hi from upstate NY!

Introduce yourself and about your orchid growing setup and experience.
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gardengirl13
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hi from upstate NY!

Post by gardengirl13 » Fri Mar 14, 2014 2:58 pm

Just a quick hello to introduce myself. I've been growing phals for about 10 years, only getting really serious about it in 2008, well early 09 when the orchid I bought in 08 bloomed again for me! I've tried other orchids, but since we moved in Nov to a house with less light I'm switching over to phals. I placed an order yesterday here and saw the forum so I thought I would join! I need as much help as possible and hope to get lots of info here!!

I hope it's ok to ask a question in an intro, but here goes. I bought a schilleriana in jan 2013 looking rather weak and sad. She was in bud and lost only 3 when she arrived. Then after she bloomed I put her in another pot due to the moss being very tight in her pot. I didn't water her much during that time worrying about rot. Well I was right to worry and should have repotted her right away. I had to cut off 3/4 of her roots!! She still is not recovering. She has some new growth on her old roots, but only one new root that I can see without taking her out of the pot. She came with 4 leaves, grew one and lost some and now has only 3 small ones. Obviously no spike from her this year. I REALLY want to get her to her full size. I really need to see how beautiful she can be! She is scented, so having tons of blooms would just make me so happy! So I need advice. What can I do to help her along?

More info on her:
-potted in a bark moss mix that I use for all my orchids
-in an east facing window
-low humidity due to this horrid winter, I'd say it's maybe 30% but the humidifier is right by the window
-she gets fert and seaweed very weakly weekly
-temps are 62 at night and 69 during the day (with the curtain closed it might get down to more like 59

Any suggestions?

Bob in Albany NY
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Re: hi from upstate NY!

Post by Bob in Albany NY » Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:28 pm

Welcome, So where are you located?

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peterlin
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Re: hi from upstate NY!

Post by peterlin » Fri Mar 14, 2014 4:33 pm

Welcome Kristin

You will find that my plants are also grown in tight moss. This is not the reason roots rot. Growers use tight moss because plants grow better in tight moss (less free standing water). Also 'established' plants with lots of roots in tight moss grow better indoor. Moss compensate low humidity indoor.

In my experience, once a plant suffer root rot as in your case - repotting it into bark mix will make it worse. To save the plant, I would repot it into a smaller tight moss. Fir bar when dry doesn't absorb water freely. Your low 30% humidity is no good. In order for this plant to survive, it needs to have high humidity (already it is stressed out from few or no root to bring water to its leaves). Having moss around its base/root help with that added humidity. Use a clear cake box, or covered aquarium. If humidity is too low, your plant cannot do gas exchange. Underside leaves stomata is closed during the day and open at night.

I wouldn't use fertilizer at this point. It's a long process for the plant to put out roots, and slowly grow leaves back. First sign of success is that your plant needs to put out new roots.

The secret of growing phalaenopsis in tight moss is don't overwater. keep the roots warm. If growing area is kept cool, use little water - enough to wet the top layer of the tight moss. Never keep the moss wet in the winter time if you don't keep the plant warm in the 65-70F night temperature.

It's wet root/cold/too much fertilizer - salt in tight moss that leads to root rot. It's not tight moss hold too much water that rot the root. Tight moss works for growers who keep their phals warm 70-80 F year round. I don't keep my greenhouse that warm in the winter time, I water less.
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gardengirl13
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Re: hi from upstate NY!

Post by gardengirl13 » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:58 pm

Well right now it's about 60% moss 40% bark and charcoal. I'll add more moss and take out a bit of the bark. I need to move the humidity meter to the window they're in right now. It's in the living room reading 30%, in the bedroom it's more humid since it's a smaller room and the humidifier is right below the plants, it's the evaporative kind with a fan, so there is slight movement. I'll check it and get back to you on the levels.

I'm going to be putting a shelving unit it there with my new orchids I ordered and adding some lights. I'll be doing humidity trays too even though they don't add a whole lot.

Now one thing I read about someone's plant in a similar situation was to put the aerial roots into the moss to promote more growth. Do you think this will be ok for now?

gardengirl13
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Re: hi from upstate NY!

Post by gardengirl13 » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:59 pm

Bob just south of you in the hudson valley.

doreen
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Re: hi from upstate NY!

Post by doreen » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:43 am

gardengirl13 wrote:...

after she bloomed I put her in another pot due to the moss being very tight in her pot.She has some new growth on her old roots, but only one new root that I can see without taking her out of the pot.
More info on her:
-potted in a bark moss mix that I use for all my orchids
Hello:

I also grow my orchids, which include about 200 phals, in home conditions on windowsills and under fluorescent lights.

Your overall conditions are good, but the problem you are having is due to drastically changing the potting medium. I can grow purchased plants in the tightly packed moss, but prefer not to continue on with it when it comes time to repot the phal. When you change from the tightly packed moss into a free draining mix, you will lose (as you found out) most if not all of the roots that were currently on the phal. This sets you back an entire growing season and you risk losing the phal altogether. I learned this from sad experience.

Someone on this forum a year or so ago mentioned that they were growing their phals in a half moss, half perlite mix. I thought that this may be the answer to transitioning my purchased phals into a more open medium. I then started repotting the phals into the half and half mix with a layer of straight New Zealand moss on the very top of the medium to keep the bottom layer of perlite/moss in place. I found it helpful to also use a layer of larger pumice in the bottom of the pot to add weight to help stop the pot from tipping over.

I've been doing this for a year now and the phals transition into my more open mix much more successfully. I rarely lose a transplanted phal now.

Doreen

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rangiku
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Re: hi from upstate NY!

Post by rangiku » Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:39 am

Welcome, gardengirl. You'll find the best knowledge on how to grow Phals here from the wonderful worldwide community of growers.

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naturegirl72
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Re: hi from upstate NY!

Post by naturegirl72 » Sat Mar 15, 2014 1:55 pm

Welcome to the forum! :text-welcomewave:
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orchidgfs
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Re: hi from upstate NY!

Post by orchidgfs » Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:09 pm

I agree with Peter in growing my plants in new zealand moss,but I fertilize a little bit all the time,recieved about 6 awards in the last couple of years doing this,glenn

gardengirl13
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Re: hi from upstate NY!

Post by gardengirl13 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:26 am

So I shouldn't add bark at all? All the other phals seem to want it that way so more air gets to the roots. Most still have more moss then bark/charcoal and watering is easier for me this way. For some reason the schill. dries out faster then all the other phals and she has a lot more moss then bark since I wanted her to stay more humid while she is recovering. When I used to keep phals is straight moss they would rot and die on me, this was years ago when I first started keeping them. Over the years I've had three die and felt horrible each time! Of course they were NoID phals from home depot, so not a great loss, but the ones that survived and are now in the mix are bruisers!

Thanks for the welcome!! I can't wait to learn more!

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peterlin
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Re: hi from upstate NY!

Post by peterlin » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:52 pm

I think improving humidity on a weak plant is more important.

You can certainly grow plants in a bark mix, provided that you need to water them more often.

When you repot, some plants will suffer set back because as stated above, moss provides better humidity around the root zone than an open mix such as bark.

Your experience of plants died due to rotted roots can be corrected if you water less when your growing area is cold. Now that you understand moss can hold a lot of water, so don't put too much in it during the winter time.
Friendly reminder that these are tropical plants. They don't grow much when temperature is in the 60s F. When it's cold and you soaked the moss thoroughly, the roots get chilled and they will rot. Thus I only wet the top layer of moss when it is cold.

There are indoor growers on this forum who kept their growing area warmer due to use of supplement light, and heat mat. So at the end of the day, what works well for others might not apply to you if you don't have the same setup.

Phalaenopsis can be very easy if they are kept warm in a humid environment. In this setup they grow faster and don't have rest period in the winter. It is very challenging and time consuming to revive a plant once it is weaken and has few roots in an environment that is not warm and humid.
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MattWoelfsen
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Re: hi from upstate NY!

Post by MattWoelfsen » Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:50 am

Whenever I acquire a new plant, I keep it as is, observe its growth behavior, and quarantine it in the event that the new plant came with hitchhikers. After about a month of acclimation in my environment, I consider the option of re-potting the plant--if it is the right time of year, if it is showing new growth, and if the pot is too small. If I re-pot a plant, I use the same type of media it came in.

When I first started raising orchids, I somehow got the idea that new plants should be re-potted immediately. I also thought that plants in sphagnum moss needed to be removed from this media to orchid bark mix made especially for Phalaenopsis. I probably got that idea from home improvement centers that provided special Phalaenopsis orchid bark mix--there isn't any all sphagnum moss products promoted for just planting but to be added to orchid bark to "improve" water retention.

The idea that bark is better than moss is further promoted by well experienced orchid growers. Every March, my orchid society offers a repotting clinic to the public. This is run by two highly respected, long time members of the society, who regularly win ribbons at various orchid shows.

At the clinic, this lady and her husband brought three Phalaenopsis--all in various states of desiccation--as they were waiting their turn, I helped with preparation and started looking at their plants to see what we could do to help the plants recover. They had ice cubes in the pot, which I removed and explained the theory of just add ice and why in the long run that application would produce the plants they had. By this time, they were ready for the expert re-potters. When this clinician looked at the plants, she exclaimed "OH MY!!!, these plants are in this horrid sphagnum moss, I hate sphagnum moss, anytime I get a plant in sphagnum moss I always repot it."
Matt

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