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Thread: Orchid Rescue, Help?

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    cmm889's Avatar
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    Orchid Rescue, Help?

    Hey everyone, I'm a CP kid who just happened to come across a nearly dead Phan orchid at my local nursery and convinced them to sell me the what used to be a 40 dollar orchid for free due to its obvious ghastly state...
    its only got one small leaf which is green yet slightly withered, I can almost see what I believe to be maybe a new leaf forming at the base of the single leaf...
    its got a tall spike that was cut but I see that there is a small node that is green protruding from the clipped spike... the green portion is only about a inch long

    what can I do to help this plant? I've been pulling up some care guides... I think I could keep a healthy plant going but unsure when it comes to helping this plant recooperate if its possible...


    I'm at work right now but I'll try to add a photo so you can better understand...


    any suggestions?

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    I assume you meant Phal (Phalaenopsis). First of all, what is it potted in? A lot of nurseries sell them in peat mixes that are very dangerous for orchids if they aren't watered in a highly controlled fashion. They also commonly are in a plastic pot, sometimes hidden inside a clay pot, and that's a problem too. I like growing them in bark in a wire basket, but they're pretty accommodating. A lot of people like to grow them in a basic orchid bark mix in a clay pot, with or without extra holes at the bottom. If you do that, put a layer of packing peanuts at the bottom of the pot to improve airflow. Orchids do best in pots that seem too small, so a 4" pot might be about right. Soak the bark over night and then pot the plant, cutting off dead roots. I keep a re-potted orchid in a shady indoor spot the first week and don't water it again until the week is up. Once you get it to that point, follow the directions you've been finding in care guides. My methods that work in CT aren't going to be so successful in KS.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Cardiac Nurse JB_OrchidGuy's Avatar
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    A picture would be great. Because I think your talking about a Paph sicne it was priced at 40 bucks. No way in heck I would pay for a phal at 40 bucks unless it was a species and hard to find.

    Bruce hit the nail on the head if it is a phal, but if it is a paph like I suspect then it requires a little different mix and does well in plastic. So to get good nfo we really need to know what kind of orchid it is.
    JB
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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    The other thing, if it's a Paph, is be very careful about cutting off dead roots. A healthy root on a Paph looks like a dead root on most other orchids.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    cmm889's Avatar
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    the sign says that its a Phal, my bad on the typo in the original post.

    Thanks for the reply's I didnt think I was going to get any for a bit.

    Eitherway, its currently in maybe an 8'' white plastic pot the soil seems to be a much airier mix containing a very large amount of bark, there are what appears to be roots? poking up out of the bark, they are whitish and seem almost dead? and kind of hollow also... the one leaf that is on the plant is curling and turning yellow at the edges. while it does appear that there is maybe the beginning to a new leaf in the center...its hard to be sure if its just been there or if its due to my taking it home... I might be mistaken but it appears as though the green growth on the spike may be growing? I guess I've been spending more time paying attention to the leaf growth than the spike but... I dont know.. eek.

    on the pricing, its entirely possible that they are just wicked overpriced. haha it was supposed to be 50% off since it wasn't in bloom, but I talked them into just giving it to me since it was in such dismal shape. I'm going to try to work on a picture as soon as I can but this is my finals week and I'm in bad shape so its busy to say the least here...

    Thanks for the replies...

    any and all advice givers are welcome!

    Chris

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    herenorthere's Avatar
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    It needs to be repotted now. I've never seen a Phal that needed to be in anything more than a 6" pot and I think that's too big for most. When you're ready to repot, which should be sooner rather than later, set the plant in water up to the level of the potting mix so it can soak and loosen up. You might need to take the pot apart to get it off and plan to spend a little time looking at the roots to get an eye for what's healthy and what isn't. Then remove decayed bark and trim dead roots.
    Bruce in CT

    Madness is something rare in individuals but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche

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    cmm889's Avatar
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    I know with some of the more hardy cp's the bouceback ratio can be good for a plant near death,orchids seem more fragile to be honest I'm kind of scared to touch it... haha any idea's on the new soil mix?

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    Cardiac Nurse JB_OrchidGuy's Avatar
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    orchids are not fragile! They can be if your doing nothing right but you have an idea from what Bruce has told you.

    If the roots are hollow trim them. If they are mushy trim them. If they are silver or green they are good. Provided they are not hollow. Bruce is right that most phals do not need to be in more than a 6 inch pot.I have one in an 8 inch and it is filling it with roots, but I over potted it to begin with. If you have a lot of root mass then you could use one. You will not have that though I am sure. So when you get it re-potted and find out what is good and what is not, I would recommend potting it in LFS for the time being. Make sure it is loose and well wrung out. In a pot just large enough to accommodate the roots that are left. Then place the entire thing in a zip lock or some other way to keep the humidity up for a week or so. It will help it reduce water loss and entice new roots growing. Since you said it only has one leaf this should be easy. The new growth can be a flower spike or a root. Roots look green at the growing tip. If it goes up like a spike, then cut it. If it starts to turn silver it is a root. Take a picture if you can if you are unsure. One thing for sure it will be a little while before the plant looks really good again. If it is savable.
    JB
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