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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; Sorry, Shira! I've been buried trying to get the final edits off to my publisher. ...

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  1. #21
    Piper's Avatar
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    Sorry, Shira!

    I've been buried trying to get the final edits off to my publisher. Just finished today!

    That's a big Catt. I don't know off hand, how much mix is in a 1.25 lb bag. Sounds like it should be enough, but I won't swear to it. Soak the bark mix before you repot. A basket is a pot with open sides. Sometimes they're plastic, sometimes wooden. Pots can either be clay or plastic.

    You'll be somewhat limited by what you can find in the size you require. I'd avoid a glazed ceramic pot, for the reasons I'm about to explain.

    The bigger the pot, the more moisture it will retain in the middle. Catts like their roots to dry out between waterings. If you have your monster in a big plastic pot, the interior roots might not get to dry out sufficiently. Glazed ceramic will slow the drying down as well.

    I'd aim for a basket or a large clay pot. Then you'll have less risk of overwatering. You could also try a 12" wooden basket. I use fiberglass screen, cut to fit the inside of the basket (you can buy a roll at your local hardware store), so the bark mix doesn't spill out. These options all allow better air flow. The baskets additionally can be hung in a window, if you're tight on shelf space.

    Make sure your bark is at least medium size. The rule is, the bigger the plant, the bigger the bark. That allows air to get all the way into the interior roots. PM me if you want my source for orchid supplies.

    McJulie

  2. #22
    shirasongbird is offline Junior Member
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    Default What is this Orchid?

    Does anyone know what this orchid might be? The exact name and type? It seems like when I bought it in Ann Arbor MI, the tag said that it was a hybrid, a cross between a Cattleya and something else. I wish I had saved the tag. That was about 10 years ago. It was nicely in bloom at the time, and bloomed every year since, even when I moved it across the state in November of 1999.

    Shira

  3. #23
    shirasongbird is offline Junior Member
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    Default I got my orchid repotted! What now?

    Dear Friends!

    I did it, I got my big Cattleya orchid repotted! It was a huge job and took me about three hours of hard work. I tried to use all the tips you had given me.

    The roots were growing around and around inside and outside of the pot. I smashed the pot with a hammer but still had a hard time getting it out.

    Finally, I was able to remove the pot which was plastic, and then I started cleaning up the roots. I took out the remainder of the old media. I was basically left with something that looked like a ring. All the plant and roots on the ring and an empty middle.

    I had bought a nice 10 inch clay pot. It wasn't a really deep one. I bought media that had large fir bark chips, charcoal and lava rock. I didn't cut off the long roots just as you suggested even though the orchid books I read suggested that I cut them to 6 inches. But they were soft from the soaking and I put them in the pot.

    It looks nice now although some of the pseudobulbs are pretty close to the edges of the pot. I think there are 8 pseudobulbs in all.

    I poured water through the pot again today because it seemed so dry. (I repotted on Friday)

    How should I treat the orchid now?Should I keep it moist? Should I put it back where it used to be (it was back a ways from a south window, upstairs. It did seem to thrive there)?

    When might I expect a little growth from it?

    Thanks for all your help. I love growing plants and keeping them alive and thriving!

    All the best, Shira

  4. #24
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    Congrats, Shira!

    Repotting big monster plants can be a lot of work, but it's so satisfying when you finish. Sounds like you did a great job!

    If your plant was happy where it was, put it back there. Catts like light, so you could even move it a bit closer to the window. It wants to dry out between waterings, but in clay that shouldn't take too long. I wouldn't water any more than twice a week. Err on the side of waiting an extra day or two, if you're not sure. Fertilize at 1/4 strength every week or two.

    As for expectations, be prepared to wait! It might put out new growth this spring, or it might wait. They usually torture us by not growing right when we want them to!

    McJulie

  5. #25
    shirasongbird is offline Junior Member
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    Hi McJulie!

    Thanks for writing and for helping me out!

    How does the plant get water with the bark chips? It seems as though the water runs right out of the pot and the bark chips don't really fell damp. I water it in the laundry tub, and put lots of water on it.

    Can I water the plant without moving it every time? Using only a little water?

    Should I start fertilizing the plant right away?

    Best, Shira

  6. #26
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    Everyone waters differently, but it does take time for the bark to absorb water. That's why I water in the shower, or I set the pot in a bucket of water for 5-10 minutes. That's also how I fertilize. I have 1.5 gallons marked on a plastic bucket, so I know exactly how much fertilizer to add, then I fill the bucket up to the line and drop the pot in.

    Yes, start fertilizing when ready.

    McJulie

  7. #27
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    Hi Shira!

    You'd be surprised to know that an orchid's roots have a unique outer covering called velum that is specially designed for absorbing moisture from the air and surrounding media. This is why humidity is so important for an orchid; the velum actually is able to "wick" moisture from the air. However, since we live in homes (and not in the jungle), we keep our orchids in pots and baskets with bark that allows for just enough air movement and water to the roots. Since orchids usually grow on trees, they aren't used to being soaking wet all the time- a thorough watering 1-2x a week for several minutes will do the trick, even when the medium on top appears dry. Keep in mind that overwatering is usually the reason that orchid lovers kill their plants unintentionally, so its great that you potted yours in bark, as that greatly reduces the chances that you'll overwater :-)

    Take a picture for us so we can see the repotting masterpiece!!

  8. #28
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    Hi again!

    I am wondering, do you just use tap water to water the orchid? I mean when you put it under the shower to water it. I am always so careful to only use water that has sat out for a day or so, so the chorine evaporates.

    Thanks again...Shira

  9. #29
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    I like to water in the shower because I have a showerhead chlorine filter. It's better than my tap water. And that's the best I can do without installing a reverse osmosis system. I have too many plants to let my water sit. I have to keep it simple.

    Julie

  10. #30
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    Default All snug in the new pot!

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