The leaves on phrags are turning yellow. Uh oh

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Jul 4, 2016
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Hello there!

I posted a while ago with some questions and members were kind enough to offer some really great suggestions. Thank you all so much. I thought I would try again with a new set of questions / issues...

I recently got some phrags - besseae v. flavum x pearcei. They looked happy when they arrived. About a week in, one of the leaves started turning yellow at the tip. Then brown. Then dead. Then another. I snipped the sad looking parts off. Now it looks like another leaf is beginning to follow the same pattern. It's yellowing while retaining a good dark green color in splotches. I'm not seeing any rust spots or black spots or anything else.

I repotted everyone in RePotme's phaph mix. Interestingly, the yellowing plants did have some new roots growing.

Disturbing, another little guy in the shipment - dalessandroi X conchiferum - is starting to show the same behavior.

My thoughts are
1) I did use some hard tap water when repotting them. I understand phrags are sensitive to hard water. I've been using distilled 70% of the time, though. I mix the fertilizer in tap water.
2) They're still upset about being moved to Arizona.
3) Some scary disease that will spread to everything.

I've included a pic of my setup. They get light for about 13 hours a day. It's a white LED grow light (18 inches from them, 24 inch diameter coverage). They have a mister for about 9 hours a day. They have a fan at night. I've been keeping them damp. (I loooove watering plants.)

I have physan 20, but I'm very hesitant to apply it. Not sure what to do. Any suggestions would really be welcome!



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Anne, I wouldn't treat the problem until you know if or
what it is. It could be shipping stress and/or high temps.
Phrags. like high humidity and lots of air movement and
temps. a tad lower than we're all having right now.
Stressed phrags

The problem looks like some stress reaction, not disease. What are your current temperatures?
You could buy a shallow tray and stand the plants in it on stones with a bit of water in the bottom. This would help increase the humidity.
HI David

Temp is 78 and 82. Humidity fluctuates between 30 and 50. I just placed all the phrags in little cups with some water at the bottom, but not touching the roots.

I've read that some people let them sit in a little bit of water. Do you recommend that?

HI Lance

The lowest the humidity gets is 30. The rougher leaves on the paphs can get some condensation - so I keep them away from the source of the mist. The phrags stay dry to the touch.

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WAY too dry for Phrags.
I hesitate telling you to sit them in water because that does not always work out positively. I live in Seattle and tried it... not a great idea. That said I have a good friend who literally lives down the road and does sit his Phrags in water all the time and they do just fine.

Is there any possible way to create a mini humidity dome? Living in Arizona 30% humidity is typically high, your Phrags will need much, much higher for a pretty sustained period of time (like... always).
HI Lance

The lowest the humidity gets is 30. The rougher leaves on the paphs can get some condensation - so I keep them away from the source of the mist. The phrags stay dry to the touch.


Keep the leaves wet and that will off set the low humidity.
Phrags like wet leaves anyway.
Assuming your mist not high in salts then let the mist fall on the leaves.

Proper misting allows the leaf surface to stay moist but not so much mist so the water runs off.

In AZ you wont be able to raise the ambient humidity high enough so wet the foliage.
You need to find ways to increase humidity. Sitting the plants in a small amount of water will help. I would try it as otherwise they will continue to struggle.
I sit mine in water year round and they do fine. They grow indoors so the humidity is naturally less than in a greenhouse. Just make sure it is water low in salts. I use rain water but I guess in Arizona that could be difficult.
OK, new plan.

Everything has been moved into an old 40 gal aquarium. It's probably going to take a while to get the timers mister and fan dialed in. Right now, the humidity is 90 in there. I'll try to get it averaged out to about 70. I've been using distilled water in the mister, so I'll continue to do that.

I have some paphs in the aquarium, too. Could the humidity get too high for them? Will they be OK as long as they have a fan?

Hi Eric

What do people typically do? Is it common to have different environments / greenhouses / rooms for different conditions? Larger spaces? Better (as in more carefully considered) selection for compatible species? I could see 40 gallons as not enough volume for a forgiving environment.

I'm having some trouble with the lid (partially open), humidity, and the fan moving the humidity out.

You can separate your grow area. Group moisture loving plants together, put a fan there to increase air flow. Put drier things in a more open media and closer to your light source so they dry fastet, etc.

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