Guest Author - Haidy Ear-Dupuy
If you find that the orchid youíve brought home from the store has started to loose its buds or that the flowers start to fall off, inspect the bottom of your pot. You may be slowly killing the plant with too much water.
Make sure that your orchid is repotted to a clay pot since it tends to dry faster than plastic pot. Even better is the lattice basket that is made especially for orchids.
Most orchid roots like to be exposed to the air. The green, firm and spongy roots can easily turn brown and soggy if kept without access to air and wet all the time. Allow the plants to dry in between watering.
Because of the need to have air flow around the root system, most of the medium used for orchids are the wood chips about the size of the thumbs. You can also use wood charcoal, the kind without chemicals, dry coconut husks, wood chips, moss, and other spongy mediums. Choose a medium that allows the most air circulation. Usually the larger size the medium the more space it leaves for air to circulate at the bottom of the pot. With denser and smaller particle-medium, the roots can slowly rot away if water is trapped in the medium for too long. With larger potting medium, you can prevent the over watering problem since most of the water easily drain through the plant quickly.
Perform emergency repotting if you find that the roots are rotting away. By removing the orchid from the pot and trimming off the dead roots, you can repot the plant into a new medium and pot, preferably the terra cotta or lattice basket ones. Also avoid clustering plants too close together to prevent the plants from transferring diseases. Allow space between each plant so that air can circulate between them. Make sure your orchid stay close to the light source without touching the window.
If you are reusing the same pot to put your orchid back in after trimming off the dead roots, make sure to clean the pot well with hot soapy water. This will disinfect the pot of any fungus that may have lived in the pot before. Wash the plant and roots well before putting back into the pot.
Unlike other house plants, the orchids like to be fussed about. So, a look at your plant every other day helps you keep a close note of the plantís progress. Frequent visit with your orchid allows you to catch any problem and to treat it as soon as possible. Like any situation, an early detection of the problem puts you in control and you can rescue your plant on time.