My phal finished blooming last week, so I am now ready to repot. However, the plant has gotten quite unruly. It's about 5.5" from the soil line to the center of the top leaf, has developed a fairly substantial keiki two leaves up from the base, and has a plethora of roots growing well above the soil.

What's the proper course of action for repotting and/or taming it?

Edit to clarify the current setup and routine: The pot has a layer of pebbles at the bottom to keep the plant from sitting in water. It also has a few pebble between the pot and saucer to keep the pot out of the water.

No white stuff on the top of the soil. Speaking of which the soil is actually a orchid potting mix, Miracle-Gro's I believe, with a little bit of sphagnum moss mixed in to help it retain some water.

It is watered once a week using distilled water with a teaspoon of Better-Gro's Orchid Plus Plant Food (20-14-13) per gallon, as they recommend.

Side A:

side A

Side B, with most of the keiki leaves:

Side B, with most of the keiki leaves

Edit to show off the blooms: Showing off the blooms Showing off the blooms 2

1 Answer 1


I'd get a slightly larger, maybe 2" bigger in diameter pot that is terracotta. It breathes. Lift the pot off the saucer so that it never sits in excess water. You must be doing well with watering...definitely don't over water. Can't see the top of the soil...does it have white stuff on top? Are you watering with tap water or well water? Use STERILIZED POTTING SOIL that has bacteria and mycorrhysae incorporated. Do not use garden soil...get a pot that is wider than its height. Water with distilled water or a friend's well water. Tap water is full of salts, chlorine, fluorine and even we should not drink this stuff. Fertilize with Osmocote 14-14-14 or 16-16-16 twice per year and no more! This plant is indoors 100% of the time? Do you have a shaded porch it could go out on during the summer months? That would extend its life tremendously. Very healthy plant...make sure you don't replant repot in too large of a pot. This looks like an 8" pot (I think) so no more than a 10" pot. In the spring get another that is 12". Don't worry about the adventitious roots, just shows it needs a bit more room.

  • 2
    Carefull with recommending potting soil! This is an ORCHID! Also OP should not change the established feeding routine and those roots all over the place is normal, DO NOT try to stuff them all into a pot. Orchids' roots are different!
    – Stephie
    Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 21:17
  • Stephie...what soil would you recommend? Garden soil is a big no-no. There are potting soils made for orchids of course. Definitely leave the adventitious roots alone, but make no mistake, too large of a pot is disastrous.
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 21:52
  • I should add this plant would love a bit more light. See how it is severely angled toward the window? Perhaps a decent grow light? Keep it out of direct sun but the light needs to be increased. Do get rid of tap water for watering. Must be a beautiful flower. I love the roots and dark green leaves! Going out on a shaded porch, out of the wind but increasing the 'light candles' will help this plant add to its root system and be more hardy for indoors during the winters. Be careful not to take outside too early or back inside too late!
    – stormy
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 21:59
  • Thank you very much stormy and @Stephie. I added a few details to the post in response to your comments, also a few pictures of the orchid in bloom because I like showing it off. If you have a recommended potting mix to use I would appreciate hearing about it. I have a north-facing shaded porch that I could give a try, but the orchids that I have kept in that window previously did not fare very well. Do either of you have any recommendations for a good source to research a grow light setup? Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 2:55
  • What window orientation is it in right now? Your plant looks so very happy/healthy. Stay there!! How long have you had this plant? Whatever you are doing, LOOKS fine. You need a bit larger pot, but still waiting for Stephie to tell us what soil is better! I love this gal, she is brilliant...but ONLY use sterilized potting soil. There are ORCHID mixes that are more acid...but in no way use garden soil, EVER for plants that are reliant on what you give them in pots!! Has this plant ever been out of doors on a shaded porch when the weather is wonderful? Kiss kiss, Stephie!! Grins!!
    – stormy
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 21:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.