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I cut all my Orchid roots

tamara.adiga92tamara.adiga92 Posts: 1
edited January 2019 in Problem solving
Hi guys,

I am so lousy at gardening, please don't make fun of me.

A couple of days ago I learned that among other plants, orchids can live in a water vase. So I bought a mini orchid. I then googled "how to move an orchid from soil to water culture", Silly me I have been on a hurry and read on the first google result that you should cut off the roots and then move it to water. Then after I've done so (please see the photo), I realized I may have made a huge mistake and that maybe they meant I need to cut only the bad roots. Please help, I feel bad for the plant. Is there anything that can be done or have I lost the plant? Is there a chance the roots may grow back? Is there a way to achieve that?

Thank you!



  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,115
    Roots are for what?
    Feeding the plant.
    Removing a plant’s roots is like sewing up your mouth.
    Think about your only means of feeding being removed.

    I have only one question. Why did you think that mutilating a living thing was a good idea?
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 9,576
    Welcome to the forum @tamara.adiga92  :). I suspect that this may be a first gardening lesson learned unfortunately. As pansyface says, it needs roots in order to survive, and although l am no orchid expert, as far as l know they don't regrow roots (but l may be wrong). Google has it's uses, but l think you will find this forum might be pretty useful ! Are you going to buy another and try again ?
  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,422
    edited January 2019
    I am no orchid expert and indeed have never grown one!
    Looked up to see what growing them in water is all about and read this from an article:-

    In order for an orchid to live in water, it is necessary for it to develop water roots. The roots on the orchid living in a bark or sphagnum moss mixture have adapted themselves to that condition and will not be able to adjust to another. Usually an orchid is put into water because the regular roots have become diseased or have rotted already. Before putting the orchid into water, the old roots must be completely removed – if left on, they will only rot.
    After removing the old roots, the orchid should be placed into a jar or glass with sufficient water to cover the bottom of the plant, where the old roots were. It may be necessary to provide some kind of support for the orchid at this point, and it can be propped with sticks or other material to keep it upright until the new roots can provide support. It is best if the container is tall enough to keep the orchid upright.

    So it seems @tamara.adiga92 has done the correct thing.
    I would just keep the orchid and see what happens,you have nothing to lose by trying!

    Full article here:-
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,115

    Orchids are not aquatic plants.

    They are epiphitic plants. They cling to tree trunks. They are not water lilies.

    I could chop a bird’s wings off and say “ooh look, it can still survive by just walking around. It doesn't need its wings.”

    I ask again - why?
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,422
    edited January 2019
    It's a system called Hydroponics and used for all sorts of plants.

    This chap grows orchids like this for a living!
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,115
    edited January 2019
    I know about hydroponics. Plants raised by hydroponics start their lives off in that system. They aren’t mutilated as adults and thrust into a vase of water.

    I dare say he does grow orchids for a living. 

    All I am saying is this. Orchids are epiphitic plants. They gain their nutrients from the water run off on tree trunks in tropical forests and they gain additional water from the moist tropical air via their aerial roots.

    As I said, I could keep a bird alive without its wings but that doesn’t mean I’m a genius. It just means that I am altering the natural course of the bird’s life in order to please my own whims and see how well it can do without them.

    And possibly to show off.

    If it ain’t broke......
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 18,428
    But don't chuck it yet. Orchids can flower for weeks even when cut. My orchids, grown in bark grow new roots. The old ones die off. It looks as though there is a little bit of root left at the bottom of the stem. If roots grow then hurray, but it not then enjoy the lovely flower while it lasts.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • treehugger80treehugger80 Posts: 1,923
    edited January 2019
    first thing i would do is remove the flower (give it one thing to focus on not two)
    then get the plant out of the water (it will rot like that, they like being damp not wet)
    you need a clear plastic pot filled with fine bark chips, fix it in the middle of the pot on the surface of the chips (like you have in the vase) and keep the bark damp, then its hope for the best
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,037
    Just try it and see what happens. All I would say is that perhaps you have just a tad too much water. Either lift the orchid up a half inch or pour some of the water out. And let us know what happens. 

    I don't agree with @pansyface about 'Plants raised by hydroponics start their lives off in that system. They aren’t mutilated as adults and thrust into a vase of water.' Well yes they were! Back in the 70s when hydroponics first hit the headlines, I, among many others I am sure, did that very thing. There was a list of plants that you can grow by the hydroponic method and I remember doing it back then.  Think of the number of ordinary plants that do root in water even if their ultimate growing medium is soil. 

    I would not have started my hydroponic journey with a flowering orchid though! I would have chosen something easier (and cheaper!). Good luck. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,115
    Nobody has yet answered my question. 


    Why deliberately disable a healthy, happy plant?

    What benefit is there to the plant or to the grower?

    Again. Why?
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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