Saving Rootless Phrags

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Active Member
Aug 14, 2023
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Hello everyone

I have problems with 2 Phrags that were given to me, one is a Phrag Grande, another is a Phrag Cardinale, both were being grown in pure soil and when they were delivered to me they were in a bag waterlogged.

I immediately transplanted them into my typical Phrags mix (50% Medium Eucalyptus Bark XD [In the rest of my Phrags it works very well]
50% small Terracotta, and an extra 10% carbon for Caudas Largs Phrags)

I grow them in a place where they receive sun all day, with a 50% shade cloth, watering every two days. Temperatures from 27Celsius Day to 18 Night
In general, they all have a 2cm water tank at the end of the pot.

The rest of my Phrags and Paph with this culture develop large and robust

In general, the roots that both had were small and rotten, however, they did not recover, the leaves lost strength and lay down *as in the photo

They did not produce new roots, and the leaves began to become streaked, and brown spots with yellowish edges appeared, what can I do?

I got tired of the Phrag Grande and placed it in a bucket, with a little water underneath, and some bricks, so that the pot does not directly touch the water, then I sealed the bucket with a transparent plastic bag, and out of curiosity I poured a little Thricoderma and Bascilus Subtilis in the pot, let's see what happens?

I never have bagged a rootless orchid. Your roots were lost to overwatering, they rotted. The plastic bag will be an extension of that culture in my opinion.
I root rootless orchids in subdued light. Too much light and temperatures that are too warm will only add to their stress.
I keep mine in lower light, in good humidity, and I water a little once a week or so. How long have you had them rootless? New roots my take 6-8 weeks to appear, sometimes more.
Month and a half without any progress (since the transplant).

In general I do the bagging technique with 100% humidity with plants with pseudobulbs (with very good results).

But since Phrags like constant watering + constant humidity, I had not tried it, but I am going to relocate both the bucket and the Phrag Cardinale....

Any other advice on the medium or other details to recover them?
You said Phrags like constant watering. Why water a Phrag. constanly when it does not have any viable roots.
My humidity indoors now is 70% give or take. What benefit do you think exists from being in a bag at 100%?
If there has been no development in 6 weeks, you are probably over anxious. It could take a month longer.
Healthy Phrags like constant water, look at the Phrags Besseae and Pearcei in situ XD. But it is not the same with one without roots as you say D:
Do you have access to Kelpak? (Or any seaweed based root growth stimulant I suppose.) It made a HUGE difference for me. I had a bessae hybrid type phrag come to me basically rootless, but it had some root buds pushing out already, so I soaked the plant in Kelpak to encourage root growth, potted it up in a semi hydro setup (because I was wanting to try that anyway) and the roots grew like crazy with daily watering. The root buds were so small I was afraid they would dry out otherwise. I continued to use Kelpak fairly regularly, probably once or twice a month.
I am by no means an expert as this is my first phrag 🤣 But I agree with the recommendations to decrease light from what your healthy plants like.

Have you been able to check what you have for roots now? Did you cut the mushy roots off? Also curious if you have any root buds. Picture of my plant when I got it:
And 3 months later. Thr long brown roots in the picture are rotten, I just kept them as an anchor in the pot while the little roots grew.

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