Orchids are popular houseplants thanks to their stunning, colorful flowers. However, orchids can be tricky to care for, especially when it comes to repotting. Repotting orchids incorrectly can severely disrupt their growth. In this article, I’ll share my essential tips on how to repot orchid plants successfully.
- How to Successfully Repot an Orchid Plant
- Why Repotting Orchids Might Be Necessary
- How Often Do Orchids Need Repotting?
- Best Times of Year to Repot Orchid Plants
- The Best Soil Mix to Use When Repotting Orchids
- What Tools Will I Need When Repotting an Orchid?
- Sizes and Types of Potting Vessel Considerations
- Post-Repotting Care
- Repotting Orchids FAQs:
- Wrapping Up
How to Successfully Repot an Orchid Plant
Here’s my go-to guide to successfully repot an orchid plant:
- The night before repotting your orchid, soak the fresh growing medium in hot water overnight.
- Before repotting your orchid, drain the growing medium so it’s moist. This makes it easier to work and provides some moisture to help your orchid settle into its new pot.
- Clean out the new pot with some warm, soapy water and let it dry.
- Remove your orchid from its old pot and examine the root ball and clean off the old soil.
- If your orchid has stiff, dry roots, soak the root ball for a few minutes in some room-temperature water. Snip off any damaged, dead, or rotting roots.
- Position your orchid into its new pot and fill in around it with the fresh growing medium. Use a blunt knife or something similar to work the medium into any gaps between the roots.
Why Repotting Orchids Might Be Necessary
It can be challenging to know when to repot orchids. However, you can look for signs telling you when repotting is necessary. Orchids need repotting when they’ve outgrown their pot, or their potting mix has started breaking down.
If your orchid’s roots protrude from the pot, it needs repotting. Most types of orchids sold as houseplants are epiphytes that need chunky, well-draining growing mediums. If the growing medium is crumbling into smaller pieces, it’s a good idea to repot.
How Often Do Orchids Need Repotting?
Orchids grow fairly slowly and don’t need to be repotted often. In fact, many orchids like to be fairly pot-bound. Repot your orchids every one to three years, depending on the variety. Moving your orchid into a slightly bigger pot with some fresh growing medium helps it live for several years.
Best Times of Year to Repot Orchid Plants
The best time of year to repot your orchid is after it has finished flowering. This typically happens in spring or summer, with the ideal time being between May and July. However, only repot your orchid if it shows clear signs of outgrowing its current pot.
The Best Soil Mix to Use When Repotting Orchids
The best soil mix to use when repotting your orchid depends on your exact variety. Epiphytic orchids like Phalaenopsis or Vanda orchids need loose, chunky, well-draining mediums. The best soil mix for epiphytic orchids is a 5:1:1 mix of bark fines, perlite, and sphagnum peat moss.
Lithophytic orchids need a 3:1 mix of standard orchid mix and small pebbles. For terrestrial orchids, combine standard orchid mix with perlite or sand in equal amounts.
What Tools Will I Need When Repotting an Orchid?
Here are the primary tools that you’ll need when repotting orchid plants:
- A clean new pot that’s 1 or 2 inches larger than the old one
- A fresh growing medium that’s been moistened
- Newspaper or something similar to protect your work surface
- Sharp, sterile scissors or secateurs
- A blunt knife or dowel
Sizes and Types of Potting Vessel Considerations
When repotting orchids, it’s essential to choose the right type of potting vessel. Epiphytic orchids like Phalaenopsis typically require a clear plastic pot as they photosynthesize using their roots. This also allows you to monitor the roots, making knowing when to water your orchid easier.
Never put epiphytic orchids in terracotta pots, as the roots will cling to the sides. This makes it harder to remove the orchid next time you need to repot. However, you can use terracotta or traditional plastic pots for terrestrial orchids.
When repotting an orchid, don’t choose a container that’s too large, as this can shock the plant. Choose a new pot that’s about 1 or 2 inches bigger than the old one. Always use pots with plenty of drainage holes to allow excess water to drain.
Once you’ve repotted your orchid, care for it in the same way as you did before. Position your orchid somewhere that gets approximately six hours of bright, indirect light every day. Maintain daytime temperatures between 75 and 85ºF and moderate humidity levels between 40 and 70%.
Let your orchid acclimatize to its new pot for a week or so before watering it again. Fertilize your orchid once in the spring and again in the summer to provide plenty of nutrients.
Repotting Orchids FAQs:
When Should Orchids be Repotted?
Orchids should only be repotted when their roots are protruding from their current pot. These plants should also be repotted if their growing medium is breaking down. Orchids should be repotted every one to three years, depending on the exact variety.
What is the Proper Way to Repot an Orchid?
Soak the new growing medium in warm water the night before when repotting orchids. Tease the orchid from its old pot and cut off dead or rotting roots. Place the orchid into the new pot and fill in around it with fresh, moist growing medium.
Should You Repot Orchids Wet or Dry?
It’s always best to repot orchids when the fresh growing medium is moist. This makes the medium easier to work and provides moisture to help your orchid acclimate to its new pot. Soak the growing medium in warm water overnight and drain it before repotting your orchid.
Orchids should only be repotted when absolutely necessary to avoid unnecessary stress. Repot your orchid if its roots are growing out of its current pot or its growing medium is breaking down. These beneficial plants don’t mind being root-bound and only need repotting every one to three years. The new potting vessel should only be an inch or two larger than your orchid’s current pot.
Edd is a budding content writer and gardener living in the United Kingdom. He has a bachelor's degree in Creative and Professional Writing and has written for several gardening publications online. He is passionate about nature and sustainability with a focus on gardening and wildlife.