orchid heaven.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 7:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My experience is that *nothing* takes as long to pass on as an orchid - they just linger on and on while we try to figure out some way to stop the decline. Still, I have a "one year" policy; when something has been dead for an entire year, I think that it is really, most sincerely dead.
You just never know. Cheers - Nancy

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 8:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hello everyone - thank you for you comments!
It has been a week and I must say the plant is now a horrible shade of overcooked broccoli green....probably not a good sign.

Well, at least it got me back to stalking the orchid forum - so it didn't die in vain!

Happy Saturday everyone!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 12:04PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Dend potting medium
I was given 2 hard cane dends packed tightly together...
Orchid potting mix?
Anyone ever used al's gritty mix as orchid potting...
Britni Rice
Orchid ID Please...
A friend gave this to me last summer (no blooms) and...
Orchid Leaf Growing Through Other Leaf
I'm hoping someone can help me with my orchid question. I've...
angraecum sesquipedale framboyant x bosorii lisa
Hi all, Two weeks ago i received an Angraecum sesquipedale...
yenika_zone10 Miami, Fl
Sponsored Products
Frozen Anna & Elsa 16-Oz. Tumbler
$7.99 | zulily
Chef's Design Global Gold Griddle - 20 x 12 in. - 6375
$49.49 | Hayneedle
Fathead Disney Frozen Collection Wall Graphics
Maestrale Bracelet by Alessi
$102.00 | Lumens
Old Dutch Decor Copper Lined Ice Bucket with Tongs
Twice-Baked Potato Casserole
$70.00 | Horchow
Lobster Bisque
$45.00 | Horchow
Black & Decker T2569B 2 Slice Toaster - Black - 050875803459
$29.84 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™