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Repotting Question

This is a discussion on Repotting Question within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have had this orchid for years. I have lost the name, but I am ...

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  1. #1
    Nicholas is offline Junior Member
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    Default Repotting Question

    I have had this orchid for years. I have lost the name, but I am pretty sure it is a type of Cattleya. I have attached a photo. This is the only Cattleya that I have ever seen do this, but it has put out 4 feet of roots, like a Vanda. It still blooms, but the leaves are starting to look a bit withered and I am sure I should repot it.
    My question is do I treat it now like a Vanda and just put it in a basket, or should I divide it and if so what do I do with the 4 feet of roots, hanging down from the pot?

    If it would be better, I can send a current photo of the roots, but they look just like Vanda roots.

    Thanks for any advice you might give to me.
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  2. #2
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    Orquiadicto is offline Senior Member
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    I'd love to see the complete plant. I wouldn't divide. I always prefer just repotting. I love big specimens.

  3. #3
    Nicholas is offline Junior Member
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    Default Repotting Question

    Thanks for your comment. Attached are two photos of the entire plant. As I said, I have never seen a Cattleya grow roots like this. I too, like the large plant. I am assuming that I should just place it in a wooden basket, like a Vanda. Any comments would be welcomed.

    Nicholas

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    ---------- Post Merged at 11:00 AM ----------

    I have posted photos of the entire plant. I think I may have started a new thread to do this. Still new at manuvering around this web site.
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  4. #4
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    tucker85 is offline Senior Member
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    I agree, dividing a cattleya always sets it back for a while. I prefer to disturb the orchid as little as possible when I repot, especially with cattleyas. It obviously likes the roots to dry quickly and get lots of air. A basket would be perfect if you have the type of growing environment that works with baskets, like a green house or outdoors. If not, then a clay pot with large media so there's lots of air. Trimming the roots back won't hurt the plant so don't be afraid to do that if necessary. When I'm moving a cattleya to a basket, I use a basket that has plenty of room for new growth (with pots you want to stay as small as possible but that's not necessary with a basket). I take the entire rootball out of the old pot (I break or cut the pot if necessary), trim real long roots if necessary, and place the entire old rootball into one corner of the basket (any old media that falls off in the process is fine). Then I use very large chunks of cork or tree fern fiber or lava rock to fill in the empty space and stabilize the root ball. I don't worry about old media or rotten roots. Being in a basket, everything will dry out and old stuff will fall out of the basket. I always plan on the plant staying in the basket for many years and growing around the outside of the basket also. If you grow indoors you'll probably need to go with a clay pot. In that case you will want to clean off the old media and cut off any rotten roots before putting it in a new pot. I would use fairly large media so plenty of air gets in the pot. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Nicholas is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks so much for your helpful comment. I do have a greenhouse and so I will place the plant in a large wooden basket. Should I put it under a daily mister, like my Vandas, or treat it more like a Cattleya in a pot (watering about once a week or so)?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas View Post
    Thanks so much for your helpful comment. I do have a greenhouse and so I will place the plant in a large wooden basket. Should I put it under a daily mister, like my Vandas, or treat it more like a Cattleya in a pot (watering about once a week or so)?
    Unfortunately, cattleyas in baskets fall somewhere in between vandas and cattleyas in pots. Once a week would not be enough water for a cattleya in an open basket but watering every day is a little too much. Most of my cattleyas are in baskets and I water approximately every other day or about 3 times a week during the summer and twice a week in the winter. Cattleyas need to dry out once or twice a week. They can handle water every day for a short period and they can handle a week without water once in a while. That's what I like about most cattleyas, they're pretty flexible when grown in baskets or on mounts, especially when they establish some good roots. By the way, I like to buy a small slab of cork and break or cut it into 1"-2" pieces and use that to fill in most of the empty space in the basket. Cattleya roots love it. I also use some large chunks of tree fern fiber that you can trim down to any size you need to fill in the space. Also large pieces of lava rock, although that's heavier and makes the basket heavy. I often use baskets on my orchid benches if I don't have space to hang them. Here are a couple of my catts.. The second one has smaller media than I use now.
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    Last edited by tucker85; August 27th, 2013 at 06:20 PM.

  7. #7
    Maddie is offline Member
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    Jeff, I just slobbered all over my keyboard......those catts are dang awesome! Great culture!

  8. #8
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    Jeff gave you excellent advice, I treat roots growing or hanging out of the media like a vanda root, I don't water the media but water or mist the roots until they are green like my vandas, a beautiful clean red bloom on your orchid, good luck

  9. #9
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    tucker85 is offline Senior Member
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    Nicholas, now that I see your pictures, are you sure you want to do anything to that plant? Have you considered growing it just like it is? If it's a fall or winter bloomer I think I would at least wait until it blooms before making any changes. Also that plant is big enough to divide in two. As long as the divisions are fairly large, the plant won't suffer much. Normally I don't like to divide cattleyas but that one its quite large. I would either continue to grow it the way it is, or divide in two pieces for baskets. Good luck. Post pictures.

  10. #10
    Nicholas is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks Ed. Is that a Springer Spaniel in your thumbnail? I am a Springer lover.

    Nicholas

    ---------- Post Merged at 11:12 AM ----------

    Thanks Jeff. Your Cattleyas are beautiful!!!
    When I place this plant in a basket, should I trim the 4 foot long roots back or just fold them up in the basket? If you suggest trimming the roots, about how much? Thanks so much.

    Nicholas

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