Thanks to their large colorful flowers, orchids create a dazzling display in your home. But your orchids need the best possible conditions to thrive, including the right potting vessel. In this article, we’ll explore the best types of potting vessels for orchid plants.
How do Orchids Grow in Their Natural Habitat?
All orchid species are divided into two types; epiphytic orchids and terrestrial orchids. Epiphytic orchids attach themselves to other shrubs or trees and use aerial roots to absorb moisture. Terrestrial orchids grow in the soil like traditional plants, whereas epiphytic orchids can grow without soil.
What Are the Best Types of Potting Vessels for Orchid Plants?
Different types of orchids grow best in different types of potting vessels. Generally, plastic pots are best for epiphytic orchids, while terracotta pots are ideal for terrestrial orchids.
Epiphytic orchids get everything they need from the surrounding air by attaching themselves to other plants. This means that the roots of epiphytic orchids are exposed to sunlight and other elements outside. Placing epiphytic orchids in clear plastic pots replicates this environment by allowing plenty of bright, indirect light to reach your orchid.
Whether you’re growing orchids indoors or outdoors, they’ll need moist growing mediums that can dry out in between waterings. Usually, orchids should be watered every 5 to 10 days during the growing season (we generally recommend not watering orchids with ice cubes). Putting an epiphytic orchid in a plastic pot also makes it easier to check how dry the growing medium is. This helps prevent problems like overwatering and root rot, which can easily kill orchids.
Terrestrial orchids usually have the same water and sunlight requirements as epiphytic orchids but also need soil. This requires a stronger type of pot. While plastic pots aren’t ideal for terrestrial orchids, terracotta pots are perfect.
Terracotta pots are strong enough to contain potting soil for your terrestrial orchid. Terracotta pots are also porous and allow excess water to evaporate. This can reduce the risk of overwatering your orchid.
Whatever type of potting vessel you use, always make sure that it has drainage holes at the bottom. When you water your orchid, the drainage holes allow excess water to drain away. This helps prevent your orchid from becoming waterlogged.
How Big Should an Orchid Potting Vessel Be?
Orchids need enough space to grow within their pots. However, using a pot that’s too big could actually hinder your orchid and prevent them from reblooming. If the pot is too big, it will require extra growing medium, which can quickly soak up too much water.
Orchids prefer being slightly rootbound in their pots, so choose pots that are just big enough to hold the rootball. When repotting an orchid, never choose a new pot that’s more than an inch bigger than the old vessel.
The right potting vessel for your orchid depends on the type of orchid you have. Clear plastic pots are best for epiphytic orchids, while terracotta pots are best for terrestrial orchids. Always choose a pot that has drainage holes and isn’t too big for your orchid. With proper care, orchids can live for years to come. Enjoy!
For more, see our essential guide to caring for orchids whilst you’re away or on vacation and everything you need to know about orchid plant care after they finish blooming, and how to deal with orchid plants dropping leaves.