Orchid Pots

The changes of pot only have to be made when the plant needs it, and being careful not to provide an excessively large pot, because if not, the plant concentrates on taking roots and does not flower. 

It is not a good idea to transplant when it is about to bloom, you could cause stress to the orchid and lose the flower buds. 

In the market there are a wide variety of pots for orchids, plastic or glass, ceramics, glass, transparent and opaque. 
I’ll tell you a secret, you can use the pot you want for your orchids , but with conditions … read on. 
If you check the types of orchids that exist, you will find that they have different forms of growth. 
Most orchids are usually epiphytes, they grow on tree branches in their natural state, with their roots completely in the air, to take advantage of the prevailing humidity. 
But it is not the only type of growth, there are orchids that grow rooted in the earth (terrestrial) and others that grow between or on the stones (lithophytes).
Each of them has a different need, so ideally, you should check what type of orchid you have and choose the most suitable pot for your care. 
As a rule we can establish that the orchid we buy and comes in a transparent plastic pot, will need in the future a pot of the same characteristics, while an orchid that comes in an opaque or translucent plastic pot, we must transplant to a pot of similar characteristics, and then you will know why.


  • 1 Types of pots for orchids
    • 1.1 Transparent and opaque plastic pots
    • 1.2 Ceramic or clay pots for orchids
    • 1.3 Hanging baskets
    • 1.4 Glass pots

Types Of Orchid Pots

There are special pots for orchids. These pots have a greater number of lateral cuts for a greater drainage of the pot, and that also get air to the roots, so necessary for the growth of most orchids. 
Each pot has its advantages and disadvantages, which you must know to correctly choose the pot that best suits your orchid and to help us offer the care you need.

Transparent and opaque plastic flowerpots

Orchids are mostly epiphytes and perform part of the photosynthesis through their roots. 
The false myth that orchid flowerpots have to be transparent is widespread , for this reason. 
The true reality is that transparent plastic pots let us observe the state of health of the roots, and thus better control the need for irrigation of orchids. 
If the roots appear whitish, the orchid needs to be watered. A green roots, are a sign that is perfectly hydrated. 

Does the orchid flowerpot have to be transparent? Most orchids are epiphytic plants, which in nature live on the branches of trees, rocks or on leaf litter, but without their roots penetrate the substrate. 
This special way of life has contributed to their roots being a little different from the rest of the plants. 
The roots of epiphytic orchids contribute to photosynthesis. 
If we cover the roots with an opaque pot, the roots will not be able to carry out photosynthesis, the orchids will be obliged to perform this function through their leaves, but “there is no problem” in covering the roots of the orchids.
So why does everyone say that the roots must be in sight? The reason why the roots of the orchids is better than they are in sight, is because we watch them and we detect if they need to be watered or not. 
A good option is to use a transparent pot, tucked inside a decorative pot.

One of the orchids that we will always find in transparent plastic pots is the Phalaenopsis.They are very sensitive to moisture in their roots, which is why it is convenient to control their roots very closely. 
Many orchid growers have theirPhalaenopsis inside a plastic pot, but later they use a decorative pot, where they put the plastic pot. 
As you know, orchids need good humidity. Plates are usually placed with water and pebbles, so that the roots are not in direct contact with the water, a situation that is very harmful to them. 
There are plastic pots that are already provided to avoid this problem, so the bottom of the pot is at different heights, come on … they have a kind of legs or double bottom.
As to whether they are transparent or not, plastic orchid flowerpots are more a question of irrigation and surveillance than of need for orchids.

It is recommended for the “initiation” of these beautiful plants, since at the time of transplanting it is much easier to remove it without “hurting its root”, you do not necessarily have to buy the specials for them (photo 1), with taking a common pot with several drainage holes, I even do more by the sides, it will be necessary, as well as any plastic container to which you will open several holes. 
There are plastic pots for orchids similar to baskets with hanging, because I buy some baskets in the cosmetics stores, which the hairdressers use to have more organized their utensils, (they worked great for me). In addition many other models more ” sophisticated and flirty ” that are a little more expensive.

Ceramic or clay pots for orchids

There are some varieties of orchids that like clay pots, such as Cattleya . 
In this case they like the clay pot, because it dries more quickly than a plastic pot. 
However I would put a problem, the transplant. 
Orchids need regular changes of pot. As the substrate for orchids is very thick, the roots are in contact with the pot for a long time. 
This can cause the roots to stick to the pot in the clay pots , which makes transplanting very difficult.
A similar aspect can be achieved with terracotta or ceramic pots, which in some cases are topped on the inside and have a smooth surface, which facilitates the transplant. I would lean towards the latter.

Hanging baskets

Finally, we have the hanging baskets, ideal for orchids like Vanda , that the roots should not be put inside a pot. 
It is not that we can not place them in a plastic pot, I have already said that it is possible, however, optimal growth is achieved in baskets.

The baskets allow the roots to be completely airborne, without any type of substrate. 
They tend to be woven wood, but other types of baskets can be used, even without using pots and hanging the plants from the stem , leaving the roots completely in the air. 
You will have verified that  you can put your orchids in the pot that you want. The really important thing is that some orchids need constant monitoring of their roots, so it is advisable to use clear plastic pots.

Glass pots

For this you can use any vase or container that is wide , put a layer of tape and cover it with water, on this you will place a plastic pot with abundant holes and substrate for orchids (pine bark, anime, coal and others).

This type of pots or better said planters guarantee the humidity and freshness to the plant, besides that they are really showy, sophisticated and pleasant for interior decoration placing the orchids. However youcan place the plant inside the glass or ceramic container with substrate and a bit of the same record, I must say that they are a beautiful touch for any place we have.


Epiphytic orchids are best given in special containers. And getting them is less problematic than it seems. It is likely that the nearest garden center, has a wide range of perforated pots for Orchids or wire baskets or wooden slats . These containers are specially designed for the epiphytic orchids, since they allow the circulation of air around the roots, also allowing them to come out.


Most likely, young plants must be transplanted every year, to have more place to grow. But do not plant an Orchid in a larger pot without really needing it, that is, the previous one has been too small. The reason is that if there is a lot of compost around the roots, the plant will have to absorb a lot of water, in turn, the excess water could cause the roots to rot, to which the Orchids are quite prone.

A simple way to know if an epiphytic orchid has grown too much for its container, is to see if the last pseudobulb is touching the edge and has no room for others to grow.

Mature plants, those that are already in the pots definitely, usually about 20cm in diameter, can be left for one or two years, then they will need new compost.

Replace the plant in a pot of the same size.


All Orchids, whether epiphytic or not, can be grown in both clay pots and plastic pots. The clay ones are heavier and firmer, usually more suitable for large plants. There are special clay pots for epiphytic orchids, although they are not necessary. These have holes on the sides to allow the roots to breathe. Be careful not to choose too large a pot when transplanting small Orchids. Choose a pot that provides the plant with only the space needed for a year’s growth (where a new pseudobulb and rhizome fit). What should be done is to change the plant to a pot a larger measure, such as a 13 cm diameter to a 15 cm. Do not worry if you see it too tight

Materials and sizes of the pots for orchids

One of the reasons why plastic is an ideal material for epiphytic orchid pots is because it does not retain moisture or salts. 
Being an inert material, it does not influence the growth of orchids. 
If we use mud, it will retain a lot of moisture and also salts, two obvious reasons for not using this material, at least in the transplanting of Phalaenopsis orchids, that their roots are very susceptible to get sick when there is excess moisture and salts. 
There are orchids that prefer porous materials, such as the Cattleya , who appreciate a touch of moisture in their roots. 
My recommendation is plastic in all its variants, and my main reason is transplants.
The orchids must be transplanted frequently, and the roots stick very much to the clay pots, that is a problem that we do not have to face with the plastic pots. 
As for the size of the new pot, it is convenient that it is not excessively large, compared to the previous one. 
Ideally, the diameter is about 2.5 centimeters more than the previous one. If the pot is very large, it is possible that the orchid concentrates all its efforts in making the roots grow, and despise its blooms. 
We choose the pot that we choose, we must always be very careful that it drains well. At this point you will have discovered that orchids can not stand that their roots are permanently moist.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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