A phalaenopsis in need of repotting
Lately, my little noid phal has started to look like it's trying to climb out of its pot. Several roots are growing up and out of the media, even as the pot itself takes longer than ever to dry out. Checking my Orchid Descriptions list I realized that it has been over a year since I last repotted this orchid. All signs indicated that it was time to switch out for fresher media.
Old (brown) and new (green) phalaenopsis roots
When I took the orchid out of its pot, it became immediately clear why it had been showing signs of dehydration, even though the media had been taking longer than ever to dry out.
The orchid had its two old roots sticking straight into the middle of the pot, while all the new roots had grown into a circle near the surface. As a result, as I'd wait for the media to dry out in the center of the pot, the majority of the phal's roots would be bone dry and thirsting near the surface.
Freshly repotted phalaenopsis
I cleaned out the original pot, and potted the orchid back in with fresh media. Soaking the roots in water for 15 minutes beforehand helped soften them, so I had no trouble tucking all the roots into the middle of the pot. Now the media itself is more loosely packed, while the roots are more evenly distributed in the pot, which will help make watering more efficient.