The soil used for repotting usually includes tree-fern fibers, perlite, coconut husk, sphagnum moss, and often a mixture of two or three of these. Orchids that are potted in a typical bark medium, need to be repotted every 18 to 24 months, depending on the requirements of each type.
Reasons and Prerequisites
You may use plastic, clay, or decorative pots. The type of pot will affect the frequency of watering. If it is in a clay pot, it will require more and frequent watering, as they have a tendency to dry out faster. If orchid roots have been left in contact with standing water, they tend to rot and die, ultimately killing the plant.
Steps to Follow
Unpot Your Orchid
Fair warning, repotting orchids can be a messy task. So, before starting the procedure, spread sheets of newspaper in the area where you will be working. Firstly, turn the plant upside down and start ponding the sides and the bottom of the pot, so as to remove it. The roots will often stick to the pot and will make the shifting very difficult.
You can use a clean kitchen knife to loosen the sticky roots. No harm will be caused to the plant if by chance you accidentally damage some roots. Once the plant is out, you should pry the roots apart from them and shake off most of the old potting mixture. Some of it might cling to the roots, but do not worry about that either.
Organize your Repotting
Trimming the roots is an essential and very important step before you actually repot the plant. Consider using heavy scissors and have a sharp knife in one hand. You must sterilize each of your cutting tools to prevent a spread of viral disease. Tools can be sterilized by wiping them with a cloth that has been moistened with rubbing alcohol.
Any kind of dead, damaged, or destroyed roots should be immediately removed. Dead roots are mushy, soppy, and light brown in color, while healthy roots are white with light green tips and are firm to hold. You should also chop off any leafless pseudo bulbs at this stage.
If you find more than one new growth or lead, you may split up the orchid plant by cutting it through its root stalk. Every section must have three pseudobulbs and a new lead.
Repot the Orchid Plant
When you repot orchids, make sure you choose a pot that has the capacity to accommodate around two years of new orchid growth. In case you are using an old pot, you must wash it and soak it in a 10% solution of chlorine bleach for about 30 minutes. Rinse it after 30 minutes. Using a new clay pot? Don't worry. Just soak it in water for a few minutes.
Orchids require perfect drainage. To acquire the same, consider placing a layer of broken lampblack or plastic foam peanuts at the base of the pot. Before using potting mixture, wet the layer with boiling hot water, allow it to cool down, and then drain it.
While you place the section in the pot, place the old pseudo bulbs in such a way that they are against one side, so that any new lead will have enough space to grow and expand. Apply the damp bark mixture near the roots and use your thumbs to make it firm. The top of the root stalk should be leveled with the top of the bark.
Stake it firmly with a loop of twine, or you can also use "rhizome clip" - a device which attaches to one side of the pot. Do not place the orchid in direct sunlight.