I was given an Orchid several years ago and just wanted some advice on if I am taking care of it properly and if it needs to be in a larger pot. I am not much of a green thumb but this orchid has some significance so I would like to keep it well taken care of.

The orchid tag says Dan Airy Red Jumbo. I am yet to see any flowers in 3+ years but it has been growing. The leaves on the older stems have started to go off colour a bit and there is tons of roots sticking out everywhere.

I live in a tropical part of the world so we water it regularly and it stays out of direct sunlight.

Should I repot this into a large container, if so any soil type recommendations and fertiliser recommendations? The current pot size is 100mm diameter at the top and 85mm high.

Any other recommendations on the general welfare / care taking of this orchid?

Thank you

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2 Answers 2


From appearances, your orchid looks like a dendrobium. It's not true that orchids can be watered with a water spray bottle. During active growth, the planting mix should never be allowed to become too dry. The best way to check is to press a finger into the growing mix. If you can feel moisture, it doesnt need watering yet. When it's resting, the mix can be allowed to dry more. Dendrobium never have true dormancy like plants do in more northern climates but most people rest them in winter. Since you're in a tropical region, you don't need to.

Rather than keeping out of sun, if you have a place that gets a few hours early morning sun, your orchid will benefit from it. But afternoon sun is too hot and strong. Otherwise provide it with filtered sunlight. Without energy from adequate light, plants can't make enough food stores for flowering.

Have you ever fertilized the orchid in 3+ years? It should be given liquid fertilizer diluted 1/4 strength at every watering during active growth. A balanced orchid fertilizer is best if you're not sure what to use. Sometimes when an orchid doesn't flower, it can be jump-started with a high phosphorus fertilizer. In fertilizers, the middle number listed is fertilizer. For example, 10-10-10 is 10% each of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. A high phosphorus fertilizer might be 10-30-10.

Dendrobiums don't mind being in a smaller pot as long as the planting mix drains well. Most orchid mix have loose larger pieces and don't contain soil. A mix might contain shredded bark and sphagnum moss. Drainage is important. You should find orchid potting mix with no problem.

Don't worry about the roots showing. Most orchids are epiphytes (meaning they grow on tree branches on any moss and soil on it) and it's normal for roots to grow outward all over. Here's a YouTube video showing how to repot your dendrobium.

  • Thanks @Jude that is very helpful. Should i concerned about the discolouration of the leaves? I just recently bought an orchid specific fertilizer but it is in pellet form. It doesn't give the typical NPK numbers but a breakdown of all the elements in it where the phosphorus was the lowest compared to nitrogen and potassium. Rough calculation would show about 7-3-9.
    – tyelford
    Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 6:06
  • I think the leaf coloration will sort itself out if you provide enough light for it. The older leaves won't return to normal colours. Once they've changed, you can't change them back. --- I'm not sure I'd be happy with orchid fertilizer in pellet form but would have to know the am and brand to really judge it. This page explains more about fertilizing orchids and why fertilizer should be dissolved first. beautifulorchids.com/orchids/orchid_care_tips/feeding/…
    – Jude
    Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 6:42
  • Here is a link to the site of the fertilizer I have bought neutrog.com.au/strike-back-for-orchids Thanks for site i'll have a read, you have been very helpful
    – tyelford
    Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 6:47

It does look a bit cramped in that pot. Orchids don't need a lot of water, they can be watered with a spray bottle. There are orchid fertilizers available to add to the spray bottle. There are specialty orchid potting mixes available. Orchids have become popular enough that you should be able to find all the supplies you need at any local garden center.

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