How to Replant An Orchid?

Orchids are beautiful plants that make a lovely addition to any garden, office, or home environment. They bring a tranquil grace to the decor and are easy to take care of for new and veteran green thumbs. Replanting can be tricky if you have never done it before. There are a few things to know before deciding it is time to replant your orchid.

Taking care of an orchid is pretty straight forward. Some of the orchids require more humidity than others, but you want to spritz your orchid with water or a water-fertilizer substance at least once a day with weekly watering for pot, box, and bowl planters to make sure enough moisture is retained. Over-watering can be an issue, so make certain that you are keeping an eye on the compost moisture content and not letting it get too wet or dried out. These frequent checks make it easier to see the signs that it might be time to replant your orchid. The instructions below will go over how to replant an orchid.

When and How Often to Replant

The very best time to replant your orchid is after it has completed a flowering cycle - during the summer - or if it is not tied to the seasons whenever it is experiencing a growth spurt. This will ensure that your plant has plenty of room to grow through the next several years. One reason why it is beneficial to replant in the summer is that the roots have begun to grow, and this is an ideal time for it to adapt to a new pot. If you try to move a plant when it is not currently growing, there is a chance that it might shock the roots and cause damage or root death.

orchid roots

Make sure you check how healthy the roots of the plant are before deciding if it is time to replant or not. If the roots are brown and rotting, you will want to replant immediately because it means both the plant and compost have been over-watered, and the orchid could die if it is not transferred to a balanced environment.

If your plant is top heavy and has roots and leaves spilling over the top of the pot, then this means it has been left too long in the same size container, and it needs to be replanted in a larger one immediately to provide the correct amount of space for the orchid. How to know when it starts to get top-heavy is if you notice new leaves are beginning to overtake the pot or if you see pseudobulbs visible in the top layer of compost.

It is usually best to replant your orchid every two or three years because that is generally how long it takes to fill the container with roots and digest all the useful nutrients from the compost.

How to Choose the Right Mounting

Orchids can grow wonderfully in almost any type of container or even by attaching them to an area that can be accessed for spritzing water and fertilizer. There are multiple options available for replanting that are not possible with most other plants. Since orchids can be mounted in a lot of different ways, this makes them very versatile and ideal for decorative planting. When it comes to replanting, you need to choose if you want to keep it in the same type of container and mounting or if you want to change things up.

There are several options, including mounting on bark, replanting in a pot or other container, or hanging your orchid.


How to Replant an Orchid into A Pot

You want to make sure  when choosing a new pot for replanting that it is at least two sizes bigger than the one it was previously grown within. This will allow for plenty of growth space. There are several different types of orchids, but the replanting steps are the same for them all if you are moving them strictly from one pot to another.

Here is a brief step-by-step guide for replanting an orchid. The day before repotting, be sure to water your orchid.

1. Find a container of the appropriate size and ensure that it has drainage holes so that your plant will not suffer from over-watering after the repotting.

2. Add a sprinkling of broken terracotta or polystyrene at the bottom of the new container before adding compost. This will provide additional drainage. Add in a bottom layer of damp compost.

3. Remove the orchid from its previous pot and trim off any dead or overly long roots. The roots should be three or four inches at most. Be sure to remove as much of the old compost as possible from the roots without damaging them.

4. Place the orchid inside the new pot at a height so that the leaves will settle against the top layer of compost. If your orchid has aerial roots, then it is not necessary to cover them completely.

5. Hold the orchid plant in place as you surround it with new compost, gently pressing it into place until the pot is full to the height of the leaves.

6. Water the orchid within the first day and check daily after that as newly replanted flowers tend to require a bit more water at first. Mist daily.

It is a quick and easy process. When removing the old compost from the roots and adding new compost to the larger pot, make sure to do your best not to damage the roots or leaves. Take your time and be gentle. Your plant will thank you for a smooth transition.

hanging pot

How to replant an orchid into a bark base

If you would like to replant your orchid into a bark base, then there are slightly different steps that need to be followed. Seeing aerial roots on your growing plant that are not hidden by the compost is one way to know if it is ready to be mounted on a piece of bark or a tree branch. The visible roots mean that it is ready to be moved to a larger growing area.

Below is a brief run-through on how to create an excellent bark base for your orchid. There are several supplies that are required: A piece of cork bark or a slab of tree fern, sphagnum moss, coconut fiber, and a metal hook, some plastic covered metal wire, pruning shears and wire cutters. Once you have all of your materials assembled, you will want to follow these steps.

1. Make certain to cut off visible rhizome, or root stalks, that have grown above the soil. (at least six leaves).

2. Create layers of coconut fiber and moss along the entire length of the cork bark or tree fern.

3. Stick them in place by cutting an appropriately lengthed piece of plastic wire and twisting it firmly in place to hold the materials.

4. Place the orchid rhizome along the middle of the materials with enough space to grow in any direction and then firmly but gently fasten it in place with pieces of plastic covered wire. Be sure not to damage the stalk as you do this, or else it may die.

5. Secure a wire hook to be used for hanging the section of bark.

6. Spray with a mix of water and fertilizer at least once a week to keep it healthy and growing.

If you would like, you can also replant an orchid on a tree as well for your garden or greenhouse. Orchids growing on trees or bark require additional humidity, so  this can only be achieved in a carefully controlled or naturally humid environment.


How to replant an orchid into a hanging basket

Replanting into a hanging basket is a little bit different. You will want to have a suitably sized basket for the plant to continue growing. The equivalent of two sizes bigger than whatever container it was previously living in. Make certain it is a container with sufficient holes for drainage. Fill a layer of moss and then a layer of compost. Place your bulbs or plant inside with the leaves at the top of the box. Carefully fill in the rest of the box with compost. 

Additional Tips and Tricks

During the step of replanting when you are cleaning off the old compost, it is also a perfect time to get rid of any ungainly growths or dead areas. When leaves die they often leave behind stringy brown remains on the bulbs. Hence, when you pull out the roots, be sure to clean any dead, brown material off the rest of the plant, cut off any roots that are too long, and get rid of any rotting or over-watered sections of the root which will be very damp and brown. By using this time to prettify your plant, you give it a better chance of flourishing in the new pot. However, you decide to replant your orchid, and if you follow the steps above, you will be treated to many years of future gorgeous flowers and luscious growth.