I just needed 1 thing. And it was not a plant. Needless to say, I got a plant. Once again, I found a Phalaenopsis orchid with a dead stem, and awesome roots. Rehab day 1.
That stem needed to go. Orchids like to be root bound, but not as bound as this one was. I was so close to breaking the clay pot he came in. Luckily, with some serious water and gently tugging-it released.
My next step after getting it out of the pot, is to get all the medium out from in between the root system. This can take a little work as to avoid root damage. I used a spray bottle to get everything loose enough to remove. After a while, I had something like this…
The node is circled above. Typically, you want to cut about 1/4 inch above the node of a healthy looking stalk. Most of the stalk was dead AF, so I did a close cut. However, I did not have to trim too many roots of this orchid which is great (and remember-healthy roots, healthy orchid). The white parts of the roots indicate that this fella is really thirsty. Those were all stuck to the pot and difficult to remove. I submerged the whole root system in water for about 2 minutes, to give him a boost.
Once all that fun stuff is over (seriously though, it’s my favorite part), it’s time to lightly pack him into his new home. I used a combination of sphagnum moss and orchid bark. The sphagnum will help with moisture, and the bark for good drainage. I find this is a good mixture for my project phal’s. Especially the ones that need to hydrate!
That’s about it! I did give him another drink after being placed in a new pot. I have recently tried to put all my orchids (especially phalaenopsis) in clear orchid pots. Placing in decorative pots is an option. Clear pots are the best way to have the ability to visualize the roots without having to move the medium. When in the clear pot exposed to light, the root system can photosynthesize and give the plant energy. Always a good idea for orchids that really need root help.
The whole process takes about 30 minutes. It’s rewarding to see the progress of these reject orchids. Remember the first orchid project? We now have a 4 in stem!
Notice the yellowing on the bottom leaf? Either the plant is shedded the leaf because it’s in a growth period OR I may have been a little over zealous with the water. I have had this orchid for about a month and a half. Just about long enough for me to learn how much water it actually wants versus how much water I thought it needed. I’m giving this an extra week or two between waterings. When in doubt, under water!