Repotting Orchids Guide - Moth Orchid
Repotting Orchids Example
I just recently re potted this pink moth orchid as best I could - I had received on valentines day and it had been sat in original packaging since for several weeks.
I removed the box and plastic wrapping, then eased it out of the old pot which was rather small.
(I used the cellophane as a surface to work on and save mess!)
Clear orchid pots - good idea to use a larger one when repotting of course.
I used one of our large 14cm orchid pots and filled the bottom with some chunky / supercourse mix with lava rock, I had chosen this courser material just for the bottom layer.
lets get to work - new larger pot and fresh substrate 😎
Old compost (above and below photos )small particles & peaty - not great gas exchange or drainage 😑 -this will have to go!)
remove any rotten / moldy roots such as this by trimming unhealthy bits with scissors.
The roots of it! - gently remove most of old substrate - remove any dead or dying pieces of root.
Fresh New Substrate Time!
Terra Core Super Course - large particles for good gas exchange. Added to bottom layer of the new pot.
Forest blend potting mix - smells and looks fresh 😊
I then gently placed the orchid in and filled around it with Terra Core Forest Blend, tapping as I went. I finished off with a top dressing of moist sphagnum moss.
I then water it in well and found a bright place for it to live where it wouldn't get too much direct sunlight and was a way from draughts. When it gets a little warmer I will place the plant on a small saucer filled with pebbles and water to help maintain humidity.
Final Position - note this is an east facing window - so bright but not too much direct sun, only morning sun really - even in summer. Just right for a well watered plant.
When To Repot?
People often ask when is the best time to repot an orchid? - the answer is any time is fine but note that some transport shock may occur so its probably best done early spring in between flowering.
After repotting initially your plant may look drab but it will usually pickup once its settled in. Occasional fertilisers (only use proper orchid ones) throughout the season will benefit but don't over do it as this can do more harm than good. You are also far more likely to kill a plant by over watering than underwatering - its about getting the balance right but as with all these things you get a fell for it over time.
When you repot orchids this is a great time to examine the roots, any that are rotten / discoloured should be trimmed off and discarded.
Most of the old substrate should be removed and replaced with fresh bark mix.
Use Proper Pots!
The advantages of using a special pot designed for orchids (and then place this inside a decorative outer one if you wish) is that you leave lots of gaps for gas exchange and provide a reservoir for excess water to collect (just ensure plants not sat in puddles of water for long periods)
Also it is much easier to simply lift the inner pot out to examine the roots or to change pots without making a mess!
We stock orchid pots - see here
Step By Step Guide:
1) Gather your materials and choose working area - somewhere outside like a potting bench or indoors if you put some newspaper down! to avoid mess.
You will need a new pot (preferably a plastic inner pot if using ceramic / or a well ventilated one), Orchid Potting Mix Bark Substrate, a small pair of scissors, some water, perhaps new orchid stick and a few butterfly clips.
2) Remove any packaging / plastic film from your orchid if its a new store bought one
3) Whilst supporting the plant gently ease the old pot from around the roots
4) Shake off the excess compost and inspect the roots for damage
5) Any moldy or manky looking roots should be trimmed off with scissors
6) Gently lower roots into new pot whilst keeping hold of the plant and pour new potting bark mix around the edge, lightly tapping every now and then to ensure the pot is filled.
Stop just below the aerial roots. Some aerial roots above the surface is fine.
7) Water in fairly well.
8) *Optional - Top Dress with Sphagnum moss around the plant
9) Check stick and clips are supporting main stem - adjust if necessary
10) Place on a tray of clay pebbles in a saucer of water for good humidity. Provide good bright light but not too much direct sunlight and a location away from cold draughts.
Terra Core Orchid Blends
3 different blends for potting epiphyte orchids, from top EXPERT, SUPER COURSE and FOREST BLEND - learn more here in the orchid section.
Another article on our orchid potting mediums - which one is best for you? - please see our orchid growing guide.
mixing plants in the same pot - companion planting with orchids - heres an idea of how it can be done