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Orchids Repotting: A Step-by-Step Guide

Similar to other house plants, orchids need to be repotted so they can thrive and grow healthily. Orchids repotting is not difficult, though the steps in doing it are a bit different from repotting regular house plants.

The main purpose of repotting orchids is to provide the plants a fresh potting media. Also, your orchids may have outgrown their pots, or the pots may have simply broken down due to wear and tear. A new pot will ensure that your orchids will have room to grow and continue to have good air circulation to dry the roots after every watering. Drainage is essential to the health of your growing orchids. A potting medium that is always wet will lead to rotting of the roots.

1. Choose and get a new pot

There are different pots that can be used for your orchids, and this includes clay, plastic or decorator pots. The type of pot you choose influences the frequency of watering—for example, you would need to water plants in clay pots more frequently as they dry a bit faster. It is essential to choose a pot with holes for drainage, as orchid roots that lie on standing water will rot and die. You can also reuse old pots that are still whole.

2. Remove the orchid from the old pot

Orchids repotting can be messy, so it’s best to prepare your work area by laying down several sheets of newspaper. Get your plant and turn it upside down over the newspaper sheets. You can tap the sides and bottom of the pot to dislodge the plant. Sometimes, the roots will cling to the pot, making them difficult to remove. You can use a clean kitchen knife if this happens to remove them.

When the plant is removed, you also need to gently separate the roots to remove the old potting mixture as much as you can. It’s okay if some of it continues to stick to the roots though.

3. Prepare the orchid

Trimming the orchid roots is important before repotting. Prepare small shears or heavy scissors, and a sharp knife. Always sterilize your tools before using them on the plants to prevent the spread of disease. One way to do this is to use a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol and wipe the tools with it.

Cut off any damaged or dead roots. These roots look mushy, dried and are light-brown in color, while healthy roots are white, firm and have light-green growing tips. If your orchid has pseudobulbs, trim away the old and leafless ones.

4. Repot the orchid

If you’re planning to use an old pot, make sure to wash it completely and soak it first in chlorine bleach 10% solution for around 30 minutes. Rinse the pot well afterwards. If it is a clay pot, air it out for a couple of days before using it.

Since orchids need good drainage, you should put a layer of plastic foam peanuts, clean stones or broken crocks in the bottom of the pot. Before putting the growing mixture, wash the mixture in boiling water briefly, then allow it to cool and become drained. Position your orchids in the pot and then place the mixture around the roots. Pack it firmly.

5. Care for the repotted orchid

Since the orchid’s root system still getting established, keep the plant upright by staking it with a loop of twine or using a device called a “rhizome clip” to attach it to the side of the pot. Place the plant on a shaded area for now and lightly water it until the roots have grown.

Once the root system is established, you can then move it to a brighter area so your repotted orchid can enjoy the sun. Also, you can now continue with your regular orchid care for your plant to bloom beautifully in its new orchid pot.

Using this guide, you can easily do orchids repotting to ensure that your orchids grow beautifully and healthily.

Photo credit: Orchid Roots via photopin (license)

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