Orchid media decomposes over time, especially bark. When this happens, the bark loses the fast-draining properties that many orchids prefer. That's why it's necessary to repot in new bark every year or two. It's a simple two-step process. Just remove the orchid from the old bark, which you can just throw on the compost pile. Clip off dead roots (which will be dark and shriveled, compared to the firm, fleshy, light-color healthy roots). Place the orchid back into the pot and refill it with new bark.
A common recommendation, and the one I offered in the print story, is fertilizing with quarter-strength, water-soluble fertilizer each time you water. That means whatever the fertilizer label says to mix into the water, use only one-fourth that amount, and add it every time you water. This constant "spoon-feeding" is good for plants and ensures you never have to worry about when you fertilized last.
Continued on page 6: Light, Humidity, and Resources