Phalenopsis roots just starting to grow out of pot holes
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  #1  
Old 02-07-2020, 08:07 PM
Ebee90 Ebee90 is offline
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Phalenopsis roots just starting to grow out of pot holes
Default Phalenopsis roots just starting to grow out of pot holes

Hi all! I only have started with orchids within the last year and only Phalenopsis, but I seem to have things going well as they all have nice healthy root and leaf growth. I've told myself no more through until I can make sure I'm adept enough to get them to rebloom. Ha!

My smallest Phalenopsis is a grocery store survivor, when I repotted him, there was only two viable roots, and they were not very long. So I potted him in a 4 inch pot as that still seemed plenty of room for such dwindly roots. Well six months later and I have root tips growing through my pot holes. I really don't want to cut up this pot and that is the only advice I've found so far. Should I go ahead and repot him into bigger pot already? Should I try pushing the roots back into the pot? What happens if they break off (purposefully or by accident)?

Thanks for any advice!
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2020, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Ebee90 View Post
What happens if they break off (purposefully or by accident)?
I don't think much will happen (if you break or cut off the roots poking out) when the orchid has that many roots.

If the root is broken, then there's always a risk of something unwanted getting into the plant.

I've never encountered this issue of roots coming out of holes in the side of the pot - only because I've never used pots with slits or holes in the sides of them. I just use opaque plastic pots with very good drainage holes on the bottom of the pot.

I think roots coming out the side holes or slits is bound to happen when using such pots with side holes/slits.

Naturally - roots can also come out the holes at the bottom of the pot. A repot into a larger pot can easily sort that out.

Last edited by SouthPark; 02-07-2020 at 09:28 PM..
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Old 02-07-2020, 10:17 PM
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I'd be inclined to cut the pot, try to preserve the roots. But then, I tend to put orchids above any human-made thing that might impede them. Great roots like that are a reward for giving the plant what it needed. A pot is replaceable.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:24 AM
Mountaineer370 Mountaineer370 is offline
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Phalenopsis roots just starting to grow out of pot holes Female
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Welcome to the OB! My feelings are pretty much the same as Roberta's as far as being willing to cut the pot if necessary, rather than the roots.

I use the exact same pots as shown in your pictures, with the additional slots on the sides. I find these give the best ventilation. The down side is the roots do freely grow out not only the bottom holes but the side holes, as well. My collection is small, and I use Orchiata as a medium, which does not require frequent repotting. I pretty much only repot when a larger pot is needed. I'm someone who hates to waste or throw out anything that I don't have to, but I will cut the pot rather than the roots.

Sometimes, if you can catch a root that is just barely starting to come out the side, you can flex the side of the pot around the slot a bit and very gently push the root back inside and point it in a direction away from the slot. But it ends up being an exercise in futility, as the roots are just doing what comes naturally and more will find their way to those slots. Mine also regularly push roots out the bottom holes, and there's nothing much you can do about that.

So I guess it's your choice to make. I don't really know if you will cause long-term harm to the plant by breaking off the occasional escaping root. I'm sure a lot depends on the overall health of the plant to begin with.
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Old 02-08-2020, 12:30 PM
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Mine do that all the time. You can use sharp clippers or strong scissors to cut a notch in the plastic where the root is going through, to make more room and to help when it is time to repot.
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Old 02-08-2020, 12:38 PM
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It seems you have only two roots comming out....easy.
The bigger one, after taking the medium out of the pot, press both sides of the slit in opposite direction till the root has enough room to get out.
The smaller one is trickier but I would press it (which might inflict some damage but it won't do much harm to the plant).
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Old 02-08-2020, 12:50 PM
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I am no expert, but last year saw a video showing before repotting to soak the entire post until the run away root out the side, can gently be pushed back in the hole because it is so flexible. your roots are fairly long, so that might not work, but combining that with cutting the hole slightly larger might work.
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Old 02-08-2020, 01:39 PM
JScott JScott is offline
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My Phals always have root growing out of the drainage holes. It isn't really a problem. They are likely to get damaged if you move the pot, but it won't hurt the plant. When I repot, I do my best to keep those roots intact, and like somebody else said, sometimes I cut a little slit in the pot to make it easier to get the roots out. But the ting about repotting is that some of the roots will just get damaged. That's why we only do it when it is necessary. But a few damaged roots during repotting won't phase a healthy plant. If you want to just go ahead and cut off the roots coming out through the drainage holes to make it easier to get the plant out, that won't harm the plant. In fact, those roots will probably just branch out above where you cut them and keep growing. I wouldn't let something like this stress you out. It is a minor thing and probably won't make a difference which method you choose to use, as long as the plant has plenty of other healthy roots.

Back in the early 90s when I first started growing orchids, before the internet is what it is today and you have all the information you need at your fingertips, you had to buy actual books about growing orchids. I remember reading those books that trimming the healthy roots should be a routine practice in repotting. I don't hear anybody recommend doing that anymore, so I guess we have realized that's not the best practice, but if at one time, trimming the roots was considered best practice, it couldn't have been that harmful. So my point is, trimming a few roots that need trimming won't be a major issue.
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