How to Separate Phalaenopsis Orchids

Updated February 21, 2017

Phalaenopsis orchids, or moth orchids, bloom for up to three months at a time, which is much longer than other orchid varieties. In addition, many Phalaenopsis orchids bloom twice per year. Orchids reproduce by expanding the root systems, which are bulbs. You can separate Phalaenopsis orchid bulbs every two to three years by cutting them apart.

Grasp the Phalaenopsis orchid pot and turn it upside down slowly while placing your other hand over the top of the container. The orchid will slide out easily since they grow only in bark or moss and not in soil.

Place the orchid on top of a piece of newspaper and gently brush away all of the moss and sediment so that you can clearly see the entire root system.

Apply two to three tablespoons of a liquid fungicide to a paper towel and wipe the blade of a knife thoroughly to kill any bacteria or germs that may be on it. Use care as you do this so that you do not cut yourself.

Examine the roots and locate a section that has at least three to five bulbs on it. Cut through the root system at this location to divide the orchid in half. Most orchids can only be divided into two sections, but if the roots are larger you can create three divisions.

Insert the roots of each division into a powdered rooting hormone powder by at least 1 inch.

Fill 5- to 6-inch diameter plant pots half full of an orchid bark mix and place each division into the centre of a separate pot. Add more bark mix until the roots of each section are completely covered.

Insert a 12-inch long bamboo stake into the pot behind each orchid and tie a special orchid tie around the stems and the stakes to hold them upright.

Water the bark well with a liquid fungicide solution until it darkens and is completely wet. Set the potted orchid in a shady area and avoid watering for seven to 10 days.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Paper towel
  • Liquid fungicide
  • Knife
  • Powdered rooting hormone
  • 5- to 6-inch diameter plant pots (two or three)
  • Orchid bark mix
  • 12-inch bamboo stake
  • Orchid tie
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.