Orchid Care 101: Beginners Guide to Re-potting and Care

Are you a new plant parent or struggling to keep your orchid alive? Fear not! In this Orchid Care 101: Beginners Guide to Re-potting and Care, we’ll guide you through the essential steps to revive and maintain a healthy orchid.

Inspired by my friend Natasha’s orchid troubles in Florida, this blog is your go-to resource for becoming the best orchid plant parent!

She said finding info on this topic was not easy!

An Orchid Garden, that’s a thing?

We had an entire side yard of Garden of Orchids growing under a canopy! There had to be 50 Orchids at any given time. It seemed like we had beautiful blooms all throughout the year with their varying blooming schedules!

I am no expert by any means. But, I do remember a few things from growing up and how they grow best first hand being born and raised in Florida! 

From one plant parent to another, I’m here to help! Let’s dig into how to keep that stunning Orchid alive for many years to come!

Understanding the Climate and Life Cycle:

The Best Climate For An Orchid 

Orchids thrive in a wet and warm climate. Depending on your location, they can flourish indoors or outdoors. with the right conditions. In Florida, for example, the humid environment creates an ideal setting for these stunning tropical plants. Avoid bright light areas, as orchids prefer filtered indirect light. 

In Florida we had an entire side yard Garden of Orchids. They were nestled under a canopy that protected them from direct light. They lived in pots and some hung in baskets from the greenhouse canopy.

But, we did have some that lived in our one bathroom next to a small window. These orchids loved the bathroom humidity and indirect light through the window. They do not like too much light or being in full direct sunlight. 

Orchids are definitely not made for cooler temperatures.

The Life Cycle of an Orchid 

There are so many different species of Orchids. They will all vary in their bloom cycle. For the most part as a rule of thumb, most Orchid species will bloom 1-2x a year.

Re-potting Made Easy:

This part is gonna blow your mind! The most common way store-bought Orchids are sold is all wrong!

The pots Orchids are sold in 99% of the time are the wrong pot, which is usually why they never survive or give you new orchid blooms. 🤯

Orchid roots don’t need traditional soil and solid pots don’t allow for good drainage around their root system. They love air to get to their roots and if they aren’t getting enough air and too much moisture, the roots start to rot and die. 

A good rule of thumb is…the first thing you want to do to take care of orchids as soon as you get one is to replant it asap!

This is usually the culprit for those Orchid plants that people gift you that die and never re-bloom. So, when I said earlier it’s not that you don’t have a green thumb, I meant it. These poor plants aren’t set up for success to survive. They are just made to sell and look pretty on shelves and not make a mess in the stores. 

A Step by Step Tutorial For Re-potting Your Orchid 

Step 1: Remove Orchid from original pot

Most of the pots they come in are solid all the way around. This doesn’t allow for great airflow around the orchid’s roots. As soon as you can take that baby out of its pot and pull any existing soil off the roots.

I am still so confused why these plants don’t come with a “how to re-pot an orchid” tag on them?

You can see in the photo below how much water these roots were just sitting in. Not good. There were a couple rotten roots already.

Step 2: Let the roots air dry

Once the roots are clean of soil you will want to lay your orchid down on a towel. Let the roots dry out for a couple hours before re-potting. Trim any rotted roots off the plant. Their roots should be an opaque white/green color when healthy.

You can see in these photos below. This Orchid we bought from the store and re-potted the same day. Already had a fungus growing in the roots and the roots were rotting.

Step 3: Choose the right Pot and Soil

Orchid Pots come in two varieties. A wood basket or ceramic pot with holes all around it. They love lots of air around their roots. This is why the baskets or pots with holes are necessary and help keep air moving throughout the roots. There is less chance of root decay when the roots have more air moving around them and not too much water.

There is no such thing as “orchid soil”. Because, they can’t survive in soil. What you want to look for is “Orchid Bark” which is a potting mix they love. The bark allows for nutrients to get to the roots without suffocating the plant’s roots. The bark has a lot of gaps where air can continue to circulate. This bark will help hold in just enough water for the orchid to survive but not excess water that can cause the roots to rot.

When you see the new roots pushing up and out of your pot or basket. This is when you know it’s a good idea to replant it into a bigger pot and replace with new potting medium/orchid bark. This may happen every 1-2 years. Depends on the growth of your plant.

All of your Orchid Potting supplies in one place!!!!

Watering and Fertilizing Tips:

Watering

Orchids absorb their water from the high humidity environment around them. They are good plants to have outside in warm humid climates. 

Another way to mimic the humid environment for those who don’t live in that, is having your Orchid in your bathroom. They will love the warm humid steam daily that mimics their natural environment.

You can also spritz them with a spray bottle of water to mimic the humidity in the air. This can be done about once a week. This can vary based on your home a/c or heat and the season. So when in doubt if it looks dry give it a spritz.

Fertilizing

They make great easy to use liquid spray balanced fertilizer that will have a specified use protocol on it. Here are a few options that all have great reviews to help with finding one. Then just go off the bottle recommendations on how/when to give to your plant.

PRO-TIP: Know how to notice when your plant needs extra love

Most types of Orchids will bloom 1-2x a year. If your plant has been with you a year or more and isn’t producing new blooms… It means it is not healthy.

The common issues to look out for are floppy/soft and yellow leaves. This is a great indicator that your orchid is struggling and needs help.

Over the years I learned a lot about what they did and did not like. I miss living in Florida for this very reason. Growing these cool plants there was so much easier than where we live now. But, not all hope is lost if you live where it gets really cold like us. They can thrive as house plants and we hope our indoor orchid care tips help you!

We had a couple Orchids in our one bathroom that had a small window. So, if you have a bathroom that offers indirect light through a small window this is the best way to mimic their natural habitats for your Orchid to thrive.

If you don’t have a bathroom with a window, you can keep your Orchid in your bathroom and let it live there mostly. Bring it out 1-2 times a week into an area of your home that gets indirect filtered light. You will make it happy for many years to come!

Congrats you just learned from our “Orchid Care 101: Beginners Guide to Re-potting and Care” and became the Best Orchid Plant Parent! I can’t wait for your Orchid to thrive for a long time and you feel empowered taking care of it now knowing all the ins and outs there is to know! Happy Blooming!

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  1. Jamellah Abraham says:

    This was so informational and useful! Thank you!

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