If you have orchids in your house, you might know, that sometimes you have to repot them. You might know the process of repotting, also the signs of why you should repot them.
But how do you know WHEN to repot your orchids? If you are an orchid owner, it is ok to have these questions.
In this article, I am going to talk about the timing of the repotting. Because orchids are fussy about changing their environment and disturbing their root system. The best time to repot your orchids depends on their type as well.
Phalaenopsis orchids are easy-going orchids, and you can repot them almost anytime if it is needed, but for example, Dendrobiums are sensible when it comes to repot them. They don’t like to be bothered, and you might want to think twice when to repot this type of orchid.
Here are some of the timing when to repot your orchids.
Outgrew Its Pot
If your orchid outgrew its pot, you should repot if you want to keep your plant healthy.
If the pot is too small, the orchid’s roots will be crowded and will grow out of the pot. This can lead to a growth stunt. Your orchid will not bring new leaves or will not bloom.
If you decide to repot, you should do it in a bigger pot, but not too big though. An orchid could drown in a pot that is too big, because the air will not circulate enough between the roots, and the potting mix will not dry out fast enough. This can lead to root rotting.
So, when you have to change the pot of your orchid, you should consider the size of it (an inch or two larger than the old one) and the type of the pot (make sure it has holes for water to drain).
You should repot your orchid during blooming ONLY if it is to save its life.
Otherwise, after blooming is best to repot your plants. Flowers can bloom for several weeks, but only if the circumstances are optimal for the plant.
A repotting can be quite harsh for an orchid, as the rooting system is disturbed, also the plant needs to adapt to the new potting mix. So, this adaptation process will affect the flowers and will drop their blooms early.
You should wait for the blooming cycle to end, then you can repot your plant.
During Active Growth
Timing is very important if you want to repot your orchids. It is best to repot them during active growth.
When you see new roots or leaves are starting to grow, it means it is inactive growth. This is the time when you should repot, because after this period the resting period will begin.
If you repot your plant at the right time, it won’t be so shocking for it. The new roots will have time to grow in the new environment and will have plenty of time to mature before the next repotting.
Another benefit for the plant to repot during active growth is that the new roots will be already established before the resting period.
Usually, orchids start to enter in the growth period during spring, mostly between February and June. So, you should watch them regularly and act as soon as you see new roots or leaves are starting to grow.
Decomposed Potting Mix
When using an organic potting mix, such as bark or sphagnum moss, you can observe, that these will decompose quite quickly ( usually after 1 year).
If using an inorganic potting mix, this will decompose later but can retain too many salts and other ingredients from the water. These could harm the plant if there is too much of them in the potting mix.
Why I am telling you this? Because the health of the potting mix will affect the health of your orchid plant. So, if you want healthy orchids, you should keep the potting environment healthy as well.
If you see the potting mix is decomposed, you should repot your orchid as soon as you can. Leaving the plant living in a decomposed potting environment can harm its roots, and then the plant’s health.
The roots will not get enough airflow and will lack of nutrients, as the decomposed mix will be compacted and cannot provide the optimal circumstances.
Decomposed potting mix leads to rotting roots, and dying orchid plants. So, the best is to not wait until the potting environment is dead and decomposed totally.
If you see that the bark, for example, looks like coffee grounds, that means it is time to repot your orchid, because the potting mix started to decompose.
The best is to prevent the problems; therefore, it is best for your plants to repot them before any problem occurs.
However, this all depends on the type of orchid as well. With Dendrobium orchid I would wait until it is a must to repot, but before its health would be affected. Remember, this type of orchids hates being disturbed.
After purchasing a new orchid, you should check its roots and you should also check, and this is very important, that there are no pests on that plant or in the potting mix.
Many times, orchids from the supermarket are in bloom and look like they are healthy and thriving, then you bring it home, and you see it is dying. And you’re asking yourself, what have you done wrong?
It is not always your fault. These orchids are usually potted in low-quality, cheap potting mix, and their roots are not always healthy.
Before buying the orchid, you should analyze it, if that is possible. If you see that the roots are not the healthiest, but you really want that plant, you can buy it, but you should repot it after you take it home.
So, yes, we should repot our new orchids, because root problems are not leading to any good.
Another thing that can be a problem with new orchids are pests. Many times, I heard from friends that all of their orchid plants became infested because of a new orchid.
I always check orchids before buying them, but sometimes you cannot see the pests on the plant, because they are hiding in the potting mix. This is why, after taking home the new plant, even if the roots are healthy, I change the potting mix.
I advise you to do the same. This is the best way to prevent an infestation of your other plants and orchids.
However, one very important thing you should consider. If the new orchid is in bloom, and you want the flowers to last long time, you should wait with the repotting.
As I mentioned earlier, wait until after blooming, then you can repot the new “family member”. To avoid pests on the other plants, you can isolate the new orchid, until you see there are no pests, then after a while, you can put them together with the older plants.
It is good to repot your orchids after buying them, but in the end, it is up to you if you want to do it or not.
Repotting an orchid can be daunting, but really you shouldn’t be scared of it. If you watch the clues and follow few rules, you can’t go wrong.
Sometimes, an orchid can die because of the transplanting shock, even if you did everything right, but let’s not be that negative.
I hope this article helps you and answers most of your questions. Good luck with the repotting.