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Old 03-26-2016, 07:37 AM
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Help with den phal?

Hi all, I was hoping one of you would be kind enough to give me some advice regarding one of my newer orchids.
I bought it from my supermarket and it was just labelled as a dendrobium, but judging by the flowers that were on it I believe it is a dendrobium phalaenopsis. It was potted in a very soily medium so I moved it over to the orchid bark chippings I use for my phals and added a couple of extra drainage holes to the pot.

The problem is, since I've owned it, things have just been getting worse. It started losing its flowers almost immediately, about 2-3 a week, and I've lost a few leaves too that just turned yellow and dropped. When the last flower dropped I trimmed down the flower spike. I realised that the old potting mix, and possibly some stress of the repotting and a new environment might take its toll but things just seem to be going from bad to worse. I think it's probably best to just leave you with some photos and see what you all think? I've tried looking up advice but can't seem to find exactly what I'm looking for (I'm fairly new to orchids and have only kept phals before which are a doddle, so I sometimes struggle with all the new terminology).
You'll see in the pics a couple of the pseudo bulbs/canes (see I told you I'm rubbish at the names!) are not looking good (rotting?). Also, it's unpotted at the moment because it won't actually stay in its pot and anchor itself like my phals have.



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Old 03-26-2016, 09:25 AM
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Dendrobium is very sensitive to transplanting. Use something that dries up in max. one day (pebbles and little bark) and not a water until it begins to grow roots.

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Old 03-26-2016, 11:09 PM
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I agree that Dens can be sensitive to repotting, but your PBs look fine. I think I see one new growth in one of the pictures, it should be putting out new roots. If you are having trouble getting it to stay in the pot, a stake or two might help. Or if you want to you can make a rhizome clip by putting a hole in each side of the pot near the top and running a wire from one hole to the other across the rhizome to hold it in place until the roots grow into the medium. I , personally , would soak the roots before potting it up as they look pretty dry. I usually soak the roots when repotting in either KLN or Kelpmax. but if you don't have either of those water will do.
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:07 AM
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Your dendrobium should start to grow a new pseudobulb in few weeks; new growths develop from “eyes” near the base of old pseudobulbs. If the plants are dry the canes provide the water and nourishment the plants need. Soaking, watering and misting the plant at this time would cause the plant more sufferance.
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:55 AM
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Thank you for the replies, sounds like things might not be as bad as I had thought, which is a relief.

I've already had it staked, but because I'm keeping the orchid bark dry most of the time, it isn't all that stable itself and just ends up leaning over with the plant. The rhizome clip sounds like a good solution - thank you.

Some of you disagree on whether I need to wet the roots or not; is there any 'tell' that the den phals have to let me know if they need watering? Being used to phals, I know to look at their roots and can know if and when to water, but my den phal's roots don't seem to look much different.

Finally, should I be concerned about the canes that have turned yellowy and soft? Is this just a normal part of the plant's development? Do I need to do anything with them?

Thank you all again!
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Old 03-27-2016, 12:25 PM
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If the picture is recent, the plant does not look bad, but too much watered. Neglect it and will come back to life.
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Old 03-28-2016, 07:23 AM
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FWIW - Den phals or Phal dens (I've seen both terms used) are not phalaenopis ...as in the moth orchid phalaenopsis. Thinking the culture is similar to phalaenopsis is an easy mistake and one that I've seen often because most people are used to seeing the abbreviated phal w/Phalaenopsis.

The phal part of this den name actually refers to Phalanthe which is a section of Dendrobium. There is also something about a D phalaenopsis but my understanding is there is much controversy in that somewhere. Regardless, think of them as a group of Dens...having nothing to do w/the moth orchid phals.


I don't grow this group of orchids but here is a great article (from the AOS) on the group and how to grow them.

https://www.aos.org/Default.aspx?id=457
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Old 03-28-2016, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katrina View Post
FWIW - Den phals or Phal dens (I've seen both terms used) are not phalaenopis ...as in the moth orchid phalaenopsis. Thinking the culture is similar to phalaenopsis is an easy mistake and one that I've seen often because most people are used to seeing the abbreviated phal w/Phalaenopsis.

The phal part of this den name actually refers to Phalanthe which is a section of Dendrobium. There is also something about a D phalaenopsis but my understanding is there is much controversy in that somewhere. Regardless, think of them as a group of Dens...having nothing to do w/the moth orchid phals.


I don't grow this group of orchids but here is a great article (from the AOS) on the group and how to grow them.

https://www.aos.org/Default.aspx?id=457
Hi, I am aware that what I have is a species of dendrobium, not a species of phalaenopsis and therefore needs different care, but what that care is is proving hard to pin down. The link you provided, for example, states to water them twice a week, whereas other sites and the other users claim it needs a lot less than that. Understandably it must be difficult to be specific as the watering schedule will vary based on a number of factors such as temp, humidity, growth activity etc, which is why one of my questions was asking if the den phals have a 'tell' so I can make a judgement on whether to water or not. I only compared them to my phals in the sense that their roots are the obvious 'tell' for them as they go from green to silver.

One thing I am now confused on is the name - I have seen dendrobium phalaenopsis written numerous times, but never this other word. I had also read that these plants were named for their similarity (in terms of flowers) to the phalaenopsis species, and I believe they are also called 'biggibums'. Is it possible that we are talking about two different dendrobium sub-species?

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Old 03-28-2016, 03:08 PM
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The article covers both the phalaenopsis and phalanthe part...but not in great detail. You can do more digging on sections w/in dens, at this point though, don't let it bog you down as it's not critical info. I was just looking to make sure you understood it is a different plant. Getting into all the sections stuff is interesting and if you'd like to explore it more there are some really good books on dens. For now though...its not necessary info for you in terms of learning to grow them.

As to the culture..when I used to grow them...more moisture when actively growing and more dry when during the winter. For me that meant watering just before bone dry during active phase and a short periods of dry between watering in the winter. To the best of my knowledge, there is no telltale sign...you'll just have to do a little trial and error. No different from growing most of these...you learn the basics and then adjust things in your culture until you get it right. The article did a really good job of covering all the basics and that's your starting off point.

If you're using plastic pots...the weight of the pot is a good tell as to when to water. Just watered is heavier. Always better to err on the side of too dry vs too much water so it you aren't sure then wait a day or to and then water.

And yes, only you will know how many days it takes to dry under your conditions so putting numbers to anything can be difficult.

Almost forgot...what you have is a hybrid and while I don't know what species comprise your hybrid...there is a good bet it has some bigibbum in there, yes. I'm no expert on this section of dens but I believe D bigibbum var superbum is aka D phalaenopis. However, if memory serves me, there is a good deal of controversy when it comes to the nomenclature with phalaenopsis, bigbbum and superbiens (and maybe one or two more too)...some believe they are all the same species but with slight variations and geographical ranges. Either way, they are closely related and look very similar. Many, many, many of these "hard cane" dens have a mix of species in their background. It gets really confusing (for me at least!) but just know that you have a hybrid w/in that section and you're good.
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Old 03-28-2016, 03:38 PM
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Hello froggy901! Just give it time to adjust and acclimate. Once your temps go much warmer it will resume growing new roots and new canes.
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Old 03-29-2016, 07:39 PM
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Please excuse me, I wrote pseudobulb in some places instead of cane.
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Old 03-30-2016, 03:19 PM
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I like to put these in a fast-draining mix and water them very well. They like to be warm and have good light all year but if you have cooler temperatures, it makes sense to water less so the roots do not rot. Some of them do not like having their roots disturbed and the roots will die when potted. With new growth comes new roots, however, so the Dendrobium should be perfectly fine.
Good luck!
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Old 04-11-2016, 08:08 PM
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Probably 1/3 of my collection is dendrobiums mainly species but many hybrids also. Quite honestly I treat this type of den. hybrid very similar to some Phalaenopsis hybrids. From your pictures I don't see too much wrong. You may have stressed it somewhat but I find these to be pretty hardy. Use a pot as small as possible and if you have trouble keeping it upright you can stake it. I use a medium bark(usually orchiata) that I mix with perlite. It drains well but retains some moisture. I find that the Phalaenopsis type den hybrids slso don't need much of a dry period come winter. I do cool it down a bit but otherwise do t do anything out of the ordinary. Once you get it repotted, it may still yet lose a leaf or two. They're no different than other dens, they can and do lose leaves. Give it a chance, I think it'll be fine.


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