Links to cultural information
The following are some basic tips on growing your orchid(s) .
We find ourselves repeating this information over and over again at shows and special events in order to help people with problems
they may have had or are having with their orchids.
This is also good information for those of you who are just starting out or have never grown an orchid before and are considering
purchasing your first orchid.
This 'word' (Re-pot) cannot be said often enough! It’s like the three most important things about real estate is location, location &
location. The most important thing about growing an orchid is re-potting it!! Re-pot, re-pot, re-pot!!!!
When to re-pot
Re-pot your orchid when you first get it and every year thereafter.
I like to explain how the wholesale grower puts thousands of individual plant-lets into their own 4-inch pots to be grown on to
blooming size plants. These plants are over-potted, but grown under ideal conditions where they will fill up their pot and bloom in 3-4
years. When these plants are in bud, they are sold to retail sellers (like Orchid Enterprise Inc.) to be sold to the general public.
Retail sellers won’t want to re-pot these orchids while they are in bud or bloom, for fear of blasting the buds or flowers and losing the
sale. So the job of re-potting is left up to the general public. Unfortunately, most new or novice growers are too scared to re-pot their
new orchid, or don’t know enough to do so.
So why re-pot? And why so often?
Most orchids grow in pristine conditions on trees or rocks where frequent watering washes away a lot of detritus along with the
bacteria and fungus that accompanies said debris. In a flower pot, bacteria and fungus breaks down your orchid mix and over time,
builds up, turning the mix into a toxic mash of rotted potting mix filled with bacteria and fungus that will eventually infect your orchid
and kill it.
Keeping the mix fresh and clean by re-potting it every year, gives your orchid the environment it was meant to be in.
Most people don’t realize that it’s not the ‘water’ that kills your orchids when you ‘over water’, but the bacteria and fungus that is
produced which, in turn, attacks and kills your orchid. The simple proof of this, is the fact that many orchids are water every day in
their natural habitats!! There are also many orchids that can grow (and thrive) with their roots submerged in water 24-7!!! That’s not
to say all orchids can be grown that way, so don’t get any ideas here.
This is also a good time to mention that you shouldn't fertilize a new orchid until you've had a chance to re-pot it. Fertilizer can cause a
microbial bloom (bacteria and fungus) in the broken down mix that will lead to the destruction of your plant.
When we re-pot our orchids, we don’t worry about over watering them! In a fresh clean mix, there is little bacterial or fungal buildup to
harm your orchid if you happen to water too often. This, in and of itself, is reason enough to keep your orchid re-potted every year!!!
With this said, we also advise that “If in doubt, don’t…” water. Most orchid have some type of water storage organ that helps keep it
alive through times of water shortages. For some it’s leaves and others their canes or pseudo bulbs.
So,...Is this to say that every orchid should be re-potted every year? Well, there are always exceptions to the rule! And this is where
experience comes in and as you grow more and more orchids, you’ll re-pot some orchids more often wile re-potting others less. For
the new or novice grower, re-potting every year is good, sound advice.
With that said, the more “moist” your orchid likes their mix, the more often you’ll want to re-pot. If your orchid likes to dry out between
watering, the less bacterial and fungal degradation will occur and the longer you can go without re-potting.
Some of our orchids, that we grow in long-fiber sphagnum moss, are re-potted every 6-9 months while our Cattleyas and
Dendrobiums are re-potted every year and two years respectfully.
Tip: We like to put the date that we re-pot a plant on the back of the tag. This way, we can easily see if or when we need to re-pot next.