Tips & Techniques

Best Orchid Pots: Beginner’s Buying Guide

Orchids can be quite fussy about the type of pot they live in. In general, they require good drainage and plenty of free airflow around their roots. This helps to prevent root rot and ensures their sprawling root systems have plenty of room to grow.

However, a lot of new growers don’t know this and end up causing damage to their plant by picking the wrong kind of pot. Many “standard” plant pots don’t have sufficient drainage and simply aren’t suitable for orchids.

The good news is that there are plenty of pots out there designed specifically for orchids. Let’s take a look at a few of the more common types.

Clay Pots

Clay orchid pots with large holes

Most normal clay pots aren’t suitable for orchids as their drainage holes are too small.

However, some come with much larger holes located at the bottom and sides of the pot. These holes help to ensure that the pot drains efficiently, and will keep the plant from absorbing too much water throughout the day.

If you happen to have some standard clay pots already, you can carefully drill these extra holes yourself. They’ll work just fine.

Net Pots

Small orchid in black plastic net pot

Next, there are net pots, which are made of black, plastic mesh. These will look similar to the containers you get strawberries in when you visit a farmstead during the summer.

These are actually great pots for orchids, as they have excellent drainage and airflow. However, many homeowners avoid them simply because these look a little less appealing, especially after extended use.

Because of this, a common way to use them is as a lining inside another, more attractive pot. This way you get the best of both worlds.

Plastic Pots

Moth orchid in clear plastic pot by windowsill

Clear plastic pots are another popular option. Many people find them practical because they’re able to see the root system grow over time. You can also easily see how damp the potting mix is, which helps with knowing when to water your orchid.

These pots will look like your standard azalea pot, with the only difference being that they are clear and completely see-through.

If you prefer a more classic look, then this option might just be a bit too modern for you. But again, you can use one of these as an inner pot.

Ceramic Pots

Row of orchids in ceramic pots

Ceramic pots with net inserts can be a great way to ensure that your orchid gets sufficient drainage. They’ll also help it to get the right amount of air circulation, which can be helpful for plant growth.

Ceramic pots can also look great. The style goes well with the elegant and luxurious look of the orchids themselves.

Wooden Planters

Various types of orchid growing in hanging wooden planters

Finally, there are wooden boxes that have become more and more popular over the last few years.

These are made from rot-resistant wood and will typically be lined with sheet moss. They’re then filled with the potting medium best suited for your particular orchid. This potting option comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and many homeowners have come to appreciate the natural look that they present.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Potting Mix Should I Use?

The three main options are often soil, moss, and tree bark. However, it’s important to bear in mind that not all orchids enjoy being set in the same potting medium.

Dendrobiums, for example, enjoy having their roots exposed so that they can wrap around whatever they’re planted near. This means that they won’t enjoy being set in soil and it can do severe damage in terms of their growth and health.

Here are some common orchid potting mixes:

Make sure you check out our potting media guide to see which type is best for your orchid.

Which Pot Does My Particular Orchid Prefer?

Dendrobium thyrsiflorum growing outdoors in clay pots
Dendrobium thyrsiflorum growing in a small clay pot

Now that you understand all the options available to you, it’s time to think about the type of orchid that you’re trying to grow.

In general, most types of orchid should grow just fine in any of the above pots.

However, this can vary a bit depending on where your orchid grows naturally, as well as the shape and size of your orchid. For instance, Dendrobiums usually do best in a slightly smaller pot, because they tend to grow quite tall and narrow.

Be sure to check out our orchid care guides to learn more about your particular type of orchid and its care requirements.

Thanks for reading! We hope you found this guide useful. If you have any tips or tricks for growing orchids in pots, leave us a comment below.

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