When should I repot my orchid?
Repotting orchids can be very fun (check out my How to Repot an Orchid post). I was scared out of my mind to start this process though! I had no idea what I was doing and thought I would, for sure, kill all my orchids. But once I got the hang of it and followed this tutorial, I was fine!! This post explains both the need to repot orchids and when to do so.
Why is it important to repot?
It is important to repot your orchids because they have most likely been in the same mix for quite some time and their mix will eventually break down. And if you got them from a store they have probably been over watered or underwater and repotting is also the best way to see their roots system. Some of the ones I repotted had horrible roots and would have died if I had not repotted them (check out my post on Root Rot).
Most websites say to repot all your orchids every 6 months to 2 years depending on the plant because their mix breaks down and smothers the roots. They love fresh new mix. I use the Classic/Imperial Orchid Mixes from rePotme.
Okay so here some pointers, as to when to repot.
Normally in the summer your orchids will lose their blooms, if grown naturally. If you received an orchid in the summer and it is in bloom, it was most likely forced into bloom by a nursery. You should always repot orchids when they go OUT of bloom. This gives them the best chance at a successful growth phase which should create the following flower phase. Orchids will smother if they remain in the same medium too long, they are air plants and need oxygen at their roots. Usually repotting every 2 years is adequate, though many will benefit from annual repotting. Your orchids, once you know them, will tell you when they need repotting…they will either be growing up and out of their pot or will show signs of suffering.
Below are signs that will tell you when to repot –
1. New Orchid: If you get a new orchid that is in bloom, enjoy it and water it gently as explained in How to Water post. AFTER it is done blooming, you should repot. I always repot my new orchids after they have dropped their last bloom because I want to see their root system and evaluate their future care.
Note: If you repot an orchid that is in bloom you will most likely experience bud blast. Bud blast is when an orchid protects itself by dropping its blooms. Repotting an orchid shocks it which can affect any buds and/or blooms. I have a post on Bud Blast for further information.
2. Roots growing out of the pot: If roots are growing up and out of the pot and they are OUT of bloom, it is probably time to move up in pot size and give them fresh mix (the pic at the top of this blog shows an example of an orchid growing out of its pot). Typically you would go up an inch or two in diameter of the pot. If they are in 4” we would go to 5, 5.5 or 6” depending on the root zone size.
Note: Many orchids have ariel roots (I have a post on this) that are normal and not a sign that an orchid needs a bigger pot. For example Phalaenopsis orchids often have a root that will grow in between their leaves. This is normal.
3. No pot drainage: You will also want to “drop pot” if your orchid is potted in a pot that has no drainage hole. This is one of the few times you will want to repot while your orchid is in bloom. Read the post that states READ THIS FIRST on why your orchid will die if it has no drainage hole!
Here is a guide as to when orchids are naturally repotted;
Hope that helps,
Feel free to leave comments or questions. And email me at email@example.com