- Taking Care of Your Orchid: What Are Air Roots?
- What are Air Roots?
- Caring for Air Roots
- Identifying New Orchid Growth: Is It a Root or a New Flower Spike?
- Distinguishing Between an Orchid Flower Spike and a Root
- Orchid Flower Spike or Root?
- As Your Orchid Flower Spike Grows
- Orchid Root Health: 3 Tips You Need to Know
- Frequently Asked Questions About Orchids
- Our current topics:
- How do I repot my orchid?
- Can I repot my orchid when it is in spike or blooming?
- Why do you recommend urea-free fertilizer?
- Why won’t my orchid plant bloom?
- How often should I water my orchids?
- Why are my orchid’s leaves wrinkled?
- What is this clear sticky substance I have on the spikes and leaves of my orchid?
- Why are my buds turning yellow and falling off?
- My Phalaenopsis has stopped blooming and gone dormant. Now what do I do?
- I’m doing the same things I’ve always done, but this year my orchid didn’t bloom. What’s wrong?
- Do I cut the spike back when my orchid is finished blooming?
- My orchid has dropped some leaves. It is ok?
- I’ve got black spots on my leaves, what could this be?
- Orchid Care Tips Part 1 – Understanding The Colors Of The Orchid Roots
- Green orchid roots
- Silver/grey orchid roots
- Brown color
- White roots
- Orchid Is Growing Roots – What To Do With Orchid Roots Coming From Plant
- Orchid Air Roots
- What to Do With Orchid Roots?
Taking Care of Your Orchid: What Are Air Roots?
Orchid air roots are not that uncommon. But if you are new to Phalaenopsis orchids, the term may be unfamiliar to you. If you ever notice some of your orchid’s roots beginning to grow or loop above the surface of the growing medium, you have air roots.
They’re also known as aerial roots and can be a little daunting at first. You may worry that your orchid has become pot-bound and is in need of repotting. This is a common error.
As a rule, Phalaenopsis orchids only need to be repotted every year or two. Your potting mix really doesn’t have much to do with it, but let’s take a look at how orchid air roots develop and grow.
What are Air Roots?
Air roots are normal in Phalaenopsis and other epiphyte orchids. Epiphyte means they grow on other plants, which is typically a tree in a tropical rainforest. Unlike terrestrial orchids that root in the earth, epiphyte orchids grow above the ground, using their roots to attach themselves to tree branches.
In their native tropic environment, Phalaenopsis orchids can be found clinging to tree branches high above the jungle floor. Plants that grow this way are trying to reach the light filtering through the leafy canopy. The indirect sunlight is more plentiful above ground.
Unlike other plants that attach themselves to trees, Phalaenopsis orchids are not parasitic. Epiphyte orchids use their roots to absorb nutrients from the air. They also absorb moisture and get the carbon dioxide they need to thrive directly from the air. This unique root system uses the humidity around it to get the water and nutrients it needs to survive.
Caring for Air Roots
If your orchid air roots are firm and white, they are healthy. You don’t need to do anything at all. This is normal behavior.
If you examine the roots of your Phalaenopsis orchid, you will notice that they are thick and coated with a spongy material. This material not only helps keep the plant attached to tree bark, but it also aids nutrient absorption.
This spongy epidural tissue is called “velamen.” It’s like skin, but this is not thick skin. It only goes a few cells deep.
Velamen helps orchid roots absorb water and nitrogen from the air. It also provides the stickiness that allows epiphytic orchids to cling to tree branches. When Phalaenopsis orchid roots are healthy, velamen is silvery-white, round and plump.
You should definitely not remove healthy air roots. There’s a good chance you can harm your plant. You could even introduce a dangerous virus.
In homes with low humidity, air roots can turn yellow and shrivel. Should this occur, wait until your orchid stops blooming, then use a sterile knife or scissors to cut away the shriveled roots.
There’s also the chance your plant is outgrowing your pot. If you need to repot your plant, here’s an easy way to learn how. You can watch our video. It will show you everything you need to know.
Or you can for some orchid root health tips.
Identifying New Orchid Growth: Is It a Root or a New Flower Spike?
It is exciting when you first spy a tiny bump of green poking out among the leaves at the base of your Phalaenopsis orchid plant. Is it an aerial root or could it be a new flower spike? In Phalaenopsis orchids, both roots and spikes begin as tiny green shoots; and it can be tricky to tell them apart, especially if you’re an orchid newbie. You may have to wait to see what develops.
Patience Pays Off
As you gain experience with your orchid, the differences between roots and spikes will become more evident. Determining whether a new growth is a root or a flower spike is largely a matter of visual observation and time. You should wait to stake a new growth until you see that it is in fact a flower spike and is as tall as the stake itself. Quite often, Phalaenopsis orchids will send up new leaves and new roots shortly before producing a new flower stalk.
Here’s what to look for when identifying new orchid growths:
- Orchid roots have rounded green tips. As roots grow, they are covered with a protective substance that gives them a whitish or silvery appearance. Aerial roots that hang from the orchid’s spike or curl up and over the edges of its pot are common in Phalaenopsis orchids.
- Flower spikes are usually greener than roots and have a flatter, mitten-shaped tip. While growing, spikes remain green along their full length. Spikes usually emerge from between the plant’s leaves, not from the plant’s center.
Take some time to discover more about orchid anatomy and how orchids grow.
Distinguishing Between an Orchid Flower Spike and a Root
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When I first starting growing moth orchids, or Phalaenopsis, I got excited over every little new growth that would show up at the base of the plant. I kept thinking that a new orchid flower spike was growing, when in fact most of the time they were just roots! So I kept looking…and looking…and waiting…until I finally saw something that looked a little different. Different enough to know that it wasn’t yet another root. It was finally a new flower spike growing!
After my moth orchid collection expanded and I was successful in getting them to rebloom regularly, it became very easy to tell when a new flower spike was growing.
Keep reading, and you will be able to tell shortly too. And if you only have one plant and you have been successful in keeping it alive, go buy a few more to give yourself more practice!
Orchid Flower Spike or Root?
When a new root or flower spike starts to grow at the base of the Phalaenopsis, look carefully. There is a distinct difference between the two. Take a look at the picture below.
The short reddish growth on the left of the base of the plant is a root, and the growth on the right is a flower spike. You can see that the root on the left is rounder and it has a uniform tip.
Normally on most moth orchids, it will probably be light green in color, but in this particular plant it’s reddish.
Now take a look at the flower spike on the right. Again, this is reddish in color, but most will be a light green in color. If you look at the tip, you can see that it’s not just a round tip like the root on the left.
Here is an another example of an orchid flower spike just to show you another one that looks more green in color. The characteristic shape is still there though!
In both cases, you’ll see that most of the length of the flower spike is pretty uniform until it gets close to the tip. Then you’ll see the tip almost looks like the shape of a mitten.
This “mitten” in the picture above is a bit rounder in shape. Most of the time, they’ll look a little pointier. But the tips will generally be in the shape of a mitten.
As Your Orchid Flower Spike Grows
One very important thing to remember is that once your flower spike starts growing, you don’t want to rotate the pot at your window.
Normally, you’ll want to rotate houseplants every so often to encourage even growth and so that one side of the plant doesn’t lean excessively towards the window.
You DON’T want to do this when you notice a flower spike starting to grow. The flower spike will want to grow towards the window.
If you keep turning your plant, the flower spike will keep bending towards the window and it won’t have a very attractive shape.
Another thing you’ll want to do as the flower spike starts growing is to insert a bamboo stake into the pot so that you can start clipping the flower spike to the stake as it grows.
You can buy special plastic orchid clips made specifically for this purpose. And these clips are not limited to using just for orchids. You can use them for other plants as well.
Take a look at the picture above. You can see the flower spike on two orchids clipped to the bamboo stakes with plastic orchid clips. Don’t be tempted to clip the flower spike to a bamboo stake too early.
Wait until the flower spike it at least a few inches long. Otherwise you may risk snapping the flower spike off. I did that once and I was furious with myself! Be very gentle and don’t force things too much. As the flower spike grows longer, it’ll be easier.
Normally, as the flower spike grows, I’ll either take a second clip, or just move the original one higher up to support the flower spike. And don’t forget, don’t rotate the pot at the window as the flower spike is growing!
For more information on a variety of other topics related to growing moth orchids, check out the links to my other blog posts below for more details!
If you can’t figure out why your moth orchid won’t rebloom, click HERE to find out why.
For general information on how to properly care for your moth orchid, click HERE.
To find out what to do with your moth orchid after it is done blooming, click HERE.
For information on knowing when to repot your moth orchid, click HERE.
Lastly, if you would like to learn all of my knowledge on growing these place, click HERE to check out my book, Moth Orchid Mastery, which was a #1 New Release on Amazon. The book is available in eBook, paperback and even audio book! It contains practically all my knowledge on moth orchids, and I know that it will make you a successful grower!
You do not have to have a Kindle in order to view it if you choose to get the eBook. If you are reading on any phone or tablet, you can just download the free Kindle app, and then download the book through there.
If you are outside of the U.S.A., the direct link to my book that I included above may not work. Just go to your country’s Amazon website, and then search for Moth Orchid Mastery. Don’t take my word for it though. Check out the reviews and all the happy customers. You won’t regret it!
Orchid Root Health: 3 Tips You Need to Know
Your orchid’s roots are vital to its health, providing nutrients and other necessities as the plant goes through its lifecycle. A Phalaenopsis orchid’s roots are hard to miss and provide keys to the plant’s health.
Orchid roots go in search of food, light and moisture, so instead of staying beneath the soil like most other roots, orchid roots twist and turn in all directions. Sometimes they stick out from the pot, which can help them absorb moisture, but most roots stay hidden within the orchid’s drainage pot. To check the plant’s health, it can be helpful to pick it up from its decorative pot and take a look at its roots, which will be visible under the potting media.
Here’s a look at what your orchid’s roots may be telling you:
Root Appearance: Vibrant green
The Fix: Nothing! Vibrant green roots are a sign of root health.
Root Appearance: Grayish/white
The Fix: Roots that are gray or white indicate your orchid may need more water. Just keep watering your orchid as you normally do. If you check it again and the roots are still white or gray, try soaking the roots in a sink of water for two minutes. Just make sure all the water is drained out of the plastic growing container before putting it back into its decorative pot.
Root Appearance: Brown/mushy
The Fix: This can be a sign of overwatering. When this happens, stop watering your orchid and wait for the roots to dry out. If the roots don’t dry out, wait until your orchid has finished blooming and trim any of the unhealthy roots with a sterile cutting tool.
Root Appearance: Sticking out above the potting media
The Fix: While it’s normal for an orchid’s roots to be seen above the potting media, you may want to choose a larger pot for your plant the next time you repot. Selecting a larger pot will give your orchid’s roots more room to comfortably grow. For repotting tips, take a look at this post.
Frequently Asked Questions About Orchids
In our continuing efforts to provide education to our website visitors, we have created a list of what are some of the most commonly asked questions for beginners and experienced orchid growers alike. If there are any other orchid topics that you would like to see covered, contact us and we will try to oblige.
Our current topics:
How do I repot?
Can I repot when my orchid is in spike or bloom?
Why do you recommend urea-free fertilizer?
Why won’t my orchid plant bloom?
How often should I water?
Why are my plant’s leaves wrinkled?
What is this clear sticky substance I have on the spikes and leaves?
Why are my buds turning yellow and falling off?
My Phalaenopsis has stopped blooming and gone dormant. What do I do?
I’m doing the same things I’ve always done, but this year my plant didn’t bloom. What’s wrong?
Do I cut the spike back when my orchid is finished blooming?
My orchid has dropped some leaves. It is ok?
I’ve got black spots on my leaves, what could this be?
How do I repot my orchid?
There are several different ways to repot, and different orchid varieties can require different repotting techniques and potting materials. We recommend that you visit our Orchid Care section for more specific information on different genus of orchid.
In general, most orchid plants that are growing in pots will break down the medium within one to two years. When repotting, remove the old mix from the pot, being careful not to break or crush too many roots. Hollow or mushy roots to the touch are considered dead and can be trimmed off. Roots that feel solid are generally the living roots. Rinse the root system thoroughly as this makes them more flexible, and cleans off the old potting medium so you can have a clearer look at the roots. Put the plant in a new pot (plastic or clay, depending on what type of orchid you have) carefully bending the aerial roots into the pot.
All orchids enjoy being rather root-bound, so make certain that there is only an extra inch or so for the roots to expand to in order to become root-bound again. You will likely crack some roots when you tuck them into the new pot and fill in with new medium.
This is inevitable and the plant should recover within a couple of weeks. In the case of using a bark medium (We highly recommend Orchiata bark), tap on the sides of the pot to help the medium settle into the pot. This reduced how much you need to press down on the medium to stable the plant. Having the plant being stable in the pot is essential for healthy growth. If the plant is loose and/or wobbly, it will most likely not grow well and should be reset into the pot.
For those using sphagnum moss, we recommend using slightly damp moss and wrapping it around the roots lightly before placing it into the pot. This way you don’t have to worry about air pockets in the bottom of the pot. After repotting, the plant sometimes needs to adjust from shock. One tip we recommend is not to water the plant for about 3 to 5 days. This will give the roots a chance to recover.
Can I repot my orchid when it is in spike or blooming?
Yes and no. It really depends on the condition of the plant and if it is necessary or not. First of all, we must confirm the difference between the phrases “in spike”, “in bud” and “in bloom”.
If an orchid is “in spike”, it has produced a stem that will eventually form buds and flower.
If an orchid is “in bud”, flower buds have emerged from the spike and could be anywhere from a few days to a month to bloom. Some orchids form the spike with buds emerging almost simultaneously.
If an orchid is “in bloom”, the flowers have emerged and are blooming.
Make sure to remember to browse our beautiful In-Spike/Bud/Bloom orchids.
If your orchid is in spike, you can repot as long as you are careful not to damage roots while repotting. There may be a couple of reasons that you want to repot while your orchid is in spike. These same reasons can apply to plants in bud or bloom.
The plant could be in drastic need of repotting. If this is the case, carefully clean away the old medium and try to avoid damaging roots. If the plant has a very poor root system to start out with and it is clearly suffering from stress, it is best recommended that you remove the flower spike as it is draining energy from the plant that could be used to help it recover.
You might want to repot it into a decorative pot before the plant blooms. If this is the case, to avoid shocking the plant, simply remove the plant and set it into the new pot without removing the old potting medium. This way you will avoid shocking the plant and it will continue its flowering schedule as usual.
If your orchid is in bud, you can repot it for the same reasons as if it was in spike. However, the risk of some (or all) buds being shocked and falling off is high. Orchids are much more forgiving if you repot when the buds have just formed and are “tight”. For the most part, you should avoid repotting when in bud if it is not necessary.
If you repot when your plant is actually blooming, it is normal for the flowers to drop faster than normal, sometimes almost immediately. Only repot when blooming if you feel it is absolutely necessary.
Why do you recommend urea-free fertilizer?
Urea requires microorganisms to break it down and convert it tonitrogen. Orchids are in soilless mixes so there are not enough microorganisms to do the job. Ammoniac and nitrate nitrogen are immediately available to the plant. Depending on what part of the country you’re in, how much sunlight you receive and what your temperatures are, you may be able to get by with a urea based fertilizer. However, people we know who have switched to urea-free have all said they get much better results. (Urea has been linked to pseudomonas disease in Phalaenopsis orchids.)
These days, we recommend our very own fertilizer called Green Jungle™, which has been giving fantastic results and blooms to hundreds of our hobbyist customers!
Why won’t my orchid plant bloom?
The most common factors are as follows:
– Not enough light
– Poor root system due to old potting medium or over watering
– Not enough temperature fluctuation
– Using a poor water source
Generally speaking, if you are not providing sufficient artificial light (see our L.E.D. Grow Lights selection or read about LED lighting technology), plants need to be close to a window, no more than 3′ away at most. Plants see light from above, not sideways, and if you grow your plants too far from a window you will notice new growths becoming smaller and the leaves much narrower. They will not be able to store the energy they need to bloom.
Poor root systems are caused by over-watering, or forgetting to repot when the medium is broken down. If this happens you will have to repot is as soon as possible in order to re-establish the root system.
Temperatures should fluctuate below 65° Fahrenheit at night (preferable 60°) to above 65-75° during the day. Generally a 7-10° temperature fluctuation is needed to initiate decent flowering for most orchids.
Water should be clean. We always recommend using rain, distilled or reverse osmosis water. Soften water has too many minerals and will most likely slow down, damage, or kill root growth in orchids.
How often should I water my orchids?
Orchids need to dry out somewhat between watering. In general, most orchids in a 5″ or larger pot size will require to be thoroughly watered once per week. Smaller pots often dry out faster, and can require water two to three times per week. Do not attempt to put your plants on a watering schedule. Check your plants every 2-3 days. Are they dry down in the mix and well as on top? If so, you should water. Every grower’s plant environment is different, and you will become familiar with your plants watering needs over time.
One trick to help measure moisture is to take a sharpened wooden pencil and jam it down into the mix. Pull it out, and if the color of the wood exposed at the tip turns dark, you can be assured that there is moisture in the mix. You can also use a plastic label. The weight of the pot becomes lighter as the mix dries out. If in doubt, don’t water. Wait a day or two.
If you happen to have an epiphytic plant that is being grown on a slab, you should be watering on a daily basis or have very high humidity in order for it to grow.
Why are my orchid’s leaves wrinkled?
Wrinkled or pleated leaves are caused by a lack of moisture reaching the vegetative part of the plant. This can be caused by not watering enough, or watering too much. If you can’t figure out what you’ve done, tip the plant out of the pot and examine the roots. If they are white or tan, firm, and spread throughout the mix, you need to increase the frequency of watering. If the roots appear brown and mushy, trim them off, repot into a new mix, and decrease the frequency of watering. Always remember, orchids should never stand in water!
What is this clear sticky substance I have on the spikes and leaves of my orchid?
This is normal for most orchid flower spikes. It is simply a sugary secretion. You can mist it with lukewarm water to dissolve it off.
Why are my buds turning yellow and falling off?
This is referred to as bud blast, and can be caused by the following conditions:
The plant has been too dry between watering, causing it to withdraw moisture from the buds.
There may be some wide swings in temperature, where it may be too hot in direct sun, or the plant may be too close to an air conditioning or heating vent.
There may be some fumes in the air caused by paint, natural gas leaks, or other chemicals. Flowers naturally create their own methane and collapse after pollination to save energy for seed production. Certain forms of methane or ethylene may trigger bud or flower collapse.
Cattleyas in particular are sensitive while in bud to overwatering, causing the buds to actually turn black in the sheath.
All plants need an adequate amount of light in order to flower correctly. Placing a plant in the center of a room, on a coffee table for example, is fine for display during an evening of entertaining, but to maintain proper growth and flower development it is best to keep the plant in its growing area (near a window or under lights).
My Phalaenopsis has stopped blooming and gone dormant. Now what do I do?
Phalaenopsis orchids never really go “dormant”. When they aren’t blooming, they put energy into making new leaves and roots. Continue to provide good light, water, and fertilizer.
I’m doing the same things I’ve always done, but this year my orchid didn’t bloom. What’s wrong?
Things to consider:
Is it time to repot? We recommend repotting every 1-2 years as the mix breaks down, usually in the spring or early fall. See our potting mix and orchid repotting video. Weather conditions? Long periods of cloudy days, cooler or hotter temperatures than normal can change when blooming will occur.
Has the plant been moved to a different location?
Do I cut the spike back when my orchid is finished blooming?
This is a very common question that really depends on what type of orchid you have. In general, once orchids are finished blooming you can remove the spike with a scissors. If you do not remove the spike, the flower spike will dry up and turn brown over time. There are some orchids that can re-bloom off of the same flower spike more than once.
Certain species of Oncidium such as the papilio can bloom off of a broken or cut back spike. The most commonly re-blooming flower spike is that of the Phalaenopsis (moth orchid). If your Phalaenopsis is of mature size such as 12″ or more in leaf-span, cut it half way back just above one of the nodes (the little notches on the flower spike). It should branch out in 90-120 days with a new spike. Generally we recommend trying this only once per flower spike. Trying it a second or third time will result in less flowers. Cutting the flower spike completely off will give the plant more energy in order to produce a new flower spike with more flowers.
My orchid has dropped some leaves. It is ok?
Almost all orchids drop leaves as they grow. Phalaenopsis orchids bottom leaves will turn yellow and fall off when it starts to produce new growth. Common white and purple Dendrobiums often drop all their leaves on each cane after they have finished blooming. With most orchids, old leaf growth naturally drops once new growth starts to emerge. The only time you should be concerned about leaves dropping is when the new growth or large and mature leaves turn yellow or fall off. This usually indicates a bacteria or fungus problem (you may want to try a bactericide/fungicide spray). We have a few different Pest and Disease Control products to choose from. Unless you have a deciduous orchid that has resting periods where it may drop all of its leaves, if an orchid has no leaves it is most likely dead. Examine the plant carefully if the largest leaves or new growth are changing colors.
I’ve got black spots on my leaves, what could this be?
This is generally a leaf rot caused by types of fungi that are commonly classified as Cercospora or Colletotrichum. Many times this rot will start out as yellow spots, gradually turning to a brown or black color. Note that certain plants such as most Oncidium hybrids often get several small black spots on the leaves due to the sun. In this case it is natural spotting and will not harm the plant.
The best kind of treatment for this problem is to use a bactericide/fungicide spray such as Phyton 27. After treatment, examine to see if the spots are increasing in size or number within a week to 10 days. If you have successfully rid of the problem, the spots should dry up and turn brown. If there are still signs of new rot, repeat treatment. Leaves that are heavily covered in rot should be completely removed. Make sure you sterilize whatever tool you may use to remove the infected leaves with as it can spread the disease to other plants.
Orchid Care Tips Part 1 – Understanding The Colors Of The Orchid Roots
Understanding the colors of the orchid roots, tells us about the condition of the orchid needs for watering. This is the main factor which can help us understand if they need need to be watered or not.
To be able to correctly recognize the color of the roots make sure you buy the orchid in a clear plastic pot which you will place in a ceramic or glass pot. Most of the orchids today are sold in just such clear plastic pots so you shouldn’t have problems with purchasing such orchid.
Green orchid roots
If the color of the roots is green than orchid does not need watering. Below is the picture of healthy and firm roots that have been watered not long ago and will not be needing watering until they turn silver/grey.
Silver/grey orchid roots
The following image is showing the roots of the moth orchid that need watering. They are not very dehydrated or dry but require to be watered as a part of good watering practice. You will recognize that the orchid needs watering by the silverish/grey color of its roots.
If the roots of your orchid are brown it indicates that the orchid is being watered to much or that the roots are standing in water. The only time you want to have the roots of your orchid stand in water is when you water them and not for more than 12 hours. Letting them stand in the water for up to 12 hours during watering will make sure that the substrate gets well humid and will provide the roots of the orchid with humidity the need for normal growth.
But always remember that after they have been standing in the water during watering, that they have to be drained well. Roots that already started rotting and turned brown are not able to absorb water and nutrients which will cause your orchid to die away if not treated immediately. Since overwatering is a big issue with people that grow orchids at home, special attention was put to this part of the post.
The picture below shows the beginning of rotting of the tips of the roots. As you can see they have begun to turn violet/purple . This is your first indicator that your orchids are receiving to much water.
The picture below shows the roots of the orchid that have been standing in the water for 5 days.
On the picture of the roots above that are marked with red ellipse is clearly visible that the roots started rotting and turning brown. Roots at this phase can still be rescued. If this happens to your orchids cut away the brown roots with a sterile sharp knife and leave the green healthy roots as they are. After that leave your orchids for a few days without water for the substrate will probably still be very moist and the remaining roots will be able to gather the moist they need from this moist substrate. Remember that if the roots have turned brown that means that they are rotten and can not absorb water and nutrients properly and the only thing to do to help your orchid is to cut the brown roots away and leave the healthy ones as they are.
You will be able to recognize if your orchids roots are standing in the water by the color and structure of the aerial roots (roots that are growing outside the pot). The picture below shows the aerial roots of the orchid which has been standing in the water for 8 days.
For a better representation of what healthy aerial roots looks like you can find below the picture of just such healthy aerial roots of the orchid.
White and dry roots indicate that orchid has not been watered for a long time and that the roots have started to die away. The white roots are not able to receive any water or nutrients anymore and the only thing to do is to trim them and leave the parts of the roots that are silver/gray or green intact and hope for the best.
When you have cut the dry white roots away you do not want to water your orchid a lot because it may be a shock to it. At this point you should only spray some water on the bark to make sure that the potting material has some moisture from which the orchid will gather its needed moisture. When the edges of the roots that that have been cut away have healed you should continue with with normal watering technique.
For trimming a sterilized cutting tool should be used such as scissors, gardening shears or razor blade. Below is a picture of such white and dry roots.
The images and the content are my creation. The images were taken with my Nikon D-7000.
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Easy Tasty Snack
Oat Pattie Burger With Leek And Mustard Sauce
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Nectarines A Little Bit Differently
Chocolate Cookies With Cashew And Spelt
Orchid Is Growing Roots – What To Do With Orchid Roots Coming From Plant
If your orchids are developing crazy-looking tendrils that look a little like tentacles, don’t worry. Your orchid is growing roots, specifically aerial roots – a perfectly normal activity for this unique, epiphytic plant. Read on for more information about these orchid air roots and learn what to do with orchid roots.
Orchid Air Roots
So what are orchid tendrils? As noted above, orchids are epiphytes, which mean they grow on other plants – often trees in their native tropical rainforests. Orchids don’t hurt the tree because the humid air and the surrounding environment provide all the plant’s necessary water and nutrients.
That odd-looking orchid root or stem assists the plant in this process. In other words, orchid air roots are perfectly natural.
What to Do With Orchid Roots?
If the orchid air roots are firm and white, they are healthy and you don’t need to do anything at all. Just accept that this is normal behavior. According to orchid experts, you should definitely not remove the roots. There’s a good chance you’ll harm the plant or introduce a dangerous virus.
Trim an orchid root or stem only if it’s dry and you’re certain it’s dead, but work carefully to avoid cutting too deep and harming the plant. Be sure to sanitize your cutting tool by wiping the blades with rubbing alcohol or a solution of water and bleach before you begin.
This may be a good time to check the size of the pot. If the plant seems a little too snug, move the orchid into a larger container because overcrowded roots may escape and look for space to grow above the surface of the soil. Be sure to use a potting mix suitable for orchids. (Some orchid pros think that a perlite/peat mix is less likely to produce aerial roots than bark.) Either way, don’t cover the roots because they may rot.