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A Happy Medium!?

This is a discussion on A Happy Medium!? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have to make a confession that I'm green when it comes to Orhids. (No ...

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  1. #1
    Sinister is offline Junior Member
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    Talking A Happy Medium!?

    I have to make a confession that I'm green when it comes to Orhids. (No pun intended)
    I have now a Dendrobium Ceraula and despite my violent (at times) attempt to ease into Orchid growing (without the aid of "how-to" books) there are still some things that I am utterly clueless about. The biggest one is Mediums.

    I have now a Sphag medium that the orchid came in, but soon that will wear out and the plant will have to be repotted. This much I know.

    I like the Sphag medium and want to maintain it, but I don't know the specifics of how to repot and exactly what to repot in!


    *phew*

    Now see what bad shape I'm in! I've started growing Orchids before I even know how to replant them.

    If you could hand some tips on a good medium it would be appreciated.

    -Sinister

  2. #2
    Heather is offline Banned
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    Hey Sinister!
    I got into growing before I knew how to repot too! You should have seen me the first time I repotted anything! So nervous! And just the other day I did my first paph and it was nerve-wracking thinking about it, but ended up being really a fun and enjoyable experience. I can't wait to repot the next! It also is nice because you can check on the status of the plant's roots and the healthiness of the plant.

    Now, that all being said, I am afraid I am not the right person to answer your question about sphag and dendrobiums as I only have 1 dend. which is in a medium consisting of large coconut husk chunks. I repotted a phal that was originally in sphag, into another medium, as I had problems with the sphag being packed in to tight, so the roots rotted. So, the one thing I can lend a hand on is make sure that the sphag is not packed too tightly.

    I'm certain someone w/ more dend. specific info will help you out! Glad you are with us here!

  3. #3
    Gilda is offline "Master of the Moth and Phrags "
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    Hi Sinister,
    Is the sphag a nice blonde color??? If so, it is still fresh enough to leave alone till next year.

    Now if you suspect the orchid is having root problems(sphag packed too tight, and not drying out enough )then I would repot it. If the sphag is still ok you can reuse it on the same orchid..just loosen it up and add some drainage to the bottom of the pot.

    I always soaked my sphag. before using it, and also used broken styrofoam peanuts mixed in when potting(it gives the orchid roots air spaces). Also, place some whole stryo peanuts in the bottom of the pot for extra drainage.

    Do not use a pot too big, dends like to be potted in the smallest pots possible. Don not pack the sphag too tight and stake your dend till it gets a foothold. They do not like to be wobbly.

    Have fun !

  4. #4
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    Jmoney is offline Senior Member
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    I haven't grown too many dends in my lifetime, but have some limited experience with them. I think you *could* use sphag, as long as you pot loosely. Get rid of all the old sphag when it comes time to repot, and wrap the good roots loosely with new sphag. And then put in the pot and fill in any additional space, being sure not to pack it in.

    However, many dends get large and would easily tip over in sphag, unless you use clay pots. They also tend to have distinct growth and rest cycles, with the former requiring the proverbial ton of water, and the latter requiring very little. Sphag may be hard to maintain during the rest cycle, since it gets quite moist after every watering. I'd use a CHC or bark-based mix, personally.

  5. #5
    Sinister is offline Junior Member
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    Of course a bark Medium. I had some trouble with the Dend. to stay seated.

    I think I can arrange a Coconut husk medium, but will I still need Styrofoam peanuts for airation and drainage?


    P.S.
    Thanks to all the helpful replies and thanks for welcoming me Heather!


    -Sinister

  6. #6
    Jmoney's Avatar
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    If you're using clay pots (and I like them to prevent the big dends from toppling over, especially when they throw tall spikes), styrafoam shouldn't be necessary. The roots oughta fill up a sizable portion of the pot, even while leaving room for a couple years' new growth.

    I don't have much experience with plastic pots but a thin layer of styrafoam probably wouldn't hurt. I have, however, heard from someone before that styrafoam doesn't help drainage all that much because it creates a thin layer of water at its *top*. Don't know if that's true.

    My advice is to pick out a pot that allows a couple years' growth, and decide whether the existing root mass is on the small side, in which case you might try the styrafoam to reduce the total amount of media inside the pot and assist drainage.

  7. #7
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    LJA
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    Default I've been a bad host.....

    Don't have much to add really--all very good suggestions! Just wanted to say welcome, Sinister. Glad you're here!

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