Underground and aerial roots of the phalaenopsis orchid: structure, functions, rules of care

Underground and aerial roots of the phalaenopsis orchid: structure, functions, rules of care

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Phalaenopsis began its distribution from the Moluccas. Its flowers immediately grab attention.

They resemble butterflies. It is because of this that the orchid got its name ("resembling a moth").

The plant is unpretentious in home cultivation. But his health directly depends on the roots. The article provides a detailed description of the root system, and also tells about proper care for it at home.

Flower root system

Phalaenopsis is an epiphytic plant, that is, it constantly grows on others, but is not a parasite. He does not receive food from other plants.

Roots are additional organs of the vegetative system that provide the main organs with moisture and minerals.

Orchids have underground and aerial roots.

Phalaenopsis aerial roots receive moisture and nutrition:

  • from the atmospheric environment;
  • from the bark of a phorophyte plant;
  • from the substrate.

Its importance in the life of a plant

In a butterfly orchid, the roots perform the following functions:

  • Aerial roots attach to rocks and tree trunks. This allows the plant to stretch upward in a darkened jungle and receive the required amount of sunlight.
  • The roots receive and transfer atmospheric moisture to the main organs through the process of osmosis.
  • Some of the roots burrow into the substrate of fallen leaves and receive nutrients from there.
  • Aerial roots are involved in the process of photosynthesis.


The root of an orchid consists of the following parts:

  1. Parenchyma - the main part of the root.
  2. Velamena - hardened inanimate tissue filled with air.
  3. Conductive filament - the root itself, which transfers moisture and minerals to the plant.
  4. Apical tip - growing process of the root, increasing the root mass of the plant.

How to distinguish a healthy plant organ from a diseased or dead one?

Distinguish healthy roots from diseased ones on the basis of the following features:

  1. Root color:
    • indicative of healthy velamen tissue: green, silver, gray, light brown inside the substrate;
    • indicates disease and death: brown, spotted, black.
  2. Turgor:
    • healthy roots to the touch: smooth, fleshy, firm, firm;
    • indicates developmental disorders: lethargy, discharge when pressed, velamen separates from the conductor, scaly surface structure.
  3. By smell - diseased roots give off a putrid smell.

The state of health of the root system is determined after placing it in water for 2-2.5 hours to saturate it with moisture.

Proper and improper home care

Competent care consists of the following activities:

  • Avoiding excess moisture - watering is done after the nutrient substrate has dried. Under normal conditions, moderate watering is carried out once every 3-4 days.
  • Water hardness control - salts clog capillaries. The water is preliminarily defended, and at a high concentration of calcium salts, boiled.
  • Mandatory presence of drainage in a container with a plant - stagnant water leads to root rot. The bottom of the flowerpot is lined with a pillow of expanded clay or foam crumbs 2-3 cm thick.
  • Planting phalaenopsis in a loose substrate - dense soil prevents oxygen absorption and growth of the apical tip. Acquire special soil for orchids.
  • The use of a transparent or transparent container for planting an orchid - it is obligatory to inspect the root system and ensure the process of photosynthesis.
  • Adding additional nutrients only to a wet substrate - fertilization of dry soil leads to chemical burns of velamen and its death.
  • Placing a flowerpot with a flower away from artificial heat sources - overheating of the roots leads to their death. The optimum temperature for a butterfly orchid is 22 degrees Celsius.
  • Phalaenopsis room on the windowsills on the shady side of the house - exposure to direct sunlight leads to thermal burns of leaves and aerial roots.

Not allowed:

  • Ultra-frequent watering with stagnant moisture.
  • Moistening the soil with tap water.
  • Placing a flower in a pot without a drainage pad.
  • Planting a plant in garden soil.
  • Planting in a ceramic or other opaque material.
  • Placement of mineral fertilizers on dry roots.
  • Placing flowerpots near heaters, heating radiators.
  • Illumination of the plant with direct sunlight at any time of the day.

Free hanging of aerial roots is a natural phenomenon. Their growth stops when there is sufficient moisture and the amount of minerals. Cropping is not recommended.

Is it possible to cut off air processes and how to do it: step by step instructions

In case of detection of diseased and dying roots, measures are taken to trim them:

  1. Rinse with warm running water.
  2. A sharp knife is disinfected with a non-alcoholic compound.
  3. Cut off dry, spotty, brown, blackened roots. A yellow or light brown color with good turgor indicates a lack of lighting, but not the health of the roots.
  4. The sections are disinfected:
    • ground cinnamon;
    • activated carbon;
    • other alcohol-free antiseptics.
  5. Allow time for the sections to dry.
  6. The roots are treated with a drug to combat fungal diseases.

Diseases and pests

The main factor affecting rotting, dying off of roots is excessive moisture. But plants are also susceptible to disease and pest infestation. With improper care, the following diseases of the root system appear in phalaenopsis:

  • Root rot.
  • Neck rot.
  • Bacteriosis.
  • Gray rot.

Sometimes the roots acquire a brown color, friability and putrid odor, turn black, but why this happens is not clear to the florist. Often these problems arise due to putrefactive diseases.

The main methods of combating diseases are:

  1. in pruning infected roots with complete removal of the affected areas;
  2. fungicide treatment of the soil and root system (three times at two-week intervals);
  3. placing the flower in freshly calcined, disinfected soil;
  4. creating optimal conditions for the development of the orchid.

Plant pests:

  • Spider mite.
  • Mealybug.
  • Soil mite - Useful in small amounts to control other pests. In case of excessive reproduction, it eats up the roots.
  • Snails.
  • Slugs.

The parasites eat up the roots of plants and they dry out. With snails, slugs are fought by inspection, destruction of pests.

Against others, the following activities are carried out:

  1. treatment with acaricides for soil substrate and root system;
  2. plant transplant;
  3. decrease in humidity, ventilation;
  4. steaming the substrate;
  5. reduction of nutrients in the soil.

What can be done to prevent problems?

Prevention of the healthy state of phalaenopsis roots consists in:

  • Timely, but not over-watering.
  • Regular ventilation of the room.
  • Creating a humid atmosphere by placing a container of water under the flowerpot.
  • Timely monitoring of the state of the root system and pruning diseased roots.
  • Compliance with the temperature regime for growing the plant.
  • Providing an adequate level of lighting.
  • Disinfection of the soil substrate.

Phalaenopsis orchid is a very beautiful and unpretentious plant. Its development depends on the condition of the root system. The roots of this type of epiphytes will be healthy with proper care, creating optimal conditions for growth. In this case, the butterfly orchid will delight with its flowers for a long time.

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