Q: Just purchased one of your beautiful phalaenopsis...love it. I can't find any mention of the long root-like growths from the base of the plant...about 6" long...can these be removed?
A: The roots of the plant that you see are what help the plant absorb moisture and carbon dioxide from the air. Also known as “air roots” these are perfectly normal and don’t indicate that you need to repot your plant. You should also keep them on the plant as long as they remain nice and plump and are a sage-gray green color. If they turn yellow or shrivel up, you can wait until your plant stops blooming and then trim them off with a sterile scissors or razorblade. Long story short, please try to keep all of the healthy roots on your plant. Try not to stuff them into the ceramic pot (let them come out the top) so they can “breathe.” Orchids like to be root-bound and can stay in their existing pot for about 2 years after you’ve purchased it. Then, the potting medium does start to lose its nutrients and breaks down, so it’s time to re-pot. You can find lots of info at www.matsuinursery.com/repotting.
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