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ceramic potting mix?

This is a discussion on ceramic potting mix? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; What is with the ceramic potting mix? Seems like it would only be good for ...

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  1. #1
    pretty_bug01 is offline Senior Member
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    Default ceramic potting mix?

    What is with the ceramic potting mix? Seems like it would only be good for epitephes. I can't spell today. Wouldn't it be hard to remove it because they would attach themselves to it, at least more so than just a bark mix? What about fertilizer problems? Do you recommend this stuff?

    Oh...do you think I could handle a phrag or a paph? I'm not sure about my light levels, but my oncidiums and dend. are loving it here. I'm not looking to buy one right now, just debating one which kind would do well here.

  2. #2
    LJA's Avatar
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    I've never used the ceramic media myself, but a grower I know who grows Cattleyas swears by it, thinks it's the greatest stuff in the world. You're right, I think the roots of the plants would etch themselves to it to the point that you couldn't get them off, but maybe that just doesn't matter if it's the only thing you use... He fertilizes every ten or so days and waters with plain water between then to flush the salts.

    If you have the kind of light you talked about earlier, lots of sun where Vandas and Dendrobiums do well, most Phrags will do well for you too. Paphs in general need "bright shade": nowhere near as much light, so you may have a harder time with them if you can't tone the light down.

  3. #3
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    This guy I met at the Little Rock Orchid Society show back in the early spring, had his orchids potted in the ceramic mix. They seemed to be very sturdy; however, the pots were very heavy. The large plants were extra heavy. He gave me a coffee can full of it to try out. He said the stuff comes in three different sizes. I have the medium size 5/8 "

    I guess if you are not moving your plants around much, it would be a good mix to use to keep your taller plants from turning over their pots, but I have no idea how hard it would be to get the roots to unattach themselves once they "grow" into the mix.

    Cheers!
    Brutal_Dreamer

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    pretty_bug01 is offline Senior Member
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    I was looking at it on the internet. What is hydroculture? If the ceramic pellets are heavy, why do they say it floats? I'm totally confused.

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    Question

    We must be talking about two completely different things. The stuff I have in the coffee can is heavy. It will not float. Where did you hear about the stuff you are talking about? Maybe I call it something different? Who knows?

    Cheers!
    Brutal_Dreamer

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    Jennifer, there was an article in a recent ORCHIDS magazine about some people growing their orchids semi-hydroponically, (literally, "water culture") and they seem to have been pretty successful. The ceramic pellets you're talking about (I think) are used as a substrate to give the roots of hydroponically-grown orchids something to hang on to. I'm guessing here because I can't remember the details, so if I'm way off base, my apologies.

    The stuff Brutal and I are talking about are round, rough clay "balls" about half an inch in diameter that have been kilned and which are used as a substitute for bark mix. They don't decompose like traditional mix will; they're porous so they allow air to get to the roots, and they retain moisture. The grower we met who uses it grows Cattleyas, waters once every 7 to 10 days, and swears by the stuff.....

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    pretty_bug01 is offline Senior Member
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    Would it be troublesome to request a step-by-step quide to repotting vandas in baskets? I want to SEE how to do it, words just don't work for me.

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    LOL! Well, yes, it would be somewhat time-consuming. But then, it would be no more time consuming than taking a few pics.

    I'll see what I can do over the weekend unless someone beats me to it....

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    Jennifer, I was just looking at the vanda picture you posted under "Vandas." If the one you're repotting is in a basket, you have to "repot" it by putting the basket inside a bigger basket. That's all you do. You can't unstick the roots from the wood without seriously damaging them.

    If the one you're repotting is in a pot, just soak it for about 10 minutes, unpot it, spread the roots in a basket just like in your picture, then fill the basket with rinsed volcanic rock to anchor the plant. That's really all there is to it.

  10. #10
    pretty_bug01 is offline Senior Member
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    I wasn't talking about my vanda. Just for everyone's knowledge. Besides, it is either going back to the store or it is staying here and it doesn't need to be repotted. I still have to get a picture up of it. It isn't on all the blooms, but I am seriously worried because there were two that died. I wouldn't have worried about the plant if they didn't. Anyways, it was also the fact that there were 4 that were still buds when I bought the thing, two bloomed, and the other two looked healthy so I have no clue what was up with it. But I did order the Neo. I was talking about. Pricey, but I trust your judgement. And I didn't cut off the buds so that they WOULD take the plant back, I had to keep the receipt and the bar code for them to accept it, and it has a one year warrenty. I've had problems with them taking plants back that have died before.

    About repotting the vanda, even if the old basket gets nasty there is still no way to get rid of the old basket?

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