Roots are the basis of any orchid plant. It’s very important for your orchid to have a robust root system; the orchid takes in water and nutrients through its roots which in turn allows the whole plant to grow, thrive, and ultimately put out those beautiful blooms.
First I’ll take a moment to show you what roots look like on the most common orchid, the Phalaenopsis (aka moth orchid). Phal roots, when healthy and moist, are a nice green color, like so:
Last week I shared what led to my first Phal rescue attempt via sphag-n-bag. This is how it looked five days after going into the bag:
Yeah, not so good, huh? One of the leaves started turning yellow which is certainly not a good sign. The sphagnum already appeared kind of dried out but I wasn’t sure if I should open the bag to moisten it. The instructions had said to “place it in a warm, shady location and walk away.”
I headed over to the Orchid Boardand asked for some advice – the members over there have always been really helpful to me in the the past. I posted a couple photos and the first response that came in said to take my Phal out of the bag right away, that it didn’t look like it needed to be sphagged-n-bagged in the first place. Then Ray himself from First Ray‘s chimed in and agreed, suggesting that my orchid just looks like it’s not getting the water it needs.
With that advice in mind, I took the orchid out of the bag, removed the yellow leaf, then potted it up with sphagnum moss. I placed it in a smaller pot than before since the root system is so small. It’s probably not a good idea for me to be messing so much with this poor little plant, so I’m going to leave it alone for awhile and hope that it starts to develop some heartier roots.
Last summer I bought a Phalaenopsis at Ikea in Red Hook that turned out to be 2 plants potted together. It took me a couple weeks to realize that there were actually 2 orchids because I didn’t immediately check the roots or repot them. I had read online that planting 2 orchids together is not recommended, so I split them up.
One of the orchids has been doing really well. Bloomed for a month or so, rested for awhile, then produced side shoots and bloomed again. Here’s how it looks today: