Can An Orchid Live With Only Air Roots? | 8 Orchid Secrets |

There are so many ways that we can manage to save an orchid with only air roots. Let’s talk about whether an orchid can survive solely on air roots.

If you are wondering what you could do to manage an orchid with aerial roots, you may consider double-potting or repotting your orchids.

Can Ana Orchid Live With Only Air Roots

What you could do to manage an orchid with aerial roots

Double potting 

If I elaborate more on double potting your orchids, this is a very popular method among the people.

It is quite common that many people grow orchids in well-draining and transparent pots. They do that with the intention of improving light to the roots. After that, they place it in a larger pot which is not decorated. Once you spot aerial roots that have formed, you could let them grow as they wish from the transparent pot into the decorative pot. 

Keep in mind that you do not let the orchids stay in a pool of water in the decorative pot. As such best is to provide them draining as much as you can so that it will keep the decorative pot dry.


In addition to above, you could consider repotting them to save an orchid which has aerial roots.

Having said that, there could be an unhealthy impact on your orchid when you report them. If you wish to apply all the aerial roots in the new pot while adding the soil mix, it is best to use a soil medium that is durable. You could use an expanded clay pellet for this process. When you do this, you will ensure that your orchid receives adequate air aeration and drainage. 

In case you wish to pot the aerial roots, make sure that you do not provide them with excess water. By any chance, if you water the orchid like you used to do it before, it will expose the plant to more water since it has more roots than it did before. In addition to that, chances are that there could also be residual water, which could stay around the roots for prolonged periods.

Can Ana Orchid Live With Only Air Roots

Why does my orchid only have air roots?

The orchids and the epiphytes which do not grow in soil tend to make air roots. 

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At the initial stage of the orchids which means during their seed stage, they tend to stay enclosed to the trees when they are moving around the air. 

Further they tend to produce roots which would grip vigorously towards the tree.

You could usually spot them gripping to the tree bark for a height of about 1/3 of the tree. As a result, they could gain adequate sunlight. 

They could not withstand the low level of sunlight. Usually when they are growing in rainforests, they usually get soil conditions which are not enriched with nutrients.

As such orchids tend to produce aerial roots to find an alternate way of surviving. When they produce aerial roots, they can grasp nutrients which are remaining in the air.

How do you take care of an orchids live with only air roots?

We do not have to give them any sort of special care. You only have to continue the regular care treatment for the orchids, and the aerial roots will also remain healthy. When it comes to watering, those aerial roots do not require special attention. However, usually people would either spray them with water or water them as per a schedule. 

If you have provided water adequately for the potting medium, you could spot the aerial roots as plump, firm in appearance. Further they would be silver in color. Moreover, they would carry green tips as well. Aerial roots could absorb moisture from air. As such, it is essential to have an adequate humidity level in the air. If the air does not have an adequate humidity level, it could create problems for the aerial roots.

In addition to that, you could apply a weak fertilizer every other time you water the orchids. Avoid feeding them when they are blooming. Moreover, consider that your orchid contains many aerial roots, which would appreciate a higher humidity level in the air. 

Can Ana Orchid Live With Only Air Roots

If the air does not contain enough humidity, you may place your orchids on a humidity tray. Alternatively, you could even use a humidifier. Make sure the air humidity level is higher than 40 %.

In terms of providing light requirements for orchids’ aerial roots, if you provide adequate bright and indirect sunlight for the aerial roots as you do for the rest of the plant, they would love it. On the other hand, if your orchid gets too much sunlight chances are that orchid roots could also get burnt just like the orchid leaves and the flowers.

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If you leave the orchids with aerial roots in hot, direct sunlight for too long, chances are that the roots could turn crispy and brown or black in color. Unfortunately, if you come across such a situation, it is very unlikely that your roots will get back to normal and recover. However, to remedy this, it is best to shift the plant to a place where it can get adequate and appropriate levels of sunlight. Moreover, you could trim the sun damaged roots too.

Can An Orchid Live With Only Air Roots 5 3

Can I cut the air roots off my orchid?

You should not take off aerial roots as they provide adequate nutrition as well as enough hydration for the orchid

It is important not to cut them off since they would absorb humidity and micronutrients in the air. More importantly, they would conduct the photosynthesizing and boost the energy level of the orchid too. To reiterate, avoid cutting the orchid aerial roots since if you do so, it would halt the nutrient absorption as well as the moisture absorption too. Furthermore, the presence of aerial roots on your orchid indicates that the plant is growing in healthy conditions.

How to cut off orchid air roots?

Still If you wish to cut off the orchid’s aerial roots, you may proceed with that. Having said that, you need to make sure that you will be accountable for the potential negative impact on the orchid’s health. However, consider that your orchid has only a few aerial roots, and with the rest of the roots being healthy, your orchid would stay healthy and stay alive without any hassle.

Consider that your orchid comprises copious aerial roots, and you go ahead and trim them off. However that will make the plants difficult to survive though. Hence, you need to think twice whether you should really cut them off. However, if you wish to take off the aerial roots, best is to take them off after you watered them. Consequently, it will make sure the plant is well hydrated. 

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Furthermore, it would make sure those aerial roots are soft and pliable too. If you think of cutting the aerial roots, ensure that the tools you are using are sharp and sterilized. You may use blades, pruning scissors, etc. for this purpose. Further, when you sterilize, you could use an alcohol solution or even a flame to do it. When you use the sterilized equipment, that will make sure that you do not introduce any diseases externally.

When you do the cutting, ensure that you trim it closer to the stem whilst ascertaining that you do not create any injury for the stem. Do it with confidence which will ensure that you have cut it cleanly.

Can Ana Orchid Live With Only Air Roots

Do all orchids have air roots?

You could find aerial roots in Phalaenopsis and among other epiphyte orchids. Epiphyte orchids use aerial roots to absorb nutrients in the air. To elaborate more on epiphyte, it is what usually grows on other plants. But, Phalaenopsis orchids are not parasitic.

Do orchids need air roots?

They would need aerial roots to absorb nutrients available in the air.

Why is my orchid growing more roots?

It is mainly for stability. When orchids produce more roots, it would make the orchid safer as well as secured too. One more indication it sends out is that it could produce a flower spike as well. If your orchid does not have vigorous roots, it will not be possible for it to form a flower spike. To wind up, best is to make sure that your orchid has a healthy root system so that it could survive for a longer period. 

Usually, you could check on regular plant leaves and see whether the plant thrives well. However, if you take an orchid you could check on the roots and guess whether the plant is in good health. In case there are not aerial roots which you could spot, you could ignore that. However, if you could witness a lot of aerial roots, that means your orchid is thriving far better.

Credit to: MissOrchidGirl
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About author

I’m Dr. Chamika, As a hobby love talking about plants and showing you that taking care of indoor plants. My website is knowledge I’ve learned over the years and continue to learn about growing succulents. If you’re a succulent lover, then you have come to the correct place.