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Repotting a Cattleya Orchid

This is a discussion on Repotting a Cattleya Orchid within the Cattleyas, Vandas, Dendrobiums IN BLOOM forums, part of the Orchid Photography category; Wow those roots are massive! :O I am eagerly awaiting what the resident experts have ...

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  1. #11
    Kerry's Avatar
    Kerry is offline Too much to learn, let alone re-member!
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    Wow those roots are massive! :O

    I am eagerly awaiting what the resident experts have to say about repotting your baby!

  2. #12
    shirasongbird is offline Junior Member
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    Default repotting a cattleya

    Here is a photo of my cattleya in bloom about a year ago.

    In the previous photo, please notice that the plant is now growing completely out of the pot. That is why I don't know how to repot it!

    I hope that you can help me!

    Thanks so much!

    I don't think that the photo is showing up. I don't know what I am doing wrong. I click on the paperclip and it says uploaded, but this time the photo doesn't seem to show up??
    Name:  DSCN0010.jpg
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    Name:  DSCN0014.jpg
Views: 811
Size:  117.1 KB


    Shira

  3. #13
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is online now Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    Hi Nancy,

    After clicking on the paper clip and uploading your photos, you need to place them in the thread by clicking the paper clip again and selecting "insert all" or the specific file you want to insert into your message.

    You were not kidding about the roots!

    Cheers,
    BD

  4. #14
    Piper's Avatar
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    Default

    Okay, I'll take a crack at advice...but I have to admit, my first reaction was "Wow!"

    Those are a lot of roots. Just as important - there aren't that many growths for the root mass. If your plant was throwing up aerial roots like crazy, it must not have been getting its needs from the pot-bound roots. And aerial roots aren't great for moisture retention, so it kept making more of them.

    I'd bet the pot-bound roots are in sorry shape because the medium is so broken down, they got little air and have likely rotted.

    What's that little green thing off the left side? Catts don't throw keikis or stolons, to my knowledge. Where's that coming from? Figure that out before repotting.

    To repot you'll want to soak the root mass. That's probably best done in the bathtub. Fill it with luke warm water and let this guy sit in it for at least 30 mins. That will soften the roots so they won't be so brittle.

    Then break the pot, as Bruce suggested. Clean out and trim off any old potting mix or rotted roots from the potted mass. That may take time, but it's worth doing thoroughly. You'll need a big pot to put this fella into. If you've soaked the roots, you should be able to wrap them and stuff them into a large pot. Use bark mix, and tamp it down as you fill the pot. Stake and clip the plant as you need to, to keep it secure in the new pot.

    Once repotted, the root mass should be sufficient to fuel a small city. I'd expect the plant will put it's energy into new growth. Keep it well fertilized. The leaves have lots of catching up to do with the roots, so it should go to town. It will likely bloom as it goes, but the important thing is getting it to a balanced state with roots and growths/leaves more evenly matched than they are.

    It's healthy, if a bit root heavy. Give those roots more even moisture in a pot and your plant should grow like a weed!

    Keep us posted!

    McJulie

  5. #15
    shirasongbird is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    Hi McJulie!

    Thanks so much for your help. You don't think I should try to divide the plant into two? The reason there isn't much growth is for the last few years, I cut off about 4 pseudobulbs each year. I guess I shouldn't have done that...

    That little thing growing on the side appears to be a new pseudobulb. It is smaller than the previous ones that have grown, but it looks the same. What should I do with it when I repot the plant?

    Should I put all of those air roots into the new pot? Should I cut them back at all? Will they grow in the new media or will they die off there? None of them have green tips just now. Would I cut back anything on the plant before I repotted it? How big should the new pot be?

    Thanks again for your help!

    All the best, Shira

  6. #16
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    Becky15349 is offline Senior Member
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    Don't cut any of the roots, unless they are brown and mushy. Leave the new pseudoblub just as it is. I would suggest keeping the plant all together, since this is your first repotting attempt and trying to divide it could be upsetting for the orchid.

    The roots will grow just fine in the new media; they will not die. Yes, put *all* of the air roots into the pot as best you can- it shouldn't be too hard since you soaked them in the bathtub to make them flexible. I'm starting to think that you have a bit of a love of pruning- but please don't trim back this one! Let it adjust to its new home and you'll see it will thrive. I imagine this orchid will need at least an 8" or 10" basket- what does everyone else think?

    ~B

  7. #17
    Piper's Avatar
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    Becky's got it!

    STOP PRUNING! LOL!

    Let the upper growth catch up with the root mass. In a couple of years you can divide the plant in two, if it's too huge to cope with. But don't keep chopping off small bits. The pot will need to be big enough to hold the roots, but they'll want to be snug in it. Don't overpot. It's not as scary as it seems. Just soak the roots to make them flexible first, and you shouldn't have much trouble.

    Julie

  8. #18
    shirasongbird is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    Thanks so much for all your help. This is really a fine forum and I am learning so much.

    I have a 1 1/4 # bag of orchid media mix (sequoia bark, perlite, coconut husk). Does that sound like enough mix and is this mix a good one?

    You refer to a "basket". Is that just a term for a "pot"? Maybe a plastic one? What is the preferred pot for orchids.

    I have so much to learn.

    I grow lots of violets and other inside and outside plants, but I am feeling the urge to buy another orchid or two!

    I will send a photo once I get this orchid in its new pot.

    All the best, Shira

  9. #19
    shirasongbird is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    Any thoughts on the questions I asked in the previous message? I tried to copy the earlier message here, but when I clicked on that choice, nothing happened??

    Best, Shira

  10. #20
    Becky15349's Avatar
    Becky15349 is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Shira,

    Yes, that potting mix sounds fine for a cattleya. I'm sure that will be enough mix; but its hard for me to visualize how much you'll need when the plant and pot isn't right in front of me :-) Just try repotting, and if you need more, you'll have to get another bag.

    When we say "pot" and "basket", we are referring to two separate things. Pot is like stardard plant pot; I personally like plastic ones best because they don't leak like clay pots. Baskets are like the picture below. Granted this is a smaller basket than you would need for your mammoth orchid, I think you get the idea. Also, the baskets are usually suspended in some sort of way, so that you can mist the plant easily. I've seen many people have them suspended from the ceiling in windows. Essentially, people like to use these because they let the roots kinda grow out of the basket...but since you have so many roots, I'm not sure I would recommend a basket. I'm just afraid that it would be hard to keep all those roots moist!

    Now go get a pot in a size that will keep the roots cozy, and try to repot it! Take a picture when you're done and we'll see how it turns out!

    Good luck!
    ~Becky
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