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Variegated or nutrient deficient?

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Ernieg96

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I bought this Phrag. Super Rubies from Ecuagenera this past spring as a three growth plant. Since then it’s produced three new growths, which started out green, but as growth has progressed stopped producing chlorophyll. The leaves appear to be continuously growing, though. What could be the cause of this? Currently watering every 4-5 days with K-Lite at a bit under 70 ppm N, kept in a shallow tray of water that is changed out weekly. Grow lights are on 14-16 hours/day and no other new growths on my other phrags are behaving this way.
 

Phred

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Very interesting... I would first move it to a lower light spot. If it greens up it probably needs more nitrogen for the amount of light it’s receiving. I know that sounds funny but the more light you expose a plant to the more nitrogen you need. Doing this may give you an answer without changing any other parameters and may only take a couple weeks.
 

Ray

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Some plants - individuals, not a particular genus or species - are more demanding of magnesium than others.

Before doing anything else, I'd water it with a teaspoons of Epsom Salts per gallon.
 

musa

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Would added Mg has an effect on existing leaves or only on new growing leaves?
 

GuRu

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I would go with a nutrient deficit (Mg), too.

Would added Mg has an effect on existing leaves or only on new growing leaves?
It has effects to the whole plant, existing leaves as well as growing leaves.
 

Phred

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Magnesium is mobile in leaves and you would generally see the discoloration in the older leaves and in the older divisions first... not new growths. Magnesium would move from old leaves of old growths to the new first. Generally...
 

Ray

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That’s true, Fred, but it’s still worth trying, and can do no harm.

@Ernieg96 - we have made a lot of guesses. Can you tell us more about the growing conditions and whatever else you might be giving the plant?
 
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Ernieg96

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That’s true, Fred, but it’s still worth trying, and can do. I harm.

@Ernieg96 - we have made a lot of guesses. Can you tell us more about the growing conditions and whatever else you might be giving the plant?
Sure. Temps range from high 60s F to mid to high 70s F, oscillating fan running to keep air moving. I started monthly doses of Epsom salts two months ago at 1 tsp/gallon, but plan on bumping that treatment up to twice monthly to see how it does. I also give Quantum Total monthly and KelpMax twice a month.
 
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Hardwood

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I would gently take the plant out of the pot and see what is really going on with the roots. It looks good but perhaps there is a problem.
If there are bad roots they can not absorb the nutrients that you are applying. I use both Epsom salts (for mg) and Plaster of Paris for (Calcium and sulfur).
Are you using RO water? That removes the calcium and it needs to be added back in for the plants. In my greenhouse I had a problem with too much Potassium from the water softener. All of the locations for absorbing calcium are all ready full of potassium and the calcium can not get in. Please keep us up to date with your progress, we all can have this problem to a greater or lesser degree. Martin Motes recommends magnesium for vandas when it gets cold.
I would like to see a picture of the roots if you re-pot it.
 

Ernieg96

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And the light levels?
I don’t have a PAR meter, but I have four 20W LED lights on this shelf (two are 4500K grow lights, two are 6500K garage lights) about 8-12 inches above the foliage. I can get a FC/lumens reading on my phone tomorrow—staying overnight at work due to the snow hitting the east coast tonight
 

Ernieg96

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I would gently take the plant out of the pot and see what is really going on with the roots. It looks good but perhaps there is a problem.
If there are bad roots they can not absorb the nutrients that you are applying. I use both Epsom salts (for mg) and Plaster of Paris for (Calcium and sulfur).
Are you using RO water? That removes the calcium and it needs to be added back in for the plants. In my greenhouse I had a problem with too much Potassium from the water softener. All of the locations for absorbing calcium are all ready full of potassium and the calcium can not get in. Please keep us up to date with your progress, we all can have this problem to a greater or lesser degree. Martin Motes recommends magnesium for vandas when it gets cold.
I would like to see a picture of the roots if you re-pot it.
I’ve never heard of plaster of Paris being used as a calcium and sulfur supplement, will take note of that. A repot is due soon anyway, so I’ll take pics when I get around to it next week. I’m using my tap water, which comes out at about 7.0-7.6 pH and 70-100 TDS depending on time of year.
 

littlefrog

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I think you could account for a multitude of sins with a micronutrient supplement. Go to your hydroponics store and ask for micros - make sure you get one with iron and boron (if they have that they seem to have everything).
 

Phred

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Sure. Temps range from high 60s F to mid to high 70s F, oscillating fan running to keep air moving. I started monthly doses of Epsom salts two months ago at 1 tsp/gallon, but plan on bumping that treatment up to twice monthly to see how it does. I also give Quantum Total monthly and KelpMax twice a month.
Lol...give a test trial in less light first. If you're afraid to do that... tape a little piece of dark paper over 3" of a leaf and check it in a week. If it's darker than the rest you have too little nitrogen for the amount of light it'sexposedto. Two ways to fix it... less light on you feeding regime or more nitrogen with the lighting intensity you have. No guarantee but I have seen stuff similar to this but not exactly. I'll send pictures latter. Can't hurt anything this way.
 

PeteM

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I generally agree with Phreds assessment. The only time I have seen drastic loss of green in the leaves like this is when some of my younger phrags are exposed to too much light in combination with temps trending towards 80F in the summer and not enough of a drop in temp at night. I have seen this more in grodan growcubes than orchiata, and this seems to be more prolific for me under my LED lights that have more spectrum in the higher wavelengths (lower microns) so cast a light with as slightly violet hue. I think if it were my plant, reducing the light would be my first step as your temps seem ideal. So maybe moving it to the end of the tray or a different light altogether. Phrags are so resilient that repotting and mixing in / trying new fertilizer regiment (gently) as others recommend can't hurt and will help keep the growth rate of the foliage up. I do believe the lighting and the temps are the main source of this development. Overall it looks really cool... With the price of variegated houseplants on etsy right now.. you could be a millionaire in no time. ;)
 

BrucherT

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So interesting. If it’s variegated, it appears to be a form called “ghost” among Neofinetia fanciers; such growths are known to sap the energy of the mother plant until she dies.
 

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