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Old 11-17-2007, 07:00 AM
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Winter Care

Hi,
I have two phals. They are both growing new leaves and have some bumps that have been identified as new roots in a previous thread. Any growth now seems to have stopped.

I live in Glasgow, Scotland and there is now little sun getting into my flat. I have moved them closer to windows so they get as much light as possible. I also now have the gas central heating on which is quite dry. I have dishes of water near the plants to help increase humidity.

Is there anyting I can do to help them grow or adapt to the new temperature and light levels?

Another problem is that one of the phals now has a damaged leaf (the new, growing leaf). I can only describe it as a half moon shaped hole at the seam about 2 cm up from the crown. It looks like someone has nipped it with their thumb nail (this hasn't happened). What could it be? I have moved it from the room where this happened. I have taken photos but it doesn't show up well so haven't bothered to post a photo.

A
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:28 AM
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Central heating with a gas furnace ( I have the same) will make the air very dry. I am not sure if placing dishes of water will be enough to bring up the humidity to above 50%.

It may help to add a small humidifier. A cool-mist humidifier (1G) is about $40CAD here.

I think the leaves will turn darker if there is insufficient light. Have they done so?

As for the hole it could be caused by an insect. Is the edge of the hole fresh?

If you suspect something is gnawing at the leaf do as what Anton suggested in another thread. Immerse the whole plant in water for about 20 mins (may be longer?). That should drown any insect that may be hiding in the medium.

Good luck
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:40 AM
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I have phals, and have not had any problems (so far) with the light/temperature changes. I would be careful about submerging the whole plant at this time of year (in the UK) as they take much longer to dry.

I have my phals (and other orchids) on a very broad windowsills and also have gas central heating. As you have already moved them closer to your windows I would suggest you keep an eye on your plants and tackle each problem (if any) individually as it arises.

I find that the time between watering, for all the orchids I have, has now doubled (in some cases trebled) from the summer regime. I would suggest the skewer method as an acurate indicator of their needs.
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Old 11-17-2007, 02:01 PM
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Using a tray of pebbles and water as a saucer underneath your phals will raise the humidity approx 10%, which is better then nothing. Grouping your plants together helps to maintain humidity as well. Any plant will do, they don't have to be orchids.
Better description: have a tray of small pebbles or gravel and pour water over the top of them until they are half submerged. Place your orchid pot directly on top of the pebbles, making sure none of the pot sits below the water line. Hope this helps.
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Old 11-17-2007, 02:34 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

Pikevi - the edges are fresh (still green) and it happened a couple of days ago. I'm keeping my eye on it. There are tiny bugs on the bark but these were identified in another thread as wood eating mites. They are too tiny to have made the hole and are never on the plant. Yes, the leaves have become darker. Do you have the link for Anton's thread on submerging the whole plant? I remember seeing it somewhere but not sure exactly where.
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Old 11-17-2007, 03:33 PM
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I can only repeat whats been said really, but here are a few other tips.

Keep them as close to the windows as possible, but be careful about temps. The windows will often be quite cold this time of year so don't let the leaves touch it.

I also cut back on watering now, in some cases quite extremely. As Tizzycat said, the skewer method is very very useful to get an idea of when to water now, as pots will dry out alot slower, and the cold and damp combo only leads to bad things.

Water in the mornings only to avoid leaving plants too damp overnight.

If you can grow them in your kitchen window that would be the best thing. Kitchens are usually warmer as with cooking, and have a slightly higher humidity.

A dab of cinnamon on the cut will keep it clean till it starts to heal.

Tom499
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Old 11-17-2007, 05:40 PM
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Ann - make them as WARM as you can. Cool winters will effectively put your phals into a state of suspended animation. The first winter I had phals this happened to me - just like owning plastic plants - no growing - no dying - no nothing. Trying to save money on energy and making your phals happy doesn't compute unfortunately. As was suggested - try to increase the temperature - if you cannot make a room warm, think of potentially enclosing an area or partially enclosing an area for them - where they can be happy. Good luck! Mike

Last edited by mayres; 11-17-2007 at 05:41 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-20-2007, 06:22 PM
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Definately cinnamon on the cut? Sounds strange but will give it a try.
Had the plant in the warmest room and that's where it got bitten! I'm not sure but it looks like the bite might be cracking/splitting. Could this be happening as the leaf opens out? (it's on a new leaf).

Mike - both phals have been in suspended animation for months. Should I fertilize to speed up growth? I bought some orchid fertilizer before but mould formed in the bottle so I threw it out and I didn't replace it. Are you meaning something like a mini indoor greenhouse when you suggest partially enclosing them?
A
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Old 11-30-2007, 05:27 PM
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I was thinking about what might help in this situation and I'm not an expert, but I was thinking why not put the phals in an aquarium. This would keep the humidity up. If more light is necessary how about using a couple of flourescent tubes on the top. For heat this could be placed in a warm area of the home. For added humidity in the aquarium, maybe some moist spagnum moss. The only problem I can see with this would be that it would decrease air movement around the plants and may get stuffy in there. I think to combat this I would take off the lights at night so fresh air can enter. Just a thought. Hope it helps.
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