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Tutorial: How to Transplant Cymbidium Orchids

I was given an entire lesson awhile back on transplanting Cymbidium Orchids from my father-in-law’s friend who as been growing, caring, teaching about orchids for 50+ years! I couldn’t just sit on the information so I took some pictures along the way to show you how to transplant them.

The biggest advice…they are SUPER resilient and you can be a bit rough with them and they will still survive!!!

What you’ll need:

  • Bark mixture (bark, coconut husk, perlite). I purchased my mixture from Yamada’s.
  • Pots with holes on the bottom
  • Epsom salt
  • Oyster shells or washed and dried egg shells
  • Nutricote fertilizer
  • Knife
  • Pinking shears
  • Plant tags

When your pot starts to look like this, you know it’s time to transplant them.

Generally speaking, it should come right out of the pot. Unless you’ve waited this long, you may need to use a lil bit more finesse to pry it out.

 What I’ve found that works is laying the pot on its side and applying pressure on the pot. This should loosen it up from the pot and the plant should easily slip out.

This is where all the fun begins!

The roots were so firmly packed that we had to use a knife and pinking shears to clean it up. What you’re aiming for is removing all the old bark, cutting off the dead roots, and trimming any new ones that have gotten long. How do know when the roots are dead? By feel…haha…well, for a newbie like myself, this was hard. But you can tell by looking at the roots; the new healthy ones are firm, white/tannish, not shrivelled and browned. After removing the bark, cutting the old ones, and trimming the new ones, your orchid should look like this.

 Now it’s time to separate the bulbs. You want to have a minimum of 3 bulbs in each pot.

 Using your knife, you can cut the bulbs apart. Again, they are quite resilient so don’t be scared…just find a separation of bulbs and slice through them.

To clean them up further, you’ll notice that there are dried up leaves on the bottom of the bulb. You can peel these off and if they are really tough, use a razor to split the dead leaf apart and then peel away. Here’s what it should look like.

Much better! Now we are ready to pot them.

Take a pot and fill it up halfway with your bark mixture. You can use your hands to really make the bark compact or use a stick like so to pack it down.

Position the new plant so that the “older” bulbs (ones without leaves) are closer to the edge of the pot. This will enable the bulbs with the leaves to continue growing and have enough space to do so. Then place bark on top and pack it down again using your fingers or stick.

Ready for the secret?

OK. So maybe it’s not a secret but it’s news to me! Epsom salt, which provides magnesium to your orchids. Some believe it to be a “bloom booster”. Oyster shells, which provides calcium. And Nutricote, fertilizer.

Sprinkle a bit of salt around the bulbs.

Then some oyster shells. Place another layer of bark mixture on top of the salt and oyster shells.

Your last layer is Nutricote. Make sure to leave approximately an inch from the top of the bark to the top of the pot.  Water your plant and then pack down the bark again, if needed.

From 1 plant to 5! Be sure to tag them with the names of the orchids.

It’s been 4 months or so and none have died! Yay for awesome teachers! They won’t bloom this year but I cannot wait to see all 16 of my orchids(!) bloom next season!

Hope you found this tutorial helpful!

big sis

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6 comments… add one

  • hanna October 27, 2012, 5:15 am

    16 orchids?! Impressive! Can’t wait to see what they look like after they bloom. Those would make great end of the year gifts for your teachers!

    • lilsprinkles October 28, 2012, 2:56 am

      thanks! thought about it as gifts but would feel so sad if they never bloomed!

  • Lynne October 5, 2013, 4:47 am

    Thank you so much as this really helps me. I loved that you showed pictures as it makes it so much easier to understand!

  • lilsprinkles October 7, 2013, 7:05 pm

    lynne: good luck transplanting your orchids!! -bigsis

  • Elaine February 7, 2015, 9:29 pm

    What time of year do you do this, mine will be in bloom soon?

    • lilsprinkles February 7, 2015, 10:28 pm

      Elaine: I was told to wait until after they’ve bloomed. When transplanting them, you will notice that they take a few years for the orchids to bloom again. So enjoy them first! I do mine in the summer. Thanks for stopping by!

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