| by Kenneth Chase | 5 comments

Repotting Grocery Store Orchids – Family Plot

– We’re glad you’re here, we get a lot of
questions about orchid care, can you help us out please, sir? – Yes, I will. Today, I wanna talk about growing on grocery
store orchids which a lot of people buy, and they soon kill them after they’ve bought them,
they come to me and they ask why is it dead? So I’m gonna talk about how to care for this
orchid after purchase. Okay, and actually while it’s still flowering
as well. So, orchids like these mostly grow on trees in the tropics. Or on rocks. They store water in pseudobulbs like these
or in fleshly leaves like these. When it rains in the tropics, which is a daily
event, the roots of the orchid are like a sponge and they absorb
moisture. The moisture is then maintained there and
then it’s transferred into the storage organs, the orchid, like the leaves or the pseudobulbs. So after it rains, the habitat dries out quickly,
and then the plant waits for the next rainfall. Okay, so each day, the roots are wanting to
dry out. So if we look at this orchid here, for example: This
is a Chiloschista orchid. It’s totally leafless. It has only roots and it stores all the water
in its roots. If we look at this Angraecum orchid from Madagascar, it has big
heavy roots. Again the same adaptation, storing water in
these roots after rainfall and drying out during the day. So, having said that, orchids are kind of a bit like cacti
if you think about it, okay? They store water. They don’t wanna be sitting in water. So, when you purchase this orchid from your
local grocery store it comes, and it’s sitting in
this ceramic pot usually. No holes in the bottom. And it is potted in sphagnum moss which retains
a ton of water okay. So this is fine if you let this dry out between waterings. So if you stick your finger down in there
and it’s dry it’s time to water it again. So when it’s flowering it’s okay to leave
the plant in this medium and in this container, making
sure you don’t leave a lot of water in that ceramic container. Well, what people often do is they over-water
these, okay? And what that does, is it causes these nice roots to
rot. And the crown of the plant rots as well. And then the leaves start to droop and people
think it’s run out of water and it needs more water but what’s really happened here
is that the roots have rotted off and the crown’s rotted so the plant can’t actually
take up any more water because its roots are gone. Once it reaches that stage it’s finished. So what we want to do then is after the plant
flowers is to remove it from this medium and put it in something that will drain much better and be easier to water so you’re not
gonna over-water it. So what I would do, and I’ll just demonstrate
here what we’re gonna do, hopefully is get the plant out of here. And it comes, it’s in a just a cheap plastic
pot that they mass produce these plants in. And there’s the roots and they’re nice and
pliable when they’re wet. So orchid roots are stiff when they’re dry. You can see that you could break that, it
crunches. – [Host] Yeah, it sure did. – [Randall] These roots are nice and pliable
so you want to make sure that this medium is nice and wet before you try and re-pot
it because the roots will become nice and pliable once you have done that. So I just remove all this sphagnum. – [Host] So if you break some of those roots
is that okay? – Yeah. Yeah that’s okay. But you probably won’t break very many when
they’re moist but make sure, any orchid make sure you soak it before you go to transplant
it because it’ll make the roots very pliable and then you can
position them in the pot afterword. – [Host] Oh, good tidbit, okay. – So I’m just removing everything in here. These plants are mass grown and usually in
Florida and Taiwan and they grow them all at the same stage so they know how to water
them in a mass greenhouse. They water them every third day or something. They monitor the moisture very carefully. So they can grow them like this, but again
our tendency for us is to over-water them and that leads to the death
of the plant. Especially if you have a greenhouse. If you’re growing these in a greenhouse where
water gets everywhere it’s very hard to keep something dry when the pot next to
it has just been watered okay. So that’s the other problem. So there I’ve removed– – [Host] Wow you did a good job with that! – Yeah I’ve removed all that sphagnum and
there you just see the healthy root system. So it’s nice and green. The root tips are nice and green. These are healthy roots. You don’t wanna see, if you see brown roots that means
they’re dead and you’ve gotta remove those as well. But these are all nice and healthy so what
you wanna see with an orchid is nice, healthy roots. And you also generally wanna re-pot orchids
when the roots are growing. Like in the springtime is the best time to
re-pot orchids. So I’ve got that out of the way. Now we can go ahead and pot it and I prefer
clay pots for a couple reasons. One reason is that the pot breathes easier
so you can get lots of air exchange and it’ll dry out. Once it’s been watered it’ll dry out quickly. These orchid pots are specially made with
slots in them so that the water will run out. So you can buy these at your local home improvement store. So they’re fairly easy to obtain. If you don’t have the orchid pot you can just
use a regular clay pot. So I just prefer clay. Some people like plastic but I prefer clay because it dries up. The other thing with clay is it’s heavy. And it’s not as easy to tip over. When you have a plant that’s in a plastic
pot it’s easy to tip over, especially in a greenhouse. The clay gives it that stability that it needs. So then I go ahead and I put in extra drainage
in the bottom of the pot. I put this, these pot shards which are broken up clay pots. So when you break a clay pot you just save
the pieces or you can use styrofoam pellets some people like to use. Anything to provide additional drainage. Charcoal is another thing you can put in the
bottom. So I just put that in there for extra drainage. Plus it gives the pot extra weight. So the pot is now nice and heavy. Then, potting, I’m gonna use orchid bark. Which is available, again, at your local home
improvement store, it’s available online. It’s fir or pine bark and it will, it’s well drained, it’s pH balanced. It will last two or three years. So about every two or three years you have
to re-pot the orchid. But it’ll last quite a good long time. So you can buy that in bags at your local home improvement
store pretty easily or online. So then it’s just a simple matter of taking
the orchid and positioning it in the pot and getting all the roots down in there. And then pouring the bark in and around there. I’m just gonna take some and take it by hand
and put it in. So the bark will sift down and around the plant. And you wanna make sure you keep the crown
of the plant above soil level so it doesn’t rot. So that’s the other thing here that you’ll
wanna do. – [Host] Oh there you go. You’ve done it a couple of times. – I’ve done this a few times. Yeah, so you get all that nice bark in there
push it down in nice and firm. We have a couple pieces there, okay. Like that. So there, it’s positioned nicely in there. The stake can be repositioned. – [Host] So we keep the stake right? – We keep the stake, yeah. We may have to readjust it a little bit. The other thing you can use to keep this plant
stable while it’s becoming accustomed to the new pot, growing into the medium, is to put one of these in
there which is a rhizome stake. So this rhizome stake clips on the edge of
the pot but you put it near or on the base of the plant, and just push it down in. Okay, let me turn this plant around this way. So I push that in there and that will help
the plant stay in position while it begins to take to the new pot. Then you can remove the rhizome stake later
on. – Then it’s ready for watering? – Then you just water it and then this, if
it’s, you know, in the summertime if you’ve got it outside and there’s shade you could
water it every day and you won’t worry about it. In the winter, if you bring it inside under
lights or on the windowsill you can water it every few days. You’re not gonna worry about it having that
rot. – Well Doc, we’re glad you’re here. That was some good information. What did you think about that? – Very good, very good. – Good information, learned more about orchids,
so thank you much. – Well, I’m glad to do it anytime. – All right, thank you.


Dave Rowell

May 5, 2018, 11:36 am Reply

Great video. Really informative. This man really knows what he is talking about. I would recommend it to all orchid growers.

rj alston

Dec 12, 2018, 2:01 am Reply

Best instructional video I've seen on orchid repotting…Going with what this expert says!?


Mar 3, 2019, 1:16 pm Reply

Excellent tutorial- great guest pick

Andre Laframboise

May 5, 2019, 12:54 pm Reply

These plants are gonna “me too” this guy for touching them so much

Eve Pawelski

Sep 9, 2019, 12:25 am Reply

Thank you so much for this video. My grocery store orchid was a gift that somehow I've kept alive for over a year. I water it with 3-4 ice cubes once a week. Hopefully now I'll be able to keep it alive even longer!

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