Orchids/Orchid

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Question
My orchid has tons of beautiful green roots (some are yellow, but none are mushy or brown).  It is literally overflowing with beautiful roots.  However, all but one of the leaves dropped.  The one that is left is questionable.  It does not currently have a spike.  It was gorgeous when I bought it about a year ago.  So, what I am left with is an orchid with one, small pathetic leaf and tons of lush, green roots.  Is this orchid dying?  Does it have a virus?  I looked at the rhizome and to my inexperienced eyes it looks okay.  I really don't see anything.  I covered the rhizome in cinnamon about 2 weeks ago in case it was a fungus.  The leaf has a slight brown spot right where it meets the rhizome but otherwise it looks okay.  Any advice would be appreciated.

Answer
Elle, I suggest that you unpot your plant and examine the entire root system.  It may well have been kept too moist and needs repotting in a fresh orchid potting mix.  Phalaenopsis orchids need to be kept in a pot with lots of drain holes and be potted in a special orchid potting mix containing fir bark, perlite, charcoal or other ingredients to help with air flow at the roots.  Orchid potting mix often is carried by the garden centers at Lowes or Home Depot.  Sift the fine particles from the potting mix and then soak a portion of the potting mix for at least an hour before use. Insert the good roots into the new pot before adding the damp fresh potting mix.  Allow the wet potting mix to flow freely out of the mix and wait a week before rewatering.

In repotting, keep the area where leaves emerge even with, or above, the level of the new potting mix.

Since the plant has already lost many of its leaves it may not benefit from repotting, but, its best bet for recovery is from this repotting. This plant will need to generate several new leaves before it is likely strong enough to flower. Use of powdered cinnamon could assist in recovery.

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Wayne King

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Any question about orchid culture. I have thirty+ yrs of growing experience,president 2x of our local Orchid Growers Guild,held a position in most all other offices associated with the Guild at one time or another. Head of Orchid judging team for local club meetings and some shows. Member of two Orchid Socities and local Rep.for Mid America Orchid Congress for several yrs.I have in my collection about 800 Orchid plants of all types.

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