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Phal leaves not looking good

Discussion in 'Issues, Disease and Pests' started by Zelda, May 15, 2022.

  1. Zelda

    Zelda New Member

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    Hi there, I've been growing phals for a few years and haven't lost a plant yet, but my OG, the first one I got, is looking sad. I've Googled for hours and found nothing that looks like mine.

    Background on this plant, it's bloomed almost non stop for almost a year after a long dormancy. The leaves are long, and have always tended to dryness and a bit of vertical split, but I seemed to get the water balance right eventually. Then I noticed the edges developing little brown bits which dried and crumbled off. It didn't seem bad and didn't escalate so I put it down to its finicky nature. A few months on and one leaf has grown brown speckles. The leaves feel plump and firm, but there are only two so I don't want to lose one. The marks have increased, very slowly over months. I don't think it's rot, and the roots look great.

    I wondered if it's nutrition, since it was constantly blooming, so I trimmed the spikes off. I noticed a tiny translucent dot too, so moved it to a less bright area. I haven't seen much change in a few days, so I'm hoping someone here might have seen this before. It's yet to grow new leaves, which I would like to see.

    I've added some photos. Can anyone help?
     

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  2. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    The fact that it is a mature plant but only has two leaves is an indication that it is not getting the culture it should.

    First and foremost, it looks really dry. Despite what people have been echoing for decades, orchids do not have to dry out between waterings. In fact, water is the driving force for growth. As long as the potting medium stays open and airy, so the gas exchange processes can freely occur around the roots system, “wet” is no problem - and it does not cause root rot. Suffocation causes root death, and then they rot.

    Fertilization is necessary, but not critical. To give you an order-of-magnitude grasp on that, in order for a plant to add one pound of mass through carbon fixation, it must absorb and process 25 gallons of water, but only about a teaspoon of fertilizer.
     
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  3. Zelda

    Zelda New Member

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    Thank you for reply, Ray. I've always struggled to hydrate this one. It seems that, even when the medium is moist, the leaves look dry. Of course, there's the ever present rift down the middle at the top of the leaves, too.

    Maybe my needs some sphagnum moss, I'll try that.

    I am hoping to encourage more leaf growth, hopefully I made the right decision to cut the flowers off.

    I have five other phals that are thriving, with multiple healthy leaves and flowers galore. This one has much longer leaves, however. I usually give them a soaking weekly, and top up throughout the week, which is fine for the others, so clearly this one's needing more. Thanks for spotting that, Ray.

    Again, thank you for your advice, that's really helpful.
     
  4. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I always like your answers because you often they have these little gems of knowledge!
     
  5. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    Thank you, Marni.

    I view that as high praise, coming from you.
     
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