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Posted 8M ago by @MotherOfOrchids

New roots on my almost rootless mini phal are shrivelling up and dying
I’ve been trying to save my first mini phal for a few months now as she became rootless after a repot. Everything was going really well and I had healthy new roots growing through. In the last couple of days I’ve noticed one of the new roots is shrivelling up and dying and I can’t figure out why. I have it in a bed of sphagnum to increase the humidity and I’ve been misting more frequently because it was drying out more quickly due to warmer weather. I also let a flower spike develop because the new roots looked like they could support it, but am wondering if the plant prioritised the spike to the detriment of the roots. Or it could be that the increased misting of the sphagnum affected the root it the plant thought it was an aerial root. I’ve also heard good and bad things about soaking with tea and am tempted to try it. Or just cut the spike off as that helped last time. This orchid was a mass produced market stall orchid and I don’t think has very healthy genetics but I really want to save her! #OrchidLovers #PhalaenopsisOrchid
4” pot without drainage
Last watered 8 months ago
Best Answer
I would definitely cut the spike. Blooming takes a lot energy and all of its energy should be put towards growing a healthy new root system, then new leaves, and maybe after that, a flower spike. It may have spiked as a sort of “last ditch effort” to reproduce, knowing it’s hanging on by a thread. Instead of misting, I’d just do regular 20min soaks maybe twice a week (depending on your climate.) good luck!! Rooting for your mini!
I'm rooting for your phal, I hope that tea soak works, have to research that lol!
Just found this article, I really hope it helps you save your phal.
https://bklynorchids.com/2016/03/21/tips-on-caring-for-a-sick-orchid/
@Nataleaf thank you 😊. Would you keep it in and soak the sphagnum? If so, I was advised a few months ago (on a different app) to sit the plant on top of the sphagnum so it barely touches it, though Miss Orchid Girl plants it in the moss almost as if it’s bark, so I never know quite what to do. This mini doesn’t help itself because it just wants to flower. It was my first orchid and I only knew the very basics. I thought it was healthy because it had three spikes (now I know not to judge health by the flowers!) but it’s been so susceptible to problems. I’ve made mistakes on some of my others and they bounce back, but on this one, a mistake seems to put the plant in peril. Thanks for your help.
@Sassylimey thank you for the article! I’m not sure I’m going to try the tea yet. Miss Orchid Girl advises against it in case the tea contains any pathogens that a human wouldn’t notice, but that could cause problems for a sickly plant. I might try it as a last resort if nothing else works
@MotherOfOrchids I have found that mine grow new roots rapidly when they have a distinct wet/dry cycle, rather than just keeping them moist all the time. I also live in a humid area, though, and they never REALLY get under 40% humidity, so a lot depends on your local climate. You can also look into adding a kelp tonic for orchids struggling root-wise. Kelp is great for root growth in cases like this. I incorporate it into my regular watering routine monthly. I use Kelp Me Kelp You by Fox Farm, but a lot of orchid growers use KelpMax!
@Nataleaf thank you for the advice! I implemented it all and got some kelp feed and the roots went so green so I was hopeful. But then it took a downturn and it’s losing three more leaves 😭, which will leave it with only one good leaf. I’m currently working through my sad feelings and preparing to send it to orchid heaven! I have learnt so many lessons from this experience though and it means space on the windowsill for a new orchid (or two, depending how many jump into my basket when I go shopping!) Today I’m cutting off the spikes on my Magic Art as the plant is in shock from being shipped to the nursery, being shipped to me and a repot because the bark had broken down and it had a horrible plug that was in danger of rotting the roots. I have a feeling it’s lost some roots from the repot so when it next needs watering, I’m going to use the kelp to help it 😊

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