How to Understand Those Curious Orchid Roots

Healthy Roots = Healthy Orchids

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curious orchid roots

Understanding an orchid’s unique roots is central to nurturing these singular plants. You’ve noticed that while some of your orchid roots burrow down into the potting media, while other roots seem to take on a life of their own without any inclination of growing down into the pot with the other roots. This is completely normal. In fact, these roots have a name: aerial roots.

All About Orchid Roots

The first time I potted an orchid I was amazed at just how different that experience was from planting my annual spring flower pots. From their showy flowers to their peculiar roots, orchids are completely extraordinary. After handling their roots, which are so unlike the root balls I was accustomed to, I had to find out about these curious creations.


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Q: What makes orchid roots so special? A: Velamen

Orchid roots are sometimes referred to as aerial roots, but that is not a sufficient definition because unlike most other aerial roots, orchid roots are not looking for a place to burrow down into.  They truly live in the air.  Most orchids will have aerial roots reaching out into the air, rather than digging down into the potting media. These roots are looking for a tree branch to attach to. These roots absorb moisture from the air. Do not trim off these wandering roots, just let them do their thing. 

Orchid roots have a covering called velamen which acts like a sponge, soaking up water.   The velamen also protects the roots.  Special cells in the velamen transport the water to the stele, which is like a blood vein for orchids, which then delivers nutrients to the pseudobulb and leaves.  


If your orchid roots are bright green – they are still wet. Wait until the roots are a silvery-green before watering again.

Healthy Orchid Roots

Healthy roots are firm to the touch and white to green in color.  Orchid roots do not need to be bright green all of the time.  In fact, they should only be bright green right after they are watered.  If the roots are always bright green that is an indication that they are drowning.  Such orchids will eventually die from overwatering.


Unhealthy Orchid Roots

If you end up with a dead orchid, before throwing it out, take time to check out the roots.  This will give clues about its cause of death and help you to avoid future problems.  Rotted roots are easily identified because they are brown, mushy and hollow.  These roots are probably the result of overwatering.  Brittle roots indicated under-watering.

If the plant is still alive, but the roots have all died and turned to mush, the plant may still be saved.  Remove all the dead roots and use chenille stems, aka pipe cleaners, to anchor the plant in the pot while it makes new roots.  It’s worth a try.  I’ve talked to an orchid grower who said she’s tried it twice successfully and once unsuccessfully.


Orchids live harmlessly on trees, never penetrating the branches. Their aerial roots are made to absorb water from rain. Since the roots do not sit in water, it’s easy to see why overwatering orchids are so harmful to their root systems. To learn more about how to properly water your orchids click here.

New Roots = Best Time to Re-Pot Your Orchid

Emerging roots signal that now is the best time to re-pot your orchid. These new roots mean that the orchid is at the beginning of active growth and will help a newly potted orchid the best chance at establishing itself in a new pot. When potting, use care as these new roots are fragile.

About Your Orchids Aerial Roots

On some orchids, it can be tricky to tell the difference between a flower spike and an aerial root. This is how to tell the difference: an aerial root will have a smooth tip. The end of an emerging flower spike will look like a closed fist with knuckle bumps.

To help you further, start by downloading my free cheat sheet to see where to cut the orchid flower spike after blooms have faded to trigger re-blooming. Click here, for the cheat sheet. It’ll be super helpful.

smooth tip - orchid root

The smooth tip is a sure sign that this is a root, not a flower stalk.

fist at tip - flower stalk

Pictured above is a flower stalk. If you see a “fist” at the tip, you know you’ve got a flower stalk.

Is it Okay to Cut off Aerial Roots?

It may be tempting to cut off aerial roots because they don’t fit into our idea of what a beautiful orchid should look like. Resist. Aerial roots perform important functions for the orchid. Like the leaves and stems, aerial roots aid in photosynthesis. Aerial roots also absorb water and nutrients in the air. Additionally, aerial roots aid the orchid in affixing itself to its host.

Watering and Aerial Roots

Sometimes aerial roots can look dried out and it can be tempting to water the orchid. To avoid rotting the roots down in the potting media, don’t let the aerial roots tell you when to water your orchid. Instead, look at, or even touch, the potting media. If it is still damp, wait to water.

If the aerial roots are looking dried out, you have several options. First, you can mist the roots with a spray bottle. Just be careful not to raise humidity levels above 50% in a home environment. Second, you could increase the humidity around your orchid. Third, just let them be.

Personally, I’m more inclined to go with the second and third options. The first one is too time-consuming and I find that if I’m too fussy with my orchids, I tend to cause more hard than good. I keep a cool-mist humidifier on the lowest setting. And, I just let those aerial do what they are going to do.

Potting Aerial Roots

When potting an orchid, leave aerial roots in the air and potted roots in the potting medium. Aerial roots have a thicker coating of velamin and physiologically different than roots that are growing in the potting medium.

Enjoy the Journey

No matter if you’re resisting the urge to cut off every last aerial root, or if you find them intriguing enjoy your orchid growing journey!

Learn more about Potting Orchids

What’s the Best Potting Mix for Orchids?

Thriving Orchids Begin with the Right Soil


Why Re-Pot Orchids – Plus 4 Clues that Tell You When to RePot Orchids

Pottting at the right time vastly improves how well your orchid will adapt.



For optimum health, repot your orchid every 1-2 years. Come learn how.


Top Tools for RePotting Orchids

Potting Orchids Just Got Easier

  1. judy says:

    thank you. this helped a lot. very educational. now I know why lol.

    1. Anna says:

      Orchid roots are definitely out of the ordinary. I’m glad I could be of help!

      1. David S. says:

        Thank you for the advice on the aerial roots. I just repotted this Phael. The leaves had such a growth spurt, they were in contact with the shelf, so a taller pot was required and I didn’t want to harm any roots since it was repotted just 4 months ago.

  2. Adelson Espindola says:




    1. Anna says:

      I don’t grow Vandas as they I can’t give them what they need (enough light and humidity) where I live, but I did read an orchid forum where another person was having a similar problem with his Vanda. Here’s what he said: Just an update: I removed [the Vanda] from its pot and it was still doing nothing but sitting there. I decided to take measures into my own hands 3 days ago and put it in a vase with water in the bottom and placed it in a sunny window. Lo and behold, new roots are popping up everywhere! I don’t know why I didn’t try it before, since that’s how I got my first Vanda to take off. So, a lesson to anyone reading who is having trouble getting their Vanda to spread its wings: try this method. It’s almost fool-proof. (This is the third time it’s work for me). Once the roots are long enough (shouldn’t be more than about 2-3 weeks time), it’s okay to put it back in it’s pot/basket/whatever. They just need a nudge to get going sometimes and this is the perfect way to do it (Orchid Talk Forum).
      I hope this helps! Vandas are spectacular!

  3. Anonymous says:

    These plants are incredible. Thanks for the extra knowledge.

    1. Anna says:

      Thank you!!

  4. Donna Lawless says:

    Thank you so much for this info. Oh my how I wish I had seen and read this article last week. I cut off the aerials ? now I shall be holding my breath. I have had these orchids for 10 ? years. There were so many aerials and so long, So much for tidying up orchids. I hope after all this time I didn’t kill them. Stay tuned…..

    1. Anna says:

      Let me know how your orchids do. They can be pretty resilient.

  5. Manuel says:

    Please keep me updated on orchids raising thank you

    1. Anna says:

      I will! Thanks Manuel!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Very informative, indeed! Thank you so much. Jay

    1. Anna says:

      Thank you Jay!

  7. Kathi-Ann says:

    The use of photos are an excellent learning tool. I’m having much better success with my orchids.
    Thanks again.


    1. Anna says:

      Thank you Kathi Ann! I love hearing from you!

  8. Kathi-Ann Charles says:


    I am now exactly sure what a flower spike looks like as to a root tip.
    Thanks, it was pretty confusing before.
    I have a den hanging under my mango tree and it is in spike. Wala!!

    1. Anna says:

      Kathi Ann,
      That is so exciting! I love it when I see flower stalks growing!

  9. Kathi-Ann Charles says:

    Love the difference, a fist vs a tip. Clearly understood.

  10. Anonymous says:

    A very informative read, thank you for the information.

    1. Anna says:

      THANK YOU!

  11. Yami says:

    Thank you so much for all the info. Here’s a tips for those who grow Vandas without roots: I turn them upside down and water them every morning and like magic the roots appear. I keep my own under a tree and it works perfectly.

    1. Anna says:

      Thanks for sharing your tips on growing Vandas. I really appreciate it, especially as I don’t grow Vandas.

  12. Joy says:

    Do you use a special bark to pot orchids? I bought some bark that is to use with repotting orchids . Is this the correct medium to use?

    1. Anna says:

      Yes, I do use a special bark-based potting mix. There are two advantages to using a bark to pot orchids. First, bark allows for air to circulate around the roots. Second, it is hard to over-water bark based potting medium. But, on the other hand, it is easy to under-water bark based potting medium. Be sure to water frequently and to allow the water to drain out. Orchids do not like to sit in water. Also, the orchid will need to be watered a lot in the beginning. After a while the bark will become more absorbent. Here is a link for the bark-based potting medium I use: Bonsai Jack’s Premium Potting Mix.
      Have a great day!

  13. Donna Cunningham says:

    My orchid’s leaves are turning yellow and brown and are falling off. All of the roots are bad except for one big fat green one so I cut them all off. I hope it’s going to live. What do I do?

    1. Anna says:

      Sounds like your orchid is in a bad way. You can try to save your orchid by putting a clear plastic bag over it to create an extra humid environment while it recovers roots and leaves. Even if the orchid can’t be saved, the most important step is to try to figure out what went wrong and try again. I am guessing the primary culprit was over watering. Check out this post on watering orchids. Learning to properly orchids is the first step to successfully growing orchids. It was the one I struggled with when learning to care for my orchids.
      Best of luck!

  14. Novella Byrd says:

    You are right in your description that aerial roots seem to take on a life of their own!! I am truly enjoying watching them, I bought several phalaenopsis from a grocery floral department; I’m hooked! I am so impatient about waiting for them to bloom again, any tips on getting them to bloom again quicker?

    Thank you

    1. Anna says:

      Yes, waiting for Phalaenopsis to rebloom can really test our patience! For guidelines on reblooming orchids check out this post: Tips in ReBlooming Orchids. Give it time and you will get the flowers you’ve been waiting for.

  15. Ria says:

    So informative..
    I love watching orchids grow. I have a few oncidium which are good. My dendrobium in turn is literally in ICU after a severe fungal attack.little worried about her. She produced two keikes and were growing new roots 6-10 in number but after potting almost all green root tips either stopped growing or turned pale.we can still see the growing tips but not green but pale. Will you tell me what happened to them.

  16. Christine says:

    I’ve tried looking for a specific answer to my question over the internet and it doesn’t seem to be out there yet. So, I’m hoping, if I post my question, you’ll be able to help me.
    The orchid I have had healthy aerial roots but was wobbly in the pot. So, I unpotted it and found the vast majority of the submerged roots had rotted. The plant has four big healthy glossy green strong leaves. I trimmed the hollow, flaky, rotted roots (using sterile scissors), repotted the plant and dampened the growing medium with orchid fertilizer mixed with a splash of rooting hormone.
    Upon repotting, a handful of the aerial roots are now submerged. A couple of the aerial roots are still above the growing medium. I thought submerging a couple of the aerial roots would be a good thing because there’s not much left down the bottom of the plant. Have I done the right thing? What would you recommend?
    Thanks for your help,

    1. Anna says:


      Congratulations! You did the right thing. While often it is best to leave aerial roots out in the air, and not pot them, in cases where the root system has been compromised and the roots are needed for stability, potting some of the aerial roots can be a good thing.

      Potting in fir bark will help prevent overwatering. Repotting every 1-2 years will keep the potting mix fresh, also helping to prevent overwatering.

      You did great! And, you learned a lot.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I will have to read your very interesting tips again but you have given me more confidence to repot my first orchid which I think is the mono type, thank you so much l have decided to try another one and follow your advice Diane.

    1. Anna says:

      I have confidence in you too! You’ve got this. It will feel a little strange the first time as orchid roots are different from other plants.
      Good Luck!

  18. Judy says:

    Should aerial roots be staked? I have stacked them before realizing how to tell them apart from flower stalks.

    1. Anna says:

      No, you do not need to stake your orchids aerial roots. Just let them do their thing.
      Thanks for your question.

  19. Annette Gray says:

    I found all of your articles very informative. I have a question about cleaning the leaves. Is it okay if you occasionally get water in the center of the leaves? I recall reading somewhere that the center of the plant should never get water in it. Is this true? Again, thank you very much!

    1. Anna says:

      Thank you for your question!
      There are two main reasons not to get water on an orchid’s leaves. First, in the case of phalaenopsis orchids, water can settle in the crown, or base of the leaves, and cause rot. If you do notice water in the crown of your phal, take a cloth and dab it on the water to absorb standing water. Second, some orchids, such as oncidiums, are susceptible to bacterial spotting.
      Taking these precautions are just good practice and will help keep your orchid healthy and thriving.
      Take care,

  20. Taylor says:

    Hi! Thank you for the nice article. I’ve been growing a phalaenopsis I was gifted around 3 months ago pretty successfully so far. It’s the type has purple spots on the flowers and purple on the edges of the leaves. Today I was watering it and I noticed 3 new roots growing out of the side. They are very tiny and green at the base but then turn immediately black. None of the other roots are like that, just the 3 new nubs. Is this abnormal? What are the possible causes? Is an intervention of some sort needed? Thanks!

    1. Anna says:

      Your orchid sounds lovely! If the new root tips are a deep purple or a bright green that is completely normal – especially if they are nice and plump. However, if the tips are brown or black that indicates some sort of toxicity – usually from fertilizer salts. If you do think that the roots are reacting to fertilizer salts, flush the potting mix with water. Once the orchid has finished blooming you can re-pot.


      1. Nida Villalon says:

        I have vandas attached to wood, had so much roots hanging and attached to the wood covered with coconut husk. I have been waiting for them to re bloom, but its been months since they last bloomed. It’s common practice here in Philippines to have them attached to wooden branches or coconut husk. I miss the flowers.

        1. Anna says:

          Check the vanda’s leaves to make sure they are getting enough light. The leaves should be a nice medium (not dark) green. You could also apply a balanced fertilizer once a week when they are actively growing new roots and leaves.
          I hope this encourages your vandas to flower!

  21. Jamie Sildar says:

    Hi, Thanks for all the freak info. I’m getting much more confident as I take care of my beautiful orchids.
    I have 2 huge Oaks in my backyard and am wondering if and how to let an orchid grow on the tree. The way you described how the roots take off inspired me. I live in SW Florida. The humidity def gets higher than 50 degrees with temps in the high 80s, but it can get down into the low 40s in the winter. Is there a particular orchid which would be a good choice. I hope one day I’ll see an amazing orchid on one of my oaks!

    1. Anna says:

      I’ve heard from many readers from Florida who successfully grow vanda orchids outdoors.

  22. Norah says:

    My mini orchid came in a sponge with roots wrapped around it. Should I remove the brown sponge and use orchid bark?

    1. Anna says:

      I’ve had orchids potted with a sponge before as well – it is kind of strange. I like to pot my orchids in fir bark, but then I add a little wool rock or sphagnum moss to the mix to help retain a little moisture.

      These articles will help you know when to re-pot and will walk you through how to do it:



      Have a great day,

  23. Ashu says:

    Hi. I have just bought a phalaenopsis orchid and repotted it only with sphagnum moss. I have watered it every two weeks. When I checked the roots they were all rotten and turned very yellow and soft. I cut the roots. Now there are only two green roots left. Can it grow new roots out of the two green roots? Or is it dying? Any help please. This is my first time whenn I bought orchid. Thanks Ashu

    1. Anna says:

      Yes, your orchid can survive with only two healthy roots. Orchids tend to do best potted in fir bark as it is fast draining. If the bark is too fast draining, you can add a small amount of sphagnum moss or wool rock to the mix. This will add a bit of extra moisture without letting the roots sit in water.

      If an orchid is potted in sphagnum moss with a plastic liner pot, I have found removing the plastic pot will allow air to reach the roots and dry out the moss.

      Best of luck with your orchid,

  24. Talia says:

    This was really helpful! Thank you so much! I just got a new mini moth orchid from a friend and one of the aerial roots was mushy at the end. I sort of panicked and cut off the mushy part (I sanitized the scissors, but I wont’s have cinnamon to sprinkle on the end until tomorrow). I read later on that you shouldn’t do that until after it’s finished blooming (this one is mid bloom). Is this going to damage the orchid? Is there any thing I should do to try and prevent further damage?

    1. Anna says:

      The cinnamon is a precaution against introducing disease, but I am guessing that your orchid will be fine!
      It was great hearing from you!
      All my best,

  25. Rebecca says:

    I have a 5-year-old Phalaenopsis orchid. I have it potted in the orchid bark mix that you can buy at the store. I water once a week. My orchid has always thrived, until recently. I am noticing that all the roots look completely dried up and dead. They are brown and very dry and brittle. I have started watering more frequently, but don’t see any change. The orchid stem is also starting to turn yellow at the base, and the bottom leaves are falling off one by one. What should I do?? I really don’t want my orchid to die! Thank you in advance for any help you can give!

    1. Anna says:

      I suggest adding a bit of wool rock to the orchid potting mix. While it is not very pretty, it does hold water and will keep the fast-draining mix from drying out too quickly. For me, wool rock works like a dram – adding just enough moisture, but not too much. Hide it down in the potting mix where it can’t be seen for a more pleasing look.

      Here is a link to buy wool rock:


      I’m so sorry things went south with your orchids and hope this helps to get them back on track,

    2. Anna says:

      Try adding a bit of wool rock to the potting mix. Wool rock is highly absorbent and by adding a small amount to the mix, the mix will stay more evenly moist, but not too wet.


      All my best,

  26. Linda Preston Rosa says:

    I repotted my orchid and now roots are sprouting out of air roots? I have never seen this before. Is this normal?

    1. Anna says:

      Yes, totally normal.

  27. Patrick Masoperh says:

    Great article Anna!
    I grow loads of Orchids (Phals, Vandas Cattleyas & Oncidiums) here in Ghana, usually attached to my trees and in charcoal filled terracotta pots and your tips are right on point!
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Anna says:

      You made my day! Thanks so much!
      All my best,

  28. Cindy Frueh says:

    I re-potted my phal when it was done blooming and it grew a new leaf and is producing new roots like mad!. The last two roots that have appeared came out above a bottom leaf. When I first saw the bumps, I was sure they’d be flower spikes this time, but they are roots too! I’m thrilled it’s so healthy but I really want a flower spike. Do you think i can expect one soon? It’s mid-November here in Boston so beginning to be what I’d call late autumn. Thanks!

    1. Anna says:

      It sounds like your orchid is healthy! Congratulations on the new roots and leaves! Yes, phals do bloom in the winter months. If you do not see a flower spike soon, increase the light that your orchid receives.

  29. Pamela says:

    Can I grow my orchid out of the pot and attached to some drift wood type decoration? It had several aerial roots. I got it from the grocery store two years ago and am thinking about repotting it but wondered if I could attach it to a “tree”. Not sure what yet but wondered if it’s possible.

    1. Anna says:

      You sure can! Be sure you mount the orchid using freshwater, rather than saltwater driftwood to mount your orchid. Check out this post on how to mount an orchid.

  30. Jasmine says:

    I purchased a Phalaenopsis Orchid about two months ago, it’s fully blossomed since purchased and It currently sits in the bathroom for indirect sunlight and humidity.
    I don’t think I’ve been under or over watered my plant. However, the stem has dropped (like it needs support to hold it up) and the flowers are a leather texture and the leaves are starting to turn white. I do have Aerial roots but they seem to be hollow and I can see some roots on the surface to be a gray to green.

    Can you confirm if my plant is dying or surviving and what I should be doing.

    1. Anna says:

      I would check the roots. It sounds like there is a watering problem. Which doesn’t mean you aren’t watering properly. The potting mix could have broken down and have compacted. Or, when fertilizer salts build up to toxic levels, that also causes root loss. If it looks like the roots are dying, re-pot as soon as possible. Here are some helpful links to walk you through potting:


      Best wishes,

  31. Kathleen Arrieta says:

    thank you, this is the best explanation of caring for an orchid that I’ve come across. Especially “leave it alone.” I adopted a dried out orchid that someone left in the office. – watered it sparingly for almost two years, and suddenly it’s blooming. But, now the roots looks all dry and wrinkly. I upped the water just slightly (thinking because it’s blooming it may need a bit more water), but of course I’m worried about overwatering. I’ll watch the roots and only water when silver. thanks again!

    1. Anna says:

      Thank you, Kathleen! Your orchid is lucky to have such a patient caregiver!

  32. Bee says:

    Thanks for the info. I received an orchid as a gift 6 months ago and literally all I’ve done is give it a cube of ice each week. It has dropped maybe 2 flowers on all that time? It’s grown a lot though! Now that it’s getting warmer I’ve done 1 ice cube every 3-4 days because I noticed that aerial root going whitIsh sooner. I’m so glad I found this. I had no idea what that was and was thinking of cutting it off. I’ll leave it alone now.

  33. Mary says:

    How do you anchor a orchid with uke pipe cleaner ? This is the first time I will be doing this . I am new at growing orchids .

    1. Anna says:

      Pipe cleaners, or chenille stems – as they have been re-branded, are found in the craft section at the store and are very flexible. Just wrap the pipe cleaner around the very base of the orchid, below the leaves.

  34. johnna mcvey says:

    Hello mam, what are aerial roots? I have 5 orchids.

    1. Anna says:

      Aerial roots are the roots that do not grow down into the potting mix, but instead, grow out in the air.
      Best of everything to you and your 5 orchids,

  35. Elly says:

    Hi there! I’ve had a phalaenophis for the past 2.5 years, and it sprouted a baby! The mother plant slowly deteriorated so I removed the baby which was 2 leaves and 2 roots. I planted it in moss, barely fertilized it (by barely I mean I dissolved a couple particles in a cup of water. Within days a new leaf emerged. But how do I promote root growth? I received the orchid when my dad passed away so I’m a little obsessed with it’s survival. I know… silly. I appreciate any advice you can share.

    1. Anna says:

      Focus on giving the keiki (baby) humidity and don’t let the moss dry out. At the same time, keep the moss from getting soggy. As the new roots are very tender, wait to fertilize until the orchid becomes more established. Keeping the Keiki out of direct sunlight will also help.

  36. Daniel says:

    Hi on my phals I sometimes see healthy looking green roots hanging down but the top half of the root where it connects to the plant is looking dry and thin and dead. Is the healthy looking lower half still doing anything or will it eventually die too? Should I remove the whole thing? Why would just the bottom segment stay alive? Thanks

    1. Anna says:

      If the tip is healthy, leave the root.

  37. Dhananjay Ghodke says:

    How to promote new root growth on dendrobium phenealopsis type orchids? My plants are in expanded clay pebbles. I am from Mumbai, India and now it’s monsoon time. Humidity is around 92%. Plants are not directly exposed to the rain. Watering after 4-5 days. Is this ok.

    1. Anna says:

      I think your phal dens should do great. Here is a link for more info on growing Dendrobiums, including dendrobium phalaenopsis types.

  38. Sarah says:

    Thank you for adding pictures of the roots, it really helped me figure out if my orchid was healthy or not. A good description is helpful, but nothing beats a picture! 🙂

  39. Abbie says:

    Hi, I received a phal a year ago and I believe I’ve successfully nurtured it even after blooming because I had 4 new leaves and 5 aerial roots. Then an office mate gave me her orchids which were not potted but were entirely submerged in water. There are aerial roots and dried up mushy roots and healthy leaves. So today, I’ve decided to repot both orchids. Unfortunately, after taking my orchid out of it’s original pot I was surprised to find that all potted roots have died and the media is all sphagnum moss. So I ended up cutting all the potted roots. I am now left with 6 healthy looking leaves, 2 older floppy leaves and 5 aerial roots. Since this is my first time caring for an orchid (& I thought I did a lot of research already…apparently not until I found your article) I buried the aerial roots in an orchid media mix of bark, perlite and sphagnum. I did this to both orchids. I also added a stick of orchid fertilizer which I split into 4 tiny pieces to be distributed in the pot. What do you think should I do to help them survive? I hope I didn’t end up killing them.
    Looking forward to hearing from you and thank you so much in advance.

    1. Anna says:

      While your orchids recover and grow new roots you can make a mini-greenhouse by putting the orchids in a clear plastic bag. While recovering, place the orchids in a shady area and do not fertilize.

  40. Gaynor Healey says:

    I think I have dendrobium orchid, it was a gift. It has now stopped flowering, and looks pretty unsightly as the aerial roots are growing all the way to the top of the flower stalks is this ok. Not sure what I can prune at this stage

    1. Anna says:

      Orchids grow aerial roots. There is just no way around it. Here is a helpful link that will help you grow and bloom your dendrobium:

  41. Amy says:

    Hello Anna. I repotted a oncidium in May that had absolutely no roots. I put it in new bark and it didn’t grow any new roots over the summer. Some of the pods shriveled up and leaves fell off. I have put a clear plastic bag over the plant and have now started lightly misting with rooting hormone and it looks like tiny roots (1-2 mm) are starting to appear; it’s been about 2 weeks now living in a clear plastic bag that I check daily. Now it is producing flower spikes. Should I cut off the flower spikes to focus the plant on rooting? What do you suggest I do?

    1. Anna says:

      Removing the flower spikes would definitely help the orchid grow a stronger root system.

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