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New orchid, a Mini Phal!

Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

I'm a Phal killer for some reason, must have killed 7 over the years but I couldn't resist getting this one about an hour ago!

If you can ID it it would be great. If not it's alright too. I think my problem with Phals is my watering practice with them. It's potted in moss so I'll re-pot it later today in bark, which I have soaking at the moment.

This message was edited Nov 3, 2012 11:54 AM

Thumbnail by tommyr2006
Odessa, FL(Zone 9b)

That is a pretty one, Tommy, and it sounds like you are on the right track. When you repot in bark, put it in on an angle so water will not collect in the crown. Best of luck.


Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

Thanks for the tip. Just finished re-potting it.

north coast nsw, Australia

You should usually wait until the flowers finish before repotting, the flowers may not last very long now.
Hopefully you'll be able to get it to flower again, bright light, no sun, high humidity, no cold. Flush the water through the bark then let drain fully. Dont water again until bark drys.
Use a weak fertiliser every 2nd or 3rd watering in the warmer months.
Anymore questions ask away and we'll help.

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Also, dusting the roots with cinnamon is an excellent practice whenever you re-pot. Cinnamon is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal so it prevents lots of woes associated with orchids that have been too wet. You could still sprinkle some on top of the new medium, can't hurt!

I'd bet we all have your kind of experience with Phals. They are easy to kill, it seems. They do that wilting thing with the limp, shriveled leaves, and sometimes will recover, but it's hit or miss. Most people give up on them when they suddenly look like that and just pitch them. Mine all recovered very slowly after re-potting and a generous dose of cinnamon. I have four, and have almost killed all but one of them, which seems to be SuperPhal. Now, if I could just propagate it . . .

That little one is a beauty, Tommy. Good luck!

Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

Thanks! Fingers crossed! As of today she's still looking good.

By the way, yesterday I got in a Burrageara nelly isler 'Swiss Beauty'! With about 4 buds on it!

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

This is a novelty shade or art shade Phalaenopsis. You will get a bunch of similar ones to yours if you go online and look for orange or yellow art or novelty shade Phaleanopsis.

What do you think the watering problem is with your Phals, Tommy? Too much? Sphag should work for you since, as I recall, you are growing on stands and under lights. What happens to the plants? The hybrids really don't require special care.

Cinnamon is useful for its fungicidal properties when repotting and after trimming roots. To my knowledge, it has no effect on plants where the roots have not been cut. If anyone knows differently please post.

Sphagnum is a good medium for window sill growers who live in drier, colder climates. It needs to be refreshed annually but is a reasonable medium for many orchids, including Phalaenopsis. You could also use bark mixes but don't be convinced that that is the only way to go. Bark mixes are best for those who have months of high humidity and temps combined with plentiful summer rainfall. Poughkeepsie is cold for much of the year and indoor humidity must be incredibly low because of your long heating season.

This message was edited Nov 14, 2012 8:39 PM

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Wait, is there any reason NOT to use cinnamon?

Living down here with humidity most of the time, and every fungal spore in the world floating around, I just lavish the cinnamon on the roots every time I repot anything. Well over 40 orchids in the last couple of years . . . all very spicy around the roots. Can't think of any one of them that I didn't either trim roots or break at least a few. I must be just clumsy, I guess, but those roots sure do cling to the pots! Haven't lost any plants after re-potting either, and I'm giving the credit to the cinnamon.

This last summer after TS Debby, I did lose a couple of little plants - both Paphs that were struggling with the heat - to the Black Plague, and my wonderful variegated Phal developed a spot on it that looked very scary. I doused it with cinnamon and made sure it dried out really well, and it now has three - no four! new leaves since July.

Thumbnail by dyzzypyxxy Thumbnail by dyzzypyxxy
Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Yes. More fungi and bacteria are beneficial to orchids than are harmful, especially in the root zone, so it's the same as the negatives of overuse of insecticides or fertilizers.

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

So when you do use it, do you just dip the cut ends of the trimmed roots in the cinnamon? Sounds like a terribly painstaking process involving a magnifying glass and Q-tips to get the root stubs 'way up there in the root ball.

My ham-handed re-potting technique seems to always involve some root carnage. I haven't seen any adverse effects from my generous use of cinnamon, but it sounds like I'll need to conduct another of my unscientific comparison tests on this question. yay! An excuse to go out and buy a couple of new victims.

Speaking of which, we're overdue for an update on the urea vs. non-urea fertilizer question, too. Tomorrow morning when I can get pictures . ..

north coast nsw, Australia

I use cinnamon when i cut old flower spikes off but spray with a fungicide when i repot and trim any roots (just easier).

Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

I think my problem with Phals is over watering. Root rot turns out to be the issue. Funny, I can grow just about ALL other orchids fine. I put Dens out after last frost but never Phals or Paphs.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Keeping Phals constantly wet is highly overrated. They need to almost dry out while having reasonable ambient humidity. Spritzing the plant multiple times a day will not work. A pebble tray will help. Phals are terrific house plants but don't fare well outside if left to nature's elements while confined in a plastic pot. Water in the crown, wet roots, high heat and humidity will do them in. Phals are usually over-potted by the grower. I think it's to keep the plants from tipping over in the pots while on display for sale. Best to cut the roots back after they bloom and pot down. Figure out what you need to anchor the pot.

I cut many of my potted orchid roots by thirty to fifty percent every one two years, then dust the cut ends with cinnamon. This is neither painstaking nor requires Q tips. I drag the evenly cut roots through a tray of powder. Since many of my orchids require a magnifying glass to view, several are always available, but I've never used them for potting. The few roots that might otherwise break do not require treatment. Roaches, slugs, snails, fall army worms, etc. are gnawing on the roots in between interventions both in the greenhouse and in the wild. Like Bree, I use fungicide but usually only four times, in spring and fall, each a year. If you intentionally cut your roots when re-potting you will encourage new root growth. I believe this has been explained on the various AOS web site demonstrations I've pointed to.

My orchids are kept at 60-80% humidity year around. I have not had problems, to date, with fungus or bacterial disease. I groom my plants once a week and immediately remove all debris from the growing space. I sterilize my cutting equipment with a mini torch before moving on to the next plant. I keep fans running continuously in my contained space. I don't over-pot my plants. I grew plants in South Florida as a kid and before coming to Atlanta forty two years ago and did things the same way. I am open to learning from people who know more than I do and take every opportunity to do so.

north coast nsw, Australia

Great advise Laurel! I only have 2 Phals, both have always been inside (any ive had outside in pots have died, i did have a mounted one outside for a fair while but i think one year cold and then moving it inside killed it). see mines in a mesh pot and dries maybe to much before i remember to water it but the air roots are growing good.
I find also if i keep my Paphiopedilums moist as usually recomended they rot on me, i let dry between waterings but you can't leave them dry for to long.

Thumbnail by breeindy
Santa Ana, CA(Zone 10b)

Aha! One of the secrets for your Phaphs! Thanks , Bree! Now I know why you move them out when you water. I rarely water mine deliberately, but they get water from those on the higher shelves. I'll have to change that.

north coast nsw, Australia

I mainly just try to not get water dripping down from the top plants into the paph leaves, like phals.
Its hard to have the paphs below the other orchids when watering but they need the less light so do well down there. I actually have a cover under my top shelf and my paphs are hanging under that and on the bottom shelf but i have to make sure they get watered as they dont get much when it rains like my other orchids do.

Sarasota, FL(Zone 9b)

Quote from MaypopLaurel :
Yes. More fungi and bacteria are beneficial to orchids than are harmful, especially in the root zone, so it's the same as the negatives of overuse of insecticides or fertilizers.

So it's ok to use a chemical fungicide 4 times a year, but not good to use cinnamon generously when you re-pot to prevent root rot? That makes no sense at all to me. If you're concerned with maintaining natural micro-flora in the medium, how can you use fungicide that often? I save that as a last resort.

I'm pretty sure the cinnamon washes off after a few dunkings, which starts about a month after re-potting. Untreated rainwater definitely supplies plenty of fungi and bacteria, so I like to feel sure that the root end cuts and damage from re-potting is healed up without contamination before starting full-on watering.

Argue with success if you will. I've got healthy Phals growing outdoors in Florida, and haven't lost one yet. Love that cinnamon.

north coast nsw, Australia

I dont think using cinnamon would hurt anything and i only use fungicide when cutting roots repotting, thats only about once a year. Yes the less chemicals the better i supose. I use pesticide for scale a few times a year though.

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