Sunday, 23 June 2019 23:37

22 June 2019 - Setting up the Contenders

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I picked up four Phalaenopsis for this project so at least one should make the transition, but there is no reason all four cannot successfully be acclimated.  They are all named to distinguish one from the other three.  I do this simply because here I will keep track of their progress - new roots and new leaf growth - along with pictures when required. One may notice a pattern of the chosen names as favored charachters from 'Game of Thrones'.


Davos Seaworth (A)  Coming in with 4 leaves, the top 2 measuring about 3 inches in length each so I doubt they continue to grow so new leaf growth is expected when the Phalaenopsis is ready. It has a cluster of about a dozen medium length, old roots with a yellow-green bloom.


Tyrion Lannister (B)  Coming in with 4 leaves, the newest leaf is less than 1 inch in length I suspect the bottom 2 will drop (they already look a little flimsy and weak, perhaps even yellowing as I write this), the top leaf is just about an inch in length.  It has a cluster of 9 medium length, old roots with a pink bloom.


Littlefinger  (C)  Coming in with 5 leaves, the top two are probably at maximum length so a new leaf is expected, the bottom two leaves seem to be floppy as well as weak in appearance, so they may drop.  It has a cluster of 6 medium length, old roots with a blue-red bloom.


The Hound  (D)  Coming in with 6 leaves, the top two are probably at maximum length so a new leaf is expected, the bottom two leaves seem to be floppy as well as weak in appearance, so they may drop.  It has a large cluster of medium length, old roots with a blue-red bloom.


Now that we have met the conenders for this game of thrones, shall we begin?


  • Spikes get cut off at the stem.  (I haven't done this yet, but it will happen, the remaining buds should not take that much energy to open)
  • Dead / weakened  roots are cut back to stem.


Simply stated, you want to suspend the  Phalaenopsis so that the bottom is inserted into the humid environment created by the water reservoir.  The bottom two most healthiest leaves, resting on the frame or cup lid.  New roots will form and grow down.   Again as they reach about 2 inches in length, cut one or two old roots back to the stem.  This will induce additional roots.  Repeat the process until all old roots have been removed.  At the same time, raise the water level so that the new roots almost come into contact with the water's surface, and most likely they will start extending under the level of the water.  Their is a chance they may skim the surface but still be in contact with the water.  Eventually they will dive below the water's surface level.


Below is my attempt at building a cradle for the Phalaenopsis. I got lids from a fast food restaurant  and cut a small opening where a straw would be inserted.  Easier to cut a small whole and slowly make it bigger.  For placing the Phal in the cut-out I just cut from the edge of the lid to the whole.


In the images below I used a quarter for a point of reference for the size of Phalaenopsis.



By luck, I got lids from a fast food restaurant with the straw opening in the middle.  Not sure if this is common or not.  I cut a small hole using the small cuts for a drinking straw.  I then cut from the center hole to the edge.  This cut allows for the mini-Phal. to be slid carefully and with some ease into position.  Ideal, the hole should be big enough so that the bottom two leaves rest on the cup, but cannot easily fall through the lid.  

The mini-Phal. is in place and the bottom leaves are resting on the lid, the bottom of the stem of the mini-Phal is below the lid.  This is the are where new roots will develop.  Keep in mind that the Phal. is monopodal, so they grow up in a vertical direction developing new leaves on top of older leaves.  The new leaf if the mini-Phal is thriving should be the same size as the leaf below.  These plants do not create a very wide leaf-spread.  Roots can develop from the spaces between leaves as can a new spike for blossoms.  I am not interested in a new spike until the mini-Phal. is acclimated to hydroponics.  As for new roots above the lid, they will be trimmed when needed.

A closer look of the base of the mini-Phal's stem below the lid.
A closer look of the base of the mini-Phal's stem below the lid.  



Coninuing Care


The old roots are still terrestrial in nature and the Phalaenopsis will still require some watering (a drenching of the roots and allowed to dry-off before the next watering - just as if it was in a pot ).   I would cut a hole or a triangle out of the lid large enough to add water soaking the old roots and then drain (pour out) so they can dry.  This is when an old turkey baster comes in handy.  To cover /seal your cut-out for adding removing water you can just use plastic food wrap.

For the time being, just treat the Phalaenopsis as normal.  bright light, but not direct sun, not in extreme heat either. Every time you water, look through the clear plastic for any new root growth.  Their is no time schedule on this.  It can happen very quickly (2 weeks for the first sign) or a month.  It really is up to the Phalaenopsis now.

I do not expect much to take place during July.  By the end of July, hopefully all 4 contenders will have new roots, and I won't complain if they have new leaf growth as well.  I am more focussed on the roots at this time.


Unless something dramatic happens, I will update this on or about 15 July  2019.


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