New orchid owner troubles

carabiniero8September 27, 2012

I received a Phalaenopsis orchid as an anniversary gift about a month and a half ago. I've kept it fed and watered (1-2 times/week) next to a window with mostly indirect sunlight. However, the flowers have almost all fallen off, and a couple of the leaves have turned yellow and fallen off. It was doing really well during the first 3-4 weeks, and now it seems like it's getting worse and worse every day. The only things I can think of: 1) I like to have the window in my room open slightly during the day while I am away, could a small draft cause it to yellow? 2) Last time I watered it, I may have overwatered it (I find it hard to know exactly how much water it requires, but prior to that, I was careful and tried to give it less rather than more if I wasn't sure). What can I do to save it? How much and how often should I be watering and feeding it on a weekly basis? Any help will be greatly appreciated!

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I doubt that the air from the window is your problem. Orchids like good air circulation. However they don't like anything under 50 degrees.

What is this phal growing in? Bark? Moss?
I have a feeling that you have been caring for it a bit too much. Orchids normally have a slow decline not a rapid one. Hang in there and you will eventually get it figured out. Don't give up too easily. Oh and welcome to the forum.ginnibug

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 9:47AM
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It is a such common symptom to many big box orchids. very likely, your orchid has root rot. When these orchids were shipped from oversea, them were packed very tightly with moss. The moss are packed so tight that it cuts off air circulation to the roots. Therefore promotes root decay in a wet situation. Eventually healthy roots start to decay and leaves start to drop and plant start to die.... I have rescured many near death Phal from HD and Loew's. Common cause... root rot.

What you can do is to take your orchid out of its container and look at its roots. If roots are white and healthy then you might want look for something else that casued the leave drop. A healthy plant does not drop leaves without a good reason. But if you see roots are brown and start to rot...or many times, in my expereinces, half , if not most of the roots are already rotten away. then you need to repot this orchid.

You need to get some orchid mixed with bark ,moss, etc. Take away all the tight packed moss in between the roots,cut all the brown, decay roots off, leave the healthy roots alone. ...Then you repot the orchid with you new orchid soil. Leave the crown at or above the soil level. Water it and leave it in warm and filter light. if possible, mist it every morning. This is how I rescure those distrassed orchids. Yours can be save as well. it just takes time and patient.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:58AM
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I agree that the plant has probably lost much of its roots. If it is indeed root rot, or crown rot, the plant is a goner. But examine the roots. As someone pointed out, roots should be plump, whitish, and with green root tips. Decayed roots are brown, wet and squishy. Cut those dead roots off with sterile blade. You can repot in fir bark/perlite/charcoal/ground peat mixture medium, but do so in a plastic pot with good drain holes and in a pot that leaves only a few inches around the circumference of the root mass of the plant. You don't want to overpot an phalie. If you decide to plant in New Zealand sphagnum, plant in a clay pot with adequate drainage. I usually put foam packing peanuts at the bottom of the pot to help with drainage.
Never allow the crown of the plant to be planted below the level of the medium. And never let water stand in the crown, especially overnight: you'll get crown rot. Mist the plant in the morning and in the heat of the day to increase humidity. But do not mist or water at night.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 6:04AM
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