My Fallen Phal

mrs.scott.12April 5, 2014

I am an orchid novice. Last year, my husband bought me a small phal orchid for our first anniversary. We had to be out of town for a few months during the summer, so we left it with a neighbor and gave them pretty simple instructions. When we came back, however, the blooms had fallen off, the spike was withered and the roots were overgrowing the pot, some were rotting. Luckily, the leaves were still green, so I pruned the spike, repotted it and have been carefully monitoring it for the last 8 months. Two old leaves turned yellow and fell off, and two new ones have grown in, which I took for a good sign. But there's still no new spike and the roots are looking pretty rough. Is it time to repot it again? Will the roots ever heal? Is it time to give up? Any advice appreciated! Thank you!

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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Here are a set of culture notes written for New South Wales, Australia so some interpretation is required, but they are a start. The Climate applicable to those notes is similar to parts of California.
If you read the notes and give the readers here an idea of your growing conditions more detailed help will be given.
There are some detailed notes about getting your Phalaenopsis to grow a new spike in the FAQ Frequently Asked Questions found on the top of this discussions page.

Ray’s Growing Guide ��" Phalaenopsis
Phalaenopsis are a group of plants that grow in shady, humid conditions throughout the Asian tropics and extend into northern Australia. They are arguably the most popular group of orchids grown in the world today, being particularly popular throughout the United States and Europe where they are regarded as one of the easiest orchids to grow indoors.
Temperature & Atmosphere Requirements:
Phalaenopsis enjoy relatively stable temperatures. A minimum temperature of 15 degrees celsius and a maximum of 30 degrees is optimal, however plants will tolerate temperatures of up to 5 degrees more extreme than this for short periods. Growing these plants outdoors in New South Wales will require some artificial heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. However their requirements fall almost perfectly within the comfort zone we enjoy inside the house. Phalaenopsis also require medium to high humidity. This can be achieved by placing the plants on a saucer of gravel, wet the gravel but be sure the base of the pot is above the water level. As the water evaporates, adequate humidity will be provided. Alternatively, mist the plants daily.
Light:
Phalaenopsis enjoy low light and must be protected from direct, unfiltered sunlight. Outdoors ensure there is sufficient shade so that on a sunny day a barely discernable shadow is cast over the plant is ideal. Indoors a brightly lit room out of direct sun is suitable. Watering & Fertilising:
One of the secrets of growing Phallies is to keep the roots just damp but the leaves as dry as possible. This means that the compost should be allowed to nearly dry out before watering. After watering dry the leaves off as quickly as possible, especially any water lying in the crown of the plant where the leaves join. To help this avoid watering the leaves, or place the plants in a breezy spot for an hour or two after watering. Even removing excess water from the leaves with a tissue will serve the same purpose. Fertilise with a recommended soluble orchid fertiliser at quarter strength every watering or at half strength every second watering. A complete fertiliser low in nitrogen is ideal to use all year round.
Potting, Pests & Diseases:
Keep plants in as small a pot as possible. A few roots growing out of the pot will not harm the plant and is not necessarily a reason to pot up the plant. Use a coarse, free draining mix. Some growers prefer sphagnum moss, but use long strand grade and replace it annually. Apart from crown rot which can be avoided by careful watering, Phalaenopsis can suffer attack from Mealy Bugs. These appear as small furry white pests, usually under the leaves. They can be sprayed with Pyrethrum or a chemical insecticide or Pest Oil, or wet them with equal parts of Metholated spirits and water using a cotton bud or a small cloth.
Phalaenopsis are very rewarding plants to grow and flowers last up to 12 weeks. When flowers have withered, cut the flower stem off between the third and fourth notch from the base. The old stem will then shoot and flower a second time. Mature plants will flower twice each year so flowering can be achieved for up to half the year. Flowers are available in white, pink or yellow or with variations of spotting or veining on these backgrounds.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 7:34PM
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