Repotting Orchids Without Fear

Repotting orchids is not as risky an endeavor as most beginners make it out to be in their minds. A little knowledge and preparation make it simple.

A collection of orange orchids at Selby Gardens in FL.

This collection of orange orchids is growing at Selby Gardens in Florida.

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Learning how to care for orchids inevitably leads to a problem. They grow. They flourish. Their roots begin to crawl right out of their pots.

At first this is cute. Then it becomes ridiculous. Your orchid needs to be repotted.


Here's what you will need:

  1. A clean surface. Spread newspaper over a table or counter top.
  2. A clean, sharp knife and a container of bleach and water(1 part bleach/10 parts water) to dip the knife into between plants.
  3. Clean pots (new or sterilized with the bleach solution).
  4. Fresh potting media. The same kind the plants are growing in now.
  5. Ground cinnamon to use as a fungicide.
  6. A bucket of water.
  7. Clean hands.

Submerge the orchid in the bucket of water while you gather the other supplies and prepare the potting area. Leave it in there for at least an hour.

Ceramic Orchid Pot 7.25

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Drain the water away and set the pot on the newspaper. The roots should come out of the pot easily now that the water has softened them. If any are still clinging to the pot, pry them off gently.

Remove the old media as well as you can without damaging the roots. Check for dead roots and slice these off with a sharp knife. If you are dividing the orchid now is the time to make the cut.

Sprinkle all cut surfaces with the cinnamon.

Dampen fresh media and place it into the new orchid pots.

When repotting orchids it's important to use pots just large enough to hold the roots comfortably. Too much media leads to too much moisture being held around the roots. This leads to rot.

Ceramic Orchid Pot with AttachedTray 8.25

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I know it's tempting to put them into a bigger pot so you won't have to repot so often. This is one temptation it would be better to resist.

Settle the plants into their new pots. Put more media on top of the roots. Shake the pots and bang them on the table to settle it. Use your fingers to push the media into any empty spots. Shake off any excess.

Place the repotted orchids into the shade and wait at least a day or two before watering them.

The roots have just been soaked in water and the new media is damp so they shouldn't need it. If you water them now, you risk washing away the fungicide and exposing them to rot.

Ceramic Orchid Pot With Matching Attached Saucer 7.625

Ceramic Orchid Pot With Matching Attached Saucer 7.625"x6.125"

Ceramic orchid pot with matching attached saucer

Orchid Propagation

The two most common orchid propagation methods used by hobby growers.

Growing Orchids for Beginners

Growing orchids for beginners will show you how to care for orchids so that they flourish in your home.

Go from Repotting Orchids back to Caring for Orchids

Caring for orchids offers instruction on how to grow orchids to beginners as well as experienced gardeners. Includes growing orchids indoors, orchid propagation, raising, pruning and repotting various types of orchids.

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