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Orchid Roots:

Care and Maintenance


Help! My roots are showing”.  This is a frequent plea from our readers, so today we will address the care and maintenance of orchid roots. Don’t be alarmed if you see roots that are overgrowing in your orchid pot. It is actually a healthy sign that your orchids are doing well.



Orchid on Fig Tree Root



Orchid roots are notorious for going out of control, especially when they are healthy and happy. Many orchid pots are specifically designed with large drainage holes to accommodate their elongated growths.


All orchid roots need to have proper air, that’s why they will often grow into any open area looking for more air or maybe receive nutrients. Orchid roots do not grow well in traditional soil so they seek to attach themselves to other objects so they can thrive. Growing out of the bottom of your planter is a message to you that they have reached a point where they desire replanting.


Complications arise depending on which type of pot you have planted your orchid in. Roots may be difficult to remove without damaging them. If it is a plastic pot, cut down the sides with garden sheers and carefully place the flower, roots and all into a slightly larger pot. Too large will cause problems… it should be snug but not cramped. Remove any soggy or decayed roots and sprinkle with cinnamon on the cut area.


Organic pots where the roots have attached themselves to the walls to feed off of the nutrients may be more difficult to remove – so carefully break away any parts of the pot you can without damaging the orchid roots. Some leftover organic material will not harm it as you slip the whole deal into a new container; it will actually assist as fertilizer in the orchid’s new home.


If you need to add more bark, it’s better to use the same bark to house the new root system into. Make sure the bark has been properly moistened as well as completely fertilized. Remember, the hardest working part of your orchid is the roots.



Esther Smith, author

Don’t worry about hurting the plant when you work on the roots. Cleaning and trimming the roots of an orchid helps the plant live longer and removing the rotted or dead roots allows it to flourish. Read more about orchids=>