How and When to Re-Pot Orchids

I read your great article on how to plant an orchid on a board. What I really need to know is how and when to re-pot my orchid to a new pot. Could you help me out? I love my orchid and don’t want to kill it!

Hi Julie,

Don’t be afraid to re-pot your orchids when they need it. Re-potting helps them grow better. Orchids usually need re-potting about every other year and the best time to do it is right after the orchid  finishes blooming and starts to produce new growth.

Signs that indicate an orchid may need a new container:

  1. Several roots are growing over the side of the pot.
  2. When you examine the roots, they appear soggy and rotting. This is usually due to the medium deteriorating and not draining well.
  3. The plant is leaning to the side over the edge of the pot.

 How to prepare the orchid mix before using it:

Thoroughly soak the potting material you plan to use. If you skip this step the growing medium will never hold moisture well and will constantly dry out.

  1. Pour the potting material into a bucket about twice of the volume of the mix.
  2. Fill the bucket with hot water.
  3. Let the mixture soak overnight.
  4. The next day, drain the excess water by pouring the mix through a colander or strainer

Removing the orchid from its container

 Soak the pot containing the orchid in water for several hours, then gently pull the orchid out. Carefully loosen the roots, and shake off all the existing medium. Remove any soggy, damaged, or dead roots.

Selecting a new container

If the roots were healthy, firm, and had filled the existing pot, your new pot should be one size (1-2 inches) larger than the current one. If you have cut off quite few dead or rotting roots, use the same size container as before. If you place an orchid in a pot that’s too large, the growing medium doesn’t dry out quickly and this causes root rot.

Planting the orchid

It’s important to plant your orchid in its new pot at the same depth as it was in its old pot. If there is any new growth developing, try to have it about level with the rim of the container.

  1. Pack new, fresh potting medium around the roots. Keep adding mix until your orchid is securely planted and doesn’t move around. If your orchid can move around in the pot, new roots never properly form.
  2. Place a thin bamboo stake in the center of the pot for support using rhizome clips, soft string, or twisty ties to attach the plant.

I know this is a lot of information, so email me if any of this is unclear.