How to Repot an Orchid

Orchids require special care and nurturing and they will reward your efforts and beautiful blooms, often for months.  Reporting orchids can be a scary venture, especially if you’ve spent a lot of money on the plant.  If orchids are not repotted, they can stop flowering, become diseased, or die.  Repotting an orchid is not like repotting a houseplant but is not difficult once you get started.

Things you’ll need:

                Newspaper                        Fresh Potting Medium                   Boiling water

                Pot                                         Small rocks or foam peanuts       Fertilizer

Step 1:
Determine when to repot your orchid.  This is generally every one to two years, and when in doubt, repot every spring.

Step 2:
A good time to repot is when the orchid is showing fresh roots.  Fresh roots have green tips on the plump, white root.  Roots come from the base of the plant or from new growth, depending on the orchid.  Orchids with pseudobulbs (bulblike, swollen stems with leaves) need to be repotted after new root growth but before the roots become elongated.

Step 3:
If dead roots are visible, potting mix is breaking down and you need fresh mix.  Broken down potting mix is mushy, sodden, and doesn’t drain well.  Generally, you should always replace the potting mix when you repot an orchid.

Step 4:
If roots are growing over the edge, you should use a larger pot.

Step 5:
Remember to select the pot size based on the orchid’s root system, not the orchid’s foliage.

Step 6:
If you use a new clay pot, soak it in water for a few minutes and let air dry before using.  If using an old pot, sterilize with a 10% bleach solution and soak for 30 minutes.  Rinse well.

Step 7:
Soak new bark potting mix in boiling water before using to repot.  Drain and let cool before use.  This step is optional.

Step 8:
Set up the potting area by spreading out newspaper.

Step 9:
To un pot your orchid, turn upside down, tap the side of the pot, and gently remove.  If roots are stuck to the pot, gently remove with a clean knife.

Step 10:
Shake out any leftover potting mix from the roots of the orchid.

Step 11:
Trim old roots with sharp, clean scissors or shears.  Be sure to wipe scissors or shears with antibacterial wipes before use and between repotting.

Step 12:
Remove dead or damaged roots and cut off old, leafless pseudobulbs

Step 13:
Place small rocks or foam peanuts in bottom of new pot to provide adequate drainage for the orchid.

Step 14:
The potting medium varies, depending on the orchid.  Most orchids are flexible and you can generally use whatever medium you purchase your orchid in.  If you do change the type of potting mix, make sure to adjust the water and fertilizer based on the potting mix’s ability to hold water.  Bark will need water and fertilizer more often than peat or sphagnum moss.

Step 15:
Position the orchid in the pot so that it has room to expand.  Pack bark around roots gently.

Step 16:
Stake the orchid and make sure it is secure in its new pot.

Step 17:
Fertilize and water the orchid and place in shady, humid environment until new growth is shown and then transfer to its previous location.

American Orchid society

16700 AOS Lane
Deiray Beach, florida 33446-4351
Tel 561-404-2000 Fax 561-404-2100
Web site www.aos.org

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