Phragmipedium besseae flavum seedling help requested

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BrucherT

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I purchased this Phragmipedium besseae flavum seedling in February. It had a single growth and did well for me until two or three weeks ago, when it sprang a new growth just in time for the existing growth to decline with what to me is startling rapidity. It appeared burned at first, so I moved it to lower light. But the browning continued and the original growth is now obviously gone. Is this a normal thing for P. besseae? Or am I in trouble here? Should I repot and, if so, would now be a good time to try semi-hydroponics (leca?). I’m so hopeful to save this plant if I can. I should note that I did switch fertilizers just about the time this decline occcurred, that none of my other plants in the same location appear burned and that I have flushed with RO only, several times, and not fed this plant since I noticed the burning. Thank you expert growers kindly for all your help. It’s is probably a sad post but I do have another, happier piece of slipper news that I will post in a separate thread.
 

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mrhappyrotter

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It's going to be dicey, but with the new growth, I say there's always a chance. Recovery will be a long and precarious process, though. I'd at least try to take a look at the roots and mix to determine if there are any healthy roots or if there are issues with the potting mix. If you can avoid repotting, that's probably for the best assuming the roots are in good shape and the mix is in good condition. If the leaves are completely brown and crispy, go ahead and clip those off.

I've personally never seen a phrag decline as quickly as you've described except in cases where erwinia is suspected, but from the photos and description, I don't think that was your issue. I don't know the cause of this issue, but the moss appears to be in good shape, and if other plants have received the same watering and feeding routine with no ill effects, I think you can rule out water quality issues.

It's also possible that conditions where you are have contributed to this, but I don't know where you live/grow or what your conditions are, so it's up to you to figure that out.
 

BrucherT

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It's going to be dicey, but with the new growth, I say there's always a chance. Recovery will be a long and precarious process, though. I'd at least try to take a look at the roots and mix to determine if there are any healthy roots or if there are issues with the potting mix. If you can avoid repotting, that's probably for the best assuming the roots are in good shape and the mix is in good condition. If the leaves are completely brown and crispy, go ahead and clip those off.

I've personally never seen a phrag decline as quickly as you've described except in cases where erwinia is suspected, but from the photos and description, I don't think that was your issue. I don't know the cause of this issue, but the moss appears to be in good shape, and if other plants have received the same watering and feeding routine with no ill effects, I think you can rule out water quality issues.

It's also possible that conditions where you are have contributed to this, but I don't know where you live/grow or what your conditions are, so it's up to you to figure that out.
Thank you for your reply! I’m not quite sure what to do; how do I check the roots without repotting? Would I repot into the same mix or fresh? My conditions are a Chicago apartment. No air conditioning but lots of air flow. I keep my Phrags’ feet wet always; this plant never dried out. Hope that helps give more details and if you have further advice I’ll gladly take it.
 

Silverwhisp

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You can check the roots without technically repotting, but of course you have to “unpot” the orchid in order to see the roots. Simply put everything back, once you’ve had a look.

If you search YouTube for Eds orchids, you’ll see that he frequently unpots, just to see how the roots are doing.
 
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juliana

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Hi I'm in Chicago as well. Do you use RO water at all times? It will make a huge difference for this plant.
Use 80% RO and 10% tap water. Very little fertilizer if any for a while. Looks like it could have been rot that killed your old growth. Remove dead leaves for sure.
 

Silverwhisp

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Thank you for your reply! I’m not quite sure what to do; how do I check the roots without repotting? Would I repot into the same mix or fresh? My conditions are a Chicago apartment. No air conditioning but lots of air flow. I keep my Phrags’ feet wet always; this plant never dried out. Hope that helps give more details and if you have further advice I’ll gladly take it.
BrucherT,

I was once advised by Chuck Acker to wait 4-5 months after repotting before placing a Phrag into a tray of water. The roots need a chance to get strong after the shock of repotting. Personally, I would not want such a young plant to have wet feet always.
 

BrucherT

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BrucherT,

I was once advised by Chuck Acker to wait 4-5 months after repotting before placing a Phrag into a tray of water. The roots need a chance to get strong after the shock of repotting. Personally, I would not want such a young plant to have wet feet always.
Wow. I had no idea. I have been concertedly keeping it wet-footed just like my other Phrags. The roots on my others, which I repotted this year, were stunning. This one came directly from Fox Valley Orchids and it is my prize, Tom said it could stay in this pot for a year (I got it in February). I'm sure that I messed it up somehow and I'm dying to save it. I will unpot
 

BrucherT

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Hi I'm in Chicago as well. Do you use RO water at all times? It will make a huge difference for this plant.
Use 80% RO and 10% tap water. Very little fertilizer if any for a while. Looks like it could have been rot that killed your old growth. Remove dead leaves for sure.
I am using RO water always. For the Phrags, I use pure always. For the Paphs, I sometimes cut it 50/50 (advice from Tom Kalina). I did purchase and begin using a new RO filter around the time this decline started. Before that, I had been hauling water gallon by gallon half a mile from the Whole Foods. I did that for nigh unto 3 years. All my other orchids have thrived with the new water. I did start feeding at every watering with the 1/3 tsp/gal of K-lite at that same time. I wonder if I overfertilized.
 

BrucherT

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Need to say once again how grateful I am for this forum and all advice.
 

Silverwhisp

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I am using RO water always. For the Phrags, I use pure always. For the Paphs, I sometimes cut it 50/50 (advice from Tom Kalina). I did purchase and begin using a new RO filter around the time this decline started. Before that, I had been hauling water gallon by gallon half a mile from the Whole Foods. I did that for nigh unto 3 years. All my other orchids have thrived with the new water. I did start feeding at every watering with the 1/3 tsp/gal of K-lite at that same time. I wonder if I overfertilized.
What was your fertigation pH?

For fertilizing species besseae, I feed every 3d watering, and the pH is brought up to 6.2-ish. Phrag water is pure RO, except for adult hybrids.

Paph water is RO cut with tap for most species and all hybrids, so that the TDS is 80-100 before any additions.

Hybrids and non-besseae Phrags get ferts every other watering.

Regardless of genus, my TDS does not exceed 500, and that includes seedlings.
 

Ray

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I did start feeding at every watering with the 1/3 tsp/gal of K-lite at that same time. I wonder if I overfertilized.
How often is "every time" you water? 1/3 tsp/gal is about 50-55 ppm N so certainly not overdoing it for a couple of applications per week, but I'd probably use half that for that application frequency.

However...as I'm the guy who provided the RO system and K-Lite - which I shipped to him one month ago today, suggesting 3-3.5 weeks of use - I can pretty much guarantee that this issue isn't related to that - it looks like it has had issues considerably longer!

I'd bet that Tom grew that drier than you have been, so the roots were not "well tuned" to your conditions. The roots coming from that new growth, on the other hand, will be. If that was in my care, I'd cut the fertilizer content in half, and for the next three waterings, add KelpMax @ 1 tablespoon/gallon.
 

Guldal

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You might up your chances for getting good advice in this matter by transferring this thread to the forum for Phragmipedium, Bruchner!

Although, I see, that competent people already have come to your rescue! ;)
 

BrucherT

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Need to say once again how grateful I am for this forum and all advice.
How often is "every time" you water? 1/3 tsp/gal is about 50-55 ppm N so certainly not overdoing it for a couple of applications per week, but I'd probably use half that for that application frequency.

However...as I'm the guy who provided the RO system and K-Lite - which I shipped to him one month ago today, suggesting 3-3.5 weeks of use - I can pretty much guarantee that this issue isn't related to that - it looks like it has had issues considerably longer!

I'd bet that Tom grew that drier than you have been, so the roots were not "well tuned" to your conditions. The roots coming from that new growth, on the other hand, will be. If that was in my care, I'd cut the fertilizer content in half, and for the next three waterings, add KelpMax @ 1 tablespoon/gallon.
Thank you Ray! I love my filter and notice a bump in liveliness and growth already in everybody, this little one is my only problem child. Will do as you suggest!
 

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what temperature does this one grow at?
was the browning start from the tip slowly down?
is it a dry browning process or wet ? dry would be unlikely infection
you mention that this problem starts about 2 weeks ago.
all of my besseae die in the summer and not other seasons.
I don't think it is the result of over fertilizing, if it was the case, the active young growth will be burn first not the old growth.
 
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BrucherT

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what temperature does this one grow at?
was the browning start from the tip slowly down?
is it a dry browning process or wet ? dry would be unlikely infection
you mention that this problem starts about 2 weeks ago.
all of my besseae die in the summer and not other seasons.
I don't think it is the result of over fertilizing, if it was the case, the active young growth will be burn first not the old growth.
Thank you. We have had a heat wave and I do wonder about it. The browning started as tip "burn," then rapidly brown patches on the midleaves, then it just went down all at once.I wonder if it just got too hot? I mean, I live in the same space it does. Maybe it needs cooler conditions? Thank you.
 
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