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How Do I Know If I’m Overwatering My Orchid?

September 16, 2014

Making sure your orchid gets the right amount of water means walking the fine line between enough and too much. Falling on either side of that line can cause significant health damage for your orchid. 

Luckily, your orchid can tell you everything you need to know about when it needs water, when it’s had enough or—most importantly—when it’s had too much. The answers are all in the roots.

What Your Orchid’s Roots Are Telling You

The appearance of your orchid’s roots can reveal what kind of care your orchid needs when it first arrives in your home as well as what might be wrong if your orchid starts to experience health problems.

...If your orchid’s roots are a healthy green color, then your orchid is sufficiently watered and does not need any more water at this time.

…If your orchid’s roots are greyish-white, then the orchid is not receiving enough water. Use our three ice cube watering method to ensure your orchid gets the right amount of water.

…If your orchid’s roots are brown and mushy looking, then your orchid might be in danger of developing root rot. If you suspect your orchid might have root rot, stop watering immediately.

How do you know if your orchid is suffering from root rot? Watch out for these telltale signs:

  • Loss of buds for no apparent reason: If your buds are dropping and you can’t figure out why, root rot might be the cause.
  • Soft, withered leaves: Healthy orchid leaves are strong and hold their shape. If your leaves are floppy, your plant might be developing root rot.
  • Black, squishy orchid roots: This is the biggest indicator of root rot. Take action immediately!

How Can I Salvage My Overwatered Orchid?

Even if your orchid has developed root rot, all might not be lost. In many cases, simply letting the roots dry out can be enough to help your orchid bounce back to its healthy and flourishing state. However, if that doesn’t help, you’ll need to wait until your orchid is done blooming to treat the problem areas. Then, try removing the damaged areas with a sterile knife and repot your plan with a fresh potting mix.

Curious about what else your orchid’s roots might be telling you? Download our free Orchid Root Health Guide here.

Orchid Root Health