Orchids sold from “big box” stores

Updated 12/10/17

Many times when we get orchids into our homes they were mistreated before we got them. Mass production of orchids in green houses forces them into bloom (which in itself does not hurt orchids) and then they are shipped to stores. The shipping process can be taxing to orchids and then they are placed in grocery stores etc. that tend to over or underwater them and most provide zero natural light.

And A LOT of places sell orchids in pots with no drainage holes (as shown above) which exacerbates all the problems stated above because the roots are basically trapped in water and begin to rot (even though the blooms may look beautiful at the time).

Then we get them they begin to suffer and we think we have hurt an orchid when actually it was all the stuff that happened to it before we got it. It’s very frustrating but not our faults at all.

I recommend repotting or “drop potting” orchids like this as soon as you can after you get them. I like to wait till the blooms have fallen and then repot. I also do not water them at all in between the time I get them and repot them because they normally have water trapped in their pots. Please read my post titled, “READ THIS FIRST” as it explains what to do if an orchid is sold to you with a non draining pot.

Hope that Helps,


15 Comments on “Orchids sold from “big box” stores

  1. Hi Hanna!
    I’ve gotten into a similar habit that my grandmother has, which is purchasing dying plants from Lowe’s/Home Depot and then nursing them back to health. This time around, I got two baby Phals and in the past couple of weeks, they’ve really perked up! Neither were blooming when I got them and one of the plant’s stems was completely brown and dried out. His leaves and root are looking great!
    The other had two spikes and I removed both. I’ve read that you should remove both, but I’ve also read that you should only remove one if there’s two. Is what I did OK? Since they are minis, I want to promote growth.
    They came in decorative pots with a plastic cup inside containing the orchid. There is one large drainage hole at the bottom of that cup. Should I add more drainage holes? I think I will keep mine in pots like yours. That seems to be the healthiest thing for the orchid.
    When roots begin growing over the edge of the pot, this is when I repot it? And, should I bury the roots that were overflowing?
    I am using miracle grow spray for my orchids. It instructs me to spray the leaves and roots. Would you recommend that I use something else?
    Thank you!

  2. Attahced my Orchid plant pic for your reference. Your advice is highly appreciated:))

    Already I have dropped a email last Saturday with orchid Picture ! 🙂

  3. Hi Hannah,
    This is Vinoth from Singapore.Your blog on Orchid plant managing is wonderful.

    Im growing orchid plant for first time .. Its just 1 week we took it to home from the shop.. Now we are seeing Orchid bloom stem tip getting dried and turning light brownish..

    Is it normal behaviour or should i take any action to get rid of this .

    Please note this is my first pot in my home and Since Singapore has got humid climate I water atleast 2 times a day .

    Attahced my Orchid plant pic for your reference. Your advice is highly appreciated:))

    Already I have dropped a email last Saturday with orchid Picture ! 🙂

  4. I got my first mini orchid last year at Lowe’s. I really had no idea, upon first seeing it, just how badly potted the plant was. This was when I knew nothing about proper orchid care. I’m really against some businesses out there that give bad instructions about just “adding ice” to water an orchid. Anyway, the orchid was in a pot with no drainage at the bottom and was in the same pot as a succulent plant. Plus there was a bunch of fake moss in the pot as decoration. Needless to say, the succulent plant ended up dying but I managed to save the orchid by repotting it in sphag moss in another pot with drainage holes.

    Probably the biggest mistake I made then was overwatering my orchids. A lot of roots got mushy and dead as a result, but I learned from the mistake. Throughout the colder winter months, my orchids grew new leaves. Now they’re growing new spikes and roots. I’m so happy! I love waking up each day to see the spikes and roots have grown out a little more than the day prior.

    I had no idea until reading your blog post that store bought orchids really so come very tightly packed in moss. It makes sense to help keep the orchid moist for a long time before someone buys it. I got two new mini orchids today from Trader Joe’s. It is a little disappointing that most of the buds on them are already blooming, which tells me they probably have been sitting on the store shelf for a while now.

  5. Hi, my sister has sent me 15 orchid stems (yes 15), the have arrived with the little plastic cone on each one.
    I now need to purchase pots and plant them.
    Do I take off the plastic cone?
    I have read that they need small pots, but how many can I pot together?
    Please talk me through the steps of potting them.
    Many thanks

  6. I’ve had this problem too. They also seem to stuff too much sphagnum into the pot.I seem to be having success by pinching out some of the tightly packed moss and letting the roots breathe and the water evaporate.

  7. thanks for all the information, my orchids have all died, too late. because not buy, too expensive in Mexico. encnatan me; Also, my state is very caloroso (Acapulco, Mexico) effectively never change pot, maybe that’s why they died.
    thanks for answer

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