HOW TO RE-POT AN ORCHID PLANT
I have had my dendrobium orchid for three years and have never re-potted it because I was afraid I’d kill my plant. I think it is really time NOW. It’s literally falling out of the pot. Can you give me some tips on how to do it. Thanks very much.
Here are some instructions on how to re-pot your Orchid Plant. Let me know if any of this is unclear.
WHEN: The best time to re-pot an orchid is right after it has finished blooming and new growth is appearing. That doesn’t mean you should do it every time the orchid has finished blooming. Orchids usually need a new pot every 18-24 months. To make things easier, the plant tells you when it wants a new container. Several, not just one or two, roots start growing over the sides of the container. The potting material stays soggy and isn’t draining well. The plant itself seems to be coming out of the pot. Some of the roots appear soft and mushy because they are rotting. Remember, it’s always better to leave an orchid in its old pot too long than to put it in a new pot too soon.
POTTING MEDIUM: It’s important to know what kind of orchid you have. Different types of orchids need different types of soil; for example, an epiphytic orchid will die if you pot it in regular potting soil. Most orchids grow well in packaged commercial orchid potting mixes that are available in nurseries and garden centers. Terrestrial orchids need a soil that retains water so you may have to add some perlite or wood chips to the mix. Whichever mix you select, it must be “wetted” before you plant your orchid in it. If you skip this step, the potting medium will not be able to hold moisture and will keep drying out. Pour the amount of potting mix you think you’ll need into a bucket that has about twice the volume of the mix; then fill the bucket with hot water. Allow this mixture to sit out over night. The next day, strain the mix through a colander or strainer to get rid of any excess water; then rinse the mix to get rid of any dust that might remain.
POT SIZE: Your new container should only be about an inch larger than your old container and must have drainage holes. If the new pot is too large, the orchid will grow lots of roots but not many leaves or flowers.
PLANTING YOUR ORCHID: Carefully remove the orchid from its pot. You may have to use a sharp clean knife or scissors to loosen some of the roots from the sides of the pot. Orchids are susceptible to plant diseases so always use very clean tools that have been wiped with some alcohol. Use your finger to gently separate the roots. Pick off old, loose, rotted potting material and bark and prune any soft, damaged, or dead roots. When you place your orchid in its new clean pot, the older roots should go toward the bottom of the pot and the new roots towards the sides of the pot. Pour a small amount of potting mix around the roots, shaking the pot to help the mix spread evenly. Gently press the soil down to eliminate any air pockets. Be sure all of the roots are covered. Continue adding the mix until it’s level with the top of the pot. Do not plant too deeply! The top part of the root mass should be at the same level it was in the previous pot. Any new shoots should be above the soil surface, and most of the roots below the surface.
Be sure the plant is standing straight and clip it to a stake so that it doesn’t fall over. That’s it, you’re ready to start caring for your Orchid Plant as you did before. Good luck!