possible crown rot with Phal orchid

nel3July 14, 2014

hello, can someone please help me diagnose my orchid?

ive had a green and pink coloured phal orchid for atleast 3 years. within the last month it lost its flowers and soon lost the newest leaf on the top. it yellowed up and shriveled up. the one that followed was another new leaf which also yellowed up. I did have 6 leaves on it but im down to 4 now. one yellowed and the other one was fine but the crown was brown and dry as I tried to remove the yellowed leaf. the plant does smell a bit fruity and I do have 3% hydrogen peroxide and cinnamon on hand. one leaf has a white powder loof on the underside. I don't see a keiki on it either so im not sure if the orchid is on its last legs.

I have been watering it a bit too often lately but I haven't really poured sufficient water with orchid fertilizer to pool up in the crown. I did leave some peroxide in the crown for a minute or 2 but I saw no bubbles I did sprinkle cinnamon on the crown. the crown is dying but its not a mushy, its rather dry. the original moss is still In there I just made slits on the plastic pot it came in. im letting the plant dry for a few days. ive watered the plant with 3-4 ice cubes worth of water when the soil was barely damp.

would repotting the plant make it recover? its one of my only 2 orchids the other being a miniature one and I really do love the flower colors. I still cant get that fruity scent from the orchid from my memory :s.

sorry for the pics of the crown, I forgot to take a pic b4 I put cinnamon on it. its was brown and black dried.

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You shouldn't pour any water in the crown. Phals grow sideways from trees so rain does not get into the crown. Sounds like crown rot if the newest leaf died.

If the roots are healthy it might grow a basal keiki. Would be a few years before that flowers. Might be better to start over with a new plant.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 11:42PM
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westoh Z6

It also looks like it has mealie bugs. The white mass (loof?) on the middle leaf on the left looks very suspicious.

I use either a systemic (Bayer Rose & Flower or Tree and Shrub) or Malathion to rid my plants of these critters. If it is small and localized, you can use rubbing alcohol with a q-tip once a week for at least 3 weeks.

If it were me and the plant had no special meaning, I'd toss it as it has pretty much a death sentence with the crown issues.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 6:50AM
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ty for the replies everyone. im not too attached to it but I do want to keep it as long as possible. id like to see a keiki grow out but im not holding out much hope for that. I wont go overboard but i'll try my best and hope it recovers. its a fangtastic color variety that I haven't much seen show up again although similar yellow/pink varieties are common enough in the stores.

I have a lot of plants and none are in a garden theyre mostly smaller plants and even the brugmansia is a small one1.5 ft tall or so. there were and are some plants I have that grow too big or too fast which im more willing to part with but smaller ones I tend to hold on to.

I do have Neem oil which eradicated the mealy bugs that grew on my brugmansia nearly 6 months ago. it works like a charm and I only needed 2 treatments for it. the white patches are starting on the lowest leaf too so it'll deal with that too.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:46PM
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There is no recovery with crown rot. The plant you have will die. The only hope is that it makes a keiki. You cannot save the existing plant. Phals are monopodial plants. They only have one growth point. Yours died. It has no where to grow from.

It might take its energy and grow a keiki from the base of the mother plant. That could take time. Frankly, it is not worth it. But you can take care of what you have, keep the roots healthy and you might get a baby which will take years to flower.

Your call.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 9:49PM
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ty for the reply Jane, I do know crown rot often is a death senence for an orchid so ive resigned to losing the plant at this point. i'll keep the plant till the last leave dies and toss it. it'll probably be gone in less than 2 months any way.

i'll still miss the plant, I have brown and green thumbs on my hands. some easy plants don't fare well with me. I repotted a bromeliad but the soil mixture couldn't sustain it. the original pot and soil Is keeping the other daughter alive and well even though the parent plant is dead and might have some crown rot but the remaining [parent leaves are holding strong.

I got this orchid for the colours and I didn't think id have , good success in keeping them for more than a year. atleast I learned a watering lesson from this orchid.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 3:09PM
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nel3, you don't mention the zone you live in. Phals are not easy for everyone and they are prone to crown rot especially if grown in a cool climate and kept too damp. If water gets in the crown its usually going to lead to crown rot in a cool environment.

I've had it happen many times growing in NY. Phals hang on trees and grow sideways protecting the crown. So far living in Florida, has been easier although fungus is a problem due to the humidity.

Your plant looks healthy even though it will die. The main plant, or if there's an old flower spike, may send a keiki if growing in good light and continued water. The roots appear healthy. But the plant looks like it is planted too deep in the sphag moss. Pull the moss back from the crown.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 7:27PM
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ty for the reply Jane, I live in Monreal, zone 5a or so if im correct but its only been inside for the filtered light 24-27c temp..

i'll pull the moss back back from the crown right away. I don't have any hopes for the plant to make a recovery at this point, I just hope it has some strength to send a keiki. however slim it may be.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:02PM
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