Planting orchids in pots

Types Of Pots For Orchids – Are There Special Containers For Orchid Plants

In the wild, most orchid plants grow in warm, humid wooded areas, such as tropical rainforests. They are oftentimes found growing wildly in the crotches of living trees, on the sides of downed, decaying trees or on rough shaded slopes. The reasons they grow well in these sites is because they can absorb water from the natural humidity without intense sunlight causing too much transpiration, and also because heavy tropical rains drain away from their roots quickly when they grow on trees or slopes.

While the orchids we purchase at nurseries or garden centers have probably never experienced growing wildly in rainforests, confining their roots to a pot goes against their true primal nature. Because of this, as orchid growers, we must do our best to select pots that allow them to grow to their full potential.

About Orchid Containers

When you purchase an orchid from a greenhouse or garden center, they are usually sold in clear plastic pots with several drainage holes. These clear plastic pots may be placed inside decorative glazed pots and sold altogether or the decorative pots may be sold separately as an add-on item.

The decorative pots are purely aesthetic, usually lack proper drainage and are really not necessary at all. In fact, decorative pots without proper drainage holes can oftentimes lead to overwatering and root diseases in orchids. In addition to this, the chemicals in certain glazes that are used for ceramic pots can be very harmful to the roots of sensitive orchids.

The clear plastic pot does have some benefits for orchids and orchid growers, though. Clear plastic pots can allow us to easily switch decorative containers to correspond to different holidays or room décor. However, if you do place these clear plastic pots in decorative pots, it is a good idea to remove them during watering to allow for proper drainage.

Clear plastic pots also allow us to easily inspect the roots of our orchid plants for pests, disease or overcrowding. When left out of decorative pots, the clear plastic pots allow the orchid roots to absorb sunlight, as they would in nature growing on the side of a tree. This means the roots can also photosynthesize and add energy to the plant.

Are There Special Containers for Orchid Plants?

Do orchids need special pots? Many greenhouses or garden centers that sell orchids will also sell special pots for orchids. These specific containers for orchid plants usually have slats or cut out shapes on the sides to allow for better drainage and air flow to the roots. Slatted wooden boxes are also sold as orchid containers. However, you don’t need to spend a fortune on specialized containers for orchid plants. Any pot with good drainage can house an orchid plant. When growing orchids in containers, be sure to select pots with 4-12 drainage holes.

Most orchids do prefer shallower squat pots, as their roots don’t like all the moisture retained in deep pots and they just don’t need the depth anyway as their roots spread out, not down. When using a deep pot, place lava rock or packing peanuts in the bottom of the pot to save some money on unnecessary potting medium that the orchid roots will never use, but also to improve drainage.

Also, when repotting an orchid every 1-2 years, only choose a pot that is about an inch wider than the previous pot; it does not need to be any deeper, only wider.

Types of Orchid Pots

Below are the pros and cons of different pots for orchids:

Plastic Pots – Plastic pots retain more moisture in the pot mix. They also can help keep the roots warmer in cooler climates. Plastic pots are very lightweight and can tip over easily with tall, top heavy plants.

Clay or Terra Cotta Pots – Clay pots are heavier, leading to less tipping. They also can help keep orchid roots cooler in warm climates. Many clay or terra cotta pots have only one drainage hole, but the clay breathes and allows water to evaporate quicker; therefore, you may have to water more often.

Wooden Slatted Containers or Baskets – Depending on what potting media you use, it can spill out of slats in wooden slatted pots or baskets, so you might want to line them with sheets of moss. Wooden slatted containers or baskets allow for a lot of drainage and air flow to the roots, so you may have to water them frequently.

Another way orchid growers display their prized orchid plants is by mounting them on driftwood or actual trees.

Congratulations, orchid lover! You’re one of an elite few who have managed to find the right balance of water, sunlight, date nights, and long walks on the beach to have a healthy relationship with your orchid. Not only is your orchid living, it’s thriving—and has outgrown the plastic pot in which you carried it home from the grocery store. It’s time to undertake the harrowing task of repotting your orchid. But fret not, we have a few tips to help you successfully transfer it to its new home (without killing it).

Read on to learn how to repot an orchid, step by step.

Photography by Leslie Santarina for Gardenista; styling by Ella Quittner.

How do I know when it’s time to repot my orchid?

Above: An orchid ready to be repotted.

A sure sign that it’s time to repot your orchid is when you start seeing white roots growing out of the container. This means your orchid is too large for its pot and needs a new one. If your orchid’s roots are beginning to rot, this is another sign that repotting is necessary—this means that your potting material is no longer draining properly.

When should I repot my orchid?

The ideal time to repot the orchid is right after it finishes flowering, when you see new growth starting to appear.

Materials you’ll need:

  • New pot for your orchid (choose one that’s 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter than the current pot)
  • Potting mix (for more on what type of potting mix to use for an orchid, see Gardening 101: How to Care for an Orchid)
  • Large bucket or bowl
  • Scissors

Step 1: Prepare your materials.

Place the amount of potting mix you’ll be using in the large bucket or bowl and cover it with about twice as much boiling water. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature, then drain the potting mix.

Orchids are very susceptible to disease as well, so be sure to sterilize everything that will come in contact with your orchid during the repotting process.

Step 2: Remove the orchid from its current pot.

Above: Be careful not to break any of the roots when removing the orchid from its current pot.

Carefully loosen each root individually, using scissors or a knife to help you if necessary.

Step 3: Clean up the roots.

Above: Use clean scissors to remove any dead or rotting roots.

After the orchid is out of its pot, use your fingers and a clean pair of scissors to clean up the roots. Gently ease apart any that are tangled and clip away roots that are dead or rotten.

Step 4: Place the orchid in its new pot.

Above: Add enough potting mix to the bottom of the pot so that your orchid’s new growth will be level with the rim of the new pot.

Place the orchid in the pot so that the new growth is level with the top of the pot.

Step 5: Add potting mix.

Add potting medium a little at a time, using your fingers or a chopstick to settle it around the roots. Continue adding potting mix until you reach the top of the pot.

Step 6: Stake your orchid.

Above: Arrange your orchid blooms so that they are standing upright and stake them as you did previously.

After your orchid is settled in its new home, care for it as you did before.

For more orchid tips, see Orchids: A Field Guide to Planting, Care & Design and our posts:

  • Gardening 101: Orchids
  • How to Make an Orchid Bloom Again
  • Best Indoor Plants: 6 Flowering Orchids to Grow

DIY: How to Pot Multiple Orchids in a Single Container

I’ve been asked how to add multiple orchids to a single pot. The answer I’ve always given is: for best results keep the orchids in their plastic liner pots then set multiple orchids into a larger pot. This way several orchids can be cared for individually. Most importantly, each orchid can be removed for proper watering. While I still subscribe to this idea, I have a new take on how to display multiple orchids in a pot.

Prepare the Orchids

Begin by preparing your orchids to look their best when on display. For the full article on prepping your orchid for display, .

  1. Trim away dead leaves, aerial roots, and pseudobulbs
  2. Clean the leaves and pseudobulbs
  3. Check for pests and disease
  4. Use a top dressing
  5. Stake the flower spike
  6. Water your orchid

Gather Your Materials

  • Several orchids, potted in sphagnum moss. I recommend using the same variety as they will have the same care requirements. Consider orchids with different heights for a fuller appearance. Orchids all the same color have a strong visual impact.
  • A single pot. A pot with a flat base will make it easier to place the orchids the way you want them.
  • A plastic bag large enough for all the orchids
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Top-dressing: living or dried Spanish moss or reindeer moss. For my arrangement I used reindeer moss and needed two bags of the moss. Depending on the size of your arrangement, you may also need more than one bag.
  • Newspaper for easy cleanup.
  • A nearby trash can is always advisable.

Procedure

First, soak the sphagnum moss in water. It takes about 20 minutes for the moss to fully hydrate. Meanwhile, set out the newspaper, so you can easily clean up and dispose of the mess when you’re finished.

Next, slip the orchid out of their liner pots.

Now, place the plastic bag inside the pot, rolling the edges down the side of the pot. Place the orchids inside the bag, arranging the orchids so that the flowers are at their greatest visual advantage. You may need to pick away some of the moss from the orchids so that the orchids will fit together in a pleasing way.

Give the sphagnum moss a squeeze to remove excess water. Fill in the gaps between the orchids with the moss to create a single moss ball.

Roll up the edges of the plastic bag and carefully stuff the rolled edges in the sides of the pot.

In order for your arrangement to be truly spectacular, finish it off with a top dressing. In this example, I’ve used reindeer moss. It’s soft and squishy, easy to work with. Remember: when watering, remove and replace top-dressing.

How to Water Multiple Orchids in a Single Pot

Sphagnum moss holds a lot of water, so you’ll need to be careful not to overwater your arrangement. You will only need to water it every couple of weeks or even once a month. Wait to water until the moss feels barely damp.

This is going to sound like a pain, but I suggest taking the arrangement apart to water it. If the orchids stick together in one big ball, water the entire arrangement together. Then allow for it to drain before returning to the pot. But, if the orchids come apart from each other, water them separately. Again, wait for the orchids to drain before returning to the pot.

You’ve Got This!

A truly amazing orchid arrangement is yours for the making! When one of the orchids goes out of bloom, you can replace it with another that’s ready to flower.

Key Points: Containers with a flat base are easier to work with. Orchids of the same variety and same color, but of different heights work best and have the greatest visual impact, and are easiest to care for.

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Plastic vase liners are an easy and mess-free way to keep your tables dry and your plants secure in their pots. Our variety of clear planter liners will keep your flowers hydrated and the mess away from your pot, vase or container. Find a liner that fits your needs and worry less about creating a mess.

These vase liners have an opening diameter of 6 inches, is 3.2 inches tall and has a 4.5 inch base diameter. These plastic vase inserts are reusable. They are designed to keep your pots and their surfaces clean while also keeping your plants moist.

Need to keep the water inside your plants contained? Our round plastic planter liners work wonderfully for those plants on your desk or the succulents on your back patio. Wholesale Flowers carries a vast selection of different sized floral vase liners. If you don’t have your planters picked out yet, consider browsing our Ceramic & Clay containers section of the website.

All our products at Wholesale Flowers are accompanied by our everyday low bulk prices. Orders typically are processed and shipped out one business day after the order has been placed. If you are in a time crunch to receive your liners, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our prices allow you to purchase more than you estimated in your original budget.

Orchidmate™ orchid supplies – Wood baskets

Unlike many other orchid supplies, at Orchidmate we design and manufacture the wood orchid baskets ourselves. Each of our wooden baskets is carefully handcrafted from Acacia auriculiformis, a rot resistant hardwood, by our skilled artisans. They are proven to last for at least five years even in a high humidity tropical climate. The baskets come with many different unique novel shapes including hexagon, octagon, round, pyramid, and half-moon. Our round wood orchid baskets are considered the most beautiful ones in the market.

More importantly, openings on the baskets facilitate drainage and air circulation that orchid roots need. This brings the growing environment closer to the natural habitat of orchids. For the first 2-3 months after reporting in our wood baskets you may need to water your orchids more frequently (once every 3-4 days). After that period when the potting media can absorb water better, your orchids will thrive as their roots will never rot in the basket. Orchids always bloom much better and the blooms last longer when their root system is stronger.

Horticultural charcoal is proven to be a very effective additive to orchid mixes. It helps absorb impurities in water and fertilizers. Our premium charcoal is made of hardwood without any chemical and additive. It is imported directly from manufacturers, enabling us to offer a much lower price.

What can grow in these baskets

Our orchid baskets are generally designed to be deeper (taller) than the regular square Vanda baskets in the market, so that they can be used for most of orchids (such as Cattleya, Laelia, Dendrobium, Brassavola, Stanhopea, Epidendrum, Lycaste, Masdevallia, Miltonia, Odontoglossum, Oncidium, Phalaenopsis). As can be seen in the gallery our Laelia and Cattleya grow and bloom extremely well in these baskets. We offer wooden baskets with various sizes (4″ to 14″) to accommodate from seedling to specimen orchids. They can be used either as hanging baskets or table top ones. Most of the popular growing media, such as bark, sphagnum moss, coconut husk, charcoal can be used with these wooden orchid baskets. If you wish to use small-sized potting mixes, a thin liner of coconut fibers can be placed inside the basket.

Gallery

Models

$7 flat rate shipping on all orders! Always low prices! Large halfmoon baskets (HM-4 and HM-5) are now available. Very limited edition.

*All dimensions are approximate.

Orchid Blooming: Tips and Tricks

Keeping Your Orchid Blooming For As Long As Possible…

When growing orchids, you want to make sure that the flowers last as long as possible. How long your orchid flowers last, greatly depends on the variety of orchid as well as the care that the blooms receive.

Phalaenopsis orchids, one of the most popular types, normally bloom 1-2 times a year and the blooms can last anywhere from 60-120 days. Dendrobium and Oncidium orchids have a typical blooming season anywhere from January to March. Both of these types typically bloom 1-2 times a year and their blooms usually last 30-45 days. Another popular type of orchid is Cattleya which will bloom during Spring to Fall once a year normally for a period of 7-12 days, but can sometimes last a little longer.

To make your orchid blooms last as long as they possibly can, there are a few things that you should do. The first thing you should do is remember to water your orchid. You don’t want to let the orchid dry out because the flowers need to stay very hydrated. Just remember that overwatering an orchid is not good either. You never want your orchid’s roots to sit in water.

The second thing you should do to help keep your orchids blooms is to keep the temperature in your orchids growing area a little on the cool side. Many varieties of orchids typically bloom when the weather is cooler, so keeping the temperature nice and cool will be a favorable environment for your orchid to bloom. Lowering the temperature can actually extend the blooming period by a couple weeks.

Something else you should do is be sure to keep pollinating insects away from your orchid. As soon as orchid flowers come in contact with bees or other flying insects, the flowers begin to die almost immediately after being pollinated.

To ensure that your blooms will last as long as possible, there are also some things that you want to make sure you do not do. It is important that you do not mist the blooms because if there is too much moisture on the blooms this can lead to orchid disease. Also avoid putting your orchid in an area with too much humidity because this can also create too much moisture. Another place you need to avoid placing an orchid is in a setting with no air circulation. It is important that your orchid gets proper air circulation so that the air doesn’t become stale, because this can also lead to bacteria growth.

Something else you don’t want to do is keep your orchid near fruit that is ripening because when fruit ripens it releases ethylene gas which can cause the blooms to die more quickly. Another thing you want to make sure you don’t do is let the orchid get direct sunlight, because this can cause sunburn to the plant. Although, you will need to make sure that your orchid does get the right amount of indirect sunlight such as through a sheer curtain. This indirect sunlight is essential in keeping the blooms vibrant.

By following these few simple steps you can ensure that you will be rewarded with blooms. When growing orchids one of the most rewarding feelings, after putting in the time and effort, is getting beautiful blooms that you can enjoy.

Next Steps: Where do you go from here?

A couple options:

#1 – More Free Orchid Tips!
At a minimum, I strongly recommending signing up for our orchid tips newsletter (it’s free!). That’ll give you some additional (more detailed) step-by-step tips you can start using with your Orchids right away…

#2 – Get Access to ALL My Orchid Articles…
If you’d like to learn everything you need to know about orchid care (and caring for ALL types of orchids) we also have something called the Orchids Made Easy Green Thumb Club.

The Green Thumb Club includes a number of different benefits – including weekly lessons on all different orchid care topics delivered to you in a special, password-protected members area. You also get the opportunity to get YOUR actual questions answered in my weekly “Ask The Orchid Guy” column, which you can check out here.

The Green Thumb Club costs less than a meal at McDonald’s – and ALSO includes all sorts of ADDITIONAL benefits, including exclusive discounts at orchid suppliers from 20-40% off as well access to our “orchid diagnosis tool” which helps you identify what problem might be plaguing your plant.

Because the club is backed by a full 100% money-back guarantee for a full 30 days, if after checking it out you decide that it’s not for you or that you didn’t get value you out of what you learned – no problem! Simply send us an email to let me know, and you’ll receive a fast and courteous refund. Put it this way: If you’re not happy, I’m not happy!

(By the way, this here will give you access to 50% off the cost of membership. A little “gift” for reading this article all the way to the end :-))

All my best,

Ryan “The Orchid Guy” 🙂

IMPORTANT: To learn everything you need to know about caring for your orchids, if you haven’t already I strongly recommend signing up for the “Orchid Care Tips & Secrets Newsletter” my wife and I publish by clicking here.

It’s completely free – and the best part? You can even choose the type of information you’d like to receive (reblooming tips, basics of orchid care, etc.) Join over 20,000 fellow orchid enthusiasts young and old and sign up for our free orchid care newsletter today! 🙂

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