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Giving your plants a helping hand

white orchid-Repotting orchid plants

White and yellow orchids

Orchid plants are very beautiful, exotic and can brighten up and area bringing that added flavour and soft touch.  I have worked with these plants over the years and have seen first hand the wonderful change they can bring.

The world of orchids is so amazing because of the many varieties. The colours are just dazzling from straight to mixed colours. Orchids can be planted outdoors on trees as well as a beautiful arrangement on the indoors.

Maintaining your orchid plants

Orchids plants are very beautiful as we discussed earlier but orchids to have their share of problems and we should do all that we can to keep them as healthy as possible.

One of the ways we can keep them healthy is to ensure they are potted correctly using the right potting mix because this is at the heart of not only orchids but all plant material we work with.

I have seen many beautiful plants deteriorate overtime because they were potted incorrectly.

In this article, we will be looking at orchid plants and how to pot them correctly to ensure not only their survival but growing healthy orchids we can be proud of.

Repotting Orchid Plants

white and purple orchids-Repotting Orchid Plants

White and purple orchids

Orchids are somewhat different from other plants in that they don’t grow in other potting mixes as other plants. In order to have success with orchids, they must be planted in

barks, moss or charcoal. But before we go there and important factor is in choosing the right pot size in order for the roots to grow and establish. Using pots that are too small will not only hinder the growth

of your orchid plants but will also bring on other problems that will cause your plant not to grow as healthy. So ensure that pots are large enough to allow for root comfort.

Repotting Orchid Plants

Signs of orchids needing to repotted is if the potting mix has broken down over a period of time or when roots begin to grow out of the container.

Note: Never attempt to re-pot orchids when they are blooming because this can affect the boom of your plants. Wait until blooming period is over before attempting to repot orchids.

Orchids, in general, can be re-poted any time of the year.

Tools you will need

Tools that will be needed for transplanting operation include

  • Scissors or Sharp knife
  • Pots, new pots to be used should be larger than the original pot. An inch or two larger is ideal.
  • Potting mixes such sphagnum  moss, barks or charcoal
  • Newspaper
  • Wooden or Bamboo Stake
  • 32oz spray bottle with water

Transplanting operation

1. On a clean and even surface spread newspaper.

2. Gently remove orchids from the pot that it has outgrown.

3. If you’re using sphagnum moss soak first before using.

4. Once the plant is removed wash roots, also remove any broken or rotten roots. If your plant has yellow or brown leaves remove these also.

5. Add about 1-2 inches of potting mix to the new pot, place your orchid plant in the centre ensuring that plant is erect and continue to fill the pot with the rest of the potting mix leaving about half to an inch from the top of your pot.

6. Place wooden or bamboo stakes in the middle of the pot and press gently until it goes as far as it can go. Attached new and old leads to the stake, using twist ties or soft string.

7. Keep orchids mist until establish or new roots begin to appear.

Additional information

How often should I fertilize my orchid plants?

I am so glad that you asked that question. It is good to keep your orchids well fertilize because adding these nutrients will keep orchid plants healthy.

Some of these fertilizers include.

  • Miracle-Gro orchid plant food spikes
  • Orchid love
  • Grow more orchid premium orchid food
  • 20-20-20
  • 30-10-10

Note: Always follow directions when fertilizing your orchid plants because the label is the law. 

ORCHID PLANT PESTS

orchids with butterflies- Repotting orchid plants

Orchids With Butterflies

Orchid insect pests will suck the juice from your orchid plants. The excrement from these insects is sugary and sticky which is called honeydew. This is followed by a black mold that forms on your plants due to this honeydew.

This black mold will not only cause your once beautiful plant to lose its beauty but if left unchecked your plant will eventually die.

Pest of orchids

  • Mealybugs
  • Aphids
  • Scales
  • Mites
  • Whiteflies
  • Thrips
  • Snails and Slugs
  • Caterpillars
  • Grasshoppers
  • Spider mites
  • Cockroaches

Control methods

Hand pick snails and slugs for control. Using diatomaceous earth, neem oil, insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils is good to control other pests listed above.

DISEASES AFFECTING ORCHID PLANTS

Orchids disease is another issue we must deal with or try to avoid when caring for orchids. If you are faced with this challenge, there are measures which can be put in place to combat this problem.

CAUSES OF ORCHID PLANT DISEASE

Orchid plant diseases can be brought on by warm and moist conditions. Sometimes the aspiring gardener may use an infected tool on the plant without sterilizing it.

Diseases are caused by plant pathogens such as virus, bacteria, and fungus. Therefore it is important that we don’t create situations that are favourable to them.

When watering orchids do not over water your plants. Try to always water plants during the day so it has time to dry out before nightfall. The sphagnum moss that the orchid grows in, should be somewhat moist and not waterlogged.

Make sure that the pot your orchid is installed in has good drainage because if pots do not have proper drainage and your plant is allowed to sit in water, the leaves will turn yellow causing the plant to experience leaf drop.

Another way to avoid orchid plant disease is to provide good air circulation for your plant.

ORCHID DISEASES CONSIST OF:

1. Bacterial leaf rot

2. Crown Rot

3. Bacterial root rot

Leaf rot causes the leaves to turn slightly discoloured.  If allowed to persist the spot will become larger. The infected part will turn grey and then soft.

Remove the infected part of leaf back to the sound tissue with a  razor blade, sharp pruner or scissors. Treat the sound part of the leaf with a bactericide

Crown rot: Crown rot attacks the uppermost leaves. The uppermost leaves become soft at the attachment point to the plant stem. Remove the uppermost leaves then treat the infected area with a bactericide.

Bacterial root rot: Bacterial root rot is caused by overwatering. When this occurs some of the lower leaves will show signs of shrivelling, then the infected roots will become dark and soft. Treat the plant by cutting off the infected part of the roots and change the potting soil.

While treating your orchids, do not water for a week and then water your plant less than you did originally.

Leaf burn: Leaf burn happens when the plant is overexposed to sunlight.

Black spot: Black spot is caused by a lack of fresh water or too much fertilizer. Black spots will appear on the leaves so make sure that your plant gets good air circulation.

Bud blast: Bud blast occurs either with the bud in the sheath, or when the orchids emerge as buds. This happens when you move your orchids from one environment to the next. Because of the change in temperature and lighting the buds in the sheath develop a bacterial rot. Sometimes the buds in the sheath turn black.

Due to the fact that moving your orchids from one place to the next can cause bud blast, just wait until the flowering buds on your orchids open before moving them.

The final word

Orchids are really beautiful and can make a great show or centrepiece brightening up that drab area, investing in orchids do have its benefits so make these plants a part of your garden feature and enjoy the beauty they bring.

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3 comments

  1. Danielle says:

    I love orchids! Thank you for all the information you give here. I will be returning to learn more.

    At some point I am going to pot my own orchids. They are such beautiful flowers and the colors are to die for! I know I will enjoy your site. Thank you!

    ~Danielle

  2. Tom Radcliff says:

    Thanks
    I was wondering why my orchid died. I have only owned one and it was years ago. I thought I couldn’t grow it in my part of the world. They are my favorite flower.
    This was a great article , It has inspired me to get another one.
    Tom

  3. Stefan says:

    Hey Norman, thanks for this great article.

    I love orchids and here in Thailand, we have a lot. I’m very glad to have seen this post now because too often and also now we forget the importance of reporting the beautiful plants.

    I didn’t know, I have to wait until flowering is over, great tip.

    We have this BIO made active charcoal, is it a good idea to use them in the new pot?

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