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How to Plant an Orchid

By D.C. Winston ; Updated September 21, 2017
Phalaenopsis hybrid orchid in bloom

Orchids, be they terrestrial or ephipyhtic, can readily be potted up to be grown as indoor or outdoor plants. When re-potting orchids, the most important elements are having a pot that has many drainage holes on the sides and bottom, and a good quality potting medium that provides the ideal growing substrate for your particular varietal of orchid.

Select a pot specially made for orchid plants or a garden pot with good side and bottom drainage. Use a pot that is 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter than the orchid's current pot or rootball.

Prepare the orchid for potting by watering the plant well to make the roots flexible. Gently slide the orchid out of its pot while holding it on its side. Gently brush off the old potting medium from the roots and lift off any bark that may be stuck or embedded in the roots. Cut away any dessicated, dried and hardened roots with sterile scissors or a razor blade.

Place an inch or so of orchid mix into the bottom of the new pot and set the orchid down into the pot. Scoop the orchid mix down around the roots poking it down into place with your fingers or a chopstick. Shake the pot and rap it gently on a hard surface to settle the medium into the roots and add more medium until it reaches within 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the pot rim.

Place the pot down in the sink and run tepid water through the plant pot to drench it and settle the medium. Avoid splashing water on the orchid flowers themselves if the plant is in bloom. After watering, add more medium to fill in any gaps that have settled.

Thread a narrow bamboo stake through the roots without puncturing them, to provide a support if a flower stem is present on the orchid. Secure with twist ties or tiny plastic clips to connect the stem to the support.


Things You Will Need

  • Orchid plant of choice
  • Pot with multiple drainage holes
  • Orchid potting soil mix with bark and charcoal
  • Water
  • 1/4-inch diameter bamboo stake


  • Look for a bagged orchid potting medium that contains fine or medium shredded bark, charcoal, sphagnum peat moss and perlite.