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How to Remove a Root From an Orchid Plant


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Orchid plants produce beautiful flowers in a range of colors such as white, yellow, pink, purple and spotted. The orchid family has the highest number of species of any plant family, with estimates ranging up to 25,000 species. These plants need plenty of air at their roots, and too much moisture or standing water can cause root rot. Healthy roots are firm, fleshy and white with green tips. Roots that are affected by root rot are soggy, mushy and brown. These diseased roots should be removed in order for the plant to thrive.

Difficulty:
Moderate

Instructions

things you’ll need:
  • Sterilized razor blade
  • New, larger pot
  • Orchid potting mix
  1. Turn the pot upside down to remove the orchid and expose its roots. Discard both the old soil and pot.
  2. Slice the root off with a razor blade that has been sterilized by holding it over an open flame for five seconds. Cut only the dead root, and avoid cutting into the plant itself. Continue removing the diseased roots until you are left with only healthy, live roots. Some roots may be so rotten that they fall off in your hands, but you still need to remove the remnants in order to maintain a healthy orchid plant.
  3. Scrape any remaining soil off the orchid, and remove any dead, shriveled leaves from the plant.
  4. Center the orchid plant in a new, larger pot, and add slightly moistened potting mix to it. For optimum results, use a potting mix that is designed for orchids, as these soils have certain characteristics that help the orchid plant thrive. Orchid roots need plenty of air, so avoid packing the potting mix.
  5. Wait seven days to water your orchid, and keep the plant in a shady spot during this time. After this first week, it is alright to resume your normal watering schedule. It is best to keep the potting mix just slightly damp, as orchids are better off being too dry as opposed to too wet. If the leaves start to crinkle, it is a sign that your plant needs more water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try to disturb the orchid roots as little as possible when removing dead roots and repotting.

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