Brown spots on orchid roots are an issue that would show you how your orchid suffers from a severe fungal infection that causes root rot. You notice drooping leaves, stunted growth, and late or no blooms. If proper care is not taken, your beloved orchid will die in a few days.Brown Spots on Orchid Roots

With our expert guidance and helpful tips, you can tackle those root spots and help your orchid bounce back to blooming beauty.

Why Are There Brown Spots on Orchid Roots?

There are brown spots on orchid roots because of soggy or waterlogged soil, and due to having poor air circulation in the soil. It can also be the result of placing the plant in the wrong orchid mix and pot, and lastly, due to using infected tools.

Orchid roots turning brown and dry are primarily caused by overwatering your plant or bacterial and fungi infections ravaging your plant. It could also result from poor air circulation and using infected tools when handling plants. Orchids are very sensitive plants that do not fare well when their roots are affected or rotting.Causes of Brown Spots on Orchid Roots

– Soggy or Waterlogged Soil

Avoid overwatering your orchid, as this is the primary cause of orchid root rot. Although orchids need moisture to grow and bloom optimally, excessive moisture harms them and can even kill them.

Adding too much water to your plant will cause the orchid potting mix to become soggy and waterlogged, and as a result, the aerial roots of the orchid can begin to rot, at the first stages; these symptoms would show as brown dots. Root spots are especially symptomatic of a fungal infection that thrives in a wet, soggy environment, and this infestation can spread very quickly and cause severe damage to your plant.

The rotting issue is the result of having a fungal infection that spreads very fast in a short while and can damage any orchid plant from the root up. Extended infection can damage most, if not all, of the parts of your orchid plant root.

Without a good root, your orchid cannot survive, and it will die. How well you spot the symptoms and step in to save the plant will determine whether or not your orchid will survive and if you will get another stunning bloom from your plant.

– Poor Air Circulation

Orchids require proper air circulation to grow and thrive, whether indoors or outdoors. When they begin to lack the air circulation that they need, this matter can result from overcrowding plants in the garden, planting your orchid in a stuffy room, or excessively shading your plant with no space for air, and you will see how the roots slowly start appearing mushier.

Not practicing the proper spacing when planting in your garden can affect the air circulation around your plant, promoting the growth and spread of fungal infections that could cause root rot in your orchid. Root spots on an orchid can be easily identified as mushy, discolored areas that appear on certain parts of the roots.

These spots may start small, but if left untreated, they can turn brown, quickly spread, and become larger black spots or patches which are indicators. It is due to a fungal infection that loves moist environments and can quickly take over the root system of your orchid. It is very different from red spots on orchid leaves.

– Using the Wrong Orchid Mix and Pot

There are specific types of pots that are best to grow your orchid in, and there are also specific types of soil to grow your orchid in. Using the wrong type of pot and soil mix will make your orchid susceptible to spots and rot throughout the roots, if they aren’t taken care of.

Mixing up the materials in the soil mix or placing the mix tightly around the plant’s roots can also cause damage to the plant. Orchids, in particular, have their type of soil or orchid mix, usually sold at gardening stores.Brown Spots on Orchid Roots Solved

– Using Infected Tools

As an orchid enthusiast, it is vital to note that you are also a risk to your orchid, and proper care must be taken when handling the plant. When pruning and weeding, the tools used on your orchid should be properly disinfected with a fungicide to avoid spreading the fungal infection from one plant to the next.

Using infected tools to handle your plant during propagation is another way spots on your orchid’s root can spread.

How to Treat Brown Root Spot on Orchids?

To treat brown root spots on orchids, you must start to regulate the watering schedule, give space between your plants, and change the soil mix. In addition, you should change the soil mix, disinfect the gardening tools, give sufficient light exposure, regularly prune it, and provide proper air circulation.Solutions to Brown Spots on Orchid Roots

Your orchid will always give you signs to let you know that there is a problem, and some of the signs of root spots include wilting leaves, drooping stems, and weakness at the base of your plant. When spots on the roots are noticed, immediate action should be taken if you still want to be able to save that plant.

– Regulate Watering Schedule

The orchid is not the kind of plant that you water daily. Too much moisture can affect the underground growth and cause rot, which occurs as spots on the roots, which can be bacterial brown spot if the issue came from watering excessively and there is now a bacterial infection.

Once you notice brown spots on your plant’s roots, immediately stop watering it until you know what you are dealing with and the extent of the infestation. Most orchids grow best with a watering frequency of five to seven days during the blooming period, usually in the summer and spring, so ensue to be keen on this given.

The frequency should be reduced during its dormant period in the winter and fall to every 10 to 14 days, and when watering your orchid, allow the water to drain to prevent the roots from rotting. Anything more than this range will mean you are overwatering your plant and adding more moisture than it can absorb, or the sun can dry up.

In addition to this, you should also start resuming watering your plant as you used to will cause further damage to your plant than you think. To keep your plant from drying out, you can mist it occasionally with a spray bottle or humidifier and ensure that the excess moisture dries out after the plant has absorbed all it needs.

– Space Out Plants in Your Garden

It is okay to have companion plants in your garden. Every plant is like a little friend, and since most orchids are epiphytes, they thrive and grow best with companions. However, while planting together in your garden, maintain proper spacing.

It means that plants that block air from reaching your orchid, especially for small growing orchid plants, can easily be picked out and placed properly, so your orchid gets the moisture it needs. Hence, spacing is necessary for proper air circulation.

If you are planting your orchid indoors, ensure it is not in a stuffy environment. A window is a good option, with a fan blowing at the base of its stem to aid proper air circulation. Since different plants have different humidity requirements, matching those with similar humidity needs together is best to avoid high humidity levels for low-humidity orchids, which can further cause spots on the roots.

– Change Soil Mix

Changing the orchid mix is the best help you can render when spots appear on your plant’s roots. First, carefully detach the orchid mix from the roots and wet it a little so you can easily separate it without causing more damage to the plant root.

Once you have separated it, rinse up the roots first with water so you can see all the affected areas. Next, you will have to carefully remove all affected areas of the plant root using your gardening tools.

Ensure that you do it carefully so as not to cause stress to the plant, so make sure that you divide the affected parts from the plant, treat the plant wounds with a fungicide to kill the fungal infection, and prevent it from spreading to the new plant.

After that, you can leave the plant root to dry out a little after treating it with fungicide while you prepare the new soil mix. It is vital to note that your plant will be stressed from the many changes, and it should not be made worse by switching up the type of potting mix.

For the soil mix, use the same medium your plant was used to before the infection. Sticking to an orchid mix is best since it contains the nutrients needed for the growth of your orchids. It can also be placed loosely around the roots to aid air circulation.

After one to two days, you can move your orchid into its new pot as it grows new, healthy roots, and so; this is when you see that the orchid mix is naturally well draining and should complement a well-draining pot. Baskets or mesh pots are best for growing orchids, as they allow excess moisture to run out after the plant roots have absorbed all they need.

– Disinfect Garden Tools

Before and after you handle your orchid, disinfect the tools. You can easily transfer a fungal infection from one plant to another, causing a crown rot. Using the same tools, one common way is to weed or prune an infected plant and work on your orchid.

Fundamental processes like pruning, propagation, and repotting should be done with the utmost care, as you and your tools are coming into contact with the delicate parts of the orchid.Disinfected Garden Tools

You must first begin to disinfect your tools by dusting them off with pesticides and fungicides or using a dilute mix of bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and water in equal parts. Orchids can get stressed very easily. Although their blooms look pretty and welcoming, avoid touching them too frequently or unnecessarily, as you can easily infect them with a fungal infection.

– Sufficient Light Exposure

Most orchids thrive in direct or partial shade. Limited exposure of your orchid to light would increase the chances of soggy, waterlogged soil. When planting indoors, the best place to place your orchid is near a north- or east-facing window, for the light to come in a defused way, and not a direct way.

Facing the orchid the other way will place it in direct sunlight, which can scorch and burn the leaves and stems of your plant. An orchid would enjoy a frosted bathroom window or sit under a sunny skylight. You can also supplement an orchid’s growth with a plant light.

– Regular Weeding and Pruning

The best way to care for your orchid is to prevent the spots from causing much damage in the first place. Regular pruning and weeding will let you know when something is not right with your orchid. It will also point you in the right direction on how to treat brown spots on orchid leaves.

You can easily spot the symptoms and signs of a fungal infection before it spreads and devastates the orchid, and you would get rid of the ill roots. In short, this way, you can offer fast and effective treatment to your orchid before much damage is done.

– Proper Air Circulation

Ensure that air is constantly moving around the base of your orchid. Orchid leaf spots indicate a different thing entirely. It’s important to keep your orchid’s roots dry and well-ventilated. You can also use a fungicide treatment to help eliminate any existing fungal infections, after you have given them the proper air circulation and wish for the rest of the plant to be safe.

Generally, the roots should be partially buried under the soil for most orchids. The orchid mix allows for porous root coverage, letting air in and out of the soil, thereby preventing root rot in your plant.

Moist, humid air around the orchid will foster the growth of fungi, which will, in turn, infect parts of the plants as well as the roots. If you are planting your orchid indoors, a fan is your best bet for providing the proper air circulation. You can also place your plant in a corridor with an open window or on the balcony with the right shade to save it from the scorching sun, which is good for both cases.


You are good to go if you can catch these symptoms early so note these points to make the orchid care process even easier:

  • When the leaves start to wilt and the stems start to droop, it is a sign that your orchid is not just sad but potentially sick.
  • Fungal infections that cause spots on the roots can only thrive in waterlogged, soggy soil.
  • Additionally, remove any small brown spots on orchid leaves or decaying plant matter from around your orchid, as this can also contribute to the growth of fungi.
  • The faster you are at spotting the symptoms on your plant and making a move, the higher your chances of saving that plant.
  • Always stick to orchid mix and well-draining pots when growing your garden.

Now, you have all you need to successfully spot the symptoms of spots on roots and treat them in the nick of time.

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