Help! First orchid - possible root rot or fungus
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:13 PM
rachel77 rachel77 is offline
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Help! First orchid - possible root rot or fungus
Default Help! First orchid - possible root rot or fungus

Hello! This is my first orchid, but I know I'll be here for awhile as I'm already hooked. Last week I picked up a 2" baby phalaenopsis orchid from the grocery store. I knew little about orchids but have since done some research and feel I know some basics. I think I'm not overwatering as I give approx 2 tablespoons 2-3 times a week and I've found a bright window sill with very little direct sunlight.

As soon as I took it home, I noticed that the roots didn't look amazing. I cant tell what kind of material they grew this orchid in, but it's not what I've normally seen online. A couple of the roots near the surface had shrivelled and died, some roots below the surface had some small black spots and there were some fuzzy white hairs appearing from a few of them. I also noticed that when the florist put the wooden support spikes in the media (the ones that clip to the flower spikes to keep them held up), the wood spikes pierced 2 roots right in half, which also now look dead. Many other roots still appear mostly green, but have a lot of small black spots.

Despite the roots not looking great, the orchid itself looks healthy enough, is in full bloom, is producing new shoots(?) off of preexisting flower spikes and appears healthy, apart from the leaves becoming slightly droopy in the last few days. It lost one flower and a developing blossom when I took it home, but I figured that was just due to stress of a new environment. However, on that same flower spike, I've now noticed the stem becoming brown and shrivelled in a few spots.

I'd love and appreciate any help or guidance. I'm wondering if simply it's too cramped in it's small plastic container and I need to repot, or if something worse could be happening to my poor plant. I have no experience with orchids and would love to know if what I'm experiencing is normal or if I need to intervene! Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:48 PM
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Roberta Roberta is offline
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Help! First orchid - possible root rot or fungus

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Help! First orchid - possible root rot or fungus Female

If you go to a larger container, only maybe 2 cm ( 1 inch) larger. Orchids like to be on the rootbound side. You are right that the medium in which it is growing is not great... it looks like some sort of peat "plug" that is used to start seedlings. Small bark would be much better. The roots actually look decent. Don't cut anything. Just move it to a (slightly) larger pot, with small bark. As far as amount of water, the trick is to water well - like under the faucet, let water run thrugh the pot. Then drain, and wait a few days, then repeat. Orchids like this don't really want "wet" as much as they want "moist air" around the roots... in nature, they grow in humid, rainy climates (like the Philippines) clinging to trees with their roots complete exposed to the air. We (fortunately) don't live with that sort of humidity, so we grow them in pots. An open medium such as bark lets the running water pull air into the root zone. How often to water depends on your growing conditions - a wood skewer stuck 4 cm (2 inches) into the medium is a good test, if it comes out wet wait another couple of days, if dry it is time to water. That wet-dry cycle is important (a reason why a larger pot is bad... it stays wet and airless in the middle)
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