I had previously asked a question about my Orchids (How Should I Take Care of These Two Phalaenopsis Orchids with Different Behaviors?) and I've read the other questions on the website, however I noticed something odd yesterday that's not discussed in the previous questions, so that's why I'm here again!

This Orchid has been doing really well, and it's full of flowers at the moment, but one of the leaves is almost falling off, turning yellow from the base. I feel the same thing is going to happen with the other leave. This is while the stem of flowers is growing from that certain 'bush'. What should I do?

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UPDATE: As I'm waiting here for someone's help, that leave just came off yesterday, and the other one today. The small leaves also look unhealthy and moldy. The stem still seems pretty happy and the flowers are all in good order.

I keep looking closely, and that stem comes just below these leaves and that worries me, unless it's the other 'trunk' beside it that is supporting the flowers.

I feel the roots have changed a bit, too (those dark lines on the roots on the right of the leaves in the picture below).

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I would expect the total growth of the nearer set of leaves on this plant (nearer to camera in the last view) to die. I don't know what was the plant's history, but it is clear that something, perhaps water left in the leaf axils (where the leaves emerge from the growing stem) started a rot, but I'll be first to admit that I had not seen this happen with yellowing at the indicated location, but rather with blackening, when the whole growth died. I have, however seen this yellowing when there were two growths from an original stem and something about the water and amount of salts built up in the potting medium was not right...too much salt buildup. However, I don't see a picture which informs me of the condition of salt buildup, if there were any. The roots look OK at the surface, and this type of plant with those very thick roots typically have silvery roots when they dry off properly, and greenish roots when they are properly watered before they dry off again. If you are not getting high quality water to the root tips, either where new ones emerge from the stem below leaves, or way out there where these roots grow away from the pot, then the plant may be suffering from insufficient water, regardless of how much you pour through the pot (and it should pour through very freely for those with the very large roots. If those very large roots are slightly flat, then they also photosynthesize when they are wet and contribute to making food for the plant. Remember that these Phalaenopsis plants don't grow in pots in nature, but have those roots all over branch or rock surfaces where with those species that make up the background of your plant get frequent showers, great ventilation and reasonably quick drying of the root surfaces. They only need to be wet for 20 - 30 minutes to feed the plant, but do need to get wet.

  • Thank you for your response Paul. You can have more info about the pot in this other question gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/14567/… I think I may have over watered them at one point months ago, but have stopped doing so since then, and that white spot is just mold, not salt, AFAIK. so, will the flower be fine as is? I'm keeping it in a clear pot indoors, away from window as it gets cold there. The climate is pretty damp. – Neeku Dec 2 '14 at 0:02
  • 5 years now and this baby still produces flowers. One of the two stems is gone but the other one does well. – Neeku Apr 9 '19 at 9:36

I believe you have crown rot on that orchid. Basically, water got down in the leaf and sat there, causing rot. I don't know for sure, but I don't think that the main plant will recover, because it's damaged where the new leaves come from. Also, since Phals typically produce spikes from below the third leaf (counted from the top) I don't know if you'll get another spike that you could get a keiki off of. If you do have a spike currently, I'd consider ordering some keiki paste and see if you can get it to produce some.

While doing some quick research I did see a couple of instances where a new plant grew up at the base of the old one, but I don't know how likely that is. I'll post a link to a video on orchid crown rot here: Brad's Greenhouse: Crown Rot. You should look at all this guys stuff. I watch his videos a lot. He has lots of them and is always posting new stuff. Based on this post and your other one, I think you could get some solid info on orchid care from him. I know it's frustrating not to have the knowledge that you want. Good luck and I hope you can salvage your orchids.

  • Just an update 5 years later! The plant did recover with some care and managed to survive. It's been blooming and hibernating regularly and still manages to give flowers. – Neeku Apr 9 '19 at 9:37

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