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  #1  
Old 12-26-2016, 01:34 PM
Ajax Ajax is offline
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Long air roots on little plant
Default Long air roots on little plant

My husband got me this beautiful little orchid last November. It bloomed right away, then bloomed again in April, and is now sending up flower stalks again. So, it seems relatively happy. But it has, as you can see in the picture, many long air roots. I got brave and lifted the plant out of the pot. The in-pot roots are mainly green but a few are yellow-white. For some reason I can only attach one picture per post so I am posting the root pictures separately. The medium appears to be peat moss.
What do I do? Do I need to re-pot? And if so, do I put the air roots down into the pot or leave them out? And do I need to wait until it stops blooming to re-pot? It blooms for months so should I leave it for that long even if the medium is going bad?
I am new to this, so any help is greatly appreciated!

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Old 12-26-2016, 01:37 PM
Ajax Ajax is offline
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The picture shows up upside down no matter what I do. The green roots outside the plastic pot rim were originally inside it. They came out when I lifted the plant.


Long air roots on little plant-image-jpg
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Old 12-26-2016, 01:40 PM
Ajax Ajax is offline
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The yellow-white roots


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Old 12-26-2016, 01:55 PM
Ajax Ajax is offline
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Also, some of the air roots have a "pinched" place along the root, and it is sometimes brown.
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Old 12-26-2016, 02:13 PM
bil bil is offline
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I would repot it in a bigger pot ad with bark, not moss.

I'm assuming it's a small type phal, so I would use fine bark, but sieve it to take out all the dust and tiny bark pieces. The medium should be open to the passage of air.

Using bark you have to water it more often, but you can't over water it.
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Old 12-26-2016, 02:21 PM
Ajax Ajax is offline
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Thank you Bil. What type of bark and should I leave it in this same pot or size up? And do I leave the air roots outside the pot or put them in the medium? Thank you!
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Old 12-26-2016, 03:08 PM
Deena Deena is offline
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I've had a couple of these orchids that grew many aerial roots that were eventually sticking too all sides making the orchid look overgrown. I've repotted them into a larger pot with some bark and carefully wrapped some of the air roots inside the pot, the ones that could fit without breaking. Seems to have done the trick. These roots are now growing new branches inside the bark. Repotting is usually stressful for the plant so some prefer to wait for the orchid to stop flowering before changing medium.

For watering I just soak the plant for 15-30 minutes in a solution with fertilizer, because bark doesn't retain water as well as moss. Soaking ensures that all of the roots get watered and there is maximum exposure. For the air roots that didn't fit into the pot, I use a spray bottle with the same fertilizer solution and spray them couple times a week in mornings or afternoons. This keeps them plump and growing.

Last edited by Deena; 12-26-2016 at 03:13 PM..
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Old 12-26-2016, 03:38 PM
jkofferdahl jkofferdahl is offline
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Ajax, regarding your plant I think that you have very healthy aereal roots, but the potting medium is not allowed to dry quite enough between waterings, resulting in the water-logged and yellowed appearance of many of the roots in the pot. In part, the issue is with the medium, sphagnum moss. Phalaenopsis orchids really dislike the stuff but growers love it, so they ship plants with roots wrapped in sphagnum and then stuffed into those nasty, thin plastic, essentially drainless pots, which begs the average buyer to overwater. Your plant would be far happier in a slightly larger pot, and with bark as the medium. However, I'd not use fine bark, I'd use no finer than medium if not coarse. The better your drainage, the happier the plant. More air flow will lead to faster drying, but so long as you water appropriately it'll also encourage new root growth.

Deena, you might be overdoing things with your soaks. How thoroughly the bark absorbs water is far less important than how thoroughly the roots do. Think of the bark as an insulation to assist the roots in holding water rather than as a source of water for the roots. If you slowly flush the pot with water the roots will get what they need.
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Old 12-26-2016, 03:59 PM
Deena Deena is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkofferdahl View Post
Deena, you might be overdoing things with your soaks. How thoroughly the bark absorbs water is far less important than how thoroughly the roots do. Think of the bark as an insulation to assist the roots in holding water rather than as a source of water for the roots. If you slowly flush the pot with water the roots will get what they need.
jkofferdahl, if you run water through the pot, there will be dry spots left on some of the roots. Sometimes the bark forms pockets that prevents water from getting to the root. This is visible if you lift the orchid out of the pot as you're running water through it. Quick soaks ensure that 100% of root surface gets exposure to water and fertilizer and solve the issue of dry pockets. This was recommended to me by another member and my orchids have been doing better since I adopted this technique than when I was simply flushing them with water, not to mention less time consuming for the many orchids that I have.
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Old 12-26-2016, 06:18 PM
bil bil is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajax View Post
Thank you Bil. What type of bark and should I leave it in this same pot or size up? And do I leave the air roots outside the pot or put them in the medium? Thank you!
No probs. First off, bark size. For the small orchids I use a fine bark. As long as it's sieved, and the pot is shallow, not a problem. Big phals I use 2" bark that has been sieved again, so that the small stuff is eliminated.

For medium size phals, something inbetween. I'm a Big Pot Barkista. That way over watering isn't a problem. I use a spray to water, and I spray the medium all over till the water runs out the bottom. Winter x 1 a week, in full sumer 3x a week.

I take a saucer that is the right size for the pot, then I take one that is smaller so that it will sit in the proper size saucer nicely upside down. That way the water will run ito it when the orchid has had enough, but the orchid won't be sitting in the water.

When you repot, don't bury the air roots. Once a root has decided it is air or submerged, changing its location will probable kill it.
That's why you repot orchids just after flowering, so that the new roots, which form USUALLY after flowering with the growth of new shoots, will grow into what you want them to grow into.

Small phals I put into a pot that is about 6 inches in diam and three deep, and the big phals a 10 - 12 inch diam pot.

Possibly the best way to grow any epiphytic orchid is on a mount, with a bit of sphagnum moss. They look great and are usually much more healthy. They do need more watering, (every day in the summer) I have about 100 mounted orchids, and they take me 20 -30 minutes to water every day.
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