Orchids require repotting once the potting mixture starts to break down and root growth expands, approximately every 2 to 3 years. Transferring the orchid to a new pot will increase air circulation around the roots and prevent root rot. It is best to transfer an orchid after the plant has started to produce new growth, but prior to the elongation of new roots.
Repotting the Orchid
Lay out newspaper on a flat workspace as the process of repotting gets messy. Sanitize tools with a solution of 9-parts water and 1-part bleach. Rinse all tools and let air-dry.
Select a new pot size that will accommodate 2 years of plant growth based on the growth history of the plant. Disinfect previously used pots in a solution that is 1-part bleach and 9-parts water for 30 minutes. Rinse well and let dry. Disinfected clay pots should air-dry for several days. Soak a new clay pot in water for several minutes to season it.
Boil orchid potting mix in water for several minutes. Let the water cool, then drain the mixture.
Remove the plant from the pot by turning it over and gently tapping the bottom and sides of the pot. Use a knife or clippers to carefully loosen roots that are sticking to the pot. Gently pry roots apart and shake off the old potting medium once the plant is out of the pot.
Place a layer of broken clay pot pieces or foam packing peanuts on the bottom of the pot to assist with drainage. Add a layer of potting mix to the bottom of the pot, add the orchid plant, and then fill potting mix around it. Make sure the top rhizome of the plant is at the same level as the top layer of potting mix. Pack the damp potting mixture around the roots as you add it.
Stake the plant and lightly tie with twine to keep it in an upright position until the root system is established. Set the plant in a partially shaded location and mist the plant and potting mix twice a day until there are signs of new growth. Move the plant to a brighter location and normal watering once the roots have visibly penetrated through the bark.