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It’s a sad day in my little jungle… Big Phal has passed away.

I tried to save him from ending up in the trash bin after being super dehydrated, but I think I just made things worse. When I got him home I de-potted him and found a ton of nice thick roots tightly packed in moss that was dry on the outside, but damp in the core. I rinsed him off and gave him a good soak in nice warm water before potting him up in some Miracle Grow Orchid Bark.

Bad idea…

For one, I didn’t soak the bark before potting him up. If I had soaked the bark first maybe things would be diff. The bark would have had time to absorb the water so that the roots could then absorb it from the bark. But since I didn’t, I think it did the reverse… I think that the bark pulled water from the roots thus dehydrating it even more!

Two – That MG Orchid Bark mix actually has a lot of soil in it which I believe does not allow air to get to the roots so that it can dry out.

So it appears I managed to dehydrate the poor guy and cause him root rot all at once.

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The picture above was taken about a week after I had him. his leaves looked yellowy and the bottom one started to curl in. That should have been a sign, but I left him alone since the leaves seemed thick and full of water. A week after that the curled leaf started to shrivel so I took Big Phal out of the pot again and found a lot of the roots looked empty. I decided not to go back to the bark, but use sphag instead. I guess it was too late by then, but I didn’t want to give up.

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Eventually a leaf fell off every 2 days until there were no more left. *sigh*

Only thing left to do is take what I learned from this experience and apply it to the other 4 orchids I rescued along with Big Phal.