Water in the crown of Phrags.

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Jon in SW Ohio

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Only a hypothesis, but the constant moving of air and the breeding of plants is what I blame.

Plants in the wild seem to be tougher and more resilient than captive plants, and we don't have as much survival of the fittest going on in captivity. I run a lot of air movement and very high humidity and 99% of the plants do fine if they are damp at night, just a few have a weaker "immune system" and those are the ones I pay special attention to.

Jon
________
Roy Abernethy
 
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Heather

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I was telling John a few mins ago that I have this one plant. I ordered it in December, and it arrived bare root, with rot from the lack of air.
It was a nice division, and was replaced. The new one arrived and had another growth with a touch of rot upon arrival, but it pulled through, and was a big plant with about 5 good mature growths. I lost the one growth w/ the rot, and vowed never again to buy at that time of year. But then all was fine for months. The plant threw a couple sheaths, and both aborted. But all was still okay...new growths weren't growing too much but...

Last week, I caught two of the mature growths with basal rot. Right into the crown. I had to remove both growths. I hadn't watered in over a week! So now I have one unbloomed and the last aborted spike growth left, and some starts.

This plant, it just seems prone to rot - no help from me at all!
It's not a long-petaled hybrid either, it is Beauport.
It was such a beautiful plant upon arrival, but it seems to hate me. I did manage to make sure it escaped the thrip outbreak but still.

Personally, my biggest challenge has been moving frequently and the unpredictable nature of it. Moving from full sun to part sun to no sun to lights, in less than a year...Aiii!!!
 

gonewild

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PHRAG said:
Additives in the water maybe?
Additives in the water certainly can cause problems but I don't think they would cause bacteria to blossom. I would expect your water supply to kill bacteria if anything.

Lets make up a scenario where the leaves are never wet and the crown is never flushed with water. Under this condition perhaps dirt, dust, insects, detritus, pollution and other foul things accumulate in the crown or leaf axils. If this dry material suddenly gets wet, then perhaps a bacterial explosion might occur?

This would support the regular showers theory and that it really is not the water causing the rot. Am I stretching it here?

I think there are biological functions of the leaf that greatly benefit from being wet. But it has been a long time since botany class and as I remember I slept in class allot.
 

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Jon in SW Ohio said:
Only a hypothesis, but the constant moving of air and the breeding of plants is what I blame.

Plants in the wild seem to be tougher and more resilient than captive plants, and we don't have as much survival of the fittest going on in captivity. I run a lot of air movement and very high humidity and 99% of the plants do fine if they are damp at night, just a few have a weaker "immune system" and those are the ones I pay special attention to.

Jon
Those with the weaker immune system are the ones that should die to assure they never reproduce! OUCH! But if this is the case, and it may well be, then breeders might not be doing a responsible job of selection.
 

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But Lance - what if none of that exists?
:confused:

I wonder sometimes about growing in S/H - if it starts below the medium and progresses upwards through the crown. That seems like what happened with my recent experience. Nothing above was going on that was different and the plant has been in s/H now for 6 mos.

Why, all of the sudden, would this arise as a problem? Culture on this plant actually hasn't changed much through the moves. The Phrags have always been on the same cart, w/ the same lights and relatively regular airflow. And yet, my phrags are the problem plants these days. Go figure. If it arrived in spike, it has now stalled. If it spiked in my posession, it has also stalled, and this one rotted. I'm ready to throw in the towel, frankly!

These are ALL besseae and their hybrids.
Any thoughts?
 

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Heather said:
But Lance - what if none of that exists?
:confused:

I wonder sometimes about growing in S/H - if it starts below the medium and progresses upwards through the crown. That seems like what happened with my recent experience. Nothing above was going on that was different and the plant has been in s/H now for 6 mos.

Why, all of the sudden, would this arise as a problem? Culture on this plant actually hasn't changed much through the moves. The Phrags have always been on the same cart, w/ the same lights and relatively regular airflow. And yet, my phrags are the problem plants these days. Go figure. If it arrived in spike, it has now stalled. If it spiked in my posession, it has also stalled, and this one rotted. I'm ready to throw in the towel, frankly!

These are ALL besseae and their hybrids.
Any thoughts?
My first thought is don't throw in the towel. When you figure out how to beat the problem you will be so happy. And if you try you will win.

Let's play doctor.... start with the examination.

When you moved your plants how did their environment change? I don't mean from one location to another on the cart. I mean during transit.
How long were they in a sudden environment change?
 

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gonewild said:
My first thought is don't throw in the towel. When you figure out how to beat the problem you will be so happy. And if you try you will win.

Let's play doctor.... start with the examination.

When you moved your plants how did their environment change? I don't mean from one location to another on the cart. I mean during transit.
How long were they in a sudden environment change?
OK! :)

Transit was about 2 hours, with probably a day before could get to arranging them adequately. I moved once in April. Once in August, and again in September. All three to very different growing areas. Once arranged it probably took me about a week each time (except the August move) to get the lights up around them. The first move had good sunlight in the interim, the second had no sunlight in the interim, but it took me about a day to get the lights up. The third (and final, home!) had some sunlight at the time (less now) and took me about a week to get lights up, but about a month to get all lights up and running on a regular basis due to a ceiling leak. Which, I am quite certain but will know after today for sure, is fixed.
 

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For what its worth, I water all my plants from overhead. I also water in the afternoon because i have to work most mornings and after three pm is the earliest I can get them done. After I water i turn the fan on high and leave it that way until morning. My lights go off at 8:30pm but the fans stay on 24/7...nature doesn't turn off the breeze when the sun goes down right? A tip I sometimes use is to put Physan in the water when i give the plants a shower. With the exception of one plant i haven't had any rot problems so far and I've been watering this way for quite some time. The one i had rot problems with was Paph Poulsbo and that was because I wasn't watering/flushing enough back then and it stressed the plant out big time. The accumulated salts and dryness pushed it over the edge. It's now on it's way back to health thanks to John M....he helps me out big time.
 

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Heather said:
OK! :)

Transit was about 2 hours, with probably a day before could get to arranging them adequately. I moved once in April. Once in August, and again in September. All three to very different growing areas. Once arranged it probably took me about a week each time (except the August move) to get the lights up around them. The first move had good sunlight in the interim, the second had no sunlight in the interim, but it took me about a day to get the lights up. The third (and final, home!) had some sunlight at the time (less now) and took me about a week to get lights up, but about a month to get all lights up and running on a regular basis due to a ceiling leak. Which, I am quite certain but will know after today for sure, is fixed.
More questions and diagnostics.....

So you have two basic issues.
1. one rotted plant
2. stalled spikes.

I assume your plants were growing great before your recent moves.
Problems with plant health can be cumulative. That is many small problems spread over a period of time can add up to one big failure.

For the one plant that rotted is there a chance it was somehow damaged during transit? Is it top heavy so as to possibly cause the plant tissue to have been bent below the soil level? Could this pot have been exposed to excessive heat during transit? What could have been different for this plant?

For the stalled spikes... Are the plants showing any other sign of distress? Are the spikes only stalled or are the deteriorating?

Your recent moves especially the last with a month of interrupted light levels could easily alter a plants growth cycle. During growth a plant is accurately orientated naturally to enable the organism to efficiently utilize it's resources. The simple act of rotating a plant has an effect. Energy must be used to re-orientate the system to fit the new environment. Normally we will never see any negative result from moving a plant but your plants have certainly lived on a turntable the last months. This could be a factor.

When you say your spikes have stalled is that equal for old plants and plants newly purchased? Have you purchased plants in spike since your last move and found the spikes to be stalled?

I doubt that during your actual transit of the plants they were subjected to any factor that would cause your current problem. Unless the two hours of transit was at an extreme temperature?

The month of less than stable lighting is what is leading the list of possible causes so far. Did you also change your watering and fertility methods/amounts during the altered light periods?
 

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Wendy said:
For what its worth, I water all my plants from overhead. I also water in the afternoon because i have to work most mornings and after three pm is the earliest I can get them done. After I water i turn the fan on high and leave it that way until morning. My lights go off at 8:30pm but the fans stay on 24/7...nature doesn't turn off the breeze when the sun goes down right? A tip I sometimes use is to put Physan in the water when i give the plants a shower. With the exception of one plant i haven't had any rot problems so far and I've been watering this way for quite some time. The one i had rot problems with was Paph Poulsbo and that was because I wasn't watering/flushing enough back then and it stressed the plant out big time. The accumulated salts and dryness pushed it over the edge. It's now on it's way back to health thanks to John M....he helps me out big time.
You are right Nature does not turn off the air movement when the sun goes down. Actually in the tropical mountains the wind and air currents increase in the late afternoons. Even water that condenses on leaves and drips off create air movements at night.
Perhaps rot problems are a result of poor oxygen levels in the "wet crowns" as a result of stagnant conditions?
 

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gonewild said:
For the one plant that rotted is there a chance it was somehow damaged during transit? Is it top heavy so as to possibly cause the plant tissue to have been bent below the soil level? Could this pot have been exposed to excessive heat during transit? What could have been different for this plant?
I'm not sure I can put my finger on anything. No excessive temps, not top heavy. The only clue that sticks in my mind is how it had suffered from some rot upon arrival last winter (as had the previous division sent). Could it just be more prone to rot?

gonewild said:
For the stalled spikes... Are the plants showing any other sign of distress? Are the spikes only stalled or are the deteriorating?
When you say your spikes have stalled is that equal for old plants and plants newly purchased? Have you purchased plants in spike since your last move and found the spikes to be stalled?
I had problems with thrips over the summer with my Phrags. They've all been sprayed once with Conserve and once with Bayer. All of the Phrags have been switched over to S/H over the last 6 months - some just prior to the August move. Since the August move, 2 of those plants aborted sheaths. So, I could defintely chock that up to shock of different cultural conditions. One additional plant has a stalled spike, no sign of deterioration though. A fourth plant arrived in spike, I repotted into S/H, and it stalled, then grew, and now is stalled again. This plant was purchased in between the August and September moves. The fifth plant that is stalled just arrived a couple weeks ago, in spike, and I have not repotted and it seems to have stalled.

gonewild said:
Your recent moves especially the last with a month of interrupted light levels could easily alter a plants growth cycle. During growth a plant is accurately orientated naturally to enable the organism to efficiently utilize it's resources. The simple act of rotating a plant has an effect. Energy must be used to re-orientate the system to fit the new environment. Normally we will never see any negative result from moving a plant but your plants have certainly lived on a turntable the last months. This could be a factor.
Agreed. Interestingly, my Paphs are all doing fine, but they seem to take much longer than Phrags generally to go from sheath to bloom. I have one in bud right now that was spiking when the MH light went up. It has completely turned around to face the light in the last two weeks.

gonewild said:
The month of less than stable lighting is what is leading the list of possible causes so far. Did you also change your watering and fertility methods/amounts during the altered light periods?
I would say that and the switches to S/H. I also did not fertilize during the month between the Aug. and Sept. moves, though watering was about the same, once a week.

Thanks Lance! This is a good excercise!
 

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Heather said:
I'm not sure I can put my finger on anything. No excessive temps, not top heavy. The only clue that sticks in my mind is how it had suffered from some rot upon arrival last winter (as had the previous division sent). Could it just be more prone to rot?
Absolutely it could be prone to rot, genetically. Are the current and previous plant actual clonal divisions of the same plant?

I had problems with thrips over the summer with my Phrags. They've all been sprayed once with Conserve and once with Bayer. All of the Phrags have been switched over to S/H over the last 6 months - some just prior to the August move. Since the August move, 2 of those plants aborted sheaths. So, I could defintely chock that up to shock of different cultural conditions. One additional plant has a stalled spike, no sign of deterioration though. A fourth plant arrived in spike, I repotted into S/H, and it stalled, then grew, and now is stalled again. This plant was purchased in between the August and September moves. The fifth plant that is stalled just arrived a couple weeks ago, in spike, and I have not repotted and it seems to have stalled.
Another factor which we have not discussed are atmospheric conditions. Have you moved into an area which has more air contaminants? I really feel air pollution can cause a lot of plant stress. This is another reason to overhead water foliage. watering the leaves washes away chemicals that have settled on the leaf surfaces.

Well back to the stalled spike problem. Let's look at your air. Is there any chance your new house has high levels of some "gas"? Specifically let's look at ethylene. Do you keep a lot of ripening fruit in the house? Apples?

Not to cause alarm but remember the canary in the coal mine. Your plants may be an indicator.

Agreed. Interestingly, my Paphs are all doing fine, but they seem to take much longer than Phrags generally to go from sheath to bloom. I have one in bud right now that was spiking when the MH light went up. It has completely turned around to face the light in the last two weeks.
Well , paphs are different from phrags. They grow slower so they react slower. Your observation here is tending to support our "interrupted environment" theory.

I would say that and the switches to S/H. I also did not fertilize during the month between the Aug. and Sept. moves, though watering was about the same, once a week.
Less fertilizer for a month would not make an immediate drastic difference. Less water would, especially if they had dried out. But if this is not the case lets ignore this part of the exam.

Thanks Lance! This is a good excercise!
You're welcome! Causing me to think :confused:

I think we are needing to look at your air quality.
 

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gonewild said:
Absolutely it could be prone to rot, genetically. Are the current and previous plant actual clonal divisions of the same plant?
Yes. :)
I received one plant in December, and it arrived with basal/crown rot. I watched it and tried to abort for a few weeks but no dice, so a replacement was sent. It too had a spot but I was able to arrest the problem, until a few weeks ago when all the sudden, two growths were affected, in the crown.


gonewild said:
Another factor which we have not discussed are atmospheric conditions. Have you moved into an area which has more air contaminants? I really feel air pollution can cause a lot of plant stress. This is another reason to overhead water foliage. watering the leaves washes away chemicals that have settled on the leaf surfaces.

Well back to the stalled spike problem. Let's look at your air. Is there any chance your new house has high levels of some "gas"? Specifically let's look at ethylene. Do you keep a lot of ripening fruit in the house? Apples?

Not to cause alarm but remember the canary in the coal mine. Your plants may be an indicator.
Well, I moved from the country, to the city, and back out to a rural community. The only issue I know of with regards to my air quality is I live *very* close to a diner next door which pretty much vents into my apt. So, when the windows are open, there is often the scent of bacon wafting through the air...:) Other than that, I have natural gas heat, but it just got turned on this morning and I have yet to use it.

I had several peaches on the table a couple weeks in a row but nothing that I think would cause such amounts of gas that would cause spikes to blast, but maybe? I hadn't thought about that!

gonewild said:
You're welcome! Causing me to think :confused:
This is the type of topic and investigation that I hope newer growers (like myself!) can learn from our forum. :)
 

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Heather said:
Yes. :)
I received one plant in December, and it arrived with basal/crown rot. I watched it and tried to abort for a few weeks but no dice, so a replacement was sent. It too had a spot but I was able to arrest the problem, until a few weeks ago when all the sudden, two growths were affected, in the crown.
Well it sure sounds like this clone has a built in rot problem. It may be that the plant is actually hosting a dormant infection. I suppose the bacteria could be systemic in the plant or existing on outer surfaces. For some reason the clone is susceptible to rot. Your other plants are not rotting. This problem could also be a genetic flaw in the clone. Well a flaw as far as being a good horticultural clone. Having a beautiful blossom is of little value inf the plant dies easily. Unless breeders are subjecting their hybrid lines to adverse conditions and disease to allow the weaker plants to culled the strains will eventually become disease prone. This is why in nature so few seeds germinate and survive to reproduce. From a genetic survival stand point most seedlings should never survive to reproduce. That award winner that has been caudaled all of it's life will pass along genetic qualities of great blossoms but also it may pass along it's lack of resistance to disease and environmental problems. Good breeding lines consist not only of beauty but also endurance. This is not to say that the plant you have is a result of bad breeding practices but it appears to be one that should not be used as a parent.

Here is a good opportunity for some of the breeders to enter this thread and correct me if I'm in error.

Well, I moved from the country, to the city, and back out to a rural community.
So you went from clean air to air with more additives and the back to clean.
At this point you gave your plants some type of short gas treatment. Good or bad.

The only issue I know of with regards to my air quality is I live *very* close to a diner next door which pretty much vents into my apt. So, when the windows are open, there is often the scent of bacon wafting through the air...:)
Your spikes are being gased. If you getting the exaust of the bacon fumes you are likely getting all of the stove exaust as well. I'd get your inside air tested. Maybe there is no problem but a test is the only way to know for sure. Needless to say you should verify this for your own health sake. They vent those fumes out of their kitchen for a reason.

Other than that, I have natural gas heat, but it just got turned on this morning and I have yet to use it.
I've lived with NG heat most of my life. It is very clean, unless you have a faulty burner or exhaust. Besides you have not used it yet so it is not a cause of your problem.

I had several peaches on the table a couple weeks in a row but nothing that I think would cause such amounts of gas that would cause spikes to blast, but maybe? I hadn't thought about that!
Even short exposures to small amounts of ethylene gas will shorten the life of flowers. It may very well cause your flower spikes to stall or terminate. You should get an ethylene test. Ethylene can come from Natural gas exhaust, aka the dinner next door.

OK, Wake up and smell the bacon.

This is the type of topic and investigation that I hope newer growers (like myself!) can learn from our forum. :)
A grower is someone who "grows" plants not just keeps them.
If you are experiencing a problem with plant growth change something until you learn what makes the plant grow. If it dies get another and try again.
Onward and upward we go, as long as we step forward. But always look back.
 

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Most plants, especially Phrag besseae are exposed to moisture in the form of rain and humidity so water would get in the crowns anyway. However, I found that water in the crowns of my besseae hybrids [65 and adding] almost always led to some kind of rotting problem so at the most I only get water in the crown from light misting. I almost never pour water into the leaves and when I do I immediately blow it out. [puff] I think it's worth it to do this to protect the investment I've made in these plants. :wink:
 

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NYEric said:
Most plants, especially Phrag besseae are exposed to moisture in the form of rain and humidity so water would get in the crowns anyway. However, I found that water in the crowns of my besseae hybrids [65 and adding] almost always led to some kind of rotting problem so at the most I only get water in the crown from light misting. I almost never pour water into the leaves and when I do I immediately blow it out. [puff] I think it's worth it to do this to protect the investment I've made in these plants. :wink:
Absolutely it is worth it to protect your investment. I'm not suggesting that water in the crowns does not lead to problems. I would never let water stand purposely in the crown of a plant overnight. I think everyone should each night say goodnight to their plants and soak up any excess water with a swab. Quality time.

I would also suggest it may be worth it to try to learn why under your conditions water on the crowns causes a problem. Could be a fun journey, just don't try on your favorite plants.:wink:

What I am saying is that the water should not the problem. It should be possible but perhaps not practically to adjust your growing conditions (environment) to better grow the plants so that water no longer causes a problem. I'm not suggesting one needs to find an exact copy of the natural environment of a plant. Quite the opposite when it comes to growing beautiful plants we can improve on Nature. All we need do is eliminate the negative factors and optimize the positive ones.

As you say besseae are wet in nature. So there exists some growing conditions that will allow them to be wet in your collection without rotting. Once you find this balance your plants growth will be optimized. Plants that rot because water gets on the leaves are not growing in an optimum environment. So my point is, make environmental changes until everything is perfect.

It is all about trial and error. It may not be possible for someone to change their environment, in this case it is best to do what keeps the plants alive and well. But as time goes on concepts become accepted as fact that may in fact not be. It seems to be a universal accepted fact that besseae and it's hybrids rot easily if water gets into the crowns. But I just don't think water is what causes the problem.

When a new grower reads advice to never get water in the crown, that advice is likely taken to heart and the plant may never get a leaf bath.
Plants in the exposed environment need water (lots of it) on their foliage to grow at their optimum. It is very important.

Here is something to tnink about. Phrags have a leaf structure that naturally diverts water inward towards the crown of the plant. If water were a natural problem in the crown of the phrag the leaf structure would divert water outward and away.
 

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gonewild said:
When a new grower reads advice to never get water in the crown, that advice is likely taken to heart and the plant may never get a leaf bath.
Plants in the exposed environment need water (lots of it) on their foliage to grow at their optimum. It is very important.
I've seen that with our customers. They bring their plants in for repotting, and now and then one (or a bunch) comes in with a thick coat of dust.
gonewild said:
Here is something to tnink about. Phrags have a leaf structure that naturally diverts water inward towards the crown of the plant. If water were a natural problem in the crown of the phrag the leaf structure would divert water outward and away.
That's a very interesting observation. A lot should be said for air movement.
 

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gonewild said:
Your spikes are being gased. If you getting the exaust of the bacon fumes you are likely getting all of the stove exaust as well. I'd get your inside air tested. Maybe there is no problem but a test is the only way to know for sure. Needless to say you should verify this for your own health sake. They vent those fumes out of their kitchen for a reason.

I've lived with NG heat most of my life. It is very clean, unless you have a faulty burner or exhaust. Besides you have not used it yet so it is not a cause of your problem.

Even short exposures to small amounts of ethylene gas will shorten the life of flowers. It may very well cause your flower spikes to stall or terminate. You should get an ethylene test. Ethylene can come from Natural gas exhaust, aka the dinner next door.

OK, Wake up and smell the bacon.

Hrmmm......okay, I will look into testing...not sure where to start but Google is my friend. :)
 

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