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A Quick Guide to Repotting a Phalaenopsis Orchid

Brittany Banks is a young woman who likes to help people in difficult situations.

Wait to repot after blooms have fell.

Wait to repot after blooms have fell.

Summary

Repotting an orchid can be very difficult. You need the right size of pot and good medium. Orchid roots love to have a airy medium and should never be repotted in regular soil. Choose a medium that has a mix of Orchid bark, sphagnum moss, perlite, and hydroton. Orchid bark is healthy for your orchid and holds water fairly well. If you over water, it can fall apart quicker. The sphagnum moss will balance it out. The moss will soak up the excess water and hold it in preventing mold or fungal infections. Perlite helps hold in hydration so your orchid won't dry out right away. Hydroton improves the water capacity in soil. This mixture will give a lot of room for the roots to grow. Before repotting your orchid, make sure you have the correct size of pot. A clear slotted pot is highly recommended for good air flow and you can also tell if the orchid needs to be watered. Decorative pots are not recommended for an orchid, because you can not tell if the orchid needs to be watered or not. Never repot a orchid while it is in bloom. Snip the spikes after blooming and wait for new growth, then you can repot. If you repot while an orchid is in bloom, it can disrupt the living cycle and can die fairly quickly.

Prepare Medium

Before you repot, make sure you santize everything. When repotting multiple orchids, this can prevent spreading any fungal infections that other orchids have. In a large plastic bowl, prepare your medium for repotting. Add some purified water and mix the medium. Hard water is not good for orchids and can cause water spots. Lukewarm water is also preferred. Orchids naturally grow upside down in trees and ice cold water is not their natural habitat. Cold water can put them into shock and disrupt their living cycle as well. This will moisten the medium to make it easier to repot. Some people let it sit overnight. Others will mix it and let it sit for an hour or so. This will be your preference. You will not need to water your orchid after repotting since the medium will already be wet.

Medium should look like this after it has soaked.

Medium should look like this after it has soaked.

Removing Process

Find the correct size of pot to repot your orchid. You want the roots to have some room to grow. It should be a inch or two bigger then the previous pot. This orchid shouldn't be repotted for another few years. Remove the current medium carefully over a garbage can. Some medium can get stuck to the roots. The root system is very delicate and can snap off very easily. Now it's time to move the orchid to the sink. Make sure your sink is clean and disinfected. Turn the water and slowly rinse the roots. Do not get any water on the leaves and inside the crown. This can cause crown rot which results in death to a orchid.

Place your orchid in the pot to determine the size you need.

Place your orchid in the pot to determine the size you need.

Cleaning and Preparing Roots

Inspect the root system. Carefully remove the peat plug and remove old medium. Some are planted in moss or bark. When changing medium, if it is grown in moss, you want your medium to have more moss than bark in it. Having an orchid in moss can risk over watering. While you are at the sink, use lukewarm purified water to moisten the root system and the air roots. This can make the roots more movable. You can apply some hydrogen peroxide to help kill off any fungus as well. Do not get water on the leaves or in the center crown of the orchid.

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Most of these roots are full of life.

Most of these roots are full of life.

Snipping Roots and Potting

Bring your orchid to your repotting area and have a bin with your pot, medium, and snippers ready to go. Use gloves and apply rubbing alcohol to your snippers and dry them. Carefully press on the roots. Are they flat and mushy? Then snip them. If they are full of life then leave them. Some roots will be brown or green. It doesn't matter what they look like. Feel them and see if there is life left in them. Never cut air roots. The air roots are the ones hanging out of the pot previously. You can choose to repot them with rest of the roots or leave them out of the pot. Place your orchid in the pot and start filling around the root system. Do not pack it in too tight. The root system needs room to breathe. Fill the medium up to the base of the leaves. Refer to the picture below and how full the pot should be.

Fill the pot to the rim to the base of the leaves.

Fill the pot to the rim to the base of the leaves.

End Summary

Orchids are very delicate plants and they have needs just like we do. If we give them the proper care, they will live long and healthy for us. Repotting an orchid is only required every few years. You can usually tell if a orchid needs repotting by looking at the root system. If the roots are grouping together and starting to cluster at the bottom of the pot, then it is time to repot.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Brittany Banks

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