How To Repot the Phalaenopsis Orchid – Step By Step
Popular is the Phalaenopsis orchid. It comes in eye-appealing colors of pink, yellow, white and lavender. Some of the varieties even have a nice, delicious scent. These orchids are easy to care for indoors because they can thrive happily in the same temperatures that us humans do. Phalaenopsis, on average, will bloom for up to three months each season given the right care. Flowering orchids are healthy orchids. If you desire to continue excellent long term health for your orchids, refreshing the potting medium is a necessity for every 18 to 24 months.
Repotting is making sure that the pot size matches the orchid plant. You do not want too big a pot; nor do you want too small a pot. Too big and the plant will be exposed to excess moisture content and possible root rot. Too small and the roots will be not be able to aerate properly. You want to have a pot that is just the right size for the size of your plant plus a little room to grow. Next, the potting medium is of the kind especially made for orchids. They are usually made of tree bark, either fir or pine. You can also use a peat moss to contain more moisture. Sometimes the medium will also include coconut husks in the mix. Phalaenopsis is an epiphytic plant which means it lives on another object such as a tree. It is not unusual to have its roots exposed.
Before you repot your orchid, make sure you have everything you need. Here is a list
of items that will help:
1) clean clay pot
2) orchid potting medium consistent of a tree bark blend (from your garden center)
3) sanitized clay shards or lava rock to place at bottom of the pot
4) styrofoam packing peanuts (the non-biodegradeable kind)
5) pruning shears
6) c cup bleach and 1 gallon of water
7) bamboo stick
8) wire plant ties
9) pruning sealer or anti-fungal powder
The night before you repot your orchids, give them a good watering. This will allow the roots to absorb moisture and soften the existing potting medium and facilitate removing it from the pot.
Having a clean work environment and sterilized tools is a must when working with your orchids. If you have multiple plants, you do not want to accidently spread any possible infections from one plant to the next. You may even want to wear sterilized gloves while you repot. Here are eight steps to changing your orchid's potting medium.
Step 1) Mix one gallon of water and c cup of bleach. Choose a flat surface to work on. Wipe the workspace with the cloth dipped in the bleach solution.
Step 2) In a pie pan or similar dish, pour in some bleach solution and soak your pruning shears for about 15 minutes. Then let them air dry.
Step 3) Next carefully extract your orchid plant from the old pot trying not to damage any of the roots.
Step 4) Throw out the old potting material. Examine your orchids' roots. With your sterilized shears remove any parts of the roots where there is rot. Also prune dead or dried leaves, if any. Apply pruning sealer to the newly cut areas to prevent infection.
Step 5) Remove and rinse any remaining potting medium from the clay pot if you are reusing the same one. Disinfect the clay pot using the bleach solution and let it dry.
Step 6) Place clay shards or lava rock and packing peanuts at the bottom of the clay pot. Cover the drain holes so that the orchid's roots can not fit through.
Step 7) Carefully place your orchid in the pot on top of the clay shards and peanuts. While holding the orchid upright in the center, fill the pot with the tree bark and peat moss giving the plant support.
Step 8) You may use the bamboo stick to give your plant more support if needed. Use the wire ties to wrap the stem to the stick being careful not to wrap the wire too tightly.
Repot your Phalaenopsis orchids just before the new heavy foliage is about to appear. This is usually around summer or early spring. Do not repot your orchids when they are just about to bloom. This can stress out your plant and it may take a while before it blooms again. Every couple of months inspect the potting medium. If you notice that the potting medium is decomposing, it's time to repot no matter how many months may have gone by. When the medium is decomposing, more moisture than usual may be retained in the pot and this could cause your roots to develop root rot. You can follow the eight steps above for each orchid you repot. When you follow a set repotting schedule, you will be rewarded with healthy, beautiful flowering orchids year after year.