How to Repot an Orchid

How do I repot an orchid?

updated 2/28/17

It is essential to repot orchids every 1-2 years because they either will be growing outside their pots and/or because the mix you use will eventually break down. I repot every new orchid I have as soon as it drops its last bloom because they have probably been in the same mix for quite some time and they need new fresh mix to be happy and thrive.

Repotting orchids can be fun and easy if you know what to do. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! If you want to know when to repot, look at my previous post. In this post I will tell you how to repot.

Note: I use Sphagnum moss to repot my orchids. I do this because I like it better than bark and it works well in my climate. You DO NOT have to use moss. You can use a bark mixture (most mixes are made from bark). This will work just fine.

Items you will need;

  • Bowl for soaking orchid in
  • A colander to rinse orchid and for new mix
  • Clean environment to work in
  • Sterilized cutting tool
  • Damp potting mix
  • Cinnamon…yes, the ordinary spice from the grocery store. It’s a natural fungicide
  • Packing peanuts…not necessary but helpful
  • New fresh pot

Okay here goes….
1. Cut back the former spike that the orchid bloomed from at the base.

2. Soak your orchid in the sink so it’s easy to pull out of its container. I put mine in a bowl of water, in its container, for a few minutes. Then grab the orchid at its base and gently pull it out of its current container. If you CAN’T pull it out I suggest you gently break the current pot.

2. After you have gently pulled the orchid from the pot you will want to pull off the moss/bark/mix from around the roots. Try to get it all because you really want to give it fresh new mix. I do this over the colander so the moss and bark don’t clog the drain.

At this time you can get a good look at the roots. They should be green/white and plump with nice healthy tips. You can wash/spray the roots with water to get all the little bits of moss/bark off of them.

3. Next we are going to cut off any dying or rotting roots. Get your sterilized tool (dipped in Physan 20 or alcohol) and simply cut the root just above the rot in the healthy tissue. Some roots will be a slight yellow color, this is okay!! Don’t over cut or the plant can’t survive! Only cut the dark brown rotting/dying roots. These are often slimy and look gross.

4. This is not a necessary step but I like to let my plants take a dip in a gallon size bucket of watered down Physan 20, in order to kill any bacteria. I normally do this for 1-2 minutes.

5. After they have had their dip, I then sprinkle cinnamon on any freshly cut roots to prevent the spread of bacteria. Cinnamon is a natural fungicide.

6. Now it’s time to place it in a new pot. I like clear pots (I have a post on this) so I can see what is going on with my orchids throughout the year. You will have to assess whether to keep it in the same size pot or go up a size depending on the root size. I have packing peanuts on hand in case the plant is in between sizes. In this case, take the packing peanuts and place them at the bottom of the pot to make it the right size. Orchids seem to like packing peanuts and will often grow right through them! You want an orchid to have enough room to grow but still be in a container that is snug. Orchids are not like normal houseplant in which you pot them in a much bigger container to let them grow…they like being snug (as shown in the picture below).

Note: While repotting it is important keep everything clean so as to not spread any potential disease. You will want to be cautious when reusing pots, they need to be sterilized between plants. Sometimes it is easier to use new pots than it is to try to clean the old pot. I put all my old clear pots through a cycle in my dishwasher before reusing them.

7. Once you have decided on a pot size, simply put the orchid in the pot holding it at the base level of the top of the pot. Then take your potting mix blend and tuck it in and around the roots. You can pack it tight or light depending on how much you want to water and the surroundings of where you keep your plants. The tighter it is packed, the slower it will dry out, and the less water it will require. I normally pack my orchids somewhere in the middle.

Note: All potting mix should be soaked and rinsed off in a colander before use. This will remove any little particles that may have built up and also wets the mix so it’s less “shocking” to the orchid upon repotting it.

I use Sphagnum moss (I mostly have Phalaenopsis orchids) and I like to soak it, squeeze out extra moisture and then fluff it up again before putting it the new pot. If you use bark just rinse it off in the colander.

8. For the next day or two keep it out of direct sunlight to let it get acquainted with the new surroundings.

9. I then spray my plants with GET OFF ME! Natural Pest Control Spray and clean my orchid leaves with Wash Me! Natural Leaf Cleaner™ from www.rePotme.com, which keeps the bugs off and cleans the leaves. Orchids LOVE clean leaves!!

10. And don’t forget to label it so you know next year what you did as far as this orchid: Went up a size? Went down a size? What did the roots look like? I take notes on mine…it makes it easier when you have 20 plus orchids!

And you’re done:)

Here is a helpful video from rePotme…

Check out this tutorial for visuals….

Hope that helps,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions. And email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com

 

How to make a Humidity Tray

How do I make my own humidity tray?

updated 3/8/17

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Humidity is essential to healthy orchids – as explained in my post on Humidity and Orchids. I recommend these humidity trays from rePotme if you were to buy them. I have two stands already but since my orchid collection has expanded I wanted to save some money by making my own humidity trays. It’s easy and actually quite pretty.

 

 

 

Here is what you will need;

1. A bucket of rocks. You can use beach or river rocks, basically any rock you find aesthetically pleasing.

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2. Find the right platter or tray. You can use literally anything that will hold water (Tupperware/saucer/ice-cube tray) and is large enough to hold the base of your orchid pot.

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3. Water.

Put it all together… Easy as 1-2-3

1. Clean the rocks with hot water. Place them level in the platters/trays (rocks work well in trays because they are sturdy enough to hold your plant up while allowing water to pool in your tray).

2. Fill with water to just below the tops of the stones. Remember that YOU DO NOT want your orchids to be wet at their roots (as explained in the link/post on rot, orchid roots will rot and die placed in standing water).

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3. Place your orchids on top of rocks…not touching the water.

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And Your Done!

Note: Make sure the water in your tray is regularly filled up. Check more frequently in the summer because the water will evaporate quicker.

Hope that Helps,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions. And email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com

Humidity and Orchids

Do orchids need humidity?

Updated 3/1/17

These are my orchids above. Orchids LOVE humidity! The natural environment of an orchid is a hot, humid and rainy jungle. In this environment orchids are naturally designed to have their leaves funnel rain and humidity down to their roots. 

Because of their need for humidity, I place my orchids on humidity trays. As the water in the humidity tray evaporates it rises thereby increasing the humidity around the plant. Humidity trays allow water to collect in the base while the plant is suspended ABOVE the water, so their roots aren’t wet. Orchids do not like to have their roots and the bottom part of their pots soaking in water. Most house plants like water left in their saucers. NOT ORCHIDS, their roots will rot if this happens (check out my post on root rot) and they will die if left untreated!
Orchids also benefit from being close together because this helps to raise the humidity among the plants. Orchids love humidity and air movement. Try to have a good balance of humidity and air movement. Not too much and not too little.

You can buy a humidity tray or you can make one from a pan filled with stones (I have a post on how to do this). I purchased the three-tier tray from rePotme and I also have made my own.

If you live in a super dry house you may even want to put a small humidifier near your orchids. 


Hope that helps,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions. And email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com

Misting Orchids

Should I mist my orchid(s)?

Updated 3/1/17

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photo copyright rePotme.com from this page

I wanted to write a quick blog about my favorite Haws copper mister (shown above) and realized that the topic of misting an orchid is super controversial. Apparently there is a huge debate, “to mist or not to mist?” People seem to think that getting an orchid wet will kill it.

I want to start by asking a question, “What is the natural environment of an orchid?” Answer, “A jungle, a RAIN forest.”

I have never been to a rain forest but I have seen enough Discover Channel shows to imagine what they are like; humid, hot and rainy. So I imagine that these orchids can’t dodge the rain and moisture that daily surrounds them. I have never seen my orchids move but maybe mine are just sluggish:)

Orchids are naturally designed to have their leaves funnel rain and humidity down to their roots. Based on this information, if orchids were indeed killed by getting wet then we would literally have no orchids in the wild.

There is no difference, in the actual plant, from an orchid being grown in the wild and in our homes. I think that we should look to nature when growing plants. We should ask what their natural environment is and give them the closest thing to it.

My orchids love a good misting, especially on hot summer days and dry winter days!!

Note: make sure that water does not pool in the base of the leaves while you are misting them. This can cause rot. You can take a dry paper towel and dip it in the leaf base to soak up any pooling.

Back to the my favorite mister you can get it at my favorite site, rePotme (click here) and it’s not that expensive ($28.15). In their words, “Our spectacular looking Haws-built brass mister is as functional as it is good-looking. Small in size, but amazing in the mist punch it delivers. We like to mist our orchids and houseplants generally, but those on mounts and in baskets really cry out for regular treats of fine mist and humidity on their roots and leaves. This high quality misting tool does the job efficiently and easily without being too heavy when full and without requiring constant trips to the sink for refilling. Until you use it, it is hard to explain how far a tank goes on the relatively small (light) reservoir of water it holds. The pump action is smooth, the spray pattern is full and the atomization is perfect. Comes complete in a handsome gift box and is ready for use right out of the box. Beautiful brass makes it a conversation piece when not in use!”

Mist on….

Hope that Helps,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.

Why a blog about orchids?

Updated 3/1/17

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My name is Hannah. I love my life. I have a wonderful family, loving friends and a sweet husband! I left my dream job taking care of mounted police horses to stay home with my daughter. And I recently started working for my favorite local plant nursery.

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My love for orchids began when my husband asked me to marry him with a beautiful white Phalaenopsis orchid (and a ring of course)!!

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Many years ago I received some orchids and had no idea what to with them. You see I was very intimidated by orchids because I had heard they were so hard to care for. I started doing a bunch of online research and I found a lot of confusing and contradicting information. The whole process seemed so daunting!

What I have now found is orchids are actually quite easy…..IF you know what to do! I have found what works for me and I truly hope it works for you! I have Phalaenopsis, Dendrobiums, Oncidiums, Cymbidiums and Phrag orchids.

I started this site for beginners, like me, who want to find easy and accessible answers on how to care for orchids. I have compiled many of the good ideas from the web and local growers that have helped me care for my orchids and I hope you find this information helpful. Hope this helps,

Hannah

Feel free to leave comments or questions here and you can always email me at myfirstorchid@gmail.com with pictures of your orchid.