Orchid Potting and Repotting

Today is one of those days when I found myself sitting in two t-shirts, one long sleeve, two hoodies, wrapped in blankie, covered with duvet, sit-lying on my bed (you know that position, right? Not sitting but not lying completely either) staring at my desktop at 7 am convincing myself exercise is good for me. Exercising basically in the dark is my way of saying ‘HELL NO!’ to the cold front.

Anyways, as promised, today’s post is about orchid repotting. 1006

Since I became an orchid owner last Christmas, I have been obsessing about learning as much as possible about the perfect orchid environment and the way to grow them. Why is a proper question to that and the answer is simple – I thought orchids are little finicky suckers that make your life difficult. Luckily, I realized that is not true!

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I never liked orchids and than I shockingly changed camps and became an orchid maniac. So googling like crazy, buying new plants, going to expos became a part of our life which the obsessing me absolutely loves and poor Dr Pink Cucumber has to suffer through it.

After attending talks and doing my homework I realized that orchids are easier to take care of than they seemed before. There are general rules to growing orchids, but basically you have to find what your particular orchid likes. Even though it sounds complicated, it’s really not! Just observe and stick to what works for you and your orchid. This is the way I do it:

Start of with rinsing and soaking some wood chips. As you can see, nothing fancy about this one – just some water and a repurposed yogurt container.1006bNext you’ll need more water, a pot of your choice and the secret to my potting – a bottom cut off a plastic cup with several holes drilled into it. I usually use plastic beer cups from cricket stadiums and I never worry about the prettiness of the holes – it really doesn’t matter.

Squeeze the plastic bottom into the cup and fill it up to the level of the plastic barrier. You can always adjust the height of the barrier by simply cutting less of the original plastic cup – that will not allow the barrier to go lower in the pot.

1006cAfter this simply stack up the wooden chips, which are there only to support the plant, in the pot. Try to leave some space for the orchid’s roots – they like to breathe.1006dAnd that’s it! Let your orchid sit nicely on the chips and let it be happy! In the pictures you may see Bob number 1, orchid I got for Christmas. He was placed into the ‘orchid ER’ in our house – he was bought in a chain supermarket store. And as we all know, display orchids are usually not very happy orchids, so now I’m trying to save him.1006eI added the last picture for you to see that my other orchids are also planted like this. I came up with this idea of potting orchids so that the water on the bottom evaporates and the only thing I need to do is fill up the cup, feed my orchids or spray the top roots from time to time.

This is what works for my orchids – try it out and it might work for you too!


2 thoughts on “Orchid Potting and Repotting

  1. Hi,

    I like the Idea of having just a few big wood chips in there, sort of simulating the natural environment. However, I am a little concerned about the roots not getting enough water. If I understand correctly the water in the reservoir is not in contact with the wood chips, so these only get water from your spraying. Since wood chips are known to not retain a lot of water, I imagine you need to spray daily/frequently with this method, in particular in warm/dry climates. Another question: how do you stabilize the plant in the container, especially with long flower stalks on it?

    • Hi Jens!
      Yes, there is a problem if you live in a drier climate – that can be simply fixed by putting a layer of sphagnum moss (very loose, not dense!) on top of the roots and spray it only when the moss is crispy dry. I actually need to write a new post, as I have made some changes to my potting, so I do not have to spray the plants all the time.
      As to stabilizing the plant – you can ‘tie’ it down with a piece of wire – simply make two holes on the sides of the pot (or you can wrap the wire around it) and then pass a wire through one hole into the other, going across the plant’s rhizome (with phals I usually use the cut down old inflorescence as an anchor). This stabilizes the plant – now, all my phals hang upside down, and I use this method without any problems. If your pot is heavy enough, or you put some rock on the bottom of it, the plant will not be top heavy and fall over.

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