Gardens

Repotting Orchids the Simple and Safe Way

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Repotting orchids is sometimes necessary because as the plants grow the old container is no longer suitable. Because the best planters for orchids are only slightly larger than the root system, the change has to be made fairly regularly. You don't need any special knowledge, and only a few household tools, and you can transplant your orchid in a matter of minutes.

Tools and Materials Required:

  • Work gloves
  • Orchid planter
  • Pruning clippers
  • Orchid pots

Orchid Pots

Orchid pots are specially designed so that the roots are able to benefit from oxygen flow through the holes in the sides. These pots are meant for orchids, and make the best planters for these ancient plants. Before you put the plant in the pot, add 1 to 1 1/2 inches of coarse stone in the bottom. This will give excess moisture a way to drain off the plant roots.

Step 1 - Remove the Old Pot

When repotting orchids, remove the orchid from the old pot very carefully. Try not to damage the plant or the roots. Hold the orchid firmly at the base of the stem, and move it slightly from side to side as you lift it free of the container.

Step 2 - Remove the Soil

Repotting orchids is a good time to change the soil they are living in. Holding the plant gently, break apart the soil around the roots. It is not necessary to remove all of the soil, but the more of it that is replaced, the more access to fresh nutrients the plant will have.

Step 3 - Prune the Roots

The roots of orchids need to be pruned to remove diseased or damaged roots. As a general guideline, healthy roots are thick and white-tipped, while unwanted roots are thin or lacking in the characteristic tip color.

Step 4 - Position the Plant

Use fir bark in the container, mixed with 1 cup of sifted compost. If you prefer, substitute potting soil for compost. Fill the container slowly, using your fingers to maneuver the soil and mulch mixture among the roots. The soil should be loosely packed, not forced, and the roots should be positioned so that they are able to grow towards and out of the side opening in the container. Orchid roots take oxygen directly from the air, and need to have sufficient airflow to do so. This is why fir bark, which seems large and coarse, makes such an excellent primary soil. It allows air to move through the orchid soil, reaching the roots and encouraging a healthy plant.

Step 5 - Water Thoroughly

Water the plant thoroughly. Check the soil moisture level after the sun goes down and moisten again if necessary. It is important that the soil remains moist but not wet for the next 2 to 5 days, after which time the plant will have become acclimated to the new soil.

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