When Daniel and I were dating I was in a play and, instead of a bouquet, he bought me a potted orchid. Now, my mom had a bunch of orchids growing in coconuts and pots on our front porch in Thailand and they were crazy easy to keep alive. You know. In a tropical paradise. In Arkansas? Not so much. I have slowly been killing that beautiful orchid for the past several years. I’m a champion houseplant killer. That exotic beauty never had a chance.
I’m cleared by the Dr. to start going back to normal activities now but when I was still on lockdown I was excited to find anything productive to do that didn’t require me to lift anything or be more active that I was supposed to be. Re-potting the deathbed orchid was a perfect opportunity to feel like I could accomplish something more than being a milk machine (which is a very important job, indeed, but still!). Getting out in the sun was a wonderful mood-lifter as well.
Here is how I re-potted my orchid!
First I gathered all of my tools.
- My nearly dead orchid
- Orchid Book with re-potting directions
- New Pot
- Potting material (orchids don’t live in regular soil)
- Big bowl or bucket for soaking the potting material with water the night before
- Hand shovel and gloves
- The new tiny orchid we bought when we picked up the potting mix. It was 50% off. We couldn’t resist.
If your orchid looks like this, you need to re-pot it. And maybe give up houseplants altogether I personally don’t know when to quit. Mine used to have two big stalks and lots of leaves on it. Poor orchid. I should be ashamed.
First I soaked the potting mix with equal parts water the night before. I drained off the excess water before I started re-potting. I also gave the orchids a good soaking so it would be easier to clean the potting medium off the roots. Once I carefully freed the roots from the old potting medium I snipped off all the brown and/or mushy bits of root.
There was a lot to cut off. I ended up with only one long and two short stalks of healthy, bright green root. Oh, poor, poor, abused Orchid.
I planted the orchid in the potting mix up to the the leaf just like you would any other plant. The good news? There IS a new leaf growing next to the big one. YAY! Hopefully it will survive the shock of the re-potting. The book says that’s a possibility. The potting medium isn’t very pretty so I added a decorative covering. Daniel had some leftover green mossy stuff from the egg-laying box for the geckos. Isn’t he sweet to share with me? I can’t remember what that stuff is called but it’s pretty 🙂
I also re-potted the tiny new orchid into a bigger pot. After doing a little more research I realized I should have waited on this one until it was finished blooming. Whoops. It’s been two weeks though and it seems to be doing OK and not trying to die on me so maybe I didn’t kill it. See? I should probably not try to grow Orchids. Seriously. Who makes one last attempt to save a plant they’ve almost killed and buys another one in the process? Cause the first one worked out so well. But see how pretty?