Orchid Problems

Can You Repot an Orchid While In Bloom?

10 Comments

Repotting-An-OrchidRepotting an orchid while it is in bloom is something that many new and experienced orchid owners may have to do at one point for a plant. Unfortunately orchids are vastly different from many other plants and repotting an orchid while it is in bloom can lead to a world of problems. So when should you repot an orchid when it is in bloom? Will an orchid survive the repotting? And if so, what should one do immediately afterwards to protect the plant from further harm? Continue reading below to find out!

So what are the main problems when you report an orchid when it is in bloom?

Shock – repotting a plant in bloom means that it doesn’t have enough resources to adequately cope with the move so it goes into shock. This can result in wilting and sagging of the leaves and blooms. Generally this lasts until the plant dies off, or until it gets the required nutrients for recovery through fertilizers and water.

Bud Blast – if your orchid is blooming and has a few buds on it, when you repot it, there is a high chance that the plant will bud blast. This means that the plant recognizes the immediate need to retain its resources and recover from the move so it cuts off all extra resource expenditures to the blooms and buds. The buds on the orchid will then wither and fall off rather than blooming into the truly magnificent blossoms that orchids are renowned for.

Early Bloom Dropping – one of the most common problems owners face after repotting an orchid while it is in bloom is that the blooms will drop. Much like with a bud blast, the plant will realize that it needs all possible available resources so it will terminate the blooms to preserve the main plant. The repotting could result in those beautiful blossoms falling off prematurely, however with the proper care and maintenance the plant will bloom again the next flowering season.

Plant Death – lastly, repotting an orchid while it is in bloom can unfortunately kill the plant. If you repot the plant in materials it is not used to, in something that contains harmful chemicals or fertilizers, or simply adverse conditions, the orchid can die off. Sometimes the shock of a repotting while the orchid is in bloom is simply too much and the plant does not have enough nutrients and resources to sustain itself in the new environment.

When to repot an orchid in bloom?

When it comes to repotting an orchid, doing so when it is in bloom should be a last resort. Unfortunately, some circumstances require immediate repotting else the plant itself will die. These generally are when people first purchase plants from stores. Most stores, unless they are well maintained greenhouses with proper caretakers who understand the delicate needs of orchids, will pack the orchids in tightly with moss into small containers. These conditions unfortunately lead to root rot.

When the roots on a plant begin to rot because of the moss or container retaining too much water, it becomes absolutely necessary for the rotting roots to be removed and the plant to be repotted. Whenever you purchase an orchid from a store you should immediately smell the pot to ensure that there is no rot. Even if you don’t smell anything out of the ordinary, you should consider repotting the new orchid several weeks after purchasing just to understand what the roots look like and to ensure that the plant is healthy.

Fortunately, most people find that even after a traumatic experience with root rot and repotting, the plants can perk up quite quickly when placed in the proper environment with some added fertilizer to help them along. This care ensures that the plant is safe from certain death and that the plant, even if it was interrupted in its blooming phase, can live to be healthy and bloom again the next season.

Key Steps to bear in mind to Ensure Survival

If you absolutely have to repot your new orchid then there are a couple of steps you can take to ensure that your blooming orchid survives and, with a bit of luck, retains its blooms/buds.

  • Prepare your potting material by soaking it overnight.
  • Get a new pot that will allow the plant around a year or so of growth. If the original pot is fine, why not reuse it then?
  • Get clean scissors to cut out rotten roots.
  • Use cinnamon or sulfur to dust roots.
  • Use some fertilizer for a few weeks after to ensure your orchid survives.
  • Water the orchid more frequently as well for a few weeks after as it will need more than normal.

Have you ever repotted an orchid while in bloom? What happened? Leave us a comment below to tell us about it!

Do you need steps to repot your orchid? Learn how to repot your orchid here.

Your Comments

10 Comments so far

  1. Ioannis says:

    Purchased a miniature phal that looked stunning with many flowers and buds in a gift box. When taken home I found out it was potted in soaked through moss and the visible roots were yellow. It was repotted immediately and all the roots were in terrible condition. The buds stopped opening and started looking dry, but the flowers lasted for two weeks before fell off. The leaves developed yellow edges and started splitting. I have just cut the spike and hopefully the little phal will recover. In future I will check well the pot and roots before buying an orchid, even if its leaves and flowers look great.

  2. Jo A Parsons says:

    Can I just cut the flowering stem off and then repot?

  3. Emma says:

    I have a Phal that came home from the store. For about the past 10 days she has increasingly began to look worse she is also in bud, Bottom leaf turning yellow and falling off, all buds getting barely pea size then turning yellow and falling off. I finally had it and went to inspect (which should of happened a lot sooner I admit busy work week unfortunately). Mind you, I had not watered her in probably 3 weeks because of this. I found that her clear pot had nearly sealed against her non drainage decor pot. When i got it out, the bottom inch to inch and a half was filled with water. I immediately felt sick inside. So have set her in a big bowl so air flows freely around her clear pot. Her roots are still light green all around the top half of her pot but the bottom half are yellow. Its been 2-3 days now and her soil isn’t soaked but still moist. Every time I check her the bowl has little drops forming due to the humidity around her wet soil. Now, I am sitting here trying to decide if I should repot her completely or if I give her a little more time to dry. If I do repot should I cut back her stems? The way I look at the bud blast is her buds are already falling off before blooming anyways so that is not a main concern. I just want to do what is best for her.

    • Mary Ann says:

      It’s up to you, but it sounds like you should probably give it a little more time to dry out, in my opinion. But follow whatever your gut says. 🙂 Good luck! – Mary Ann

  4. AIDEN NEVILLE says:

    I am a beginner and I have just started caring for orchids.

    I brought three from the store and I wanted to re pot them so I could inspect the roots and give them fresh potting.

    I used fertilizer recommended for orchids. I then sat them in a water and orchid food solution for 10 minutes.

    I inspected them this morning and two of them are wilting. I do not know what to do to stop them from dieing and loosing their beautiful flowers? Please help.

    • Mary Ann says:

      They may just be reacting to the shock of a new environment and being repotted. You may lose these flowers, but just care for them properly according to their type, and they should rebloom. Start reading up about their type now and provide them with the environment they do best in. 🙂 Good luck! Let us know how it’s going. – Mary Ann


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