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Old 08-01-2022, 04:07 PM
Beam117 Beam117 is offline
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Default Cattleya orchid roots don’t grow in the potting mix

I have multiple cattleyas and phalaenopsis, but I noticed roots of at least one cattleya hasn’t grown into the medium since repotting. Roots grew towards the medium and the end of roots became brown and stopped growing when it touched barks. It was transferred during its active growth. Most of my setups are the same including bark and sphagnum moss for all my orchids although there are some variations of the size of bark chips or the ratio of bark and sphag. I don’t fertilize until I see enough roots growing in the pot.

Now its pseudobulbs are shriveled a lot. Some aerial roots are growing well, but air is too dry here. I moved it into a setup with more sphag, but I am not sure if it will help. Does anyone know why this is happening? Thank you for your help!
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Old 08-01-2022, 04:16 PM
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Ray Ray is offline
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That is not uncommon when dry air results in rapid drying of the potting medium. There are a few things you might consider:
  • Water more frequently.
  • Add a sphagnum top layer to keep the medium more evenly moist.
  • After watering, place a clear plastic bag over the plant and pot to trap some humidity. No need to seal it, but keep the plant shady to avoid a "broil in bag" situation.
Ray Barkalow, Orchid Iconoclast
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Old 08-01-2022, 06:06 PM
Beam117 Beam117 is offline
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Thank you so much for your answer! I didn’t think that can be a cause. I’ll water it more and give it more moisture now. Thanks again!
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Old 08-01-2022, 06:41 PM
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estación seca estación seca is offline
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Welcome to the Orchid Board. Orchid aerial roots dry rapidly when ambient humidity is relatively low.
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Old 08-02-2022, 12:45 AM
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Louis_W Louis_W is offline
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It's possible that the dry is the cause, but for me the most common reason roots die upon contact with the media is when it is crusted with fertilizer salts. I have hard water and once upon a time I was severely over fertilizing so the media was very harsh right on the surface of the media. It killed a lot of roots on contact before I figured the problem out.

I started using a much lighter fertilizer and I started watering a little more, being careful to flush the pots out better.

Last edited by Louis_W; 08-02-2022 at 01:07 AM..
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Old 08-02-2022, 12:43 PM
Beam117 Beam117 is offline
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Thanks for your answers!

When I decided to take a look at the roots inside the pot recently, I was surprises there were no roots and some roots were only growing outside. It was repotted last winter as other cattleyas. Others are growing very well with almost the same condition, but maybe this hybrid needs more moisture than others. It is making a new growth now, so hopefully roots can settle down this time. Otherwise, I may need to make a space for it in the warm/humid rack with my phalaenopsis if that is going to help it.
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bark, don’t, growing, medium, roots

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