When and how to transplant orchids?

Orchids are transplanted in spring

The Orchids They are one of the most elegant plants that are usually had inside the home. For many, they are the ones that have the most elegant and decorative flowers, as well as curious, sometimes even adopting animal forms.

But so that they can grow well it is necessary that we change them from time to time. You have to know well when to transplant orchids and how to do it correctly. Therefore, we are going to explain how and when to transplant orchids.

When to transplant orchids?

Discover how to transplant orchids

The Orchids They are plants that begin to grow in spring, when temperatures begin to rise from 10-15ºC. Thus, the ideal is to transplant them a little before that happens, that is, late winter or early spring, every two years. In this way, the plant can resume its growth without problems, as the environment becomes warmer.

On some occasions it may be more convenient to wait a little longer for make sure completely that there will be no frost in spring. This also depends on where we have the plant. If it is indoors, it is usually more protected against frost and changes in temperatures.

In the event that you live in an area with a mild climate, where frosts never occur, you can do so in autumn, when they have finished flowering.

There are some signs that tell us when to transplant orchids. We just have to look at these signs:

  • One of the parts of the orchid that grows the most is the roots, so it is common to observe some roots growing above the substrate and outside the pot. This is where we need to transplant orchids.
  • It may be the case of not having many roots outside the pot but you can see that the roots occupy the entire interior of the pot.
  • Very deteriorated or dry roots can be observed and of a brown color. This means that it must be transferred to a larger pot.
  • There are times when it is not necessary to change the size of the pot, but prune the roots to be able to sanitize them. Incidentally, it is also advisable to change the substrate.
  • The orchids need a light substrate that allows air to pass through. If it begins to cake, it is normal that orchids have to be transplanted through the degraded substrate.

How to transplant orchids?

The first thing to do is prepare what is going to be used, which is:

  • Flower pot: it must be colorless if the orchid is epiphytic, and made of plastic. An epiphytic orchid is one that has aerial roots and does not need to be in the ground. In these cases we have various irrigation mechanisms and varieties of epiphytic orchids.
  • Substratum: pine bark if it is epiphytic, or coconut fiber with black peat mixed in equal parts if it is terrestrial.
  • Watering can: with rainwater, or acidified with lemon (I recommend adding the liquid of half a lemon to 1 liter of the precious liquid).
  • Balls of expanded or sinila clay: to improve drainage. The sewer system is the capacity of the soil to absorb irrigation water per day. Any plant that has good drainage is important, especially those that do not tolerate puddles. With the improved drainage the pot will not accumulate water.

Afterwards, it will be transplanted as follows:

Epiphytic orchid

  1. Soak the pot in water for 2 hours before transplanting.
  2. Remove the plant from the pot.
  3. Gently remove any adhering substrate.
  4. Fill the pot with a 1cm layer of clay balls.
  5. Add the substrate.
  6. Plant the orchid.
  7. Finish filling the pot with the substrate.
  8. And water.

Terrestrial orchid

  1. Put a layer of clay balls in your new pot.
  2. Fill it with a little substrate.
  3. Pick the orchid and plant it in its new pot.
  4. Finish filling it with substrate.
  5. And water.

This way, your orchids can continue to grow normally.

Orchid characteristics

Orchid transplantation is done with care

Orchids are plants that have undergone some changes in recent years due to various migrations and adaptations of the environment. These adaptations have led to the emergence of different varieties and each one has a flower with particularities in each species. However, there are some characteristics that stand out in all of them and it is what makes them belong to the same group.

The orchids they have three sepals, two petals and a lip which serves to attract pollinating insects that are going to be in charge of expanding their power. The shape of orchids allows bees and other pollinating insects to comfortably perch on the flowers. Its reproductive structure is formed by a column that functions all its main parts.

With regard to the fruit of orchids this is a capsule It contains inside many seeds of a small flower size. What allows it to be spread quickly in a territory. Through these adaptations and changes to improve the environment and its competitiveness with other plants, it has been able to develop all these reproduction mechanisms.

When the plant blooms, it attracts attention since flower stem rotates 180 degrees before opening to fully expose lip to pollinators. This is known as resupination and it is one of the most curious processes that has been documented by researchers.

Unlike other flowers they are producers of nectar. Nectar is a highly valued substance by all pollinators. This ensures the plant to be able to have an almost assured reproduction even in adverse situations. This means that they need pollinators to be able to produce seeds and expand in their territory.

These are the reasons why orchids have been so successful and are found almost all over the world. However, keep in mind that needs certain care and if we want transplant orchids From one pot to another, you have to pay attention to the time of year and the transplanting mechanism so as not to damage the plant.

Phalaenopsis are orchids that bloom in spring
You are interested in:
Characteristics, cultivation and care of orchids

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  1.   Jacinto Martin said

    I think that in the future some more questions will come, but the first one that comes to mind has to do with irrigation water.
    I notice on your page that you recommend watering with rainwater or with water acidulated with lemon and my specific question is none other than whether this water can be replaced with the one supplied by a spring water distribution company: specifically, this drinking water that The aforementioned company supplies me comes from a spring located on the same mountain as the Lanjarón spring in Granada, and it is truly excellent water for human consumption. I wonder if said liquid element from Granada is just as good for my flowers. I have dipladenias, orchids, Sevillian roses, hibiscus, miltonias, gazanias and lantanas at home.
    I thank you in advance for your response.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Jacinto.
      Yes, that water is very good for those plants. You can use it without problems 🙂.
      A greeting.

  2.   brenda said

    Hello, I have some orchids that are attached to the trunk of a tree (medlar) and I am moving and I want to take them to my new house, since these were my mother's. How should I get them out of this trunk and transplant them into a pot, or another trunk? Thank you so much. I have only this week to do it.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Brenda.
      You can separate its roots from the trunk little by little and carefully, and then plant them in clear plastic pots with pine bark.
      A greeting.

  3.   Ana said

    Hello, I have a phalaenopsis orchid for 2 years. The first one flowered without problems but the second year instead of blooming a new plant has grown on each flower stem. Now I see it weak and although 3 new roots have sprung up, the rest are deteriorating. I know that summer is not a good time to transplant, but could you try it to heal the roots and try to save it? What do you recommend?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Ana.
      Rather than transplanting them, I would recommend watering it with homemade rooting hormones (here explains how to obtain them): This will help it to emit new roots, which will give it strength.
      A greeting.

  4.   Rosy herrera said

    I have wild orchid that is on a trunk with moss and the leaves are turning yellow and the moss is dying. What can I do…?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Rosy.
      How often do you water it? Moss is a plant that needs water on a daily basis, otherwise it begins to dry out quickly.
      With regard to the orchid, I would recommend transferring it to a pot, with pine bark, as it does not like to have the roots always wet.
      A greeting.

  5.   Happiness Trujillo said

    Hello. I am hesitating whether to transplant my orchid, since it is growing a new leaf. I fear that the change will stop the growth of the leaf, or be detrimental to the whole of it. I await your advice that I will follow to the letter.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Happiness (nice name, by the way 🙂).
      No, I do not recommend transplanting it now. Wait for it to finish developing the sheet and then you can do it.
      A greeting.

  6.   May said

    Hello, when transplanting my orchid I have to cut off the dry roots, it is because I am afraid that my orchid will die, it has new roots but growing towards that «help me«

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello May.
      Yes, you can cut the dried roots with scissors previously disinfected with pharmacy alcohol.
      A greeting.

  7.   Elizabeth mamani said

    Thanks for your help I am new to orchid growing.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Thanks to you, Elizabeth

  8.   Ligia Sanchez E. said

    Hi! Doesn't the time to transplant the orchid matter? I appreciate the answer!

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Ligia.
      No it does not matter. Just try not to get direct sunlight. 🙂
      A greeting.

  9.   Monica said

    Hello. I have a dendrobium nobile with a keiki, but the rod that it had the whim to be born on is old and small and is turning yellow. A few days ago I had 2 keiki and one has died. Still not big. It has 2 small roots and 2 leaves (there were 3 and it has lost one of them). What I can do? I think its roots are not very healthy ...

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Monica.
      From what you tell me, it seems that this keiki is also going to suffer the same fate as the first one. It is possible that the rod from which it has sprung, being old, does not have the ability to feed it as it should.
      You can try to help her by fertilizing the orchid with a specific fertilizer for these plants, to see how it goes.
      A greeting.

  10.   Andrea said

    Hi! I have had a phalaenopsis for two years now and I know that I should transplant it because the roots are already coming out and it is in a very small pot. The time to transplant is late winter, but the flowering rod is coming out. Will I be able to transplant it anyway?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Andrea.
      No, if it is blooming, it is better to wait for it to finish. 🙂
      A greeting.

  11.   María Rosal (Fernán‐Núñez, Córdoba, 1961) is a complete writer. She has published children's theatre, has received the Andalusian Critics' Award (2004), the Children's Poetry Award (2007) and the José Hierro National Poetry Award for Carmín rojo sangre (2015). Her poetic work has been translated into English, Italian and Greek.<br/> <br/> This is her second book for children in edebé, after the funniest title, El secreto de las patatas fritas.<br/> <br/> Maria has a very funny sense of humour. said

    Hello, I am new to having an orchid, they have given it to me, a few days ago, it has many flowers and others to open, my question is, not the change of pot, until next year, does it have to be in a transparent pot? on occasion I have seen them in glass. But since it drains if they are in glass, the root can rot. ' How many times a month are they watered and with bottled water is it okay? Or does it have to be with a special water? Thanks.

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Maria.
      Yes, you can change it to a pot with holes next year, when it is not blooming. If it is in glass, the roots rot.
      Regarding watering: you have to water when the roots look white, with bottled water for example, but never with water that has a lot of lime.
      A greeting.

  12.   Adelino Caridade said

    Boa noite as minhas orchids have a lot of bugs maybe piolho gostava of knowing or that it devour fazer obrigado

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Adelino.
      You can remove them with a cloth dipped in pharmacy alcohol 🙂
      A greeting.

  13.   Gyn Agui said

    I have an orchid which has already fallen all the flowers, it only has two sticks left, when it had the flowers it had a flower bud on each stick but apparently they dried up and did not occur, it has 5 very green leaves, my question is . After how long they bloom again, or in my case the rods are already dry, do you recommend putting some fertilizer on them? thank you I await your comments regards!

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hi Gyn.
      Orchids usually bloom once a year.
      If you have green leaves, it's just a matter of waiting 🙂
      In any case, you can fertilize it with a specific fertilizer for orchids following the instructions specified on the package. You will find it for sale in nurseries.
      A greeting.

  14.   Esteban said

    Hello Monica,

    we have a Phalaenopsis orchid and many doubts about it:

    - Trunk leaves: should they be cut at some point (example: when changing substrate)?
    - Upper part branches: from the vertical stems others have previously been born in the upper part in a transversal way. Now that there are no flowers, can these branches be trimmed to remove weight from the plant and make the flowers sprout where they did at the beginning? The rods that guide the main stems must support more and more weight.
    - Substrate: you indicate a substrate change every 2 years, we did it last year but without adding clay, would you recommend us to do it again this year?

    Thank you very much beforehand for your help.

    Warm regards,
    Maria and Esteban

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Esteban.
      I say to you:
      -Do not cut any leaf, except if it is sick (soft, rotten, or completely dry).
      -I do not advise pruning it. You would take away strength by having less green leaves 🙂
      -From what you are telling me, surely you have a beautiful plant, so it is not necessary to modify the substrate.

      If new questions arise, I am here.

      A greeting.

  15.   Rosa Maria Rius Gil said

    If my orchid gets a yellow leaf, what is it?

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Rosa Maria.

      If they are the lower leaves, the oldest, it is normal for them to turn yellow.
      But if they are the newest, it is because there is a problem with the irrigation.

      How often do you water it? Here there is an orchid care guide in case it can help you.


  16.   Gustavo said

    Hello, I live in Buenos Aires in a farm where there is frost about 10 years ago, I divided two bulbs from a large pot (50 cm in diameter by 50 cm in height) with orchids that I transplanted into a pot of the same size (which is not I transplanted never again and gives two rods per year at this time (they last a month). I made another division with the new plants that it gave and put together new pots of 20 by 20 cm, they gave leaves and never bloomed. My questions are 1) How can I renew the substrate of the large pot? 2) 'What can I do with those that are in a small pot and have not yet flowered 3)' Should I continue dividing the bulbs? Thank you very much for the information provided above and in the comments, they are very clear .- A hug, virtual for the distance and the pandemic .-

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Gustavo.

      Do I answer you:

      1.- If the orchid is comfortable in that pot, I do not recommend renewing the substrate. What you can do is fertilize it with a specific fertilizer for orchids following the instructions on the container. In this way, you will not lack nutrients.

      2.- Patience 🙂. Plants, even if they are sisters or daughters of the same parents, are a little different from each other: some grow faster than others, or flower later ... Again, orchid compost can help.

      3.- That will depend on the size of the orchid. If you see that it has grown a lot, and it gives you the impression that it has occupied the entire pot it is in, then it is advisable to separate the bulbs.

      If you have more questions, contact us.

      A hug 🙂

  17.   Maria Rosa Pereyra Galban said

    The orchid that I want to separate from the mother plant is attached to the stem and has 3 aerial roots. How should I do it? It is better to separate it or leave it as is.Thank you