Problems with New Moth Orchids

by Dan
(Dartmouth NS canada)

I bought two new phals about 3 weeks ago. Both are quite large and were in bloom when they came home.

One is doing ok, but her blossoms are starting to wither.
The other, she isn't in good shape. Her leaves are cracked down the center (I did some research and maybe a root problem?) And she has dropped her blossoms except for one and a pod that looks like it wants to open.

My question is, a lot of the roots on both of them are grey and dry, I've kept them moist, but they don't seem to be getting any better. Ive picked out the dead ones, they just come away easily, but a lot of the grey ones have what looks like a thread running through them, linking them to the plant.

The air in my apartment is dry, I keep them on my radiant heater, but only turn it on in the mornings when i get up and give them water. The potting medium always feels moist, but the moss on top dries very quickly. Ive taken to putting a damp cloth over the moss to keep it moist.

I need some advice as to keep them in the best shape possible. Id like to keep them in bloom as much as possible. Their window is shaded and faces NNE

Thank you

Botanical Journeys Plant Guides

I have not seen orchid leaves crack before (except as a result of physical trauma) so I don't know why that would happen.

From what you've said about the roots, I do think this is where the problem lies.

Healthy Phalaenopsis roots will be plump and grayish/tanish when dry. Green when wet.

If they turn green after you water the plant, they are functioning properly. If they don't, they may be dead or dying.

Roots that pull away easily are dead. That thread you mentioned is at the center of all orchid roots. The only time you will see it is when the root dies and falls away from it.

Remove all the roots that fail to turn green when misted with a sharp, sterile knife. Sprinkle all the cuts with ground cinnamon to prevent fungal infection. Lastly, I would replace all the media the orchids are currently potted in in case the bacteria or fungus which is causing the problem is in the media.

Set the repotted plants in the shade and water them carefully until you see new growth. Wait until then to feed the plants as well.

Hopefully, with good care, your new orchids will recover.

Phalaenopsis Orchid Care

Indoor Orchid Care

Repotting Orchids

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