Spring Has Sprung

Happy equinox! Welcome to the first day of spring, unless you’re in the southern half of the planet. In that case, welcome to the first day of autumn. No matter where you are on earth, day and night last 12 hours each. Like all plants, orchids detect the lengthening days and increasing strength of the sun. Some may spring into new growth with fresh new leaves and roots. That’s great if your orchid and its potting material are in good shape. But if those beautiful new leaves and roots suddenly start to show black spots, or turn to mush, your orchid is probably overdue for repotting. Step by step instructions for repotting can be found here.

Repotting may be the most intimidating part of being a new orchid owner. Fortunately, it only has to be done once every 2 or 3 years. If you purchased your orchid in the past year from a reputable vendor, the potting material should be fresh enough to allow you to skip the chore this year. If you’re not sure, here are some tips to know when it’s time to repot:

  • If the orchid is potted in bark, dig out a piece of the bark and squeeze it between your fingers. Bark that remains solid is still in good shape; bark that squishes or breaks apart is telling you that your orchid’s roots cannot get enough air flow, and it’s time to repot.
  • If the orchid is in moss, repot every year, or whenever the moss becomes moldy or slimy.
  • If new leaves suddenly start to rot, the cause may be that the corresponding new roots need better air flow. Those new roots may be out of sight underneath, but they are essential for the plant’s health. Remove the orchid from the pot as soon as possible and repot it.
  • If you water the orchid, and the excess water is slow to drain out of the holes at the bottom of the pot, then it’s time to repot.
  • Orchids that have just finished blooming often enter a cycle of new leaf and root growth. This is an ideal time to repot so the new roots can grow into fresh potting material.

If all of this is just too bewildering, start with these helpful videos showing what potting mix to choose, how to repot an orchid in bark, and how to repot in moss. And then go enjoy the first day of spring.

Explore posts in the same categories: Growing, Misc, Problems

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