soil to use for transplanting

by Deb
(Allenton, Wisconsin, USA)

My mom received 2 orchids last May and they are shooting new growth every where. Should they be transplanted? If so, what kind of soil do you use? Mom's had plants and a very green thumb for years; however, these two orchids are her first. Would appreciate any feed back. Thanks! Deb

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Apr 22, 2014
Cable's Reply NEW
by: Cable Thompson

The best time to repot orchids is generally when you see new roots about an inch long starting at the base of the plant -- ideally when the plant is not in flower. Plants potted in bark should be repotted every 2-3 years to keep the bark from breaking down, plants in moss should be repotted at least annually. And if a plant has a rhizome that's growing over the edge of the pot, that's also an indication that it's time to repot as soon as new roots are growing. (If a plant is in bad health, repotting is often a good idea then too.)

Most tropical orchids are epiphytes, meaning they grow on trees or rocks in nature rather than in soil. So the most common potting mixes are either bark mixes (you can find orchid potting mixes sold at most garden centers) or sphagnum moss. Which to use depends on the type of orchid, temperature & humidity, and how often you have time to water. Usually it's best to pick a potting mix that will approach dryness in a week or less, as the roots don't like to stay too soggy for an extended period after each watering. If you look at what the plants are currently growing in, it's probably best to use a similar potting mix since they are growing well for you.

If you think it's time to repot, then you can follow my orchid repotting instructions. It's pretty straightforward to do, though it can be slow until you've had a little practice.

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