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  • 2 Post By opaline
  • 1 Post By pavel
  • 1 Post By wetfeet101b

Repotting new cattleya orchids

This is a discussion on Repotting new cattleya orchids within the General Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; I have just bought some new orchids (Blc. & C.) that are in very small ...

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  1. #1
    janallen is offline Junior Member
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    Default Repotting new cattleya orchids

    I have just bought some new orchids (Blc. & C.) that are in very small pots and the roots are starting to grow out of the pot. I went to repot one and discovered that it is growing in spaghnum moss.

    My dilemma is: 1. Should I remove all of the spaghnum moss from around the roots and repot? or 2. Should I leave the moss around the roots, put it into a larger pot and fill the rest of the pot?

    The plants are only young but very healthy looking and I would hate to affect their growth by doing the wrong thing. All my other plants are growing in porous rock.

  2. #2
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    I would definetly remove the moss completely from the roots. This is because in my environment it easily gets waterlogged resulting in negative results for your orchids i.e rot. Theres nothing wrong with sparingly thinly placing it on the surface as this holds humidity. Stick to potting media like large bark or your porous rock or mix them both. media needs to be open to avoid suffocating roots and allows airflow avoiding decomp. Repot gently and dont pack the media too tight. Remember for a rough guide - silver roots mean a drink please, green means had enough for now, wait a couple of days and re assess and brown means rot in most cases. Enjoy your new additions Jan. Our individual grow areas are all different so adapt your care to suit your environment.

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    I too use the porous rocks for my plants and have found that vey small plants do not do well for me in them--even if I use the tiny size of rocks. So while I will pull all the sphagnum off plants that I repot into semi-hydro, if the plant is very small, I will sometimes just add new sphagnum and put the tiny plant back in its pot or a slightly larger one. And I use sphagnum for seedlings and for the first repotting of the seedlings. But it's a tricky situation and depends on your conditions and the size of the plant.

  4. #4
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    Revome the old moss, because other wise you will repot the plant sooner that the usual once the moss gone bad.

  5. #5
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    It depends on your watering schedule. Cattleyas like to dry out between waterings.

    cheers,
    BD

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brutal_Dreamer View Post
    It depends on your watering schedule. BD
    ... AND on your growing conditions. In general, most people find a more more water retentive media to be useful for seedlings. Pure sphag is a media that some people have great success with, while for others it is the "kiss of death". I agree with Matt, however, that you would likely be best off replacing it since you mentioned having good success with straight rock. To me, that indicates that under your growing conditions straight sphag could wind up being too water retentive. I like Matt's idea of using a top dressing of sphag over rocks. You might also try a mix of medium grade coconut husk chunks and smaller grade rocks. The coco chunks will retain some water but are slow to break down.

  7. #7
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    If I tried to grow my Cattleyas in rock, they'd all wither to nothing, so your conditions & watering must be wetter than mine. However, just to share some data, a big commercial grower in my area does all his seedlings in sphagnum, including Cattleyas, up til they're 2-3 years old, and the several I have from him are doing fantastically -- young plants do seem to benefit from having more constant moisturer than older ones. So I'd agree with pavel about repotting your plants into a mix a little damper than pure rock. A lot of people seem to be having good success with coco chips, and although I don't have any Cattleyas in them, I do have several Oncidiinae that are doing very well in them, so I'd add my vote to try those out.

  8. #8
    janallen is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by pavel View Post
    ... AND on your growing conditions. In general, most people find a more more water retentive media to be useful for seedlings. Pure sphag is a media that some people have great success with, while for others it is the "kiss of death". I agree with Matt, however, that you would likely be best off replacing it since you mentioned having good success with straight rock. To me, that indicates that under your growing conditions straight sphag could wind up being too water retentive. I like Matt's idea of using a top dressing of sphag over rocks. You might also try a mix of medium grade coconut husk chunks and smaller grade rocks. The coco chunks will retain some water but are slow to break down.
    Posted via Mobile Device

    Thanks for your replies. The suggestions have been very helpful. I will try the rock and some coconut husk then use some sphagnum on top.
    Quote Originally Posted by poetiscariot View Post
    If I tried to grow my Cattleyas in rock, they'd all wither to nothing, so your conditions & watering must be wetter than mine. However, just to share some data, a big commercial grower in my area does all his seedlings in sphagnum, including Cattleyas, up til they're 2-3 years old, and the several I have from him are doing fantastically -- young plants do seem to benefit from having more constant moisturer than older ones. So I'd agree with pavel about repotting your plants into a mix a little damper than pure rock. A lot of people seem to be having good success with coco chips, and although I don't have any Cattleyas in them, I do have several Oncidiinae that are doing very well in them, so I'd add my vote to try those out.
    Posted via Mobile Device

  9. #9
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    Because orchid seedlings are tiny plants, they don't have a lot of plant and root tissue to hold water for a long time.
    So they need frequent watering or higher humidity compared to mature plants.

    To make their watering process more efficient, commercial growers typically grow orchid seedlings in sphagnum moss "plugs" so that the tiny plants can have access to water on a consistent basis.
    The size of the plugs are matched with the size/age of the plants so that they provide just the right amount of water for the right amount of time without drowning the roots.
    As the cattleyas get bigger, they can be transitioned to potting material that dry up faster since the plant can now store adequate water.

    *Some orchid genera prefer to stay moist all the time so they can live out their entire lives potted in sphagnum moss.

    But still, the key is to match the potting material with your local growing conditions and the plant's requirements.
    You would want to avoid sphagnum moss for mature cattleyas if your climate is already humid, as mature cattleyas prefer a drying out period in between waterings.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wetfeet101b View Post
    But still, the key is to match the potting material with your local growing conditions and the plant's requirements.
    You would want to avoid sphagnum moss for mature cattleyas if your climate is already humid, as mature cattleyas prefer a drying out period in between waterings.
    I totally agree with you.
    I grow my Cattleya seedlings in sphagnum. For my adult plants I use a mix of pine bark (80%, small size if young plants) + small pieces of sphagnum (cut fiber, 2-3cm long) + small pieces of cushion/pillow foam.
    One of my forum friends, Mauro Rosim, famous brasilian grower, grows his Cattleya in clay pot with moss, local equivalent of sphagnum.
    Last edited by eorchids; October 1st, 2011 at 03:35 PM.

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