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Repotting a large cattleya... the wetfeet101b way.

This is a discussion on Repotting a large cattleya... the wetfeet101b way. within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello Everyone, I just thought I'd share with you another repotting project that I had ...

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  1. #1
    wetfeet101b's Avatar
    wetfeet101b is offline It's not dead! It's just permanently dormant.
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    Default Repotting a large cattleya... the wetfeet101b way.

    Hello Everyone, I just thought I'd share with you another repotting project that I had this afternoon for rather large cattleya.
    There was nothing wrong with the plant itself, but the wire basket that it was in was starting to rust and the last thing I want is to catch tetanus while working in the greenhouse.
    Some older leaves are showing severe sunburn, but those leaves have been there even before I got this plant. These leaves are sturdy!

    Here is the picture of the cattleya prior to repotting.


    Close up of the potting medium. It is a mix called Aussie Gold.


    Checking my stash to see if I have any suitable containers.


    Hah! found it! 12-inch slat basket that I already lined with fabric many months ago.


    Here is a replay of how I line my baskets.
    Get a strip of mesh fabric - I find scrap shadecloth ideal. Cut it to the width of the basket.


    Push the fabric in and fold inward.


    Get a second strip of mesh and fold it inward again, this time perpendicular to the first strip.
    There you have it, no need for strings, or wires, etc. Gravity will take care of the rest.


    Here's the potting mix after I removed the mesh around the old wire basket.


    Shaking off some of the loose potting mix from the rootball.


    Keeping the used Aussie Gold mix for treatment and reuse. I am reusing it for the same plant so it is pretty straightforward. Spray it with Physan 20, let it sit in the sun for a little bit and it is ready.

    *WARNING* I would avoid reusing potting mix (even Aussie Gold) into another plant. For fir bark and other commercial orchid mixes, I do not reuse them. It is cheaper and more convenient to use them as garden mulch.


    Removing more potting mix from the root ball. Grab the garden hose!


    Here's the plant after its shower.


    Just to show you how big this baby is. Thats me holding the plant.
    My fingers and wrist were kind of awkward trying to hold this plant properly without breaking anything.
    To the S.T.O.P. winners who got the Wedding Songs, this is how big they can get in three years


    "Dry" fit. Trying on the plant inside the basket without potting mix to gauge the fit.



    I filled the bottom half with fir bark to raise the plant.


    Here is the plant after setting it on top of the fir bark and pouring the Aussie Gold back in.
    I prefer to use garden wires to anchor the plants after being repotted. This gives the plant support while waiting for the potting mix to settle down and the new roots to dig in.


    Another shot of the plant after being repotted.


    Dont forget the tag!


    The plant will now be placed in a lower light area for a few days to give the plant time to recover from the repotting process. This spot receives between 3000-4000fc at noon.
    Once the plant has recovered, it will be placed back in its usual spot that receives 4500-5500fc at noon.


    Just to be on the safe side, I sprayed the plant again with a dilute solution of Physan 20 letting it seep into the potting mix.



    I hope you enjoyed this repotting session.
    John

  2. #2
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
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    John, this is just wonderful. I think you should copy this post and put it in the OrchidTalk article library so that it can be easily found after folks stop discussing it. BRAVO!

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
    sadie's Avatar
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    This really is a great demo! I hadn't ever thought of using my left over shade cloth in potting--brilliant. I love the play by play--with photos no less.

    And, I must say, I can only hope to do my division justice and that it will grow up to look as big and healthy as its mama. Thanks again for sharing the joy!

  4. #4
    Cjcorner's Avatar
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    Why can you reuse the aussie gold mix? What is it made up of?? Nice job on the repotting although, I would have been tempted to split that one in half to free up the middle....I thought when the roots were that tight it was best to free the middle by splitting it....am I messing up?
    Connie

  5. #5
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    Thanks for sharing!
    What a fantastic tutorial and great pics!
    Now I know what to do with my big catt.

  6. #6
    Molly Taco's Avatar
    Molly Taco is offline Re-member WHAT ??
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    Great Demo,
    Cin

  7. #7
    Diane's Avatar
    Diane is offline Can't Re-Member
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    I have abput 10 big catts that desparately need repotting - - shall I drop them by???

  8. #8
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    I love the "how to with pictures" posts on this site... they are extremely helpful... especially for a visual learner!

  9. #9
    wetfeet101b's Avatar
    wetfeet101b is offline It's not dead! It's just permanently dormant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cjcorner View Post
    Why can you reuse the aussie gold mix? What is it made up of??
    AG is basically made up of freshwater river pebbles and sand. Most of the stuff is inorganic so it lasts longer and can be reused (in a similar way we can reuse S/H pellets).
    It still deteriorates over time, but not at the same decomposition/rotting rate of organic media. A 1 inch diameter fir bark could completely break down in about 3 years. How long would a 1 inch diameter river pebble take to break down when not sitting on the riverbed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cjcorner View Post
    Nice job on the repotting although, I would have been tempted to split that one in half to free up the middle....
    Connie
    I thought about that too. But I have divided these plants so many times my greenhouse might end up looking like a wedding chapel with all the small pots with white flowers
    In this case, the problem was the container and not the plant. I will divide the plant again... eventually.

    I usually divide the large plants for the following reasons:
    1. The plant/roots have really overgrown its container.
    2. The plant is too crowded that it is choking off new growth.
    3. Someone requested a division during repotting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cjcorner View Post
    I thought when the roots were that tight it was best to free the middle by splitting it....am I messing up?
    Connie
    The root ball does look like a big, tight clump. But notice that the root ball is still much smaller than the container. The roots wont be filling up the container anytime soon.
    If the roots are healthy, why mess with them unnecessarily?

    Over a year in the same pot/same medium and not a single dead root.
    Maybe this Aussie Gold stuff is for real The only problem is that it is so darn heavy it presents a logistical problem for hanging containers.

    John

  10. #10
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    what is this "article library" that brutal dreamer talked about and how do i find it??

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