For some, orchids have an undeserved reputation for being difficult to grow and care for. In reality, they aren’t as difficult as you might think! There are over 25,000 species of orchids and one of the most popular is the Phalaenopsis (sometimes called the “moth orchid”). It is considered to be a “gateway orchid” for beginners since it requires very little care and can have blooms that last up to three months.
I’m Chris Patterson, the orchid buyer at Roger’s Gardens, and I’d like to help you learn to repot your orchids. There has always been something magical about orchids whether they are growing wild in the tropical rainforest or bringing color, fragrance and beauty into our homes. They are truly worth trying.
Don’t be afraid to repot your orchids as they are more resilient than you think and repotting helps them to thrive. Repotting orchids prevents their roots from being overcrowded so that they will continue to provide beautiful blooms for years to come.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions concerning orchid repotting.
How do I know when it is time to repot?
The best time to repot is right after it has finished blooming, but not any more frequently than once every 18 to 24 months. Remember, if your orchid is still looking very healthy and contained in its pot, just let it be. Truthfully, they can remain in the same container for a couple of years and too much disturbance can interrupt the growth cycle.
- Some signs it may be time to repot
- Although orchids like to be crowded, if you see many roots (not just one or two) hanging over the pot it’s time to give it a “little bigger” home.
- The potting material is getting soggy and some of the roots are rotting.
- The plant is no longer draining properly.
What size pot to use?
When moving an orchid into a larger pot, try to choose one that is one or two inches larger than the old pot. Any plastic pot is a good choice as long as it has good drainage in the bottom. Another good choice is a decorative ceramic orchid pot that comes with drainage holes all around
What type of potting mix should I use?
Your potting medium is a matter of personal choice. Select one that works best for you and your conditions. Using a medium that is primarily sphagnum moss will require less watering, but you must make sure it is not packed too tight as the roots will rot with too much moisture. A mixture of four parts fir bark, one part charcoal, and one part perlite will provide good drainage, but will dry out more quickly, thus watering will be more frequent.
How do I repot my orchid?
Since your bark is new, place your mixture in a bucket and add hot water. Hot water is preferred as it will penetrate thru the new bark more quickly. Let it soak overnight to assure good absorption.
Prepare your container by sterilizing it with a disinfectant, like a Physan solution. Remove your orchid from the old pot. Gently pull away all the medium, untangling the roots, clipping off any roots that are dead or rotted and eventually wash the roots off in water.
Now it’s time to place the orchid in its new pot. The roots should go in first. While holding the orchid straight, begin adding in your new, moist, mixture evenly around the plant. When it is about 1/3 full, take the time to begin tamping down the medium so that it becomes tight around the roots. I’m using a spoon here to do this.
Proceed with the next 1/3 and tamp it down. Lastly, put in the final 1/3 of mixture to fill your container. When complete, your orchid should be straight and tightly in its new home.
While this is a brief overview of repotting orchids, The Garden Room staff here at Roger’s Gardens will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have regarding repotting orchids or with any other indoor plant questions.
We hope to see you soon!