Summer is the time when you can easily repot your orchids. It is around this time that most orchids show intense growth, especially in the rainfed areas. This is also the time when the orchids get attacked by many pests and diseases.
As the climatic conditions in summers are quite congenial to orchids, it is a good time to change the growth medium and containers of your orchids. They will recover and adjust quickly to the new container. So, you can safely decide to repot your orchids now.
However, repot only when it is really required. I am pointing this out because shifting to a new container stresses out the orchid or any other plant for that matter. After shifting, the orchid - especially the roots, need some time to get accustomed to the new settings.
Why do we need to repot the orchid
The repotting of orchids should be done in case:
• The orchid has outgrown the container. In the terrestrials it would mean that the roots are creeping out of the soil or there is no space left for the orchid to grow further.
• The orchid has outgrown the growing medium, with the roots not getting enough medium to grow into. With time the growth medium also deteriorates, starts to decay and tends to accumulate pests.
• The orchid has developed some rotten or diseased parts, which need to be removed.
When to repot
• timing of repotting the orchid should correspond with the active growing season of that orchid.
• You have sufficient time to keep tabs on the orchid to check for signs of stress.
How to repot the orchid
• Select a clean area where you can repot the orchid easily. You can do it on a raised platform, a table or if you have no problem sitting on your heels or haunches, then on the ground.
• Spread a newspaper over the area where you will be working. The white background will be helpful to check the roots for pests and anything out of normal. It would be easier to clean after you have finished.
• When repotting a terrestrial: hold the pot sideways and knock on the sides, to loosen the soil inside. If the orchid is growing in a clay pot, you can break of the pot and safely remove the orchid. Never pull the orchid forcefully out of the pot. This may not only damage the roots but there are chances that the orchid may break into two halves, with the top half in your hands! I have done that once. Keep tapping gently on the sides of the pot, till you can see the soil loosen up inside. The orchid can be now smoothly pulled out without use of muscle power.
• When repotting a epiphyte: carefully remove the orchid from the container, holding the orchid in such a way that you are able to remove the medium along with the orchid.
• After removing the orchid, clean off the old medium attached to the roots. Be careful with the roots or other parts of the plant.
• Take a new container, fill it half with the new growth medium. Place the orchid in the container and cover the roots with remaining medium.
• Moisten up the medium and let the orchid stand in shade for about a month or till the appearance of new growth, which ever is earlier.
Taking care of the repotted orchid
After shifting you need to take special care of the orchid.
• Do not over water the orchid.
• Keep the new potted orchid in shade for some time.
• Avoid fertilizing or adding manure to it.
• Keep checking for any signs of stress. The orchid has adjusted well if you see new growth sprouting out.