Orchid Potting Mix-3 Top Homemade Recipes

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A new orchid has been brought to your home, and after a short enthusiasm, your plant withers and you think you can just throw it away. What can you do to save it?

This is the right place to get advice on how to restore its beauty by making an orchid potting mix yourself.

Here you will find out when to repot your plant, what materials to use and how to combine them.

Orchid Potting Mix

In the foreground, orchids with yellow petals with pink lines. The beginning of the brown stems shown.Orchids that grow in the soil are terrestrial. However, most other orchids don’t need soil. This is because they are epiphytes that grow in the air and take their nutrients from there.

That’s why it is important to provide your plant with the right potting media. A balanced orchid potting mix should allow for good airflow and thus mimic the natural environment.

The best time to repot your orchid is when you notice that the roots have grown too much, the potting media breaks down and does not look healthy. Also, act when the plant becomes too big for the pot, and the roots rot.

The easiest way is to buy the potting mix in a special shop (like this one on Amazon) and that’s the end of the story.

However, if you want to embark on an adventure and try to make it yourself, you will discover how much fun and inspiring it is.

A quality orchid potting mix should retain moisture, drain water quickly, create conditions for good airflow and also break down slowly.

Potting Materials3 different materials for orchid potting mix

Here are the most commonly used materials:

  • Tree bark (fir bark, redwood bark…)
  • Charcoal
  • Coconut chips
  • Sphagnum Moss
  • Perlite

Recipes for Orchid Potting Mix

There are 3 recipes you can use.

General Combination

Prepare the first type of material that provides good airflow. Choose the type of bark, for example, Osmunda tree fern fiber, ground coastal redwood bark, or ground Douglas fir bark.

Then prepare the second type of material that retains moisture. Sphagnum moss, coconut husk chips, or perlite can be used. Finally, mix the first and second types of material in a ratio of 5:1.

Tip: 12 hours before use, Osmunda tree fern fiber should be soaked in water. Combine it with redwood bark in a ratio of 3:1.

Fine Combination

This mixture is intended for the type of orchid that has small roots and which is suitable for staying moist, such as Miltonia orchids, slipper orchids, or oncidiums.

Mix the listed materials in a ratio of 4:1:1.

  • Fine fir bark, redwood bark, or fine-grade coco chips
  • Perlite
  • Fine charcoal

Medium Combination

This mixture is suitable for mature orchids. Also if you are not sure which combination is best for your plant, feel free to try this one.

Mix the listed materials in a ratio of 4:1:1.

  • Medium fir bark or coco husk chunks
  • Perlite
  • Medium charcoal


All in all, to make a mixture yourself, combine tree bark, charcoal, coconut chips, sphagnum moss, and perlite in certain ratios.

The most important thing is that your orchid potting mix allows good airflow, retains moisture, drains water quickly, and also breaks down slowly.

RELATED: If you find soil mites on your orchid, read the following article.

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8 thoughts on “Orchid Potting Mix-3 Top Homemade Recipes”

  1. Hey Ana!

    Thank you for this blog post. I definitely needed it. I mean, my fiance needs it. 😀

    We bought an orchid just a few weeks ago, and it’s holding up well so far. But it never hurts to know more about it and be prepared for all possibilities.

    I will share this with her right away!

    • Thanks, Alisa for your comment. When I got the orchid, it started to decay and wither very quickly. However, after adding the necessary ingredients to the soil, new leaves appeared and I hope flowers soon.

  2. Hi Ana,
    I did not know that some Orchids grow in the air. How do they get water? Fascinating to learn that. Your potting mix is very simple as well, I will have to give it a try. meanwhile, I will most likely buy a bag of potting soil. Thank you for such an informative article!

    • Hello, Chas, thank you for commenting. There are orchids that belong to the epiphyte group. They have completely separated from the ground. They are growing on another plant. On their roots, there is a special tissue that absorbs water and transfers it to the interior of the plant. Epiphytes are not parasites, they take their nutrients from the air, water, and rain.
      Yes, when you can, try to make potting mix by yourself. All the best!

  3. Great article on creating your own potting mix for orchids. They are so beautiful. I am not a gardener, but what you have provided here will definitely help and inspire those who are to mix their own,


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