How to revive an orchid

Orchids are a whole family of plants with incredibly diverse flowers that, despite everything, coincide in the great beauty of their flowering, which is always very striking and makes them very popular in gardening and decoration. These pretty plants have an undeserved reputation for being difficult to care for, but this doesn’t extend to all of them far from it. In fact, knowing the plant a little makes it very easy to keep them healthy and, even when it seems that the orchid has dried up or died, many times it is possible to revive it.

How to revive a dried orchid

The orchid is a plant of tropical origin that has quite high humidity needs. In a temperate Mediterranean type climate or similar, an orchid will usually need weekly waterings that maintain a certain level of humidity in the substrate between them, increasing the frequency in the warmer months. When this does not happen, the orchid begins to dry out. If you want to recover a dried orchid , follow these steps:

  1. Remove the leaves and stems that are completely dry , thus saving the plant the effort of trying to feed useless parts.
  2. Water it abundantly until the substrate is well soaked, but always without flooding it, that is, trying not to retain too much water for too long. You can submerge the bottom of the pot in water for a few minutes, then allow excess water to drain before returning it to its location. Remember that the container needs to have drainage holes.
  3. Once the orchid is watered, look at its roots . If they are completely white and dry, it is likely that your plant has died and its recovery is not possible. If, on the other hand, you see roots are green again at least at the tips, it means that the orchid still has life and strength to recover.
  4. Afterwards, it will be necessary to provide the plant with humidity conditions as similar as possible to those of its original environment. If your climate is very dry or hot, spray water on its leaves regularly to give them that extra contribution, although it is very important that when you do this the plant is not exposed to direct sun. These plants tend to always prefer indirect light, but if you expose them to direct light after wetting their leaves, the water will make a magnifying glass effect and burn them.

How to revive an orchid - How to revive a dried orchid

How to revive a drowned orchid

You may also need to retrieve a rotten orchid , which has been watered too much or not given the drainage it needs. When it comes to how to revive a wilted orchid , here are the steps to take:

  1. Remove the plant from its pot, being very careful with the roots, which can be soft from excess moisture.
  2. Remove the flower stalks if it has them, whether they are new or old, as these consume a lot of energy for the plant and it needs to focus on recovering and surviving. Do the pruning with properly sharpened and disinfected scissors, as it should always be done with any plant.
  3. Also cut any roots or parts that are in bad condition, blackened or brownish. Leave the roots green or white.
  4. Prepare a new pot or disinfect the old one thoroughly, replacing the substrate with a new and suitable one: it must be loose and offer very good drainage. 
  5. When planting again, do not force the roots to all enter the pot, as it is not necessary: ​​the orchid can survive without problems with its aerial roots. Add some sphagnum to the surface of the substrate.
  6. Lightly spray the plant with a little leaf revitalizer, focusing on the underside of the leaves.
  7. Put the pot in a bright area, but without direct sunlight and do not water the plant until after 24 to 48 hours.

How to revive an orchid - How to revive a drowned orchid

How to revive a leafless orchid

The recovery of orchids also becomes necessary when the plant has just leaves or has directly lost all. In this case, aggressive pruning is necessary , removing the flower stalks if it has them, except the newest ones that are in good condition. 

Give the plant a lighted location, add humidity, and make sure it has adequate drainage. In this case, the specific foliar invigorator can also be a great ally to recover your plant, as well as fertilizer for orchids .

How to recover an orchid that has almost no roots

If you want to know how to revive an orchid with dry roots , the most common is to use a technique with sphagnum and a plastic bag to recreate a high humidity environment.

  1. Remove all its substrate from your orchid, being careful with the roots, and prune those that seem drier or unrecoverable.
  2. In a container with warm water, add specific rooting agent for orchids and immerse the roots of the plant in it for about an hour.
  3. Meanwhile, in a transparent plastic bag, add sphagnum moss soaked in water and place it in one corner of the bag .
  4. Remove the plant from the water, apply orchid fungicide to the roots, and put it in the bag so that the roots are not in direct contact with the moss.
  5. Close the bag being careful not to damage the plant. So you will have created a small greenhouse.
  6. Place it in a warm area with indirect light and in a few weeks you should be able to see the new root shoots if your orchid has managed to recover. If you have white spots or other signs of fungus, apply fungicide again. When you see it with enough roots, put it back in a pot with new substrate.

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