Orchids are particularly popular and graceful plants to grow. Some people have doubts about repotting orchids – how to do it and whether they should be repotted at all. We answer this question!
Orchid flowers can be pleasing to the eye for up to six months and appear several times a year. The key to success is, of course, proper care. There are opinions that these flowers do not need to be repotted or that repotting them is extremely difficult because of their delicate roots, which should not be damaged. Orchids are grown in our homes as potted plants, and as such, because they are constantly growing and consuming nutrients in the substrate, they need to be repotted. It is not complicated at all – just read a few tips and keep in mind the periods when you should not repot your orchids as well as other flowers.
When not to repot an orchid?
A newly purchased orchid is usually planted in a small clear pot. Usually, it seems to be tightly squeezed inside and perhaps some people would feel like repotting it right away. However, this is not necessary as long as the roots of the plant look healthy and show no signs of disease or decay. Orchids like light compression, so we can safely wait with repotting. You should also remember not to repot orchids during flowering! However, if you have to repot an orchid because of a plant disease, you will have to cut off the flowers before repotting.
When to repot orchids and how often?
When repotting orchids, it is best to do it in spring. The plant will usually let you know when it is time to repot. If you notice that the medium in the pot begins to decompose and roots grow abundantly outside, it is a sign that your orchid needs to be repotted
If we water our plants with distilled, filtered water or rainwater, repotting an orchid is advisable every 2-3 years. However, when we use hard tap water for watering, orchid should be repotted every year.
Attention to the substrate
The most common orchid variety cultivated in Polish homes is Falenopsis(Phalaenopsis). In their natural environment Falenopsis grow on trees or, more precisely, on tree bark. Therefore, they feel best in a substrate with a similar structure. Do not put orchids in ordinary garden soil. They need a light, air-permeable substrate consisting primarily of bark and additives such as expanded clay, perlite, peat moss or charcoal. Therefore, it is best to choose a ready substrate, composed especially for orchids from suitable materials.
>> See also: Bonsai trees – which ones to choose and how to grow them?
An important element in orchid cultivation is the selection of an appropriate pot. Falenopsis overgrowing trees have access to light not only on their flowers, but also on their roots. Therefore, when growing these plants in our homes, we should provide them with as similar conditions as possible. These flowers are usually sold already in transparent plastic pots. When choosing a container for growing at home, we must remember that it should be able to let enough light through
The transparent pot also allows you to control the condition of the roots, which can “inform” about important changes or needs of the plant. When they turn white – it’s a sign that they need to be watered. When they remain green – they signal that they still have enough water. If your orchid is attacked by a disease, you can also notice this by observing the roots. The pot should also have enough holes in the base.
Repotting step by step
- Before starting, it is a good idea to soak the orchid’s roots in water – this will make them more flexible and reduce the risk of damage.
- The plant should be gently removed from the pot, squeezing its sides slightly so that the roots can easily separate from its walls. If the orchid has overgrown the pot, you will have to carefully cut it open.
- Then carefully remove the old substrate from between the roots. Cut off all withered, rotten or spongy roots. The cut areas can be sealed with charcoal to protect the plant from pathogens.
- At the bottom of a new pot you can create a drainage layer using expanded clay or gravel. This will prevent rotting in case of excess water. When putting the plant in, be careful about the roots – they should be placed by carefully twisting them. After inserting the orchid, pour in new substrate. Remember not to crush the roots! You can shake the pot slightly to make the pieces of the substrate fill the empty places.
Care of the orchid after repotting
If you have removed many roots when repotting the orchid, it is advisable to wait with watering until the plant is somewhat settled in the new substrate. Then it is best to water the orchid only after a week and fertilize it about two-three weeks after repotting.