phal leaves falling (but not dry), flowers wilted :(

ceci33February 24, 2011


I received 2 beautiful phal plants on the mail about 10 days ago (they came in the same pot) - i gave them about 1/2 cup water when i received them, and the next day, thinking i didn't give them enough - i gave them another 1/2 cup or so. i think i overwatered.

the white phals became droopy 2 days later and remained droppy, i gave them some time, but about 2 days ago, i removed the droopy ones. the center of the flower was beutiful but the white petals were hanging :(. The purple phals have been fine however, and only recently begun to hang down a little.

after overwatering it i carefully removed the plant from the pot, provided them with support (they are quite tall) and placed them in a bigger pot for a few days in order to let the soil air dry. they are back in their original pot. i have not watered since. soil still seems a lil moist towards the bottom, so i'm holding back - don't wanna drown them :(

I suspect it didn't fare too well on the trip over here. the leaves never became yellow, spotted or dry, in fact, they are quite healthy looking, and there were many of them at first. I noticed the ones at the bottom however were bruised, just bruised, as if they had been squished. and they just fell off the plant! especially my white phal - it only has one leaf left and its looking bruised too.

the roots look good, although there are a few that are dry, and both phals have buds that are still good, and are yet to bloom. The bottom of one of the plants (where the leaves are) is dark dark green, as if it was holding onto a lot of water. one of the leaves of the same plant has a very thin dark, black edge.

i might be over observing, but wanted to give you guys as much detail as possible. the medium is bark, by the way. and although i took the plant out to let it dry a bit, i used the same bark it came with when i put it back in its pot. help please?


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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

An important factor in getting good advice is to tell people where you live. Care does vary a lot depending on the growing conditions you can provide.

Lots of past posts you can read about Phalaenopsis. Just put Phalaenopsis in the search box at the top of this discussions page to find them.

I do not have good conditions for Phals and would never do any sort of repotting in winter, but, as i said above culture does vary a lot depending on where you are in the USA.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 3:54PM
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orchid126(z6, NJ)

Did you perhaps get water in the crown of the plant or at the leaf's axils? If you ever do, mop it up with a paper towel. Water in these places can cause rot.

You had the right idea about slipping the plants out of their pots in order to dry quicker. If you want the roots to dry even more quickly after overwatering, the next time put the root ball on several layers of newspaper that will wick the water away.

Arthurm is right, it's important to know what area you live in.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 3:14PM
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howard_a(z6 NYC)

Caring for houseplants, and that is what orchids in the home are, is not intuitieve nor 'easy'. It can be easier than it is sometimes made (i.e. 'it's easy when you know how) but specialist knowledge needs to be on hand. Someone with basic knowlege of houseplant culture would know that a 1/2 cup of water (4 ounces) is nothing. Nor would repeating an application of four ounces of water in 24 hours be cause for alarm. When I get new plants I hit each of them with a full quart (24 ounces) because I don't know when they last had a drink and also I want to get them started on my schedule. The lions share of that quart will run out of the pot but I can be certain the bark is well wetted.

I am not certain of what could cause new plants to decline so spectacularly in so short a time but it is probably environmental: draft, too close to heat register, too cold, too hot, etc. I think the present plants are a write-off. If the o.p. really wants to get involved with orchids and try again I would suggest getting the "All About Growing Houseplants" by Ortho as well as their "All About Growing Orchids". I've seen the houseplant title for 99 cents. FWIW.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 10:29PM
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westoh Z6

Cici said:
"I noticed the ones at the bottom however were bruised, just bruised, as if they had been squished. and they just fell off the plant! especially my white phal - it only has one leaf left and its looking bruised too."

This sounds like it may have gotten too cold in shipping. I've seen this exact thing when a phal got exposed to too much cold.

Where did it come from and where was it sent? Any decent vendor would make sure they either packed the plant correctly for the conditions (heat packs?) or will wait until conditions are more favorable to ship.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 7:19AM
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I would second what Howard and Bob said... and I'd also second what Arthurm mentioned. It's difficult to give proper advice without knowledge of logistics.

How long was the Phal in transit, where did it originate, where are you located, and how well was it packaged? Knowing these answers could greatly help in offered advice.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 1:00PM
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Sounds like they got to cold in shipment. The tissue that looks bruised is cold damaged. You might be able to save them but I'd just write them off and start anew.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 2:59PM
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