February 1, 2009

Orchid repotting and fertilizing.

Orchis - Phalaenopsis on this picture has about 50 flowers! This picture was taken by neocorsten
In case of orchids – at least Phalaenopsis and Oncidium – my love and fascinations was triggered by being able to overcome the popular belief about how difficult it is to grow them.
When additionally I have learned that there are also fragrant ones – I was done!

Producers produce them and we keep killing them until we learn how to take care.

Do you know who is expert? This is somebody that made all possible mistakes in the narrow field – that is famous quotation from Niels Bohr.
So don’t stop yourself from buying next orchid, just because you killed one. This doesn’t mean that you totally don’t know how to deal with orchids properly. Maybe you just made a little mistake or didn’t spot the symptoms fast enough. Next time you will know spot it faster.

Get yourself new orchid – it will help you to survive until spring and will give you lots of joy reblooming, when next winter comes.

Orchid repotting
Your Phalaenopsis should be repotted every 2-3 years – the reason is substratum, not the plant itself. You need to do it and don’t worry that it will not rebloom – your orchid will be happy to have better conditions and you will see new shots soon.
When orchid should be repotted:

==> Substratum reaches certain state of decomposition and is about to loose its ability to dry fast, it also seems to be more dense.

==> Pieces of substratum is covered with sediments – this means that either you are using too much fertilizer or water contains too many minerals. Use soft water – it can be just boiled water and used after cooling down.

==> There is a lot of moss inside, I mean really too much. If you see some if it – there is no need to worry.

When is the best time to repot and orchid?

==> Time right after the blooming is finished.

==> Time of fastest growth - in the spring.

Size of the pot matters?

Rather keep your orchid in similar size pot – could be exactly the same. Decision is yours and fully depends on amount of green healthy roots the plant produced. Pot can’t be filled mostly with roots – it needs at least 50% of substratum in order to keep the moist long enough.
Water the plant the day before you plan the repotting, so the roots will get back best turgor and will stay firm. While out of the pot examine the roots. Keep only green, healthy ones. Roots of lighter colors are dead – cut them back at the base. Use disinfected tool for cutting. After placing in new pot, don’t water the plant for about 2 weeks – in this time the wounds will close.
If you will use the same pot or the new one – wash it carefully before placing your Phalaenopsis there. On the bottom of the pot place first the drainage – bigger pieces of substratum, then place gently the roots wrapping them around inside. Do not push substratum inside between the roots, rather tap the pot gently, and pieces of substratum will find its place.

How to fertilize Phalaenopsis

There is many different producers of the fertilizers – my advice is to switch them – don’t get stuck with just one, until you see the difference – this make take few years of experience. You don’t need to buy all of them at the same time, but if you finish one, buy different next time.
General rules of fertilizing orchid:

==> Use only ¼ of dose recommended by producer and fertilize every 2 weeks up to every 4 weeks. If you water your orchid every 2 weeks add ¼ of dose to every watering, sometimes every second watering.

==> It is better to fertilize your orchid seldom than too much. It is very difficult for an orchid to recover after too much fertilizing.

==> Every 4th fertilizing, rinse the substratum, so the water flowing through will remove sediments remained after fertilizing.

Happy Repotting!
If you are looking for information on what’s most important factor for reblooming your orchidea, you will find my post covering that topic here.

PS ==> I found also interesting publication, that you may want to read. Click here to have a look.


Tyra in Vaxholm said...

Thank you Ewa for this really great and very informative post, with a lot of useful stuff. The picture is stunning I have never seen so many blooms on a Phalaenopsis before. Any signs of spring yet?
Have a nice sunday/ Tyra

Sunita said...

Excellent post, Ewa! And that phalaenopsis is beautiful !
You're so right about not worrying too much about orchids. They seem to like a bit of rough treatment now and then. I grow mine outdoors and though the plants may not look as beautifully formed as the indoor-grown ones, they're much healthier and reward me with many more blooms than I would have got indoors.

nancybond said...

Wonderful information, Ewa. My hubby almost brought me home an orchid last week and when he asked me about it, I said no...they were much too hard to grow! Perhaps I'll give one a try, and if I kill it, I'll buy another until I get it right. :) They really are so beautiful.

Barbara said...

So I have got new hope that my four phalaenopsis will bloom again...some time in the near future. And in the meantime I follow your advices (repot them) and try to be patient ;-) !!
Have a good week, Ewa!

joey said...

Great post, Ewa. Orchids are hardy and, though expensive, the flowers last for months. Some of mine make it, some don't ... I enjoy my success reblooms and bury my failures.

joey said...

Great post, Ewa. Orchids are hardy and, though expensive, the flowers last for months. Some of mine make it, some don't ... I enjoy my success reblooms and bury my failures.

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

So beautiful and so informative!

Thank you for sharing,

Visual Vamp said...

Ah the elusive care of orchids!
Everyone always says they are so easy.
Ha ha.
But I do have one or two that do bloom every year, a cymbidium and a vanda. I have never been able to get a phael (moth orchid) to re-bloom.
For the two that do bless me with a bloom or two, I do nothing but leave them alone in their pots on the patio.
xo xo

tina said...

It is absolutely beautiful!

Gardeness said...

Appreciate the tips. I have one orchid, and I'd like to keep it!

Jan said...

Beautiful photograph and excellent information on orchids. I just may have to try growing one.

Always Growing

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Another wonderful post on orchids, Ewa! these are great because I'm sure they will encourage others to try these beautiful, elegant plants. My phalaenopsis are thinking about putting up flower stalks now, so I'm hopeful to have flowers in a few weeks.

Liisa said...

This is a great post! I gave up on orchids several years ago, and then recently spotted two that I just couldn't pass up. They traveled with me on the plane from the west coast to the east coast, and I'm happy to report that they are doing great!!

Amy said...

Excellent info. Many Thanks.