Healthy Orchid Roots

Like all plants, orchids need a healthy root system to survive and thrive. At least once a year, orchids enter a growth cycle when they generate new roots. These new roots are light green at the tips, and turn white with time. As they age over several months, they may turn brown.

Orchid rootsOrchid roots growing outside of pot

Since orchids are epiphytes, or air plants, they don’t mind growing with their roots sticking out in the air. As long as there is adequate humidity, many orchids prefer to keep their roots exposed. Some varieties, such as Vandas and their relatives, dislike having their roots in a potting mix, and insist on growing with their roots in the open air.

New orchid rootsVanda roots exposed to the air

With inadequate humidity, over-watering, or old age, orchid roots die. Any roots that feel mushy or squishy are dead. They should be removed immediately, since they can spread rot and disease to the rest of the plant. If your orchid is losing lots of its roots, it may need to be repotted.

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