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Old 11-07-2011, 01:41 PM
Eve of Discovery Eve of Discovery is offline
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Phalaenopsis air roots
Default Phalaenopsis air roots


I am new to this forum, due to an orchid question I haven't been able to find a consistent answer to anywhere else. Perhaps someone here might be able to help me?

Three and a half years ago, my boyfriend's uncle gave us a typical grocery store orchid. We stuck its little pot in the top of a heavy glass vase so my roommate's cat wouldn't keep knocking it over (and so the water wouldn't drain all over the counter), and it's been growing there ever since.

It seems to be pretty happy; it has re-bloomed like clockwork every year (though in 2011 it only had one stalk of flowers instead of two). But it's gotten the point where we're worried it's going to leap out of the pot! I'm guessing it needs repotting (and probably actually needed it a few years ago), but despite doing a fair amount of searching online, I can't figure this out: What do I do with all the air roots?

Here are photos, to give you an idea of how many air roots we're talking about: orchid pics

I've looked for answers online, but haven't been able to find a plant in a similar situation. Some people say you can stick air roots into the bark mix; others say they should be left danging in the air. I did see mention of repotting when new roots are starting to sprout, which they are doing now.

But since the new roots are sprouting near the top of the plant (toward the bottom of the leaf area, but above all the old air roots), it seems like the old ones will need to be down in the potting mix in the new pot. But they're pretty stiff, so I'm worried that the repotting process will break many of them. Should I get a really large pot, to try to accommodate as many as possible with minimal bending? Or would a large pot result in a potting mix that wouldn't drain well enough?

As you can tell, I'm rather worried about disturbing it, after leaving it alone seemed to work so well for so long. But I don't think the little pot is going to work for much longer!

Any advice you can offer will be very much appreciated. Thanks for reading!

Last edited by Eve of Discovery; 11-07-2011 at 01:47 PM.. Reason: typos
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:54 PM
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Bud Bud is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Zone: 7b
Location: Manhattan, NY
Age: 33
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Welcome & Hello !
Sit back and've come to the right postings by other members and learn from their wealth of knowledge gleaned from their years of experience on growing orchids.

Do not worry...phals are would take a real beating to kill it. Look into youtube for phalaenopsis repotting videos and learn by looking...theres many of them there...choose the one you feel comfortable doing...soak the pot and roots for five min in a basin of water and you will find that it is very easy to bend the roots to the shape of the new pot...besides the media must have been degenerating already so you need to find a media that you are comfortable with, you may read a lot of this infos from postings of the other members:
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:27 PM
Gage Gage is offline
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Phalaenopsis air roots Male

Looks like a healthy Phal that's just overdue for repotting. I would DEFINITELY read the entire thread Bud gave a link for. And as far as my 2 cents on repotting, I would unpot it and remove all of the old media, soak it in lukewarm water until all the roots are nice and green (an hour or so), remove all the dead roots, and pot it up in the smallest pot you can cram it in with the media all the way up to the bottom leaves. Just bend the air roots as best you can to fit into the new pot, and if any crack in the process it's ok, they will still function and grow. Your Phal needs to produce new roots up higher anyway, and it will as you are seeing. If there are any larger open spaces in your new pot, I would first fill these with regular white styrofoam peanuts (traditional styrofoam, not the rough textured ones or the ones made with corn starch). Clear plastic pots with lots of good drainage are good for monitoring the roots and moisture levels in the pot. That's all I got. Good luck! And don't forget to read that thread, it is very comprehensive.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:59 PM
keithrs keithrs is offline
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Phalaenopsis air roots Male

They both gave good advice..... You can do several things..... leave it the way it is, Pot it up, or mount it.... You have done something right up to this point!!!!! I would remove the old roots and media. Honestly, You will most likely snap the roots trying to repot it. There for I say leave it or put it in a orchid basket. You can than add your choose of media. I would choose a media that very open and last awhile like orchiata bark(power) or Hydroton. You will have to mist it daily and water it about three times a week.
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