Before we even begin this post let me just say that repotting orchids and orchids in general are not my strong suit. My mother seems to have the knack for keeping an orchid alive and all tips have been learned by watching her methods. This bark method works well for what I call the general orchid; ones you can pick up at home improvement and grocery stores (phalaenopsis for the picky of us). However, there are many types. Research your specific variety or you may end up with a dead orchid on your hands and these suckers are not cheap!
- Pots: Make these well draining!!! There are special pots with lots of holes on the side. I find a fast drying terracotta also works well. NO plastic. I have a tutorial on faux finishing pots for a rustic look if you want a way to jazz up the pots.
- Orchid bark: Available at any home improvement store
- Orchid: Going to need something to repot
Step 1: Removing the Orchid
Most orchids you buy are crammed into these tiny plastic pots and packed with moss. This is just… no. Orchid roots need to breathe and have excellent drainage. While they like moist conditions, soggy roots are just asking to rot the whole plant from the inside. Get that poor sucker out of that tiny cup and start removing the packed in moss. Tease out the roots. Important!!!! If you see any mushy brown roots cut them off immediately.
Step 2: Save Some Moss
Unless the moss is in a poor or rotted condition I save a tiny amount to mix in the bark. I do mean tiny! I would not go more than a 1/4 of the mix of bark and moss. You are trying to remedy the situation of trapped soggy roots, not add to it with compacted wet moss. The reason I add the moss is to maintain a little more moisture. My house is very dry, so you could skip the moss entirely if you live in humid locations.
Step 3: Plunk Orchid in Pot
I am sorry this is not more complicated… Basically throw some bark/moss in the pot, fan out the orchid roots, stick in pot, and pour more bark on top. If a root sticks out, no worries!!! Be aware that orchids in bark are not terribly rooted down. Basically do not put them in a high child or cat traffic areas where they will get constantly pulled out of the pot. Ask me how I know this… Once I have them in the bark I set them in the sink and give all the roots and bark a thorough wet down. Do NOT soak! Just let the water run through. Then repeat this type of watering whenever the bark dries out.