Are you about to plant up your store-bought orchid in a pretty planter? You may want to skip this step, plant experts say, and just keep it in its plastic pot. It may not necessarily be the best-looking solution, but it probably is the best for your plant.
Much advice on how to grow orchids centers around watering them. However, as important as watering orchids correctly is to their health, their unique needs may also mean that the way we tend to pot them is incorrect too. Here's why.
Why you should keep orchids in clear plastic pots
There certainly are many benefits to growing your orchid in the plastic pot it came in at the plant nursery. As Calum Maddock, gardening expert at Home How (opens in new tab), explains, 'most orchids are epiphytes, and in the wild, their roots are typically exposed to the air and light.' A plastic pot with holes at the bottom provides your orchid with both. 'Light can shine on the roots of the orchid, which is highly beneficial.'
The other benefit is that 'it can help you know when to water your orchid. You can easily observe the moisture in the soil this way. But you can also tell by the weight of the pot because it is so much lighter compared to others. Simply pick up the orchid pot. A lightweight orchid pot likely needs to be watered, and a heavy orchid pot probably does not.'
Will an opaque pot kill my orchid?
You may have read something to this effect online – that putting your orchid in an opaque pot will almost certainly kill it. Is this true? Calum's view is that 'if you use an opaque pot, it won’t be the pot that kills the plant but rather the inexperienced gardener.'
Many people's orchids thrive in opaque pots, which is good news if you like the look of colourful planters for your indoor garden ideas. However, you must pick a pot that has drainage holes in it. As Calum explains, 'when you use a pot with holes, you guarantee that your orchid will receive enough air circulation around the roots, and the potting media can dry out between waterings.'
Undoubtedly, clear plastic pots are better for your orchids, so if you don't mind the look of them, just keep your orchid as it came. You can also compromise and place the plastic pot inside a nice planter to boost the look of your indoor plant ideas while the orchid is in bloom and not producing fresh roots. As soon as it's finished blooming, take the plastic pot out of the planter to help aid root growth with light.
Anna is a keen urban gardener, with David Austin roses and Japanese acers among her favourite plants. She moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space a couple of years ago. She's always been interested in how people make houses into homes, and how our concepts of what's stylish change over time.
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