My Orchids – Care Tips and Saving Sick Orchids

phalaenopsis moth orchid care tips sick taking care of reblooming

I recently became very interested in orchids, only phalaenopsis so far. I especially like buying bloomed out and sad looking orchids on sale.

I bought my first sick orchid in late January this year. It lost two leaves, several buds and got a bacterial fungus infection on one of the top leaves. I had to do some scary surgery to get rid of the fungus and cut it away before it spread. It only had about five or six flowers on its spike and they bloomed out in late April. I cut the spike and BOOOM!!! Not one but TWO new leaves appeared and there are currently six new roots growing from the stem. YEAH!

new roots nd leaves on sick orchid

And then there is this weirdo. My mom got this during Christmas and all roots rot within a month and it died down. I have been trying to save it for months now and things are just getting worse. It has not had any roots this whole time and as a last attempt I have now moved it to a glass of water, apparently, if you are really lucky the orchid could grow water roots. This is probably not going to happen with this one. The strange thing is, it is sprouting a new leaf and has new flower spikes growing on the stems. WHAT. It is completely rotten/mouldy and still alive. I have no idea how that is even possible. Freakin zombie orchid!

orchid with no roots still alive growing

new leaf on phal moth orchid with no roots

flower stem on sick phalaenopsis moth orchid

I also have two orchids from IKEA. One of them has been in bloom for so long that I am wondering if it is even real. The other one is growing a new leaf.

ikea orchid light pink
ikea orchid fushia color
ikea orchid growing new leaf

Yesterday I bought my fourth flower. It was on sale and when I got home I repotted it and discovered that all roots in the middle of the pot were rotten, crap! It has some great new roots growing though and there is a brand new spike peaking out from one of the bottom leaves. I hope it will be OK. The funny thing with this one is that I have no idea which color the flowers will be…

resting orchid growing new flower spike and roots

I keep my orchids in their original plastic pots, with some extra air holes on the sides. I then place them in big glass pots. I got the glass pots at a flea market.

orchid in glass pot

I water my orchids by soaking the entire pot about every 10 days now when it is summer and the humidity has gone up. I use orchid fertilizer about once every month.

This spring I also decided to get a marimo ball. They are moss balls that basically need zero care (you just have to change the water and wash it off once a week). It does nothing, just sits there looking cool. Haha…

marimo ball in glass bowl


My Orchids – Care Tips and Saving Sick Orchids — 26 Comments

  1. My mom has nine orchids (when they’re not in bloom she keeps them all over my bedroom now that I’ve moved out XD), all in perfect health, so I figured I should at least be able to care for one. However, it appears to be slowly dying on me. You have me wondering if it would fair better in a plastic pot with some air holes instead of the clay pot I bought it in.

    Love the marimo!

    • Yeah, I actually think they like having some light on the roots. That orchid that is still growing without any roots came planted in tightly packed moss (that’s why all roots died :(), so if your orchid has that you could try switching to a bark medium instead :)

    • I’ve come to think that the sphagnum moss they often come in is not the best for longterm plant health. It doesn’t breath well enough and can stay way too soggy for way too long. Orchids like to cycle between wet and dry. With two clear loosely fitting pots with LOTS of holes ( the more the better for air circulation) in the inner pot and a bark medium. One can then fill the outter pot to the top just BELOW the first leave. Let it soak for 5ish mins and then lift the inner holy pot out and empty the outter one. I put a spacer in the bottom to hold the holy pot up a bit so the bottom isn’t sitting in the drips. But the air between the two pots can move and is very humid. I water every 5-6 days as they become dry. More often 4 in a rescue situation where the plant has less roots.

  2. I was wondering if you had any tips about saving an orchid that was left to long in the sun. The flowers have began to wilt..

    • I would just wait and see what happens, I don’t think there’s anything you can do when the flowers are dropping, just let them go and see if the orchid grows anything new like a leaf or a flower stem. I think it’s all about the roots really, if they are still healthy the orchid should be OK :)

  3. My orchids just got root rot and it’s been like 2 months since I reppotted it and nothing new has happened. It only has 1 leaf and only a few roots. What should I do?!

  4. my Phalanopsis it only leaf and few roots..The leaf is getting ferm..what should I do to save my orchad? pls

  5. Hi, I really enjoy reading you blog. Very educated and funny at the same time. I have few question though. I got my first phal orchid in July 2014 now is September 2014. The flowers are all gone. The roots also rotten. I think the crown (or stem) then brown color. I don’t know what to do. I havn’t repot it or anything. Just cut off all the rotten roots with sterilize scissor. Any suggestion?

    Thank you

    • If the stem/crown is rotten I’m not sure if there’s anything you can do… The only thing to do really and is wait and see what happens :)

  6. How to save an orchid from a flower arrangement? No leaves or roots at all…is this possible? I moved it to a glass of water and it is still alive after about a week, but does it need to be in soil?

  7. I’m on the opposite side with my orchid. It has a potfull of roots still in good condition, but all the leaves fell a few months ago. There’s an ugly dry stub where leaves used to be, and I don’t know what to do to make leaves grow back. Any idea?

    • I have no idea, the only thing I really know about orchids is that if the root are OK the plant should be OK too. I guess the only thing you could do is wait and see what happens?

  8. My orchid was a absolutely beautiful (bloomed at least 54 flowers at once on the plant. It was full of flowers). It would bloom & bloom. Then we moved when it was very cold & not sure if it got cold also. It’s been a year now & all the big leaves all fell off but there are 2 small new ones growing out. It has lots of roots but not all are healthy. I’m wondering if repotting it will save it? I’m going to try that & see if it helps.

    • Def try that! Since I moved my orchids have been a bit weird too. Not sure if it’s the light or the air/temperature of my new apartment. They’re not growing any new flower stems and they should be doing that by now…

  9. I have recently, in the last year or two, started getting into orchids. There were about three that were lost to my inexperience. Finally someone told me to keep them in the bathroom so they can get the steam from the shower and water only once every ten days. In the Winter if your heat is high you may have to water every seven days. My big no-no that started the demise of my first three was crown rot. Just a note, if your crown gets rot, and you catch it early (when you see a tiny black in the center of the top) you can use a Qtip and drop peroxide into it. Just a drop or so every few days. I finally learned some tricks and saved a $2 clearanceorchid that was dying by doing this. Got it home and noticed it was crown rot from the water getting inside the leaves. Try to keep the water AWAY from where the leaves meet the middle.EVERY leaf. It can start at the top leaves, middle or bottom. If you get water in there, again, use a qtip and try to get out as much as you can and hopefully the rest will dry on it’s own. There is also a trick using listerine on the roots, but for the life of me I can’t remember right now what the condition was that this treated. I’m sure you can google it and find it. Last trick that I can think of, when you trim the flower stalks, or anything basically, use a qtip and barely wet the cut, and tap Cinnamon powder on it. It keeps it from getting fungus. I’m not a pro by any means, I have loved orchids my entire life. My favorite flower, including Vanilla which is one of my favorite flavors, and have began my own little collection and am learning as I go. Hopefully there will be no more casualties from my learning!

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  11. I got an orchid from my son for mothers day and have been giving it 3 ice cubes every Sunday. All at once today it has brown stems and the flowers look bad and are falling off. What can I do to save it?

  12. I have one orchid that I got as a gift. It looks like the one in the picture above. Are the roots the long things growing out of the leaves? Because I have a lot of them but they’re growing up in all directions and not in the soil. Is this right? What do I do to keep it healthy?

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