Many orchids enthusiasts seem to think that orchids should only be grown in large pots. A huge pot may seem like a good idea at the time, but if you’re going to grow your orchid in one, you have to use some special care. A larger pot doesn’t provide much of a buffer for your orchid to rest in between watering or planting, and it certainly won’t provide your orchid with any shady area to grow in. However, orchids do require some shade or shady areas to grow, and some orchids can actually thrive better when they’re planted in pots that are somewhat smaller.
When you’re trying to decide whether or not to grow an orchid in a pot, remember that most orchids prefer a larger pot, as long as it’s big enough. You don’t need to go crazy and put a hole in your counter or floor, but you do need a sizable enough pot to hold the orchid in place. Too small a pot, and you risk your orchid plant being able to absorb too much water or air from your environment; orchid plants have very sensitive roots and may drown if there is too much water or too much air in the pot. Of course, too big a pot also provides less of a buffer, and your orchid plants will end up competing with the roots of your plants for nutrients.
Most orchids can survive quite well in regular potting materials, but you should use something a bit finer than regular potting soil in these small pots. If you’re growing a plant that prefers to be in the shade, use a fine-grit sandpaper when orchid plants are in pots. If your orchid plants are going to be in bigger pots, then use a light wash of medium grit sandpaper. Some orchids are sensitive to the presence of chlorine, and so you should never use bleach or ammonia to clean their pots. These chemicals are toxic to orchid plants and can kill them quickly.
Do orchids like big pots, but they shouldn’t be filled to the top, as they won’t be receiving enough of the plant’s resources. In fact, you shouldn’t fill the pot at all – just about half of the pot should be filled with water and the rest with a plant-based fertilizer. The pot should be kept in a shady area during the day and left in the sun when nighttime temperatures are high. This will encourage growth – and you’ll notice that as your orchid grows, its size increases, too.
When potting your orchid plants, keep in mind what time of year they are going to be in bloom. Younger orchids need to have their roots moist, but if you plant them too close together, they may share water. On the other hand, mature orchids need their pots to dry out completely before planting them. You can put a piece of fabric over the pot if you aren’t wearing one, so that the plant will be covered while it recovers from being indoors.
If you’re thinking about buying plants for your new home or garden, try looking for orchid plants that can be grown in larger containers. Many orchids do well in pots that are between two to four inches in diameter. Just remember that your plant needs room to grow, so don’t purchase one of these pots if you think it will fit into a smaller pot. It will be too crowded, and the plant could become damaged. Keep in mind what size you’re going to get, and that size will be an important factor in where and how you plant your orchids.