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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.
Q: I have three of your gorgeous orchids. On one of the roots that sticks out of the pot, a tiny green bump is growing. I'm assuming this is a new plant. What do I do with it to get it to grow into a new plant? Should I cut it and set it in some kind of medium, or should I let it get bigger before doing something with it?
A: If it has a lightly knobby end on it (called a "mitten"), you may have a new flower stem that’s started to spike. It is not a new plant as it needs the roots it has to grow, but you may get your plant to bloom again. You can follow steps 6-7 of our reblooming tips! http://www.matsuinursery.com/reblooming.html
Q: I have a customer with a nobile dendrobium that has asked me about roots growing from higher branches. It is a healthy plant and he wants to repot it so it continues to grow. Should I just leave this high roots alone, they are healthy, and just repot as I would a normal orchid?
A. Usually when roots start on the stems it means the roots below are not happy. My guess is they still have this plant in the deco pot (which doesn’t breathe as well as a terra cotta). Not much you can do other than repot and keep the roots below warm so they can recover. To get more flowers the plant has to grow new canes. Leave the old ones on.
Q. Where are your retail outlets in Palm Springs? I'd like to buy more to bloom at different times of the year.
A. Matsui Nursery's orchids are available at many fine retailers throughout North America with greatest availability on the West Coast. Check out our Where to Buy page for a list of supermarket and retailers who regularly receive our orchids. You can also find our orchids at many other regional and local independent florists and retailers not on this list.
Q. I purchased a Militona about a year ago and it was lovely. I kept it for the greenery but it hasn't rebloomed and I understand they are tricky to get them to rebloom.
A. Yes, Miltonia are a bit trickier to rebloom, but if you’d like to try, you can use our 7 steps to reblooming your Phalaenopsis. Specifically, the drop in temperature may trigger new flower spike growth.
Q. I would just like to tell you how incredibly happy I am with your Phal Orchid. I have purchased many of these orchids in the past that came from different growers. None have been the quality of your orchids and the bloom has never lasted as long. I purchased a lovely orchid from Albertsons the first week in Feb. and here it is, almost May and it looks just as beautiful as the day I purchased it. I will be purchasing more. Thank you very much. I love them. I have tried reblooming and have had some success but the flowers are never as big as or as plentiful as when first purchased.
A. So glad that you’re enjoying your Phalaenopsis! You may want to try our 7 steps to reblooming your Phalaenopsis for the best flowers.
Read our reblooming tips>
Q. My daughter gave me Miltonia orchid garden from Von's yesterday. The leaves are already brown in places and it needs water. I also can't get out of the 2 containers. Roots may be stuck in bottom. How do I get out? If I repot, do I use potting soil and what do I use for fertilizer? It seems extremely crowded.
A. Orchids like to be “tight” and root bound. We would cut off any brown leaves with a sterile scissors and see how it does. As for the pot, it was placed in the ceramic pot just before it left our facility, so the roots shouldn’t be growing in it yet. The ceramic might have been a little small due to variations in manufacturing. To remove, we’d try to get the potting medium nice and wet so it gets “squishy” and slowly work it out of the ceramic. Just be sure to wear an old t-shirt when you do in case it comes out really quickly and gets some potting medium on you! Then let it get almost dry before watering again, in about 10-14 days.
We wouldn’t recommend repotting until the plant is done blooming, and even then, it can go another year/ blooming season without getting repotted. I should note that we consider Miltonias a “living bouquet” with flowers that last about 6 weeks, sometimes longer. They can be tricky to rebloom and without the perfect greenhouse growing environment they often don’t live for longer than six months from purchase. Some people do have luck with keeping them going, so once it is done blooming, you can fertilize monthly.
Read our care tips>
Learn more about reblooming tips>
Q. I received a beautiful exotic for Mother's Day but this morning found 2 aphids on it! yuck! How to how do I get rid of them without harming the plant?
A. For just a few aphids, we recommend simply removing them with a cotton swap or spraying them off with a strong stream of cool water. If you find that it’s a continuing or larger problem, use insecticidal soap. You can use Safer’s Insecticidal Soap or make your own with 1 teaspoon mild dish detergent to one gallon of water and spray on plants.
Q. Can you identity the specific name of my plant?
A. At Matsui Nursery, we grow hundreds of different varieties every year and are constantly trying new ones. We buy plants from all over the world, and the same or very similar genetic material can be sold under various names (or even code numbers) depending on the source. In addition, some varieties are developed in-house and we don’t always name them. Due to the vast and ever-changing selection of orchids we grow, we are unable to individually identify orchids by name for our customers at this time. If you'd like to know more what type of orchid you have, check out Our Orchids page.
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As orchid experts, we love sharing our knowledge and ideas so we can make orchids easy — and fun — for everyone. While it doesn't take much effort to grow our orchids, the more you know about growing them, the easier they are!