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Orchids/Watering problem?


Phalaenopsis \'Rin Rin\'
Phalaenopsis 'Rin Rin'  
I went on vacation for a week and came back to find the non-flowering stem of my phalaenopsis had died. It looked like a case of overwatering, but I've never seen only part of a plant die from overwatering. The person taking care of the orchid had watered only once, using one ice cube.

Is the ice cube method bad for the plant? I've been using it for a couple of months now without trouble. The ice cube goes onto the decorative moss, although I have wondered what would happen if some of the roots were very close to the ice.

Will removing the dead stalk cause a new shoot to emerge?

It is not unusual for an old flower spike to die back.  It is, however, unusual for it to die back before flowering.  If the plant is otherwise healthy, a new flower spike can emerge regardles of the status of the flower spike that died back.

It is important to inspect the roots of the plant as part of the overall assessment of its health.  While doing this you can check the status of the potting mix.  If you find dead or dying roots, those should be removed and the plant repotted in fresh potting mix.  If the roots are healthy, you may just repot beck into the same pot and mix.

I am a skeptic of the ice cube method of growing orchids.  As part of your concern, orchids do not like to be chilled in the root zone.  Secondly, when the ice melts to provide moisture to the plant, it may not provide even distribution of the moisture to the root zone. If the moss is just a surface topping, it is covering the root zone.  Most of the damage to orchids occur in the root zone.  I prefer, a fairly coarse potting mix wwhich ollows good movement of air through the potting mix and good flow of moisture thrugh the potting mix.   Good drainage is a must for healthy orchid roots.  Better for the potting mix to be too dry than too wet. A well drained potting mix, in combinattion with aa thorough watering once a week, should promote good plant growth while avoiding root rot.  Ideally, water with room temperature water.


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Wayne King


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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