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  • 1 Post By 78Terp
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Crazy air roots on orchid plant

This is a discussion on Crazy air roots on orchid plant within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hi! I'm new to orchids and only have one, but I've kept it alive for ...

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  1. #1
    Cestjean is offline Junior Member
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    Default Crazy air roots on orchid plant

    Hi! I'm new to orchids and only have one, but I've kept it alive for nearly 2 years! And each round of flowers is more grand than the one before!!

    My issue is that I have what I think is insane amount of air roots, all very long! I know I shouldn't break them off, but they're getting out of control. They appear happy and healthy, and based on previous flowering, the plant seems happy with the location. I rotate the plant occasionally but that doesn't seem to change the direction of the air roots.

    Right now there are no flowers, but I do have a new stem coming through.

    Should I repot at this point? Plant is 2 years old at Christmas. I hesitate to replant into a larger pot only because I want it to stay on this sill, as the plant is content.

    I understand air roots are normal, but the pictures I'm seeing don't have this amount.



    Any suggestions for this newbie? Thanks!!
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  2. #2
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    That is one healthy looking plant! Good for you for caring so well for it.

    If it has been in the same medium for two years, it is very likely that repotting is in order.

    Before you do so, prepare the fresh potting medium by trickling hot water over it, wait 15 minutes and repeat. That will open up its internal structure so it will hold more water. Then submerge the plant for about 15 minutes in tepid water, so the potting medium and roots are saturated. That will make them easier to clean with minimal damage - and you will do some damage, but don't sweat it.

  3. #3
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    The roots on Phalaenopsis can sometimes go crazy, but from the looks it a very healthy orchid. It is going to be hard not to repot this one as some of those roots are telling you they need more room in the pot.

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    Is this a good place to ask opinions on Moss vs. Bark for Phalaenopsis?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike H View Post
    Is this a good place to ask opinions on Moss vs. Bark for Phalaenopsis?
    That would depend on your environment, personally I would go with sphagnum but I live in a hot humid area. What is the one you have planted in? You have done so well with that one I would repot it in the same type of media it is currently in, but I am sure more people will chime in here!

  6. #6
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    I would go with bark mix. Home growing in sphag is extremely difficult. Root loss is inevitable.

  7. #7
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    Cestjean - that looks to be in a glass pot, and I assume with no holes in it for drainage. Orchid roots need a lot of air flow to the roots, so something with better drainage is in order.

    Mike - the choice of potting medium is, as Jack mentioned, a matter of your cultural conditions, but I'll add that it's a matter of your ability to water correctly, as well. Harvey's comment about root loss being inevitable is a bit of an overstatement, but if you saturate sphagnum, that may cut off the air flow to the roots and suffocate them.

    Personally, I like using sphagnum. In the summer, when my plants are out on my deck (hot and humid, with lots of air movement), I can flood them with impunity. When I bring them inside, I have to be more delicate with the watering, just moistening it.

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    Mike H is offline Member
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    Thanks for the elaboration Ray, I'm getting varied opinions on bark vs. Sphagnum and I'm slowly getting my head around the concepts and properly applying them to my particular situation.
    I'm building a greenhouse, how does that environment fit into this discussion?

  9. #9
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    Of course root loss is inevitable. Weather it is like leaves, just their time to go, or culture. Roots inevitably die! I assume Ray has never lost a root in sphag!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 78Terp View Post
    Of course root loss is inevitable. Weather it is like leaves, just their time to go, or culture. Roots inevitably die! I assume Ray has never lost a root in sphag!
    Not in the last year! Of course, there were the 44 prior years....

    Roots of all plants die. I just felt that your comment about sphagnum makes it sound like it's a terrible medium, which it isn't, if you know what you're doing.

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