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Orchids belong to the tropical Aufsitzerpflanzen (Epiphyten). They do not grow in conventional soil, but in the tropical rain forest on the branches of the trees. Orchids therefore do not extract their nutrients from the soil, but from raw humus deposits in the branch forks. Its mineral ingredients are released during decomposition and accumulate in the rainwater. For this reason, species such as the Moth orchids (Phalaenopsis hybrids) also do not thrive in ordinary potting soil, but require special orchid soil that resembles the substrate in the rainforest.
Repotting orchids every two to three years
After two to three years orchids usually have to be repotted because the roots then need more space and fresh substrate. At the latest when the fleshy roots take up so much space that they easily lift the plant out of the pot, you should become active. Avoid repotting during flowering, as the simultaneous flowering and rooting for the orchids is very energy consuming. In Phalaenopsis orchids, which are almost continuously blooming and in desperate need of a larger pot, the flower stalks are cut off in the transplanting action so that the plant can use its power for rooting. The best seasons to repot are spring and fall. Important for the growth of the orchid roots is that the plant is bright enough and not too warm.
In addition to the bark-like, airy special soil, orchids also need a translucent pot if possible. The roots are responsible not only for the supply of water and minerals, but also form their own leaf green under good lighting, which is very conducive to the growth of orchids.
Step by step: Repotting Orchids
This Phalaenopsis orchid urgently needs a new planter (left). If possible, choose a container made of transparent plastic (right)
The strong roots already push the plant out of the too small plastic pot. Fill the new, larger pot with Orchid Substrate so far that the roots of the orchid are comfortably placed from the height. Carefully spill the orchid and remove the roots thoroughly from the remains of the old substrate. Finer substrate crumbs can be rinsed under the faucet with lukewarm water from the roots. Then all dried and damaged roots are cut off with a sharp pair of scissors directly at the base.
Carefully fit the orchid in the new pot (left) and fill substrate (right)
Hold the prepared orchid with your thumb and forefinger between the leaf and the root ball, because this is where the plant is most insensitive. Then fit the orchid in the new pot and reload it with some substrate if necessary. The root neck should later be approximately at the height of the pot edge.
Fill in fresh substrate (left). If the substrate does not sag anymore, the new pot is completely filled (right)
Now place the orchid in the middle of the new pot, being careful not to damage the roots. Then fill in fresh substrate from all sides. Lightly tap the pot several times on the plant table several times, lifting the orchid at the root neck slightly, so that the substrate trickles into all gaps.
Moisten the soil with the spray bottle (left). Then water the plant in the dipping bath (right)
The spray bottle moistens the soil and leaves well. Once the roots are anchored in the substrate, water the orchid through a weekly dip. The planter should be carefully emptied after each watering or dipping so that the roots do not rot in the stagnant water.