How to repot a orchid plant for beginners

You may be wondering where to begin with repotting it. Orchids have a bit of a different repotting, but don’t worry – we got you covered how to repot a orchid plant !

Orchids don’t grow like other houseplants; instead of putting out roots in a pot of soil, they exist in a container of loose materials such as bark, charcoal, and moss. Repotting can be the most finicky time for orchid plants because they are susceptible to disease and you’ll be exposing the roots, but with a little care, you can be repotting orchid plants with great results.

In order to get started, you should keep an eye out for signs that it’s time to repot your orchid. Generally speaking, your orchid should be repotted every 1–2 years or if the potting media begins to smell. And be sure to wait until your orchid is resting to repot it—meaning when it is not in bloom.

how to repot a orchid plant

how to repot a orchid plant

How do you know when it’s time to repot an orchid?

Most orchids potted in bark mixes will need to be repotted every one to three years. The best time of year to repot is in the spring or after it’s finished blooming when the soil is almost dry. You’ll know it’s time to repot if you notice any of these three things:

The plant is overflowing from the container and several roots have started pushing out of the pot.

The potting medium has broken down into peaty compost. You can tell when a bark-based mix is breaking down if you pour water into the pot and it doesn’t flow freely out of the drainage holes, or tiny bits that look like coffee grounds run out with the water.

If the roots are packed in, like above, it’s definitely time to repot.

how to repot a orchid plant

how to repot a orchid plant

Use Orchid Pots

There are specific pots on the market created just for orchids. They’re full of holes to expose the roots to more air. However, no special pot is needed; a terra-cotta or plastic pot will work just fine for most orchids. Choose a pot that’s 1 inch (at the most 2 inches) larger in diameter across the top than your present pot. The time to transplant orchids is just after they bloom, when new roots have appeared but haven’t grown longer than a half-inch, or when the roots start to crawl out of the pot.

When should I repot my orchid?

The ideal time to repot the orchid is right after it finishes flowering, when you see new growth starting to appear.

How to repot orchids in bark

Materials you’ll need

Repotting an orchid sounds complicated and exotic, but it’s a simple process requiring just a few items:

Fresh bark mix: Fresh bark mix is chunky and loose; decomposed mix fills in the air pockets that orchid roots need.

A pot that’s one size larger than the original, in case your orchid is ready to move up.

Pruners and/or a sharp pruning knife, sterilized in a 10 percent bleach solution.

Scissors or a razor blade for trimming roots and leaves.

Gloves to protect your hands from splinters and prickles.

A thin dowel or blunt knife for settling compost around the roots.

Step 1: Prepare your materials

Place the amount of potting mix you’ll be using in the large bucket or bowl and cover it with about twice as much boiling water. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature, then drain the potting mix.

Orchids are very susceptible to disease as well, so be sure to sterilize everything that will come in contact with your orchid during the repotting process.

How to repot a orchid plant

How to repot a orchid plant

Step 2: Remove the orchid from its current pot

How to repot a orchid plant

How to repot a orchid plant

Carefully loosen each root individually, using scissors or a knife to help you if necessary.

Step 3: Clean up the roots

After the orchid is out of its pot, use your fingers and a clean pair of scissors to clean up the roots. Gently ease apart any that are tangled and clip away roots that are dead or rotten.

How to repot a orchid plant

How to repot a orchid plant

Step 4: Place the orchid in its new pot

Place the orchid in the pot so that the new growth is level with the top of the pot.

How to repot a orchid plant

How to repot a orchid plant

Step 5: Add potting mix

Add potting medium a little at a time, using your fingers or a chopstick to settle it around the roots. Continue adding potting mix until you reach the top of the pot.

Step 6: Stake your orchid

After your orchid is settled in its new home, care for it as you did before.

How to repot a orchid plant

How to repot a orchid plant

How to Attach an Orchid to the Mount

Mounting an orchid is a great option for those who really don’t want to pot and re-pot their orchids, particularly if you live in a climate with high humidity. An orchid mount can last for years and years – as long as the mount does not decompose, there is no need to remount the orchid. Another benefit to mounting is that the orchid is grown in its most natural environment.

In short, the presentation of a mounted orchid is simply stunning.

Mounting Materials

  • A hardwood slab such as oak, grape, cypress knees, untreated cedar, redwood, or freshwater driftwood
  • Do not use walnut, treated wood or saltwater driftwood
  • Sphagnum moss – moistened, live sheet moss
  • Fishing line – choose one without color
  • 16 gauge galvanized wire
  • Drill
  • Pliers

How to Attach an Orchid to the Mount in 5 Steps

Un-pot your orchid, cleaning and opening up the roots so they can be wrapped around the mount.

How to Attach an Orchid to the Mount

How to Attach an Orchid to the Mount

If you would like to hang your mount, drill a small hole on one end and thread the wire through the hole and form a loop from which to hang the mount. If you don’t intend to hang the mount, skip this step.

To help the orchid transition from the pot to the mount, place the moistened sphagnum moss or live sheet moss on the slab of wood.

How to Attach an Orchid to the Mount

How to Attach an Orchid to the Mount

Place the orchid on top of the sphagnum moss or sheet moss, wrapping the roots around the mount. Sympodial orchids should be placed with the oldest pseudobulb at the top of the mount. This way, as the orchid grows, the rhizome will grow downward, and in time, cover the mount.

How to Attach an Orchid to the Mount

How to Attach an Orchid to the Mount

Secure the orchid to the mount by wrapping the fishing line around the orchid and the mount. Add extra moss to protect the orchid roots and keep the fishing line from cutting into the roots.

Special Care Requirements for Mounted Orchids

Don’t skimp on humidity if you’re growing mounted orchids. Water vapor – humidity – will help keep the roots from drying out. Aim for humidity levels at a minimum of at least 50%.

Daily misting is a must. Just remember when misting your orchids to mist the roots, not the leaves.

As orchids are intended to live on their mounts for a long time, fertilizer salts will build up. It’s easy to tell when salts are too high because the orchid’s root tips will turn brown. To leach salts, soak the mount in distilled water. When soaking the mount in distilled water, take care that the orchid floats on top.

Tip: how to repot a bamboo plant

How to Care for An Orchid After repotting

For 2 weeks let the orchid rest/recover, semi-shade, increase humidity, no fertilizer, do not overwater. After 2 weeks, rest is over – return the orchid to its normal growing environment. Feed and water normally.

Freshly potted, this orchid won’t need re-potting for 1-2 years.

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