The Q&A Archives: Repotting an orchid when it is in bloom

Question: I just bought an orchid at Home depot over the weekend. Today I bought potting material, rock and etc, to plant it, but on the planting material, it says not to repot an orchid when it is in bloom. Should I just leave it in the pot it came from the store in and set that in a proper pot? Will I kill it if I repot it? Also, this orchid pot from the store has plastic material all around the pot. Won't that stop air from getting to the roots and if I have to leave it in that pot, should that plastic material be removed? Orchids are so delicate, and I really want to grow this one, so I need help. I'd hate to kill it first thing out.

Answer: Your orchid is probably Dendrobium. These are great for beginners because they are relatively carefree. They like to be crowded in the container, so don't repot to a larger size just yet, unless the roots are escaping out of the drainage holes in the pot. Definitely remove the plastic outer wrap, ASAP. Orchids are not all that delicate, so don't be afraid you'll hurt your plant. Grow them in bright, filtered light (or under a grow light) for 10-15 hours per day, fertilize lightly during the growing season and keep the root medium moist. Temperatures should be about 70 during the day and 60 at night. Mist the plant daily, or increase humidity by placing the pot on a tray of pebbles to which you add tepid water every few days. Keep the water level in the tray below the base of the pot, the soil may become waterlogged, and cause root rot. If you decide to repot your orchid, wait until it has finished blooming. Winter is a good time to repot because orchids grow slowly at that time of year and will suffer less transplant shock. If you have a decorative pot you want to use, simply set the orchid into it, pot and all. Most important of all, enjoy your orchid!

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