Today was my day to repot my orchids and give them some much needed lovin. Repotting orchids used to scare the compost out of me, but not anymore. I got it.
Orchids are epiphytes, which means that they do not grow naturally in soil on the ground, but rather in trees, in it’s nooks, branches, or even in the canopy. They rely on trees for aeration, and structural support. Orchids really like adequate light, (not direct light) acidic fertilizer and for some of their roots to be packed in tight. I like to pack in some, and allow other ones to dangle out, because orchids are nosey and like to get some stuff from the air, including humidity.
My sweetie bought me orchids two years ago for Valentine’s Day. I was terrified. I REALLY wanted some. When he gave them to me, I noticed that they needed to be repotted. They weren’t doing so hot. Being the gardener that I am, I felt intimidated to try to keep one of these plants. Do I know anything about them? No. Would I likely kill them? Yes. Would this damamge my horticulture ego? YES. SO I did what anyone would do, took my new orchids and started Googleing solutions, information and advice. A pear ant lee I am not the only one who’s terrified. I found great advice from the web, and friends.
You know what? They are still alive. They may not be these incredible show orchids with 10 branches of blossoms on them, but they aren’t dead! In fact they have bloomed and are pretty happy about it. Here’s how I repotted them (for the 2nd time).
The first thing I do is unpot my orchids. They need to be clipped and cleaned and this is what I’m doing here. First I removed all the old spaghnum peat moss, and bark.
Clip the roots
Clip all the undesirable roots with clean scissors, or with a sharp craft knife. Make sure you cutting apparatus is very clean. Undesirable roots are roots that are rotted, brown, dried and wrinkled, or soggy and flat. They should be healthy, plump, and green.
Take notice of what your roots look like. Here mine indicate from being soggy that they were getting a bit too much water, and if you look at the dark green leaf color, that is a true sign that my orchids weren’t getting enough light.
Cleaning the pots
Make sure and clean out the pots really well, I scrub my out with hot water and a brush, and then spray them with undiluted white vinegar. Vinegar kills about 80% of all mold species. Remember I said I overwatered them? This is another indication of that.
The next thing I do is to put a drainage helper in the bottom of the pot, this can be broken terra cota pot pieces, little rocks, or bark. I used some bark and covered it with biodegradeable peat pots.
Next I made a mix of spaghnum peat moss, peat moss and orchid bark hodgepodge. (The technical name is BetterGro orchid potting mix) I put only orchid mix on the bottom, (this is important because it is mostly bark and provides nice aeration and drainage) and the a LITTLE of the mix I made in the middle, and then some more orchid mix. Then I place the orchid in, and cover it with my mix. The pot should be 2/3’s full, and leave a couple roots to hang out (just mist them often) because like I said, orchids are nosey. When you put the mix in at the end the pot will look full, but it will settle after a couple waterings.
Water them once a month, or mist it when needed in drier conditons. I will post when they flower again!<