Rootless Phalaenopsis ≠ Dead Orchid Part 1

Unlike many other plants, if a Phalaenopsis orchid loses all its roots, it does not necessarily mean that it is 100% dead. Of course there are other signs that should be looked out for, in order to be sure if the orchid is dead or not.

Needless to say, if the leaves are yellowish or the steam is starting to rot as seen on the left, those are obvious signs that either the orchid needs immediate ICU care or the orchid cannot be saved anymore. So use those watchful eyes and look for signs of the orchids’ needs.

Back to the topic of Phals being practically unkillable and are very resilient plants…. Phals have the amazing ability to grow new roots even if all of the old roots are dead. In contrast to normal plants, Phals grow roots from their crown (! we mentioned in our last post that this is the mother ship of the orchid plant and the importance of keeping it healthy and water free!), which explains why Phals are able to survive being rootless.

According to an experiment I did on saving rootless Phals, mine grew new roots after about a couple of weeks in sphagnam moss. This method unfortunately does not apply for all Phals or maybe it does, but another Phal has not developed any roots despite the high level of moisture in its surrounding. Basically the control variables of the experiment was the environment, potting medium and pots. So if everything else is the same, the only cause attributing to the discrepancy of the end results must lie with the orchids itself. Therefore, the overall general health of the orchid as a fundamental prerequisition for the success of this technique is very crucial.

With this, the learning point to take home with you, is not to throw away Phals because they have no roots. Keep them and provide high level of moisture and they might actually be revived. Oh one more thing: Have Patience! Hope it is clear that my experiences are based on true actual events and results may vary, should there be any changes in the control variables mentioned above. Part 2 continues…..

Published by jillsorchidarium

Sharing some of my personal experiences with orchids because the amount of information about orchid care is too limited or focused on particular areas. In addition, I'd like to share some of my photos of my pets, bonsais and orchids of course!

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