I have a beautiful orchid my niece, Lauren gave me the day after I hosted a bridal shower for her several years ago. It’s especially precious to me because the next time it bloomed was when Lauren and her sister, Emily, threw my daughter-in-law-to-be, Catherine, a spectacular bridal shower. It continued to bloom until after the wedding, and I decided this was a special family orchid and needed more attention then the benign neglect my houseplants usually get.
I bought a gorgeous light blue pot at Home Goods and just set the original terra-cotta pot in it until the plant had completely finished blooming. This is rule one for re-potting orchids: Wait until their blooms have died. I had a bag of special orchid potting mix ready, a gift from my step-mom, Edie, who had recently re-potted an orchid of her own. I should have known I was in trouble when Edie told me the instructions online for re-potting orchids were “pretty complicated”. Yikes!
I searched through several sites, most of them with elaborate pictures and diagrams. I decided it was nothing short of a miracle I’d kept this poor plant live as long as I had, and I wasn’t done making mistakes yet.
Orchids like “cozy” pots, so of course the one I’d bought was probably too big, but I was totally in love with it, so I compromised by filling half of it with rocks and shards of the old pot.
When I gently removed the plant from its old pot I gave it a nice shower (the leaves were a bit dusty) and then trimmed away the old flower stems and any roots that didn’t look firm, green, and healthy. Afterward I remembered reading that knives or scissors used for cutting orchid roots should be sterilized first. Oops. My Pampered Chef kitchen shears had been through the dishwasher recently, and I put them through again afterwards, but we’re not talking OR-worthy “sterile technique” here.
I placed the orchid in its new home with the crown at a level that would put all the roots under the potting material. (That’s the big tip-off that it’s time to re-pot an orchid – it appearing to be trying to crawl out of the pot and attack you in your sleep.)
Anyway, I was fairly pleased with my effort, and in the two weeks since the re-potting the newest, smallest leaf has doubled in size! Emily is engaged, so I’m hoping for blooms in time for her bridal shower 🙂