SO Gardening Oct 13

Style Observer

SO Gardening Oct 13

Sunday, October 13, 2019

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Dear Orchid Doc:

The leaves on my orchid are wrinkled and limp. Am I overwatering or under-watering?


Dear Karl:

You are both overwatering and under-watering.

The leaves on your Phalaenopsis should be firm. Limp leaves are a sign that the leaves do not contain enough water to maintain their normal turgid state. Obviously, lack of water in the leaves can be caused by under watering.

However, the problem can also be caused by overwatering. Phalaenopsis roots like a lot of air. If the plants are overwatered the roots will stay soggy in the wet medium. Over time, soggy roots will rot. Once they've rotted it is hard for them to absorb moisture and then the leaves take on a limp, desiccated appearance. To confirm the source of the problem take the plant out of the pot and examine the roots.

Dear Orchid Doc:

My orchid has roots growing everywhere out of the top of the pot. Is this a problem?


Dear Michelle:

As orchids grow they continually send out new roots, and often the new roots start above the surface of the medium and begin to head off to parts unknown. This is typical orchid behavior. The next time the plant is repotted be sure to select a (probably larger) pot into which these new roots will fit comfortably.

Dear Orchid Doc:

My plant gets plenty of light but it still doesn't flower. What can I do?


Dear Maxine:

If your Phalaenopsis is getting sufficient light and is still not flowering try exposing the plant to cooler air in the evening. When your night-time temperatures are the same try opening a window near your plants to let in the cool night air. Continue the cool night-time air treatment for three weeks. The variation in temperature between warm day and cool night will often initiate a flower spike.

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