Orchids symbolically refer to beauty, uniqueness, love, elegance, fertility, and sexuality. The unique and adorable beauty of the symmetrical blossoms of this plant is so fascinating that this wild plant has gradually become one of the most loved houseplants. However, while you are growing orchids at your home, occasional repotting is essential for the refreshment of their root systems and preventing the roots from getting jammed.
Orchids grow naturally in the wild environment by clinging to trees and absorbing the humidity through their aerial roots. This is why, when you are growing orchids as houseplants, it is important to provide suitable growing conditions to maintain their health and liveliness. Unlike other houseplants, you have to prepare the base medium with loose materials, such as moss, charcoal, and bark for the repotting of orchids. However, over a long period of time, moss and bark can split and minimize drainage. For this reason, repotting orchids is essential after every one or two years. Nevertheless, repotting of an orchid should be done very carefully as this plant is vulnerable to diseases. So, let’s learn how to repot an orchid without affecting its roots.
When to Repot an Orchid?
Before you start repotting an orchid plant, it is important to recognize whether the plant requires repotting or not. There are certain signs to consider repotting-
- First, if the orchid plant is growing out of the pot and the white roots are appearing from the upper surface of the pot, this indicates the plant needs more space.
- If the potting medium is splitting into small parts, this will lessen the drainage.
- When the bottom leaves are dropping off, this is also a sign that the plant needs repotting.
When any of these signs occur, you have to understand that your orchid plant requires repotting for the betterment of its health. However, you should repot an orchid when the plant has finished flowering and started to show new growth. Remember, you should not repot an orchid unnecessarily.
How to Repot an Orchid?
Here are some simple steps that you need to follow to repot an orchid, such as-
Accumulate the Potting Material
As the orchid plant grows in the mixture of bark or sphagnum moss, instead of actual soil, therefore, you have to collect these materials. Even though the potting material can differ based on your orchid type, the most common and effective potting material is the mixture of- a) 4 parts coconut husks or bark, b) 1-part medium charcoal, and c) 1 part perlite. If you do not recognize the type of your orchid plant, you can purchase the packaged potting mixture from any nursery. In the case of a terrestrial orchid, you will require soil.
Determine the New Pot Size
When you bring an orchid from a nursery, the pot is generally very small. Therefore, in the case of repotting, you can choose a pot between 2.5 cm to 5.5 cm depending on the growth of your orchid plant. The roots of some orchid species are able to photosynthesize. If you have such an orchid type, it is better to use a plastic or glass pot. If your pot is too large, you can create a bottom layer with terra cotta chips, and this will help in effective drainage.
Prepare the Potting Material
Once you have decided on the new pot, measure the amount of the mixed material that the pot can contain. After that, put the material in a bucket and pour warm water. Leave the mixed material in this state for at least 10 to 12 hours so that the material can absorb water as much as possible. Now, strain the material using a strainer to drain out all the water and the dust.
Remove the Orchid and the Potting mix from the Old Pot
To remove the orchid from the old pot, you have to carefully release every root individually without affecting it. As orchids are more likely to get diseases, you should use a sterilized knife or scissors to remove the plant. Now, remove the old mixed material and dead roots from the old pot.
Repotting the Orchid
First of all, sterilize the new pot to avoid potential diseases of your orchid plant. Now, place the plant in the new pot in a way that the upper part of the root mass remains at the same level as the old pot. This means you have to prepare the base of the pot with the mixed material up to a certain height. Now, pour the mixed material around the roots. Continue to tap the mixed material and shake the pot to fill the material tightly around the root spirals. Pressing the mixed material will help to remove the air pockets and level up the upper layer. Above all, you should ensure that your orchid plant stands upright.
If you follow these steps carefully and provide suitable growing conditions for your orchid plant, you can easily and successfully repot an orchid.