THE AGRONOMIST ANSWERS ON HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR PLANTS
WHY DO MY PHALENOPSIS BEGIN TO HAVE WRINKLED AND YELLOW LEAVES?
QUESTION BY STEFANIA
Hi, my name is Stefania and I have decided to write to you even though I am aware that I may not receive an answer given the intense period ... maybe it will come later!
A year and a half ago I was given two wonderful "Phalaenopsis" orchids, a rose and a "white wonder". I placed them on an internal sill of a "window" made up of square blocks of thick glass that allows a constant brightness of the environment. Below is a radiator. The environment is quite large as it is an entrance-kitchen-living room and the plants are far from the drafts of the front door. Also I am in the company of an "African violet", with many high leaves, while the low ones are dead and have left the stem uncovered ... Then there is a jar with three small succulents that resemble the "cereus" but with shallower grooves they do not bloom, they are surrounded by yellow thorns about a centimeter long and I noticed that as the "stem" grows, it shrinks and fades, or "swells" and turns green depending on when I glide a drop of water (I'm always afraid of drowning them !!! ). And finally a plant that I don't know what it is called, looks like gardenia, has small green and hairy leaves, gathered in tufts in the center of which, a couple of times a year, beautiful purple / red flowers bloom, the stem looks like small branches of tree.
The white orchid has only two "branches" with very few flowers and a very long flowering speed (in the sense that the bud takes weeks to open!). It starts to have low leaves a little wrinkled, they are "limp" and less shiny than those at the top. It is found in a transparent plastic pot inside a plastic lined "red papier mache" pot holder (I got it like this and I didn't touch nothing!) I try to give a little finger of water once a week and talk to it every morning, but I don't understand why the leaves are drooping like this.
The purple orchid is a spectacle of nature: it blooms two or three times a year, the flowers last for weeks, it is always full of new buds, but it has withered roots, for two or three weeks the low leaves have been dropping, a yellow color rises from the tip and seems to have "burns", a kind of fold that starts with a transparent part surrounded by dark and continues with the yellow part of the leaf ... I asked a florist for an opinion and he told me that maybe the I had watered too much, so I only gave her a little finger of water in the span of two weeks, but the yellow continues and the leaves are growing with the same problem. Currently it is in the flowering phase (a marvel !!!!!), the yellow leaves are not wrinkled, but limp. The external roots are not toned but they seem dry, with whitish grooves and grooves ... I am very worried (I am really in love with this plant and I really care!).
Can you help me? What should I do? I have attached some photos just taken ...
Thanks for everything, see you soon!
I read your email with interest and, despite the time problems, I decided to write to you because your problem is very common to those who approach orchids for the first time that are a world about the cultivation technique and in the end you do all the same mistakes.
One thing to say is that you must carefully read the technical sheet of the plant because only by knowing how it lives, its needs and its biological cycle, you will be able to understand what are the mistakes you are making that are bringing your orchids to death.
First of all I have to say to you, but I say this to everyone in general, to always check very well what the florists tell you and offer you. This is because it is in their interest to sell plants for which, you will understand for yourself, that often the advice is thrown away casually without stopping to think, or are aimed at selling new plants. I tell you this because in the height of summer, for an orchid in bloom, you cannot say to give less than "two fingers of water !!!!" This is because the problem of your orchids is only that of not having water: they are dying of thirst !
So here are my tips: first read very carefully thePhalaenopsis data sheet. From its reading you will learn that these orchids are plants that perform the chlorophyll function even with the roots (and this is the reason why they are green like the leaves) so you must absolutely remove them from the pot holders and leave the transparent plastic pot exposed to the light. I realize that you bought it with the beautiful vase cover but what has been said above is valid ... florists are merchants and rightly so, they embellish as they can to sell more.
You have these plants for about a year and a half and from what I read you have always only watered them every time but never fertilized. Read the methods for fertilization in the technical sheet and take action accordingly.
Don't think about repotting for now. Leave it quiet and enjoy the flowering but the most important thing: every day stop to observe it, the plant itself will tell you what it needs.
When the flower stems have faded, cut them at the base as the new flowers will develop from the new pseudobulbs.
I hope I was clear, if you have any doubts write me.
Dr. M. G. Davoli