Hello Brooklyn plant enthusiasts! (Apologies for the long post, but I am relatively new to a deep investment in plant care, and it seems like the more detail one gives, the better the answers.)
I need some advice from anyone who knows anything about orchids. I received a Phalaenopsis orchid a few years ago as a gift. She’s re-bloomed twice under my care (somehow), but not since I repotted her 18 months ago. She’s recently showing signs of a watering issue (limp, wrinkly leaves) and is fighting for her life, sprouting new roots like crazy. I’d love to help her out.
I can’t get photos of her current state to attach to this post for some reason, but here are some observations: the old roots that remain turn a greenish tinge when they’re wet, but they are generally pretty brown, dry and tough to the touch. Her new roots are growing more slowly since I pulled her out of the bark mix, but still gaining length. Her leaves are still very much attached (the big ones are all droopy and wrinkled), but the new incoming leaf has completely stalled; I think she’s concentrating her energy on the new roots. Where the old roots are attached, the stalk feels a bit like an old corn cob, with just a little give when you gently squeeze, but otherwise pretty tough.
I got a new potting mix (Special Orchid from Better Grow), sphagnum moss, a clear plastic pot with aeration/drainage holes, and I’ll pot her up again later this week. I follow a weakly, weekly fertilizer regimen spring – fall; I have been soaking her every 7-10 days in a gallon water/1/4 teaspoon orchid fertilizer mix, letting the excess drain out in the sink, and misting her exposed roots with just water every 3 days or so. I recently stopped using water straight from the tap, instead letting it sit out for 48 hours so the chlorine can evaporate. I’ve been keeping her in an east windowsill, and I’m wondering if the 2-3 hours of direct sunlight each day (though mostly she’s getting bright, indirect light) is the culprit for the dehydration, or if the texture of the roots indicates fertilizer burn. (Or both?!)
At this point, I’m looking to keep her alive, then help her really flourish. Any advice would be welcome.
I’ll try to attach the photos to a separate post. A million thanks in advance! Rachel