Should I Cut The Roots Off My Growing Phalaenopsis?

by Elizabeth
(Sunbury, Ohio)

Hi and thanks in advance for your help. I received a Phalaenopsis for a gift that was not in bloom over a year ago. It has recently completed a long and stunning bloom cycle. It was potted in a glazed pot with decorative holes in the sides. Roots have started growing through these holes and I am wondering what should be done. Should I trim these or transplant the entire plant?

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Jul 16, 2011
Don't Cut Your Phalaenopsis Orchids Roots Off!
by: Melissa

Hi Elizabeth,

Thanks for your question. What a nice gift! It sounds like you have done and are doing really well with it. Great!

Phalaenopsis are epiphytes which basicly means that they are sort of like air plants. In the wild they would grow on a tree or the like and most of the roots would be aerial roots sticking out from the plant and the tree that it was growing on. It is quite natural for the plant to grow with its roots in the air. So your plant is doing what it would do naturally.

I would NOT cut the roots off the plant. My motto is healthy roots equals a healthy plant. And it sounds like these roots are healthy.

If the medium is breaking down in the pot or the plant is really getting too big for the pot it is in then consider transplanting it.

If you transplant it pick a pot that is about an inch larger than the root ball. When transplanting it that would be the time to cut off any dead or rotten roots.

I tend to preserve any healthy roots when transplanting an orchid and if the roots are sticking up or out from the plant I can usually gently tuck most of them in the new medium when re-potting.

Hope this helps!


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