As the days grow longer with spring, the season brings some orchid chores, including repotting. Orchid repotting can be intimidating for beginning growers, so in addition to the basics, I have a few more hints to help:

  • 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 the orchid is potted in bark, repot once every 2-3 years. To test if your orchid is due, dig out a piece of bark and squeeze it between your fingers. Bark that remains solid is still in good shape; bark that squishes or crumbles is rotted. This means that the 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 start to rot, the cause may be that 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 and repot it.
  • If excess water is slow to drain out of the bottom of the pot, then it’s time to repot.
  • When repotting, keep in mind how orchids grow in the wild as epiphytes, or air plants. In pots, they need good drainage, which means that water and air flow freely through the potting material and out the drainage holes.
  • Check out these helpful videos showing an orchid pro repotting an orchid in moss, and repotting one in bark.

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6 Comments on “Repotting”

  1. AJ Says:

    very good info
    thanks for the useful tips

  2. JeffRey Says:

    I didn’t know this
    The vids are really helpful – She really knows her orchids!

  3. nancy Says:

    I have a growing collection with 12 orchids. Half needed repotting and I just finished today. Wish me luck that I didn’t hurt the plants too much! I always feel like I’m butchering the poor things, but they recover — usually!

  4. Geo2004 Says:

    Can you believe how rough that “orchid pro” treats the plants? I don’t think I’m going to try to lift mine up by the leaves to see if it stays in the pot.

  5. Hanley Says:

    Lift up by the leaves test is a good test but you can skip that part.

  6. Eleanor Ward Says:

    Great post! Repotting is very important to orchids. Different people use different things to repot – we’re going to recommend fine, medium and large bark depending on what kind of orchid you’ll repot. Sometimes, when an orchid likes more moisture, we’ll mix in some sphagnum moss. Soak bark in water before using for a couple hours.