Houseplants: Orchid roots will ‘rot’ if overwatered – ‘key’ to looking after indoor plant

Moth orchids: Expert explains the meaning behind name

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It is very easy to overwater houseplants, thinking they need more water than they do. Whilst this varies between indoor plants, experts recommend watering an orchid around once a week. How else can you make sure an orchid survives winter?

Baby Bio® said: “Orchids are wonderful delicate houseplants that have been firm favourites in households for years thanks to their beautiful blooms which can last for months.

“Yet it’s no secret that they have specific requirements and therefore must be treated carefully, a reputation which has caused many plant enthusiasts to be wary of owning an orchid.”

The experts explained that the “key” to looking after the houseplant is all in the environment.

Orchids should be potted in bark-based compost to help promote aeration to the roots and drainage to prevent the plant becoming waterlogged.

They are very susceptible to overwatering, especially in winter and so it is important to keep an eye on how much they are drinking.

The experts added: “Orchid roots will rot in wet compost, so allow the plant to dry out in between watering.”

The indoor plant also gets most of their moisture from the air, and prefers a high humidity climate.

This can once again be hard to replicate in winter, although the heating may be on more often.

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Baby Bio® recommended misting the foliage and roots daily or placing the plant next to a tray of wet pebbles to increase air humidity.

“Consider placing them in rooms that are naturally more humid, such as the bathroom or kitchen,” the experts added.

They should also be placed in bright but not direct sunlight, as they can end up burning in the sunshine.

During the colder months, orchids are also more susceptible to pest infestations due to the change in environment.

However, there are some steps houseplant owners can take to prevent pests.

Baby Bio® said: “For gnats, the best way to do this is to water plants from the bottom so that the top of the compost remains dry – this stops the eggs being laid.

“Ensure you allow the soil to dry out as much as the plant variety can tolerate before watering again – overwatering and keeping the soil moist will only encourage gnats to relay eggs in the top two inches of soil.

“As well as a moist layer of soil, pests are also attracted to decaying plant material so make sure you remove any dead leaves regularly.

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“You could also top your plants with a decorative aggregate like gravel. It looks great and stops the gnats from laying eggs.

“If you are faced with a serious infestation, consider repotting the plant into fresh soil to deter gnats from relaying.

“Make sure you shake off as much excess soil as possible before placing it into fresh soil.”

Other common pests include blackfly and greenfly which can be killed using a dedicated houseplant bug killer, such as the one from Baby Bop.

The experts added: “Spray generously to the affected plant, avoiding delicate blooms, for fast acting results.

“Repeat this every 10 to 14 days to ensure any hatched eggs are treated too.”

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