Huge mistakes, someone console me

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Morja

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I'm so embarrassed about what I did that I almost don't want to post, but I also might feel better hearing about other failures if any of you are so willing to share them. Part of the beginner journey, I suppose. And I might learn something.
I rehabbed a surprise rootless phrag (my first) with semi-hydro (my first time using that) and it was looking good until I went and ruined it and rotted the roots again to a single one (because of what I did to alter my semi-hydro setup, which I knew better than to do!). AND then I panicked and increased its light (dumb! Whyyy) and now it's... not looking vigorous at all.
I have it back in semi hydro (after its unfortunate foray into kind of a... mix of things in an attempt to keep humidity higher) because I know that is what its singular root is probably used to.
It's a Phrag Acker’s Fu Manchu (Twilight x caudatum). Obviously anything can rot (especially if you make its semi-hydro pot suddenly way less airy and leave it that way for a bit *kicks self*) but can I be correct in thinking that this one probably shouldn't have wet feet in general? (All my other phrags do. I've had some of them almost a year but not quite.) If so, will semi-hydro really be the best long term setup for it? That said the bark mix I just ordered came in VERY small and I don't know that I'm comfortable using it even on my healthy plants. Maybe if I repot in 9 months.
All my other plants, slipper and otherwise and all in bark, appear to be thriving so that does help.
Anyway, advice (yes I know I screwed up my meticulously researched semi-hydro setup that was going well other than seeming a touch dry and full of slimy brown algae) or stories of failure much welcomed.
 
There are so many Phrag growers here who will give you better advice then me but in my mind there is no such thing as semi hydro. What does that really mean anyway? (either you are pregnant or you're not) You should maybe grow wetter for some Phrags and drier for others. I look at Phrags as being in two basic groups. "the wetter group" featuring species and hybrids predominantly besseae, schlimii, lindleyi, longifolium, dalesandroii, manzurii and a few others. I use a finer mix, in smaller pots, and I water more frequently.
Then you have the drier group with caudatum, kovachii, sargentianum and such. Those i water slightly less often, in a mix with larger pieces. The wetter guys are given less light by me then the drier guys. But in reality, they do not all take the same culture.
So just really think about your plants problem well before you act. If it has lost it's root system, the plant is severely stressed! You do not stress it further by giving it too much light!!! That is not a good idea.
So many plants lose their roots, and by and large, it is due to poor drainage or too much water, too often. Everything should be done in moderation. As you grow forward with Phrags, knowledge takes years to acquire. You do not become a Phrag grower in a year, three, 5 or 10. There is no timetable set in stone.
And then there are the "wild cards"! You flower this plant well for 3, 5, 8 years in a row and then POOF, it dies on you! Why does that happen?
 
I'm so embarrassed about what I did that I almost don't want to post, but I also might feel better hearing about other failures if any of you are so willing to share them. Part of the beginner journey, I suppose. And I might learn something.

Anyway, advice (yes I know I screwed up my meticulously researched semi-hydro setup that was going well other than seeming a touch dry and full of slimy brown algae) or stories of failure much welcomed.
Wait a second, did you leave a tray of minicatts on the roof to get sun and turn them into charcoal, or did you leave plants on the oven while baking and dessicate them? Did border officials seize and burn your Phrag order and have you pay a hefty fine? Oh, so many mistakes have been made. Check out my 'Miscellaneous Stuff' thread for a laugh/lesson.
 
😂 Will do. I appreciate this
Wait a second, did you leave a tray of minicatts on the roof to get sun and turn them into charcoal, or did you leave plants on the oven while baking and dessicate them? Did border officials seize and burn your Phrag order and have you pay a hefty fine? Oh, so many mistakes have been made. Check out my 'Miscellaneous Stuff' thread for a laugh/lesson.
 
There are so many Phrag growers here who will give you better advice then me but in my mind there is no such thing as semi hydro. What does that really mean anyway? (either you are pregnant or you're not) You should maybe grow wetter for some Phrags and drier for others. I look at Phrags as being in two basic groups. "the wetter group" featuring species and hybrids predominantly besseae, schlimii, lindleyi, longifolium, dalesandroii, manzurii and a few others. I use a finer mix, in smaller pots, and I water more frequently.
Then you have the drier group with caudatum, kovachii, sargentianum and such. Those i water slightly less often, in a mix with larger pieces. The wetter guys are given less light by me then the drier guys. But in reality, they do not all take the same culture.
So just really think about your plants problem well before you act. If it has lost it's root system, the plant is severely stressed! You do not stress it further by giving it too much light!!! That is not a good idea.
So many plants lose their roots, and by and large, it is due to poor drainage or too much water, too often. Everything should be done in moderation. As you grow forward with Phrags, knowledge takes years to acquire. You do not become a Phrag grower in a year, three, 5 or 10. There is no timetable set in stone.
And then there are the "wild cards"! You flower this plant well for 3, 5, 8 years in a row and then POOF, it dies on you! Why does that happen?
Thank you! I think I'll stick with bark culture for my low humidity environment. If this plant survives, I need to transition it somehow.
Right now it's in LECA with a pot that has holes part way up the side, so it always has a reservoir. I think my oncidium would love it, but roots typically have to replace themselves once the plant is changed over to it and I'm not ready to put any of my other plants through that right now.
 
There are so many Phrag growers here who will give you better advice then me but in my mind there is no such thing as semi hydro. What does that really mean anyway?
I have always argued that all epiphytic orchid growing is "hydroponic" in nature, as the substrate is present only for mechanical support and temporary storage of externally-applied water and nutrient solutions, and not as a source of nutrition, itself.

"Semi-Hydroponics" is a term I concocted for the passive culture technique I created, simply as a way to differentiate it from more traditional, active hydroponic setups.

"There's no such thing" is kind of a luddite comment.
 
I have always argued that all epiphytic orchid growing is "hydroponic" in nature, as the substrate is present only for mechanical support and temporary storage of externally-applied water and nutrient solutions, and not as a source of nutrition, itself.

"Semi-Hydroponics" is a term I concocted for the passive culture technique I created, simply as a way to differentiate it from more traditional, active hydroponic setups.

"There's no such thing" is kind of a luddite comment.
I think it's a really cool way to grow, Ray! It's a pretty accepted term at this point in the orchid world as far as I can tell, even if some people seem to claim otherwise. It's not full hydroponics so "semi" is actually appropriate. I love that you potentially have to water thirstier orchids less with it and how happy it makes many plants.
 
Decided to go ahead and pot it up in something different as the set up I had it in was definitely not working and it seemed to look worse by the day. Pleased to see that the single strong root has a fresher tip than when I last saw it! It's been getting daily RO water flushing which all my phrags seem to appreciate (I have a small collection okay 😂). There were 2 or 3 other questionable roots that I decided to leave in case they weren't totally dead. It had a whole-plant Kelpak soak first and into the pot it went. I'm wondering if this will actually be recoverable. I guess we will have to see!
The brown flecks (surface damage, I think...?) on the stem were there (though to a much lesser degree) when I got it but definitely worsened over time, especially when I still didn't know how to stake it correctly with semi-hydro and I think it got bruised up over time. Lessons learned. It will be nice if it lives! But if not, well. It happens.
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Looks like it may be planted a bit too deeply to me, so I recommend removing about the top inch of medium. Take care of it and it should recover. Adding Kelpak to your regimen will help considerably.
 
Looks like it may be planted a bit too deeply to me, so I recommend removing about the top inch of medium. Take care of it and it should recover. Adding Kelpak to your regimen will help considerably.
Okay, thanks Ray! It had a Kelpak soak and I will continue to include it in the regimen.
 
I would not get too down on myself about this little misstep. Things happen, and you learn. I used to keep the tags of my orchids that died. Once they filled up a bag, which happened much more quickly than I anticipated, I stopped keeping all of them. I have lost lovely plants in the silliest ways. We all do it and will likely continue to do it. So, just know you are in really good company.

Regarding Phrag Acker’s Fu Manchu, I would bet on it being able to handle wetter feet. Phrag besseae makes up about 50% of the genetic background. Although I do not grow in semi-hydro, I am sure it would be find in the common set-up over time. Now that it is in bark, I would leave it. Hopefully the active root will establish itself quickly. Be gentle with it and be sure it is stable in the pot. You don't want it rocking while new roots are hopefully coming. Otherwise there is a risk that they will break. Good luck with this one!
 
I would not get too down on myself about this little misstep. Things happen, and you learn. I used to keep the tags of my orchids that died. Once they filled up a bag, which happened much more quickly than I anticipated, I stopped keeping all of them. I have lost lovely plants in the silliest ways. We all do it and will likely continue to do it. So, just know you are in really good company.

Regarding Phrag Acker’s Fu Manchu, I would bet on it being able to handle wetter feet. Phrag besseae makes up about 50% of the genetic background. Although I do not grow in semi-hydro, I am sure it would be find in the common set-up over time. Now that it is in bark, I would leave it. Hopefully the active root will establish itself quickly. Be gentle with it and be sure it is stable in the pot. You don't want it rocking while new roots are hopefully coming. Otherwise there is a risk that they will break. Good luck with this one!
Thank you!!
 

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