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Aerial roots on my phals are going nuts!

This is a discussion on Aerial roots on my phals are going nuts! within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I noticed that once I got consistent about keeping the humidity up in my grow ...

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  1. #1
    SheilaJ is offline Junior Member
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    Default Aerial roots on my phals are going nuts!

    I noticed that once I got consistent about keeping the humidity up in my grow room (around 60 to 70%), my phals (and minicatts too, to a certain extent) started growing lots more and lots longer aerial roots. Some of the phals have pretty much given up on sending new roots down into the sphag; they are healthy otherwise but probably potted too high up as the media has settled and the plants have grown. Other phals have lots of nice roots in the sphag but are growing lots of aerials too.

    I try to wet down the aerial roots when I water the pots, but I worry about the plants drying out - it's almost like growing them mounted, which I really don't have time for!

    Comments, suggestions? The sphag is a little over a year old, surely due for a change, which I will do any day now, I promise! Will fresh sphag encourage them to grow some roots into the media? Should I try to force some roots down when I repot?

    I was checking out EpiWeb as a potential medium. I love the idea of it never breaking down, but it says it needs more frequent watering, and I'm already an underwaterer.

  2. #2
    eaglssong's Avatar
    eaglssong is offline Senior Member
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    I'll leave most of this for the experts to answer, but what I do is give all of the aerial roots a good misting every morning (and usually another in the afternoon). Since I know that orchids are air plants, as long as there are some roots going down into the medium, I don't worry too much about aerial roots (until they threaten to take over my room....... sort of like Audry in Little Shop of Horrors.. LOL).

    The misting really doesn't take all that long to do, but I only have five orchids........ oops, make that seven now. I had to divide one, and I removed and planted the keiki that was on my 'Mary Motes' . Now let's hope the two new ones are happy in their new homes.


  3. #3
    SheilaJ is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    LOL, I have a couple of plants that are ready to audition for Audrey! I guess I could try to make time for misting, but my collection is getting pretty big for that.

  4. #4
    orchidlady's Avatar
    orchidlady is offline Senior Member
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    Repotting will only be a temporary solution . Most Phals and other epiphytes like to climb out of pots. They are only doing what they do in nature. It is nothing to worry about and if you have good humidity, you don't have to really do any extra work. They are probably growing roots in the medium as well-you just can't see it.

    Susan

  5. #5
    JoeW's Avatar
    JoeW is offline Senior Member
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    Default Aerial Root formation and care

    I have been researching this Phalaenopsis question to get to the root of the matter. The fact is there is an abundance of anecdotal and ‘it works for me’ postings. I have been looking for solid fact. The following article is readable, seems to be clearly accurate and sums up much of what I have found in the published research so far.

    The Deep South Orchid Society Newsletter Vol. 3 Issue 8 has a very informative article on page 6
    Root Formation Differences.
    http://www.deepsouthorchid.org/files...newsletter.pdf

    PS: Sphagnum Moss is a treacherous potting media and most of the US members prefer a fir bark mix for a windowsill environment.

  6. #6
    SheilaJ is offline Junior Member
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    JoeW, thanks for the article, I'd been looking for something with some science to it too. I've experimented with bark mixes and sphag, and for my phals, the sphag works the best. I don't grow on a windowsill, I grow under lights in a grow room. Between the lights and the west window, it gets very hot in there, and even the sphag dries out quickly - most of the 2 to 3" pots need water every few days, and the 4 to 6 inch pots at least once a week, sometimes 2 or 3 times. For me personally, I believe I lose more roots to underwatering than to overwatering.

    Now I've left the same orchids in bloom in my dim living room for a couple of months and it's been a disaster. I don't do that any more!

  7. #7
    JoeW's Avatar
    JoeW is offline Senior Member
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    Hi, Sheila. I hope I didn't give a bad impression. I am a little uncomfortable with the tone of my post up there. Talking about research, did you see this series of articles on Phal care?
    http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...tml#post138805
    Joe

  8. #8
    SheilaJ is offline Junior Member
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    Joe, no offense taken. I too am confused by the anecdotal comments. I've gotten answers that range from aerial roots are normal to your media must be bad. I don't know which to believe.

    Sphag can be a really bad choice for many people and in many types of growing conditions. Not many beginners grow under HID lights like I do, where the temps range from 69 degrees F nightly to a high of 79 to 92 or so.

    I had seen those articles a while ago, but they're worth another read and saving on my new computer. Thanks for the reminder!

  9. #9
    smwboxer is offline Senior Member
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    I've never even bothered to mist arieal roots. The only time they get water is when the plant get watered and they do fine.

  10. #10
    SheilaJ is offline Junior Member
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    Well, well, well, the roots are starting to head for the sphag all of a sudden. At least some of the roots are, on most of the phals (one plant is aiming for the sphag in its neighbor's pot!). I wonder if they realize I've been fertilizing more frequently and are hunting for the fertilizer in the sphag?

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