Dividing and Repotting Orchids with Pseudobulbs

“Can you propagate orchids? My orchid has another stem growing at the bottom and I am wondering if I cut it off if it will grow and how to do that?” Question from Krystal of Lincoln City, Oregon.

Answer: Orchids with pseudobulbs, like yours, can easily be divided when the plants reach a substantial size. These orchid types include lots of common household favorites, like Cattleya, Dendrobium, Epidendrum, Laelia, and Oncidium. But, based on your image, your orchid is not large enough to divide. A strong, flowering-sized division should have at least three to four pseudobulbs. (Click here to learn more about dividing orchids with pseudobulbs.)

Your happy orchid is producing strong roots that are growing beyond the pot, which is what it should do. When its roots greatly outgrow the pot (see image below), it will be time to replant your orchid into a large pot with fresh orchid bark and sphagnum moss. The best time to replant an orchid is when it is setting new growth, often in late winter. Never divide or repot an orchid when it is in full bloom! (Click here to learn more about repotting orchids like yours.) Once your orchid has at least six to eight bulbs, you can consider dividing it. I hope this helps.

Happy orchid growing!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist

Repot your orchids when their roots have overgrown the pots.




Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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