Tag Archives: root rot

Orchid Q&A: The roots are pungent and the stems are shriveling badly…

Hey guys,

Today’s question comes from Bob Billbrough. Bob asked us:

Hi, I am at a loss for ideas when it comes to my orchids. The roots are pungent and the stems are shriveling badly. Do you have any suggestions as to how to help me get my orchids back on their feet? Thank you in advance, Bob

And here’s my reply:

Hi Bob,

It sounds like your orchid is suffering from root rot caused by over-watering. Too much water around the roots stops them getting the air they need and causes them to rot and become dysfunctional. Because the roots aren’t working properly, they’re unable provide water to the leaves, which is why the leaves have become shriveled.
If your orchid is in the later stages of root rot, it will be very difficult to save, however I’m hoping that this is only a recent occurance.
To save it, you’ll need to remove your orchid from it’s pot and check the roots out. Any bad roots should be snipped off with a pair of sterilized scissors or cutters. Bad roots can be recognised as they will be soft, mushy and perhapsoff-colour (not the healthy white colour of normal roots).
After removing the rotting roots, repot your orchid in a new pot with fresh potting mix.
Ensure there is adequate drainage and take a look at this video to see how orchids should be watered to prevent a similar mishap in the future:
Only water your orchid when the mix has become dry and ensure most of the water drains straight through the mix and out of the holes in the bottom of the pot leaving the mix moist but wet.