How Do You Transplant an Orchid?

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A garden full of flowering orchids is a remarkable sight. It is my daily routine to check my orchids every morning and relax as I walk and peek in every pot there is. I am very meticulous in taking care of my babies. Hence, when I notice that it already has outgrown its pot, I know that it is time to transplant.

How about you? Do you know how to transplant an orchid? If you love orchids, doing so seems just like any ordinary routine that I usually enjoy doing.

After a long time, the medium holding your orchids break down and become finer, smaller, and so compact that it is no longer capable of supplying your orchids the nutrition it needs. With the deteriorating condition, the air can no longer circulate the roots effectively. The remaining soil retains water more than before and covers the roots with its moist all the time. When left unattended, the roots will rot, and worse, a fungi disease may grow.

Step 1: Choose the Right time to transplant.

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Like a gardener’s rule, orchids transplant must be at least every after a year or two. It is easy to say that the spring season is the best time to transplant the orchids. However, you would know it is the right time to do so when the following situations occur. Keep in mind that you can only transplant the orchids when the following are evident:

  • Wait until the orchids have finally bloomed and new roots and leaves begin to sprout before doing the transplant or repotting.
  • When it is apparent that the roots begin to overgrow the existing medium.
  • If you notice that your orchids seem to be dormant, and is not producing flowers at all, try repotting.
  • When the pot breaks, obviously you need an immediate transfer.
  • Bugs can destroy plants. If they start infesting your orchids, you need to transplant.
  • When the roots are turning into brown because of excess moisture, this means you need to save your orchids from drowning. A grayish-white color, however, indicates that the roots lack water.

Step 2: Pick a suitable pot 

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Choosing the best pots for orchids is not that complicated. However, finding the right one is essential. Several choices abound if you have the time to explore. Two important factors in buying pots for orchids are the right size and of course, the drainage holes. Here are some tips to remember:

  • Pick a pot that is larger than the previous. It must allow the orchid to grow for one to two years.
  • Choose any pot style as long as it meets the orchids needs. There must be enough space for air circulation, does not hold too much water, the right pot size, and drainage size.

Step 3: What kind of potting soil is great for orchids?

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Since these plants are not like any other plant that grows in the ground, choosing the best potting soil for orchids is vital. Orchids grow on trees; therefore, they thrive best on loose soil with chunks of barks, peat moss, perlite, and other mixture of organic matter.

Transplanting an orchid in bark can replicate the natural environment that is ideal for it to grow. An orchid bark mix is a blend of ground fir-tree bark that you can buy from garden centers together with other commercial potting soil. If you are motivated, you can try mixing it yourself.

  • Preparing your medium: Soak the new medium to make it moist and ready for the orchid to thrive. Place the medium in the new pot first, so you will know how much you need to use. Soak it in a container full of water for two hours before straining. Pour running water over to get rid of dust.

Step 4: Removing the Orchid from the current pot

Remember to water your orchids before the transplant just sufficient to moisten the existing medium. Three days should be enough to reduce the impact of stress during the transfer. Once ready, remove the orchid from the old pot. Take note that you need a sterilized knife or scissors in trimming dead leaves and roots.

Sterilizing your tools will prevent your orchids from infectious diseases. Here is a video showing you the correct way of sterilizing garden tools.

Although it is common knowledge that orchids are sensitive plants and are delicate when it comes to transplanting, certain types such as Phalaenopsis Orchids are tough when it comes to repotting. Do you know that they can withstand the whole process without the risk of dying? I am even repotting Phalaenopsis orchids when in bloom and it is no big deal at all. But of course, being gentle and careful while doing so is required.

Here is a video that explains more about it.

  • How to uproot the orchid? Be gentle as you go along with this process. Make sure that you are holding the bottom of the pot as a support while the other hand is removing the orchid. Orchids usually cling to the pot, so it is necessary to cut the roots and stems to make it lose. Then you can wiggle and shake the orchids out.
  • With one hand holding the orchid, rinse the roots by pouring warm water on them. Make sure as much as possible, that you get rid of the remains of the old medium before doing so. Clearing the orchid from the old medium ensures better absorption of nutrients with the new medium. It is also one way of getting rid of the bugs that infected the plant.
  • Before placing it inside the new pot, take the opportunity to trim down the dead stems, leaves, pseudobulbs, and roots. When done, sprinkle some cinnamon at the cut ends for extra protection from contamination and decaying. A fungicide for orchids will do the job as well.

Step 5: Transplanting an Orchid

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  • Now, it is time to place the orchid into its new pot. Carefully place the orchid into the new pot and arrange the roots inside. The base of the lowest leaf of the plant must be around a half-inch lower than the brim for an ideal depth. Put in mind that for pseudobulbs, the ideal position is at the edge of the pot while for sole main stem orchids, middle position is just right.
  • Add the new medium into the pot. Sprinkle it all around the orchids until it is fully covered. Make it enough to see a bit on top of the orchid’s base. Pack it loose to allow air to circulate but not too loose to prevent the orchids to flop. Carefully press the medium in the pot and around the roots for proper placement.
  • After a successful repotting, water your orchids as soon as you notice the roots start to grow. Spray water at the roots area consistently for three weeks. Once the orchid is already settled and thrives in its new home, gradually add the amount of water just enough to soak the medium. Wait until the potting soil is already capable of absorbing and retain moisture before you water more often.

How to divide an orchid?

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The practice of transplanting your orchids can be the best time or an opportunity to divide them. I say that dividing an orchid is also a reason that you need to transplant. This process is applicable to mature orchids (2-3 years) and are healthy to withstand the whole ordeal. I like dividing my orchids so it will multiply and enjoy watching them grow again to maturity.

Here is how:

  • Right after step 4; examine the root ball for points where the orchid has developed in distinct directions. These points are exactly the best part to divide the root ball. You can manually pull it separately, or you can use cutters in doing so. Make sure that there are young and healthy roots in each division.

    When your orchid has pseudobulbs, each separation must contain at least three pseudobulbs.
  • Proceed to step five (5).

Conclusion

How do you transplant an orchid? I bet I have explained to you in details on how to go about it the right way. Remember that taking care of your orchids does not stop at replanting. You need to give constant care to keep your babies blooming.

Whenever you see the need for repotting your orchids, I suggest doing so the soonest. When you transplant an orchid, it is similar to saving its life!

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