The room orchid is considered to be rather capriciousplant. But this fact does not prevent amateur growers from growing it. Yes, they sometimes make mistakes, they are confused in all the subtleties of caring for a tropical beauty, but, as they say, "patience and work will peretrut." This statement is the best way to disclose the principles of growing orchids. And if you decide to join the club of fans of this plant, be prepared for various difficulties. In this article we will try to help novice growers and pay attention to the most important problem that arises in orchids - rotting roots. If you do not take timely measures to eliminate this trouble, the plant will fall ill and die. Why do the roots suffer? Is it possible to save an orchid? If you want to get answers to these questions, carefully study our tips and recommendations.
Causes of the problem
Insufficient lighting and high humidityThe structure of the root system of orchids is quite complicated. In epiphytic plants there are no root hairs, through which the flower receives moisture. The top layer of the root is called velamen. It consists of hollow cells forming several layers. Water comes here through the capillaries and can be pumped from one layer of cells to another until it reaches the next, actively participating in the process - exoderm. From here the water moves towards the middle of the root and then upwards to the leaves. And in order for the transfer of water from the velaman to the exoderm to take place, special conditions are necessary, namely, certain illumination. In short, the brighter the sunlight, the more active the plant consumes water. The most common problem with decaying roots can be from November to March. It is at this time in our region that there is a clear lack of sunlight: there are rains, snow, and the day is too short. And at home, the orchid almost never lacks the sun. So, when the sunlight is clearly not enough, the water remains in the upper layer and just waiting for the opportunity. If the roots are in a well-ventilated substrate, some part of the moisture will evaporate naturally, but still some of it will remain and can lead to decay. Fungal diseases of the root system Fungi-parasites most often attack the roots of orchids. All of them do not pose a danger as long as the plant is healthy. But, as soon as the flower begins to lack sunlight and excess moisture - there is a push to the fungal attack. The decomposing layer (velamen) creates ideal conditions for reproduction of fungi, and within a few hours they will be enough to begin to corrode the root system. When the roots are completely damaged, fungi are taken for the stem and leaves of the plant. It is important not to allow multiplication of the fungal infection and start treatment in time, otherwise it will be impossible to save the orchid. Sealing the substrate No substrate can supply the plant with the necessary substances forever. Over time, it loses its main property - air permeability. Once the soil is compacted, the roots of the orchids do not get enough oxygen. And this (even with good lighting) can cause rotting, because the air is necessary for the advancement of water. Sealing of the substrate can also occur due to excessive watering and propagation of algae in the ground. Sometimes this is facilitated by pests living in the substrate, which can corrode the bark, thereby promoting soil compaction. In this case, only the transplant will help save the orchid. Excess fertilizers and mechanical damage In orchids, roots are very sensitive to fertilizers, especially to potassium and phosphoric salts. And if you use too concentrated top dressing, the root system gets a severe burn and can no longer perform its function normally. To save the orchid, abolish the fertilizer and transplant the plant into fresh soil. Roots can also be damaged during plant transplantation. It is enough to make a small cut or purposefully break off the damaged area - it is no longer able to perform its function and gradually rot. The danger is that the rot will spread over time to all roots. As a result, the death of the root and the death of the plant.
What to do?
How to save an orchid while rotting roots? To find out that your plant has a problem with the root system is very easy. Firstly, it does not firmly hold in the ground. Secondly, the leaves of the orchid become flabby and begin to turn yellow, and eventually fade completely. Look at your plant - is there at least one of the above signs? One affirmative answer is enough to understand that a plant can die. But do not worry before the time, you can save the orchid. The main thing is to start acting right away. The plant must be removed from the pot and thoroughly rinsed with the root system, along with removing all rotted and damaged roots. At this stage, you may encounter another problem: how to distinguish dead roots from living ones? The rotten roots of the orchid to the touch are slimy and hollow. If you press them, the liquid will flow and the core of the root will be exposed, like a thin thread. Damaged areas have a dark shade - from brown to black. Live roots - firm and dense to the touch, regardless of color. In dry condition, they have a light green or silver hue. The roots of the old plant can have a light brown color. If you find that only a part of the root is affected, you simply cut the rotten area to a healthy tissue. The place of the cut must be disinfected (for example, fill it with activated carbon or treat it with any antiseptic that does not contain alcohol). Iodine or zelenku is better not to use, because these drugs too dry the roots. And we, in fact, need to save the orchid, and not to destroy it completely. If you have found root damage exclusively at the base, then most likely it is the "work" of a fungal infection. But in this case you can save the orchid. It is necessary to remove completely injured root and for preventive maintenance soak the plant in a solution of any fungicide for 15-20 minutes. Further actions will depend on whether the plant has living roots. If yes - the flower is recommended to be transplanted into a pot of small diameter and put in a warm and bright place (only not under direct sunlight). Watering the plant is necessary as the substrate dries completely.
How to save an orchid if there are no living roots left
If you did not find the living roots of the plant- this is not the reason to give up. To save an orchid in this case it is still possible, though it is rather difficult. Initially, you need to prepare the plant: cut all the rot and remove all the dead parts. After that, the flower is placed in a special vessel with water (plastic, glass or ceramic). The main thing is that there are no holes in the container. For example, you can use a regular glass beaker, place a plant in it, pour warm filtered water (so that only that part of the flower where the roots were once covered) is left and left in a bright place. To save an orchid, choose a room where the air temperature is 25-27 degrees. Water should be changed daily (use filtered and warm), the plant - to dry well. To save the orchid, try not to let the leaves come into contact with water. Otherwise there will be another problem - rot in the form of dry spots. By the way, the process of the appearance of roots can accelerate glucose, added to water in the form of honey or sugar (at the rate of 1 teaspoon per 1 liter of water). That's how you can save an orchid. The duration of resuscitation will depend on the state in which the plant originally was and in what conditions it grew. The appearance of new roots is possible in 3 weeks, and in six months. It is difficult to name the exact date. But the more successful lighting is chosen, the faster it will be possible to save the orchid. Transplant the plant in the ground can be, when the roots reach 3-4 centimeters in length. At first, the diameter of the pot should be quite small, so that the soil can dry well after watering. If the flower is unstable, it is necessary to fix it. Try to wrap the plant neatly, as if tied to a pot. Or stick sticks into the ground and fix the position of the orchid. When it is well rooted (in 2-3 weeks), the support can be removed. That's it. Now you know how to save an orchid if it has a damaged root system. The main thing is to adjust the ratio between watering and lighting, and let such problems bypass your beautiful side.