Keep your plant blooming with our top tips on how to repot an orchid.
Orchids are beautiful so it's no wonder that we want to keep them blooming for as long as possible and to do this, you will eventually need to repot it. This may seem a little daunting but not to worry, we have some simple steps to help along the way.
1. How to know when to repot your orchid plant
Is it time to repot? The perfect time to repot your orchid is right after it has finished flowering and begins to produce new growth. However, only do this every 18-24 months. It is not necessary to repot your orchid each time it flowers. If you are unsure when it was last repotted here are a few things to look out for to determine whether it's time!
Roots growing over the pot - Do you see many roots (not just one or two) hanging over the pot, this means your orchid needs more room and it is time to repot.
Roots appear to be rotting - If some of the roots seem to be soggy this means that the potting material is no longer draining properly. Repotting will help this issue.
The plant appears to be growing out of the pot - If your orchid is growing over the edge of the pot or the bulk of the plant is leaning far over the edge, it's time to give it some more space.
Do not repot your orchid unless necessary. Disturbing your orchid before it is time can throw it off its growing cycle. If the orchid plant appears to be healthy and well leave it in it's pot.
2. What potting material do I need when repotting an orchid plant?
It is important to find the correct type of potting material for your orchid. Most orchids do not grow in soil so a combination or fir bark, sphagnum moss, charcoal and coconut husk is the best option for most orchids.
You can buy a pre-packed potting mix that is a safe bet for most epiphytic orchids. If you are happy to mix your own use:
4 parts fir bark or coconut husks
1 part medium charcoal
1 part perlite
If your orchid is terrestrial you will need soil that is crumbly and that retains water well. It should have a high content of wood matter and perlite. If you are struggling, ask your local garden centre or nursery for a particular mix to suit your orchid.
3. What pot should I use when repotting my orchid plant?
When repotting your orchid use a pot that is an inch or so bigger than the pot that it originally sits in. The plant needs a little more room but not too much. You do not want to use an oversized pot as the plant will focus on growing out the roots rather than flowering. You can use plastic, clay, ceramic or glass pots and ensure that it has drainage holes.
If you have a Phalaenopsis orchid, consider using a clear pot. This is because this Orchid can photosynthesize through its roots. A clear pot allows sunlight to get to the roots. If your pot is a little too large, you may want to add some broken terracotta chips to the pot to help potting material to drain more effectively.
4. How to prepare potting mix for an orchid plant?
To prepare your potting mix put it into a container twice the size of the new pot and cover it with hot water. Leave the mix in the hot water overnight, this will allow the potting mix to absorb moisture. After 12 hours drain the mix using a food strainer or cheese cloth.
5. How to remove an orchid plant from its pot
Gently life the orchid from its old pot and carefully loosen each root individually. If you are struggling to free the roots use sterilised scissors or knife to loosen them. Ensure that any equipment that you use is clean as orchids are prone to disease. (You can sterilise your tools with a flame or use rubbing alcohol on a rag or cloth.
6. Remove dead roots
Use a clean pair of scissors and your fingers to clean up the roots. Remove any old potting material and use the scissors to clip away rotten roots. Do this with care so not to damage any healthy roots. If the root is soft and limp it is probably dead so it is ok to be removed. Gently tease tangled roots with your fingers to part them.
7. Prepare the new pot
As orchids are prone to disease, it is important to ensure the new pot has been cleaned and sterilised. Do this with boiling water.
8. How to repot an orchid
When placing the orchid in the pot the older root growth should go towards the bottom and newer growth towards the sides where there is more room for it to spread out. The top part of the root mass should be at the same level as it was in the previous pot. Most of the roots should lay below the surface with the new shoot above the surface.
Pour in your potting mix around the roots. Do this a little at a time and ensure there are no big air pockets, if parts of the root are left uncovered they will not grow sufficiently. Press the potting mix down gently so not to damage the roots. Continue to add the mix until it is level with the top of the pot.
Finally, continue to care for your orchid as before!
We hope that these steps help you to repot your orchid and keep it blooming for many months to come! If you are looking to purchase a new orchid plant, as a treat for yourself or as a beautiful gift shop our wonderful range of orchid plants. We offer next day flower delivery, 7 days a week, across the UK.