Potting orchids can seem something of a
but actually its quite easy providing you
have the correct equipment, we are often asked where is the best
buy orchid compost orchid
feed and orchid food or clear plant pots suitable for orchids,
baskets for vanda orchids orchid compost and orchid food fertiliser
etc., currently we are recommending
orchiata orchid compost as a preferred potting mix for orchids;
if you only have one or two orchids,then there are small packs of
mail order orchid compost
Why should we repot an orchid? Often its not because the
orchid has out grown its pot, but because the old compost is
beginning to break down and the air cannot get to the plants roots,
which will cause them to suffer and possibly rot.
Take the time to maintain these beautiful flowers-- they will
last longer than having flowers delivered to your door.
Mostly we now use clear plastic plant pots, why? - because you
can see any root problems, and see how the plant roots are growing,
and you can also see most pests which may have set up home in the
Phalaenopsis orchids and others which normally grow on things rather
than in the ground are used to having their roots exposed to light,
indeed they seem to enjoy it, so clear pots do give them a little
Terrestrial orchids can also be planted into a clear pot which in
turn sits inside a standard coloured pot, you then can see at a
glance what attention the roots may need, having chosen you pot, and
compost, and a clean pair of cutters - its always a good idea
to either dip them in methylated spirits in or pass the blades
through a flame, i.e. Bunsen burner, or even a gas lighter to avoid
cross contamination with virus or pests) then you can proceed
The illustration below show how to repot an orchid which grows
from the base, to learn how to repot monopodial orchids such as a
Phalaenopsis or moth orchid
take this link
Step one -
the correct compost. choose a compost which suits you as
well as your orchid, ideally orchids like well drained
compost, so if you are able to water regularly, then choose
a very open compost.
If you cannot water as frequently as you would like, make
the compost more water retentive, by doing a little mixing.
orchid grade bark chippings
come in differing sizes, if the plant roots are thick choose
a larger one, if they are small and thin then choose small
chippings. They make a good general compost .
lump peat and foam
a recent addition to the potting medium's this one is ideal
for Phalaenopsis and those plants requiring a little more
Sphagnum moss, bark & foam mix
a good starter for seedlings or very thinly rooted plants,
will dry out very fast, so watch out for under watering.
Usually rock wool is mixed with a little perlite, and can be
a good mix for Phragmipediums, advantages, is an inert
medium, and certainly contains nothing to harm your plant
roots, always flush through very well when watering to avoid
a build up of salts, dis-advantages can seem dry on
the surface even when very wet underneath, and over time
breaks down into a hard mass.
Step two -
Choosing a suitable candidate,
the plant shown on the right is very much in need of
the old growths could do with a clean up and the old
papery sheaths on them should be removed to cheat
any insect pests from a home,
and importantly the new growth has emerged from last
years pseudobulb and is around 1 inch long.
Perfect for repotting
The plant has now been cleaned up:-
the old papery sheaths removed and some of the old
roots removed, but as this is a cattleya, at least
four of the old pseudobulbs have been retained to
ensure a good flowering on the new growth, which at
1 inch long, and as yet without its own roots is an
ideal size to acclimatize itself into its new home,
and sink this years roots down into the fresh
Choose a pot which is the right size for the
It should not be too big.
Ideally that will be one which is large enough to
take the plant as it is this year with enough room
for 1 more year growth.
Put a few styrofoam chips at the bottom of the pot,
this will create good air space and stop an
accumulation of waterlogged compost at the base.
Having put a little compost on top of the
Place the plant with its newest growth in the best
position (the most room in front), and pack
quite firmly with more compost.
The new growth should sit on the surface of the
compost and quite soon will put on healthy leaves
like the catasetum pictured here.
With clear pots as in this illustration you get the
chance to observe root growth as the plant settles
into is new home
Step one is to choose a suitable bark mix,
compost purchased from the supplier at listed at
the top of the page is ideal, and ready mixed.
Step two is to choose a Plant Pot suitable for
Phalaenopsis orchids, firstly, they do seem to do
best in clear pots, don't think that you must repot
an orchid into a larger pot, often they will return
to the same pot quite happily with just a change of
compost, never over pot, orchids are happiest
when tucked tightly into bed.
Step three, remove the old compost and throw it
away, look for root damage, and pull off any dead
roots, they will come away easily with gentle
pressure if they are dead, leaving a fine wire like
centre which can be trimmed off; sometimes
Phalaenopsis orchids produce aerial roots, these can
be left above the compost, or it you wish to be tidy
placed inside the pot with the other roots, where
they may re surface or possibly perish.
Step four hold the plant in place inside the pot
keeping the base of the plant roughly where it
should eventually rest, i.e. in line with the top of
the compost, with your other hand, begin to drop
compost around the roots, tapping the pot firmly as
you do so to shake the compost down amongst the
roots, when the compost is almost level with the
leaves, the jobs done, there may well be some gaps
which you can see through the side of the clear
plant pot, don't worry the odd air chamber is
beneficial to the plant roots.
Try to avoid repotting an orchid which is in
Best time is just after flowering, but not sooner
than 12 month intervals.
Let the compost soak in water overnight before
If possible always use new plant pots, or if you
cannot wash the old one out very thoroughly and
rinse with boiling water to kill any pathogens.