There are a great many different types of pot that will serve very nicely for growing orchids. The main thing to remember with any orchid pot is that the growing mixture must be able to dry out between waterings. Some pots will allow for faster evaporation of water, while some will retard that, allowing the medium to remain moist for a longer period of time. Orchid pots can be chosen on the basis of price, appearance, or composition. One thing that applies to any container in which orchids are grown is that it must have good drainage. One large or multiple small holes at the bottom are needed to assure that water drains out quickly.
Many orchid growers prefer to use an unglazed clay pot for their orchids. Although this familiar terra cotta pot has been kiln fired to harden it, it is still porous because a glaze has not be applied. Clay pots have several advantages, once of which is the weight of the pot, which makes it less likely to fall over. Clay also causes the growing medium to dry out more quickly, which can benefit orchid roots. However, clay pots must also be watered more often.
Glazed ceramic pots are also available for growing orchids, and some of these have been specially designed for these plants. Glazed pots are impervious to water, but are often very attractively colored, and can add a decorative touch. To compensate for the lack of porosity, special glazed orchid pots have been pierced over their surface to allow for circulation of air. These piercing are often done in a pattern, and are attractive in themselves.
Plastic pots are generally less expensive than clay pots, and are not porous. Water will be retained in the growing mixture for a longer time than it will in a clay pot. On the one hand, the orchid will not have to be watered as frequently, but care must also be taken so that the roots of the orchid do not become waterlogged and rot. Some plastic pots are clear or translucent, which will allow the grower to see the roots.
A different approach to pots is taken by the ‘bio-pot’, which is made of a material that will generally break down naturally within a certain number of years. These pots are made from pressed seed husk or coconut fiber. They are lighter in weight than clay pots, and will easily last until the orchid is repotted. Eventually, they will decompose and leave no clutter behind.
Wooden or wire baskets can be considered yet another kind of orchid growing pot. These baskets are filled with the growing medium and the orchid is planted in them. Because of their structure, these containers provide very good air circulation. Orchids grown in these baskets should be checked frequently to see whether the growing mixture has dried out.
Although these can hardly be considered containers in the strictest sense, orchids can also be grown on rocks or attractive pieces of wood. Smaller orchids species are the best candidates for this kind of treatment, as their weight will not make it difficult for the orchid to remain in place. It will be easy to wire the orchid to the bark or wood to hold it in place. A small amount of sphagnum moss can be placed beneath the plant for cushioning and to hold a bit of moisture. Attaching an orchid to a rock can be more difficult, but as porous rock is usually chosen, it may be possible to find a bump or other projection on which to attach the orchid.