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How concerned should you be about set back due to repotting/division?

This is a discussion on How concerned should you be about set back due to repotting/division? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; This has come up before with regards to repotting/dividing. Many it seems are reluctant to ...

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    pavel's Avatar
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    Default How concerned should you be about set back due to repotting/division?

    This has come up before with regards to repotting/dividing. Many it seems are reluctant to repot or divide as they have found that it seems to set their plants back and it seems an interminable time until the plants finally flower again due to the trauma.

    While it is true that repotting and/or dividing can be rather traumatic from the plant's point of view, and it can set plants back so to speak, it would be unfortunate for newbies to delay repotting or get overly anxious about it. One thing to keep in mind is that how traumatic repotting/division is and how much of a setback one may experience, depends in large part on the plant in question as well as when the repotting is done. Not every plant is going to experience a noticable setback.

    This past June/beginning of July, I repotted and rather brutally divided a number of my catts. The divisions went up on Orchid Bids and they all found homes with loving adopters. The following are my divisions (the sections I kept) of three of said catts photographed today. I think you will agree that, at least in their cases, concerns of setting them "back" would have been misplaced.





    Lousy picture on this one ... the flowers are NOT red but rather more of a burgundy or merlot in color.


    So while it is true that division/repotting may set your plant back, it is not necessarily inevitable. Other factors do come into play. To put it simply, if ones plant needs repotting or divided, rather than wring ones hands and work oneself into a lather of dread, just do it .... you might be pleasantly surprised.


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    Those are lovely - and look familiar!! Good job, Paul, and thanks for sharing the encouragement (and the plants!).

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    Nice pics and good point for the newbies! I remember being terrified of even repotting much less dividing.
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    I concur, Pavel. Very well grown divisions!!

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    Does the post-division success of the plant have to do with how many old pseudobulbs are left? I bought an overgrown Miltoniopsis back in April, so I divided it, but I'm just seeing new growth NOW. I was ready to chuck the thing out the window for the longest time. But I think it may have happened because I took off too many old bulbs.

    It had four mature bulbs when I bought it. It also had three "babies" coming in. With all that new growth it just didn't fit in its pot any more, so I took off two of the mature growths, leaving two old ones and three new ones. I repotted it at the same time. It has been sulking for months, and I'm just now seeing some action on the new bulbs.

    So, could you elaborate on how you could do successful division without setting back the plant? Is there a minimum number of old bulbs that should always be left there? Thanks! I've got a Catt that will need dividing soon, so general tips on how to do this properly would be great!

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    The set back usually occurs when plants are potted or divided when not in active growth. (Potting is not necessarily a reason for set back in my opinion. Usually only disruptive potting can cause trouble for an orchid - ie: cutting away roots or really disturbing the root ball.) Repotting slipper orchids and cattleya orchids usually has a very positive outcome for me. They generally take off and grow better in my experience. Nice topic, Paul!

    cheers,
    BD

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brutal_Dreamer View Post
    (Potting is not necessarily a reason for set back in my opinion. Usually only disruptive potting can cause trouble for an orchid - ie: cutting away roots or really disturbing the root ball.)
    I've had the same experience with repotting...it never seems to affect the plant negatively at all. It was only when I divided my Milt. that I saw a setback. I don't think people should be worried about repotting; in my experience, it only ever makes a plant happier. But when I mention repotting to my non-orchid-growing friends who have phals that are smothering in tightly-packed, decomposing sphag, they look at me with horror like I've suggested they perform brain surgery. Usually when I tell them that the plant will die if they don't repot, they just give it to me to fix for them! LOL

    Although I have heard that changing the media can cause a setback. I have a phal violacea var. coerulea that came in peat moss(? not 100% sure that's what it was...it looked like very lightweight dirt) and perlite, and I repotted it in bark. It took a bit to get going after that, but I suppose if the roots have to adjust to the new media, that would make sense.

    Anyone else have this experience when switching media?

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    Exactly what Bruce said, dividing and repotting doesn't set back the plants but repotting and dividing at the wrong time does it.

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    I have about 4 plants that need a repotting, almost desperately (especially my first Phal. which is an absolute monster now), but I really am hesitant to repot anything this close to fall (blooming season). Then again, I can't repot in the winter because the reduction in growth activity. I guess they can wait another year. I just repotted them all last Fall, but they outgrew their pots much quicker than anticipated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sand_tiger86 View Post
    I have about 4 plants that need a repotting, almost desperately (especially my first Phal. which is an absolute monster now), but I really am hesitant to repot anything this close to fall (blooming season). Then again, I can't repot in the winter because the reduction in growth activity. I guess they can wait another year. I just repotted them all last Fall, but they outgrew their pots much quicker than anticipated.
    Kelly, I've actually never had problems repotting phals...they grow and bloom for me year-round, so I just repot them whenever they need it. The only time I had a hiccup was when I repotted that violacea and switched from peat moss to bark, but even that wasn't a big problem...it just took a little longer for the plant to really get going. And that could even be because of the trauma of being shipped to an entirely new climate.

    I vote you just repot them now. They'll be happier. Mine just keep going like nothing ever happened.

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