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With their characteristic flowers, orchids are among the most popular flowering plants in Germany and are often kept in large numbers. When caring for orchids, repotting is one of the most important and at the same time one of the most complicated steps, since the procedure has to be different depending on the species. A particular problem for many orchid enthusiasts is the question of whether an orchid can be repotted during the flowering period, as otherwise it might be too stressful for the ornamental plant.

Repot the orchid while it is in bloom

The question of whether orchids can be repotted during the flowering period is justified. The tropical plants have an extremely long flowering period, but it is not always apparent whether moving to fresh substrate would damage the plant even more. But there can be a variety of reasons why the Orchidaceae need to be repotted during the flowering period:

  • pest infestation
  • illness
  • fungus
  • drought stress
  • too little space in the bucket
  • heavily compacted substrate
  • substrate becomes moldy

In these cases, you usually have no choice but to grab a shovel, scissors and a new bucket to save your orchids. This is often necessary when your specimen blooms incessantly and doesn't seem to stop. This is often the case, for example, with the popular moth orchids (bot. Phalaenopsis), because these belong to the three genera within the orchid family that, as hybrids, present their pretty flowers all year round. The wild forms don't have this problem and only bloom from fall to spring, which would make moving much easier. The other genera that also flower all year round are the following:

  • vanda
  • Venus slipper (bot. Paphiopedilum)
Vanda Orchid

This is where the biggest problem arises. It is in itself not recommended, repotting orchids of any kind during flowering. After the move, the plants first have to develop new roots again, attach them to the substrate and at the same time support flowering. Since this is particularly debilitating after an illness or pest infestation, the move can even turn out to be deadly for the plant. If it is possible and your specimen is at the end of the flowering period, you should wait a little longer and then transfer the crop to a new container. If this is not possible, the following first aid measures are recommended:

  • fight pests
  • fight pathogens
  • fight fungi
  • Remove infected, visible parts of the plant
  • customize care

This way you can sometimes get your orchid through to the end of the flowering period.

Risky strains

But if, for example, the roots are affected or the orchid is already lifting out of its pot, you must repot as early as possible. At the same time, you must reckon with the fact that your orchids will take significantly longer to recover afterwards. If you are unlucky, the specimen may die off completely. This is particularly common in the following genera:

  • Brassia
  • cattleya
  • Cymbidium
  • dendrobium
  • Masdevallia
  • Miltonia
  • Miltoniopsis
  • oncidium
  • Phragmipedium
  • Stanhopea
  • zygopetalum

Especially with these, it is not recommended to repot during the flowering period. If you keep the year-round hybrids instead, you have no choice but to repot them. Fortunately, these are often more robust than the other orchid genera and in most cases survive repotting if the care is good afterwards. If you have to move to fresh substrate, it is advisable to repot the year-round flowering species either in spring or autumn. During this time they usually get a growth spurt, which can have a positive effect on rooting. With the other orchids that have a defined flowering time, you should definitely stick to it to avoid problems.

notice: There is a big difference when repotting native orchids, since in most cases they are not epiphytes and therefore survive the move to fresh substrate much better. For example, the helmeted orchid (bot. Orchis militaris) is a tuberous geophyte that, thanks to its outlasting organ, can be very easily repotted or placed in another bed.

Lady's slipper orchid

Repotting during flowering: instructions

If you decide to repot one of your tropical orchids while it is in bloom, you need to be extra careful. Since the plants then have to expend a lot of energy in order to implement rooting and rooting on the substrate, you have to pay attention to a few points. If the plants are growing well, they are repotted every two to three years, as the plants develop sufficient plant material and root themselves firmly during this time. You can tell if a specimen needs to be repotted when the substrate is heavily rooted and the plant is already halfway out of the pot. If the plant is repotted during flowering, you will need the following materials and utensils:

  • larger vessel
  • substrate
  • secateurs
  • spray bottle

Make sure the container meets the needs of the orchid. Some genera need light at the roots and you should therefore opt for a transparent pot, such as the moth orchids. You can simply place others directly in a normal pot if the roots do not need fresh air or do not depend on light. Choose the substrate, like the pot, according to the needs of the plant. Many tropical orchids want an extremely loose substrate to sit on rather than being buried in it. If you're not sure what substrate you need for your species, be sure to do some research before you buy. There's nothing wrong with getting quality substrate. Once you have all the supplies, follow these repotting instructions:

1. Prepare tool

Start by cleaning your tools. Secateurs should be sharpened before use to avoid tearing at the roots and damaging them. You should also disinfect or clean them to avoid possible infections through the cuts. Do the same with the spray bottle.

2. Remove the orchid from the pot

Now take the orchid and the pot in your hand and look at the roots and the substrate. If this is compacted, you should briefly check whether it is firmly seated in the pot. If so, moisten it slightly to make it easier to remove from the pot. Use the spray bottle for this, as you won't wash away all the substrate at once and damage the roots. The plant is carefully removed from the pot and substrate at the point between the root ball and the tuft of leaves. At this point, do not damage the sensitive plant and the existing flower.

3. Control roots

Once you have removed the plant from the pot, carefully remove the excess substrate. Expose the roots as much as possible so you can inspect them closely. Remove any that are dried up, glassy, brown, mushy, or broken. These only have a negative effect on growth and would significantly affect the rehabilitation of the plant. Be careful not to damage healthy roots.

4. Transpose orchid

Fill the new pot with fresh substrate and carefully place the orchid in it. Depending on the species, you must place the orchids either in or on the substrate. Then pick up the pot and tap it gently on the table to let the substrate trickle into all the cracks. For orchids that sit on the substrate, this is done beforehand.

5. Moisten orchid

Finally, moisten the substrate with the spray bottle. You can also spray the leaves if the species allows it.

After repotting, you should empty the planter after each watering if a large amount of water has collected there. Orchidaceae are very sensitive to waterlogging, as the substrate can begin to mold, which can quickly spread to the plants. In the period after repotting, you should observe your orchid very closely. If flowering suddenly stops, you'll either need to water more or add fertilizer to help regain strength. This way you will help her through the difficult time after losing and growing more roots.

notice: Of course, if you keep a species that uses wood or rocks for perching, you can do without the pot altogether, as they don't need loose substrate. This also applies to the species that hang freely in the air and always present their roots.

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