Orchids are a gorgeous flower that grow very well indoors in pots. They come in a variety of colors including a range of purples, pinks, yellows ivories and more.
Most people love orchids: they look clean and beautiful and can go in any room as décor. You may not even realize how easy it is to keep orchids blooming year after year.
You typically buy a blooming orchid at a store and it may have one or two tall stems with flowers on it. Then you take it home, water it and the stems die off, the flowers fall off and you think that is it time to get rid of it.
The truth with orchids is, as long as they have proper light, watering, air circulation, fertilization and potting soil, they will re-bloom for years to come.
And if you choose the best potting mix for your orchid, it will provide the base for your proper watering and feedings by offering the best drainage. The proper potting medium will also allow for perfect air circulation and will keep your plant upright and safe.
What Kills Orchids
With orchids, you can't just use a soil testing kit and find a great garden soil blend or fresh potting mix with N (Nitrogen), P (Phosphorous) and K (Potassium). Orchids need something different; the orchid roots seek nutrients but also require air circulation.
An organic potting medium or even a regular potting soil can provide nutrients, but can not provide that air that these plants need for healthy orchid growth.
Growing orchids needs a bit of research and the right tools, but once you have those (after reading this article), you are on your way to getting the best potting mix and therefore beautiful plant growth for healthy orchids.
What Can The Right Orchid Potting Medium Do?
Buying the right orchid potting mix will truly provide the building blocks for a successful planting experience. Whether you are repotting an old orchid or a new orchid, the proper orchid blend will be the key to your success.
We are going to share the best potting soil mix for orchids as well as the best kept secrets for keeping orchids so you can enjoy these beautiful flowers for years to come.
To start with, the most important thing you can do is is get the potting medium for orchids just right; one that provides enough nutrients, water contact and air circulation.
Let's get into it.
Orchid Potting Mix
Here are some great orchid growing tips so you can grow gorgeous orchid flowers that bloom on the regular.
Here is what orchids need to survive and thrive:
- the best potting mix for orchids
- plenty of air circulation
- proper watering (not too much too often)
- orchid food
Let's talk about the best potting mix for orchids, and then we will cover what else you can do to keep those orchids happy, healthy and thriving.
When you first purchase an orchid, you may want to repot it to give it more breathing room or to put it in a new pot to match your décor.
Did you know that orchids should be repotted every 18 - 24 months? That's just another reason to have great potting mix for orchids on hand. Here is how to repot your orchids:
How To Repot Orchids
1. Lay out a cloth, a towel or something on a table for you to pull your orchid out on. It will probably make a bit of a mess so this will help.
2. Very carefully, pull the flower, the roots and the contents of the pot out onto your surface. Brush off any excess potting mix that was previously there. you can do this by gently shaking the plant until you see the roots. They will probably be in the shape of your previous pot.
3. Observe the root system and identify the roots that are healthy (green) or dead (shades of brown, dry, broken.
4. Cut the dead roots off. Orchids need plenty of air around their root system and having dead roots there only inhibits that air circulation. If you are not sure if a root is dead or alive, trace it back to the source near the base of the plant. is it dead and brown all the way there? Is it dry? If so, cut it off.
5. Replace some of the potting mix with a potting mix that helps with air circulation. Put a bit of the mix in the bottom of your pot, hold your roots in the pot and replace with enough special orchid soil that will hold your plant upright.
Your orchid soil compound should include some of these options:
- wood chips or bark
- peat moss
- sphagnum moss
- lava rock
- sponge rock
- or any other light items that are larger and conducive to good air circulation and drainage
Here are 3 great orchid potting mixes you can use, in no particular order:
Miracle-Gro Coarse Blend Potting Mix
Miracle-Gro Orchid Potting Coarse Blend is specially formulated to provide quick drainage for orchid types that require good air movement and drier conditions between waterings.
What is really nice about this specific potting mix for orchids is that it contains Miracle-Gro Continuous Release Plant Food to feed your plants for up to 6 months. Orchids are at their best and healthiest when fed on a regular basis.
Special Orchid Potting Mix by Better-Gro
This multi-purpose potting mix is fantastic for orchids. It contains Western fir bark, hardwood, charcoal and sponge rock and it has been specifically formulated by a team of highly trained orchid growers.
This potting mix is 4 quarts so make sure you have enough to repot your flowers.
Orchiata Orchid Bark
If you are looking for an orchid mix with a consistent nugget size, Orchiata boasts that their bark is consistent throughout. The bark also has a unique aging process allows water and nutrients to be held on the outer surface of the bark as well. It is 100% natural and is sustainably grown.
Once your orchid is repotted and happy, be sure to only water it once a week with a few tablespoons of water. The best tip I can offer, is to put 2-3 ice cubes on the roots every week. So every Sunday, I give my orchids some ice. It is the best tip for perfect orchid watering.
Check price of orchid food here
Orchids require a certain environment to thrive. Besides good light, proper air circulation and specific watering needs, offering your plant orchid food is a great way to nurture orchids for deep leaf color, larger blooms, and strong root development.
You should be feeding your orchid every 2 weeks during active growth periods, every 4 weeks during rest periods.
Here are some other questions people are asking about orchids:
What is the best potting mix for orchids?
The best potting mix for orchids will contain large, light material that allow good air circulation while allowing the roots to absorb the water and nutrients during feedings. Look for an orchid potting medium that is mostly bark with sphagnum peat and perlite in it. Fir bark is considered the best bark for orchid potting mix.
Can you make your own orchid potting mix?
You can make your own potting mix for orchids by mixing 3 parts fir bark with 1 part perlite and 1 part peat moss or sphagnum peat moss. Making your own orchid potting media is cost effective and is more immersive in the educational component of understanding what your orchid needs in a more hands-on way. Keep you mixed orchid potting mix in a sealed container like a small Rubbermaid and keep it dry.
Find heat-treated, sterilized Douglas Fir bark here
Is orchid potting mix necessary?
An orchid potting blend is necessary as it will provide your picky orchid with its environmental needs. An Orchid potting medium has pieces that are large enough to let your orchid have the proper air circulation it needs while providing enough contact for the orchid to absorb water and nutrients.
Can regular potting soil be used for orchids?
Regular potting soil is not good for orchids as it can suffocate them with their air circulation needs. Orchids naturally grow on the bark of trees in the rainforest, not in the ground in the soil. You will want to recreate that environment for them to keep them alive and thriving.
Should orchid roots be exposed?
Orchids have a complex root system. Some stay below the surface and in your pot, and you will notice that some grow up and out of your pot. The exposed orchid roots are aerial roots and are part of the system that keep orchids healthy. Do not cut these air roots off or any other roots that are green and alive. The orchid's roots absorb nutrients and are vital to its growth and development of blossoms.
How do you get an orchid to bloom again?
If your orchid has not bloomed in a long time, but its leaves are still green and healthy, you may need to do the following things to wake it up:
- Take your orchid out of its pot and cut off any brown and dead roots to help with air circulation
- Replant it in a larger pot with a new orchid potting mix
- Make sure you are giving it orchid food or fertilizer two times per month
- Give your orchid proper watering: 2-3 ice cubes once per week (ie: every Sunday)
- Make sure your orchid is in a great location where it gets plenty of indirect sunlight and not too much heat from the day
Here are some other articles you may be interested in reading:
SOIL HEALTH 101 | BEST Soil Testing Kits
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