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How long is too long for wet media

This is a discussion on How long is too long for wet media within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I'd like a better idea of what is actually too long for the potting media ...

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  1. #1
    nicki is offline Senior Member
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    Default How long is too long for wet media

    I'd like a better idea of what is actually too long for the potting media to be wet.
    I know everyone has different growing conditions and different orchids need different care. It's easy to always add more water as needed but you can't dry it out really if it's too wet. So if say for example, 4 days after watering and the mixture has hardly dried out any and should have... then that gives me an idea of where to start in figuring out what I need to adjust in those areas.

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    cakedaddy is offline Senior Member
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    It really depends on the type of plant and what cycle of growth the plant is in.

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    I agree with Jason. Most 'typical' orchids (oncidiums, cattleyas, dendrobiums, etc...) that have p-bulbs need to dry off very quickly. They do not do well sitting in wet media. Some orchids like phrags do like wet feet.

    Cheers,
    BD

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    nicki is offline Senior Member
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    I have small variety in mixes. (Phal, Blptm., Catts., Blc) I know they have different drying times. To be more specific with my example I watered all my orchids on the same day. 4 days later the Phal & Blptm are still pretty wet overall. The Blc. & Catts. are still wet in the middle of the media.
    When you say "dry off quick" are we talking one day all of the media should be dry?
    I'm trying to get a better understanding because I'm in the process of changing a few things. What I've been doing is not getting anywhere so I know I could be doing something better. I'm focus on changing the mixes and watering.

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    The phal can stay wet longer than the Bollopetalum should. The Cattleya types need to dry out completely in two to three days. The phal should not remain wet for more than three days or your run the risk of rotting its roots. Since it doesn't have a p-bulb, it needs to retain some moisture, but not stay wet. The roots of all of these orchids need air to survive when planted in a bark mix.

    Cheers,
    BD

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    I like my orchids to dry out in two days, so that I have to water every other day. But in summer, they have to be watered everyday and still misted in between.

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    Thanks all. This helps a lot. I just repotted a couple but will adjust those and do the rest. I'm also changing the pots I use. I'll probably make a 'test' one and water it to see how long it takes to dry before potting the actual plant.

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    Test pots are a great idea...The best (and worst) thing about growing orchids is that there really are no hard rules. For example, when I first started growing orchids, I picked up a hatred of sphag quickly. I was living in Alabama where humidity was ridiculous. Now that I have moved to California, I rely on it alot. I use an amount of sphag that would kill orchids quickly back home...summers in Cali are very dry. Orchids are incredibly adaptable as we should be as their tenders. The only thing that I can say I have learned NEVER to do is to be constantly fiddling around with them. Sure, there is a setback when they are repotted.....give them time. Don't assume the setback is permanent...

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    Dear Nikki, I have recently switched up my media mix, type of pot, you name it and I have fiddled with it...This is the 2nd year in a new little greenhouse and I'm still adjusting stuff! For instance...Catts are now potted in a mix of bark, charcoal, a bit of sponge rock and a bunch of prime agra (a semi hydro media) and potted into air cone pots...simply because I was getting root rot even when under watering because the mix of pot and media wasn't allowing the center of the root mass to dry up enough. I used to swear by clay pots for just about everything but not anymore. I guess it's all about learning and being adaptable for me. I'm confident you will find the happy medium for your collection, it just might take a little time. Let us know how it's going! I get great info on these forums. Good luck! Remo

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    nicki is offline Senior Member
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    Ah yes, learning not to constantly fiddle was not so easy. I've backed off and have patiently observed more. I end up with dead dried roots or wet rotted ones. So time to change things. I did use clay pots but have started to switch over to plastic. Too hard for me to know what is going on when everything is hiding behind the clay. So I have a nice little collection of clay pots that will go to the succulents.

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