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marissa_brown50

Repotted Orchid

Marissa Brown
last year

Hi! I finally went ahead and repotted my Phal a while back. I went up a size in the plastic pot and used RepotMe Dark Imperial orchid mix. I also made sure to do it when it wasn't flowering and was putting out leaves and roots.
However, it doesn't look so good. I adjusted to water more with the new potting mix but the older leaves are leathery and bent. It is putting out new growth - but I'm nervous. Is it ok? Do I need to do something else?
Thanks in advance - everyone is always so helpful here!

Comments (18)

  • PRO
    HALLETT & Co.
    last year

    Is this a photo before repotting or after? I see lots of dead roots that would typically be removed when repotting. Hopefully an expert chimes in.

  • dbarron
    last year

    And it's obviously dehydrated (whether from media retention issues, cultural issues, or simply dead roots).

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  • Marissa Brown
    Original Author
    last year

    Hi, this is after repotting.  It is definiteky getting dehydrated very quickly - I'm watering quite a bit when I used to water once a week!  I'm not sure on the roots - I actually just watered a few minutes ago and all those roots on the top turned a nice green.  I thought that meant they were still alive?? I did trim quite a few dead ones that were dried out and brown when I repotted! Am I incorrect there?  Thanks!

  • Billsc
    last year

    Marissa, Not an expert, Just a long time grower. I just took a long look at your Phal., and have a few suggestions. The primary reason for repotting an orchid is to get the roots either back in the potting mix, or at least pointed in the direction of the new mix. Orchid roots are by their very nature wanderers. In the jungles they are constantly wandering around on the plant material growing on whatever the orchid’s host is, searching for moisture and nutrients.

    Your plant still has a few roots that may not be dead yet, but are close, and I would suggest removal. Any root that is badly shriveled and dried should be removed—from its base.

    This is a personal call, but I would remove the bottom two leaves from the plant (one on each side. These are badly dehydrated, and will probably soon turn yellow and drop off. By removing these two leaves, you will have more of the main trunk of the orchid exposed, and will be able to bury more of the plant in the new potting mix. (fungicide, and clean sterile razor sharp cutting instruments)

    I would get a larger pot. A pot that you can tuck most if not all the roots into, and cover them with your bark mix. Any new roots just emerging from the plant should at least be pointed in the general direction of the bark mix. They will naturally grow toward the moisture being held in the bark.

    When you pot the plant, if you cannot bury it deep enough in the mix for it to be stable, put a stake in the mix and prop, or tie the plant to the stake until the roots grow enough to stabilize the plant.

    Finally, what is your potting mix made of? I see some round tan looking material that looks like round balls. What is this material. If the mix contains some kind of ceramic, or stone material, I would question using this on a plant that is already dehydrated. If there is a significant amount of this kind of material in your mix, that may be the cause of your dehydration problem. Fir bark is generally accepted as the primary ingredient in Phal. and Cattleya mixes. The mix should retain moisture for some time after each watering, and be allowed to become almost completely dry before the next watering. Be aware of orchid mixes with pine bark. These are becoming more and more prevalent on the market, and in my opinion are not ideal. Living in a heavily pine forested state, I have seen a number of growers try to add pine bark to their mixes, and all I know of have not been happy with the outcomes.

    Long story short, as many of your roots as possible should be covered with the mix you are planting in, and allow this mix to dry between waterings. Wet the mix when potting, to make the bark easier to fill in around the roots, and to cut down dust. Allow newly potted plants to get really dry before their first watering after potting. This makes potting easier, and gives the roots a chance to callus and begin to heal before you start the regular watering process.

    Orchids are very forgiving, and I think you were wise to recognize a problem and seek advice in a timely manner. With a few not so drastic changes, I think you will soon have a plant you can be proud of.

    BillSC

  • Marissa Brown
    Original Author
    last year

    Thank you so much for the response.  I looked it up and the mix is primarily pine bark.  I'll have to look for something that retains more water as you suggested! 

    Also, I was wondering about the pot.  I went up a size but it did not want to fit in there lol.   I see what all of you are of saying about the roots as well.  

    I truly appreciate all of the suggestions!  I'm going to see what I can do about the roots, finding a bigger pot and trying to find a mix that holds on to a bit more moisture.  Hopeulfully I can get it back to it's healthy self asap!

  • Marissa Brown
    Original Author
    last year

    Also, BillSC - thank you so much for the detailed instructions.  Everything sounds great and I'm going to try these ideas. This was my first time repotting and I really appreciate the input!

  • woodrose
    last year
    last modified: last year


    Marissa Brown I don't see any dead roots on your plant. If the roots turn green when you water them they are still alive. Someone who doesn't know much about orchids may think they're dead because they're brown, but that's just what happens with orchids. If a Phalaenopsis orchid's aerial roots are dead they will be a lighter brown and completely dried up. Dead roots inside the pot will be mushy. If the roots that are outside the pot grew that way, then they are aerial roots and are not supposed to be buried in the potting medium. Regular orchid roots will always grow down into the potting medium, but aerial roots will grow outward or upward. They absorb moisture and nutrients from the air and should never be covered up. Your potting medium from repotme is excellent and is not causing your dehydration issue. Please don't cut off any roots or leaves. I don't even cut off a leaf if it's dying, I wait until it turns completely yellow and falls off naturally. You should be watering your orchid by letting it soak in water for about 15 minutes, let it drain and place it back in the cache pot. I water with distilled water with a small amount of orchid food added.

    Having said all that, I have an orchid that looks much like yours. I don't know if most of the moisture is going to the new leaves and roots, or what the issue is. Your leaves do appear to be more dehydrated than mine, especially the lower ones. Phal leaves should be firm, not soft and floppy. Try soaking your orchid about once a week and hopefully that will help. Also, check out some of the videos on YouTube about orchids, if you have the time. Miss Orchid Girl is one good channel.

  • Marissa Brown
    Original Author
    last year

    Woodrose - thank you so much for your comment!  I had never heard of actually soaking the orchid before, I'll definitely look it up and try that.

    I'm glad to hear what you said about the RepotMe mix - I had heard it was really good.  I think some of it may be that the mix just doesn't hold as much moisture as my very broken down older mix.  

    I definitely have some adjustments to make.  This plant keeps me on my toes lol

  • jane__ny
    last year

    Your first pictures show a ton of roots. You repotted in a pot which is really much too small for the amount of roots your plant had. Did you cut off all those aerial roots?


    When you remove roots you are removing the transport of water to the leaves. You have a lot of leaves on your plant. Removing many roots will cause leaves to wither and die off. That's a natural process. It's a balance.


    It is hard to tell the size of the pot you used to repot, but it does appear small for the original amount of roots. Also, you don't mention where this Phal is growing. What is your climate? Is it growing outdoors or inside?


    I grow in Florida. I have some very large Phals which have roots all over the place. Those plants have many leaves with additional basal keikis. I now repot them into large wood baskets with no media at all. This allows me to fill the basket with the roots, without removing any and they grow very well with no media at all.


    Phals like to send their roots all over and attach themselves to something. They really want to be tree-huggers.


    Your plant looks fine, you may lose a few leaves to match any roots you removed. I wouldn't worry too much. Might be a setback, but it will recover. You have a nice, healthy Phal.


    Also, you can soak without worry.


    Jane

  • Marissa Brown
    Original Author
    last year

    Hi Jane!  

    I actually didn't remove any roots.  I went up a full pot size when I repotted but I guess it wasn't enough?  I do agree that it seems much too small for the pot.  If I repotted now would it be too much for the plant?  

    I soaked my plant for the first time yesterday!    I hope that makes it happier lol.  

    My plant lives indoors and I'm in North Texas.  We just turned on the heater so I bought it a mini humidifier lol.   It gets so dry inside!

    Thanks so much

  • Marissa Brown
    Original Author
    last year

    Thanks Jane!  I was unaware of that info!  It's not that cold out and usually in the high 50s/low 60s.  So I'll put it outside while it's still nice!  

    I added a little potting mix  since the plant is trying to jump out of there lol.  I also grapped a spike thing to help support it as well.

    It's growing lots of roots and a leaf so I guess it's doing ok.  This orchid makes me panic about every 6 months!

  • Bill M.
    last year

    Be careful about the cold. Orchids are tropical in nature and should not be exposed to the cold. It's the shorter day length that stimulates spiking.

    Best of luck with yours....

  • Marissa Brown
    Original Author
    last year

    Two days later and it's cold so it's back inside 😂.  But, I put some more potting mix and used a rock to prop it up (nothing else fit in there so I improvised - I did clean the rock thoroughly and make sure i didn't squish any roots).  It looks better situated at least?? It's definitely losing those bottom leaves though!  But it's putting out aerial roots and the new leaf is growing so I'm hoping it's ok;

  • forever_a_newbie_VA8
    last year

    I am no expert but your orchid looks in stress. You mention having them outside in 50/60 degree weather. That might be too cold. Moth orchid plants like warm temperature. They normally are happy in bright light indoor. I put them outside last spring and they got leaf burn so I learnt my lesson.

    I hope yours will do better

  • newhostalady Z6 ON, Canada
    last year

    Drop in night temperatures of 15 degrees for two weeks is what will make a phal go to flower. But a phal should not be exposed to less than 60 at night (unless perhaps in a greenhouse where the temperature will change slowly) and not on a regular basis.

    I am in Ontario, Canada and I do not have to drop the temperature for my phals. Eighty percent of them flower for me each year.

    I would have to ask what the media was before the phal here was repotted. A change in media requires a change in watering habits.

    Too many roots are outside of the pot. Unless the climate is humid, the aerial roots are drying out too much.

    Aerial roots can be put into a pot. That will help the plant to get moisture.

    The phal should be in media up to the bottom leaf. When too many roots are exposed, it dries out.

    Don't remove any leaves until they are practically dead. This reduces the chance of disease.

    Next repot should see the plant upright again.

  • Pat Z5or6 SEMich
    9 months ago
    last modified: 9 months ago

    woodrose, thank you so much for mentioning Miss Orchid Girl as probably the best YouTube orchid channel. I am watching/keeping only her videos for my learning curve and I like her tutorials more than any of the others. Very kind and generous of you to do that.

  • woodrose
    9 months ago

    Pat Z6 SEMich You're very welcome ! I've learned a lot from her, and her channel is probably why my orchids are still alive.