- - OVER WATERING -
Most people are used to growing plants in soil, not in
bark and other media that orchids grow in or on. Because of the different
potting media, beginners have to make a major adjustment in how they
Beginners will typically water their new orchid and, just hours
later, the orchid potting media will look dry again. So they give it a
little more water. The cycle continues and they end up over watering and
drowning the plant.
Orchid media is made to quickly absorb water and then dry out. It
is loose and allows oxygen to flow around the plant's roots which the
roots need to function correctly. If the potting media is kept wet, the
roots soon rot and
the plant starts to wilt because it cannot absorb the water needed. When
this happens the beginner usually adds still more water thinking the plant
What should I look for?
What should I do?
By the time you notice that there is something wrong, the media has
already started to decay and the plant has begun to loose its roots. You
need to repot immediately and cut off all dead and decaying roots.
Use a coarser grade of media since this will allow more rapid drying out.
Since the plant probably has very few roots, support it with a stake.
If the plant has no (or very few) living roots left, you can try
placing the orchid in a plastic bag. Loosely tie the bag closed. The bag
will help the orchid from loosing more moisture by reducing evaporation.
Place the bag in an area that only receives indirect light until you see
new roots growing.
- Pseudobulbs (see How Orchids Grow) that
should be plump are now shriveled and have deep furrows running
- Leaves like the Cattleya and Phalaenopsis start to curl,
soften, and develop creases
- Leaves like the Miltonia and the Oncidium never expand and
look pleated like an accordion.
- Blackened areas--especially around the bottom of the plant.
- Older leaves turn yellow and drop off.
- The media smells sour.
- If possible, gently remove the orchid from its pot enough to examine
the roots. If the roots are dark and mushy, then the plant is most
likely suffering from over watering.
DO NOT PLACE THE BAGGED ORCHID IN THE
SUN!When you see the new roots, take the orchid out of the
bag and place it on a humidity tray.
If your plant has black rot, treat it with
a fungicide before repotting.
Be careful when you start to water again.