How to Repot a Dendrobium

Dendrobiums will eventually need to be repotted
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In this article, we will discuss the best way to repot a Dendrobium. Dendrobiums are wonderful and attractive orchids but they soon will outgrow their own home and they will need to be repotted. In this article, you will find out how to do this.

The dendrobiums have short rhizomes and fine roots that can be easily damaged. This means it is best to repot in a slightly small plastic pot, where the plant is stabled and well staked.


Dendrobiums will eventually need to be repotted
Dendrobiums will eventually need to be repotted

First, you will need to disinfect any tools that you will be using, be a knife, secateurs, lever knife, or scissors. The best way to do this is to heat them for a couple of minutes by waving a lighter over them or even better a small blow torch. Remember to resterilize if you are moving more than one plant from its original housing to a new one.

Now, you need to look at your Dendrobium.   In the nursery, they tend to over pot the plant in a fine peat-based mix where the old root ball will remain from the smaller pot in which it was originally grown in and is still intact, can be seen. It is best to wait for the plant to stop flowering and is showing new growth before repotting the plant in a new growing media.

Squeeze the plant from its original container if it is in a plastic pot.  It should come out easily but if it is in a terracotta pot, you may need to use a lever knife to free the roots and the plant. This should not be a worry as plants bought from the garden centres tend to come out easily.

Loosen all the old growing media by using your fingers and then examine the roots. It may not look its best but as long as it has live roots, it will grow quickly.  Cut away any dead or dry roots. If you find any old, shrivelled pseudobulbs that look like old seedling growth, this may be removed to give a better fit in the new pot. The old flowering spike will now need to be cut off close to the upmost leaves.


Evergreen dendrobiums tend to have small rhizomes and a fine root system and as a result will so better if it is repotted into a smaller pot, where a Cattleya will struggle.  Select a pot size that will take two years of growth (at least twice the size of the root ball), but at least smaller than you think.  Aim small, not large.

Dendrobium will eventually produce flowers when it is repotted
Dendrobium will eventually produce flowers when it is repotted

Dendrobiums prefer to be housed in a pot for a while, where they can be frequently watered allowing the growing media to dry out between waterings. They do not tolerate soggy compost that can happen if it is placed in a large pot.

Use an orchid compost that contains fir bark, charcoal, clay granule balls and perlite, as long as it free-draining then it can be used. Fill the growing media to 1.25cm below the top rim of the pot, make a hole for the root ball to fit in, place the plant in, making sure that the pseudobulbs are not covered at all. You will need to tap the plant and pot on a table as this will help in the firming of the plant in the pot.


Use a rhizome clip to help secure the plant in its place, which can be tightened via a standard clip to fit any suitable sized plastic pot. Because you are using a small pot, it is very important to make sure the plant is staked upright, because the shallow roots can be easily damaged.

A plant that is not supported will wobble and have a tendency to fall over, making a mess. It will stop the roots from establishing and the plant could die. You will need to use a straight metal stake to stabilize the plant further. Slip the stake over the edge of the pot and then use a wire to fasten the plant to the stake. Your dendrobium will now be repotted and well supported.

To complete the set-up, prepare a name tag and upon it write the name of the plant, the date you repotted in and a reminder when you want to repot the plant once again.


In this article, we have discussed why you will need to repot on a dendrobium and how to do this so you can pot on successfully. It is better to use a smaller pot, a smaller pot than you first thought off to move your short rooted plant into. If you support the plant with a rhizome clip and a metal stake, you will get at least 2 years of new growth before it will need to be potted once more

You now know how to repot a dendrobium bought from a garden centre.

If you have any question or comments that you wish to make on this topic. Please do so in the comment box below.

Happy dendrobium repotting.

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