Top Tools for RePotting Orchids

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Bonsai Jack Universal Orchid Potting Mix

tools to re-pot orchids

Do you procrastinate potting your orchids? Even though I know the best time to re-pot is before they need it – before the potting medium breaks down or becomes saturated in fertilizer salts – I confess that I used to put off potting my orchids. Mostly I put it off because I was afraid my orchids wouldn’t bounce back from the trauma of being repotted. Over the years I have learned a lot.

First, timing is everything. Wait until after the flowers have died and new roots have begun to emerge. The next step is to use the right tools so that your orchids will quickly recover from being potted and will be better off – healthier roots, and more abundant flowers – because you’ve taken the time to re-pot them.

I am so happy to share with you the tools I use to re-pot my orchids.Find out which tools I use to successfully pot my orchids

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Premium Orchid Potting Mix

Bonsai Jack Universal Orchid Potting Mix

The orchid potting mix you use is the foundation for growing healthy orchids.

This is because the potting mix determines how often the orchid needs water, how well-draining the mix is and how much airflow the roots receive.

There are lots of different types of orchid mixes available, Bonsai Jack’s are the orchid mixes that I use and trust.

These mixes are well-draining, but absorbs some water for slow-release moisture, while also allowing for vital air-flow around the orchid roots.

If you are used to using sphagnum moss, you will notice that a bark based media doesn’t hold water like a sponge and may require watering 1-2 times a week. As time goes on, you will notice that once a week is sufficient.

Jack’s orchid mixes are formulated with top-quality ingredients and are pH tested to ensure healthy orchids.

I highly recommend and personally use Bonsai Jack’s orchid mixes for potting orchids.

The Universal Mix is designed for mature orchids such as Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium, Oncidium, and Cattleya.



Wool Rock

wool rock

While phalaenopsis orchids love quick-draining fir bark-based potting mixes, they do best with a little wool rock mixed in with the fir bark. Wool rock retains moisture, and by adding a small amount to your orchid mix you’ll find that your phals will appreciate the extra moisture and respond with beautiful, upright, stiff leaves.



Slotted Clear Orchid Pots

clear slotted orchid pot

These slotted clear liner pots are the way to go if you want to have a clear view of the orchid’s roots, soil, and water condensation. These pots can literally be a lifesaver when watering your orchids.

Made of durable plastic. No flimsy sides here. With lots of drainage holes, these pots allow for plenty of airflow and water drainage.

I use these as liners and slip them inside a more stable decorative pot. I highly recommend these slotted clear orchid pots



Carousel Orchid Pot

carousel orchid pot

Looking for a pot that provides superior drainage? The Carousel Pot does just that. There are drainage holes on the bottom, so your orchid never sits in water. The saucer at the bottom is detachable from the pot, so you can easily discard excess water. Also, there is a space between the base of the pot and the saucer, an extra precaution against the orchid sitting in water.

This pot makes repotting a breeze. Side slats are not connected at the top. Simply slide the orchid out the top of the pot. Crazy orchid roots can grow out wherever they want,  just slide them up and out of the pot, no damage done.

These pots are especially nice for Dendrobiums as they don’t appreciate repotting. I am not aware of an orchid pot that doesn’t disturb the roots like the Carousel Pot.

These pots are the ideal orchid pot-an ingenious design, but they do come with a price-tag.

I love my Carousel Orchid Pot and recommend you give one a try.



Rhizome Clip

Rhizome Clip - potting orchids

These rhizome clips are a must-have when potting orchids (especially Cattleyas). Without these, the orchid will press up out of the pot. Believe me, I know this from sad experience.

These are the rhizome clips I use to keep my orchid’s roots systems in place.

This link is for 4″ clips. Buy clips based on the diameter of your orchid pot.



Pruning Shears

pruning shears

These pruners are the BEST! I use them all the time. They are sharp and cut cleanly every time.

These pruners feel just right in your hand (right or left). I use them when potting, to clean away dead roots, trimming flower spikes and for cutting away dead leaves.



Butane Kitchen Torch

Butane Kitchen Torch

A kitchen torch may be the last thing you expected to see on this resource page. This torch is a fast and easy way to sterilize your pruning shears.

Before and after using my pruning shears, I pass the tips of the shears through the flame to keep from passing pathogens between orchids.

This is the torch I use and recommend. It’s small, fits comfortably in my hand and is easy to use.



My Ebook

What to Do with Your Grocery Store Orchid Ebook

You’ve purchased or been gifted, an orchid from your local grocery store and now you’re wondering how in the world to care for it.

No worries. In this step-by-step guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know to care for the Phalaenopsis, or moth orchid. With full-color photographs, detailed instructions, and bonus guides, I’ll show you how to care for your orchid.

In addition to care tips on light, temperature, air circulation, watering, humidity, fertilizing, potting and re-blooming you’ll even get some styling instructions so you can create your own orchid arrangement.

After reading this book you’ll learn that orchids need not be the world’s longest-lasting throw-away bouquet, instead, they are the world’s longest-lasting flower bouquet that blooms, and keep on blooming–for years!



Mini Phalaenopsis Orchids

Floralistic mini orchids

Before you can pot an orchid, you need an orchid. If you are looking to purchase online, these are the orchids I recommend.

I have scoured the internet looking for superior quality Phalaenopsis orchids available at a reasonable price. I am so pleased to recommend these orchids from Floralistic.

These orchids come in a 3″ pot and a variety of colors-you pick the color you like best.

These orchids are potted in sphagnum moss, which is ideal for shipping. The roots and potting media stays in place.

After the orchid has finished blooming, I recommend potting the orchid in Bonsai Jack’s Miniature and Seedling Mix.



These are my favorite products that I use and have helped me repot my orchids. My hope is that they will help you too. If you have any questions about any of these products, please comment below.

  1. Alphonsa pv says:

    Thank you very much appreciated you taking time to help me.

    1. Anna says:

      Anytime! I am always happy to help! Let me know if you have any questions about caring for orchids.

      1. Reba Betz says:

        I am a new novice orchid lover, fascinated with learning about Orchids. I really enjoy your posts and helpful easy learning techniques. Thank you for sharing your gift of knowledge and time.

        1. Anna says:

          Thanks so much, Reba!
          Have a great day,

  2. Suzie says:

    Thanks for the info! I like your approach to Orchid care…

    1. Anna says:

      Thank you Suzie! Let me know if you have any questions.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This Is great information!
    Thank you!!

    1. Anna says:

      You’re Welcome!

  4. Barbara Yon says:

    Thank you Anna, for this wonderful information!
    I will look into the potting soil you mention.

    1. Anna says:

      Thank you! If you are potting Phalaenopsis orchids, add a bit of sphagnum moss or wool rock to aid water retention. It will keep your Phal from drying out too quickly.
      Best wishes,

  5. MARLA says:

    1. How do you know when to repot your orchid?
    2. Can I repot my orchid that is in a 3″ pot to a 6″ pot?
    Thank you for your help!

    1. Anna says:

      Here are a few quick tips that indicate your orchid needs repotting:
      1. The potting mix is breaking down. If your orchid is potted in bark, you can see what looks like coffee grounds.
      2. If it has been a year or two since your orchid has been repotted – you should repot.
      3. If the orchid appears to be climbing out of its pot – it’s time to repot.

      For more detailed hints and tips, check out this article:

      As far as pot size, most orchids like to be underpotted, meaning that they do best if their roots are a bit crowded in their pot. It is usually recommended to go up only one pot size when repotting. Sometimes the orchid can even be repotted in the same pot, it really depends on how developed the root system is.

      Have a great day and thanks for reaching out to me.

  6. Christine says:

    My orchid is beautiful!! But I am growing ‘babies’ from the stems!! How long do I keep them there?? Should I cut them off to support the main plant? I need ‘mother advice’ about my new babies!!!

    1. Anna says:

      Your orchid babies are called Keikis – Hawaiian for baby. The longer the keikis stay with the mother plant the better. Though, they can be removed once the roots are about 2-3 inches long. To remove the keiki, cut the stem with a couple of inches of the mother stem on either side of the keiki. Loosely pot the keiki in an orchid potting mix.
      The keikis are fragile and will need extra TLC once they have been removed from the mother plant.
      Congratulations on your babies!

  7. Marg Gooding says:

    Thank you for your good information.The main stem broke off while repotting my plant and there hasn’t been any regrowth since,will this plant grow another stalk? or is it the=end!!!It is alive and appears healthy..Would you help me with this problem.Thanks.Marg

    1. Anna says:

      I just want to clarify that you are referring to the main stem. If this is the case, yes, it should continue to grow. Keep an eye out for new leaf growth. It may take several months, but the orchid should put out new leaves.
      If it was the flower stalk that broke, yes to that as well. Over time, a new flower stalk will grow.

  8. SoccerNAmom says:

    What does it indicate when cymbidium leaves grow extra long?
    I successfully divided it and got 4 plants out of one pot. 2 of the plants are blooming but the 2 smaller ones are not flowering at all

    1. Anna says:

      I’m not sure what extra long leaves mean for sure, but sometimes they can mean that the orchid needs more light, but if your cymbidium is blooming, then it’s getting the light it needs.

      About your cymbidium divisions: The smaller divisions probably just need to grow up a bit. Once they mature and grow more pseudobulbs, they will bloom like the larger divisions.

      Have a great day,

  9. Rita Welch says:

    I have been on holiday and my phalenopsis got really dry I think I have saved it but the leaves have turned yellow l don’t know what to do to get them green again can you help

    1. Anna says:

      It is likely that your orchid’s leaves will not green up, but, hopefully, new leaves will grow. Here is how to care for a traumatized orchid: First, provide as much humidity as possible. Placing it in a clear plastic bag is one option. Second, hold off on the fertilizer while your orchid recovers. And, third, place your orchid away from direct sunlight.
      Wishing you and your orchid the very best,

  10. suzette Davis says:

    what should i do with flower spikes after blooms fall off?

    love this site btw! thx for all the good info

    1. Anna says:

      I’m so glad you found me! After the blooms fall off, cut the flower spike down to just one node (bump along the spike) above the base. This will help your orchid produce the most flowers when it blooms again.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hi Anna, I’ve recently repotted my phals in clay pebbles and they seem to be thriving although I do give the medium a few squirts of water ablut twice a week. What do you think of this growing medium?

    Donna in Spokane, Washington

    1. Anna says:

      Clay pebbles (LECA) can work great. They are inorganic and don’t break down, they also hold some, but not a lot of moisture. Personally, when using LECA I like to add a few bits of wool rock for a bit of added moisture. LECA also absorbs fertilizer salts. When using this potting medium be sure to flush the salts regularly. Because LECA does not break down you don’t have to pot as frequently as you would an organic potting mix – just be sure to flush those salts.

  12. Marilyn Bachman says:

    Anna, I have an orchid that is about 3-4 years old. It was blossoming when given to me. It blossomed the second time. Seems to be doing well. It has several roots growing high on the plant, above the top of the pot. The leaves are green, but hanging down almost touching my counter. It does have a new leaf growing out of the top. I have never repotted for fear I would damage it. Is it time?

    1. Anna says:

      Lots of aerial roots can indicate that the potting media has broken down. The orchid puts out aerial roots because the potted roots are unable to provide needed nutrients to the orchid. The drooping leaves indicate dehydration. I know potting is scary, but it will help your orchid grow a healthy root system. Keep in mind that once leaves have gone limp they will recover somewhat, but not completely. Watch for new, healthy leaf and root growth.

  13. Alice Vogt says:

    Hi Anna, Thanks for all the great info. I have several phals, some are miniatures. They all need repotting. They’re 2 years old and have a lot of aerial roots. When repotting, can I remove the yellowed and\or limp shriveled leaves at the base? And then do I need to plant the phal a little deeper?

    1. Anna says:

      Yes, you can remove the yellowed, shriveled leaves, particularly if there are several nice, firm leaves growing. Use caution not to pot too deeply as you don’t want the crown to rot.

      1. Linda Charron says:

        My mini Phal has all of a sudden lost all but 1 leaf! I repotted it but maybe too late.

  14. Cheri Baird says:

    I am not sure how to handle the rock wool when replanting as I have searched the internet but still am not secure about what I’ve learned. I have 2 Phal orchids that were a gift from a florist. They bloomed beautifully and I had flowers for almost 5 months. They were planted in spagnum moss when I cut off The spike and cleaned up dead roots. I had a large tight compacted mess with lots of dead roots. I have since potted them up in an orchid bark mix and one is thriving great after about 2 weeks. The other had huge roots cut back so I reopened the planting and I re added WoolRock to the medium after Soaking and shredding it. Is this how is is meant to be used? Thank you for any advice you may provide. I wasn’t sure how much to add to the mix?

    1. Anna says:

      You can either break the wool rock into small pieces, or you can add a couple of cubes to the potting media.

  15. Sharyn says:

    I seem to have tiny white specks on my orchid leaves- what are these & how do i treat them?

    1. Anna says:

      You may have pests. Check out this article to help you identify the pest and how to treat the pest:

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Are your orchid leaves limp and wrinkly?

Get your FREE cheat sheet on how to prevent limp orchid leaves.