Caring for orchids is not as daunting and most people believe. Learn how to when and why repotting orchids can benefit the plants.
When it comes to repotting orchids, you need to watch out for a few keys points. Orchids are so beautiful and delicate looking but did you know how easy they are to grow. Especially the Phalaenopsis hybrids which you can now buy readily at the supermarket and big box stores.
You may have seen some sold as “Ice Cube Orchids,” where all you have to do is give them 3 ice cubes a week. How easy is that? I personally do not adhere to the ice cube method but believe the idea here is that it allows the plant to receive the water in a slow drip and gives them a measured amount so that they are not over-watered.
Not over-watering really is the key. Making sure the plant has ample drainage and watering well is the best way to care for most plants.
I received this Phalaenopsis orchid from my sister for Mother’s day several years ago. It flowers 1-2 times a year for me and the flowers seem to last for several weeks. However, you can see that one of the plants is growing out of the pot and although they do like to be pot bound this one appears to be shriveling. Time to re-pot.
Simply remove the entire plant(s) from the pot gently shake out and remove all the planting medium.
Separate the two plants. Rinse the roots in cool water and cut away any dead, broken or very soft roots. Make sure your scissors or pruners are clean and sterile.
Re-pot in a tight plastic pot with drainage. I used a plastic take-out container and poked holes in the bottom. Use fresh potting medium specifically sold for orchids.
You can find this in any nursery or garden center. It is typically a bark like material that provides for fast drainage.
Place your orchid in an area with indirect light. The leaves should be a nice medium green. Dark green leaves may indicate insufficient light while light yellowish-green may indicate too much light.
As your orchid grows don’t worry about the roots that grow out of the pot. These are aerial roots and they acquire moisture from the air. Since orchids are epiphytes this is a common reaction.
If you’ve always admired orchids but were afraid to try them don’t be. Start with a Phalaenopsis. They’re really quite easy. They don’t bloom often but when they do, the bloom lasts for a few months which is much longer than cut flowers.
For more information about repotting orchids from the experts see The American Orchid Society’s notes on orchid care.