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How to Choose an Orchid Pot

When shopping for an orchid pot, you'll find many types to choose from. Some orchid containers are more ornamental, while others have functional differences. The most common container is the basic pot — plastic or clay (terracotta); each material has its advantages, and choosing one may depend on the type of orchid you are repotting.

In general, if your orchids tend to dry out too often, use plastic pots rather than clay and use a fine potting mix. If you tend to be a heavy waterer, use clay pots with a coarse mix.

The big differences between standard garden pots and those used for orchids are the number and size of drainage holes in the container. Orchid pots have larger holes and more of them, both in the bottom and sides of the pot, to ensure better drainage.

Some containers are shallow — shorter than standard garden pots — and with a larger base, which is especially useful for top-heavy orchids. Other pots are tall and narrow to meet the needs of orchids with super-long roots, such as Asian cymbidiums.

Types of orchid pots include:

  • Net pots are made of black plastic mesh. These pots are reminiscent of the green strawberry baskets from the produce section of the supermarket.

  • Clear plastic, which allows light to reach the roots and enables you to observe root growth

  • Pots with a net basket insert for great drainage and air circulation

  • Pots with bi-level drainage, which have a domed bottom studded with drainage holes

  • Wooden baskets, usually constructed of teak or some other rot-resistant wood. When potting in a basket, line the basket with sheet moss, and then add your potting mixture.

Whether you choose clay or plastic, make sure that your orchid pot is rigid and strong enough to support top-heavy blossoms or root-bound growth. (Plenty of orchids enjoy being a bit root-bound.)

You can find many different types of containers for growing orchids.
You can find many different types of containers for growing orchids.
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