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repotting controversy

This is a discussion on repotting controversy within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; so i just read an article that is quite interesting,.. i wonder what everyone thinks ...

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  1. #1
    lijun's Avatar
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    Default repotting controversy

    so i just read an article that is quite interesting,..
    i wonder what everyone thinks about this...

    quote:
    "Contrary to popular belief, most of the time orchids do not mind being disturbed. Generally they get a boost from growing into fresh media. For example, Paphiopedilums like fresh media all the time. Some paph growers "refreshen" (repot) up to four times a year! Notwithstanding paphiopedilums, orchids generally prefer to be disturbed at the right time of the year, and it can be a different time for each species. So, how do you know when to repot? Simply observe the plant. The ideal time is when the plant is in active growth and new root-tips are just beginning to emerge. This way, the roots can grow into the new media immediately."

    i don't give the link cause it's on a website of an orchid farm and i don't know if giving the link would be considered commercial.
    Last edited by lijun; May 25th, 2014 at 09:27 AM.

  2. #2
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    When a plant requires repotting, repot it, unless the weather is too cold. Paphs 4 times a year, crazy, every year yes to maybe.
    Any plant requires stabilty.
    If you use a mix that does't break down rapidly, doesn't turn to mud in the pot.

  3. #3
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    well, i do not repot unless it had really outgrown the pot OR the see issue with the roots (eg. roots overcrowding or infection). i do not face problem like media breakdown much because i used mainly charcoal as planting media. as long as you do not disturb the roots too much while repotting, should not be an issue. but repotting 4 times a year is definitely a big NO for my catasetums.
    catasetums are only repotted every 2-3 years for adult division and more frequent for younger plants.

  4. #4
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    The four times a year thing is too much. Repot when the orchid needs it. Usually in a bark mix my paphs grow for two years without repotting.

    cheers,
    BD

  5. #5
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    a part of me hoped that there is some truth to this article and did try to find other articles from a more reliable source to support the theory,.. found nothing so far,... everybody seems to agree about repotting once a year or once in 2 years,...

  6. #6
    PaphMadMan is offline Senior Member
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    Even among Paphs I don't think you can make the generalization that they all like to be repotted frequently, and certainly not for orchids in general. For most Paphs I would go with once a year mandatory, twice a year optimal. But choice of media makes a huge difference, and if you have any water quality problems more frequent might be better. I do think it is accurate to say that most orchids tolerate good repotting very well, and many would benefit from more frequent reptting than they get. Most importantly, the all too common practice of waiting until the roots are already rotting, and even then hesitating if the season is theoretically wrong or the plant is in flower, is just plain stupid. Repot long before the plant needs it, when the growth stage is right regardless of buds or flowers, not on a schedule.

  7. #7
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    That farm article says: because medium gets sour fast, and the orchids like fresh medium.

    The same article but quoting more:
    3. Growing orchids in pots is an unnatural act. In nature, epiphytic orchids grow on trees with their roots fully exposed to the air. The roots can dry-off very quickly after a drenching rain. This explains how an orchid can receive hundreds of inches of rain per year in its native habitat and never get root-rot. A cattleya root-system may cover a hundred square feet of tree branch and trunk area or more! So, when you try to confine that big root system in a closed 5" pot, of course it can cause problems! Having said that, we do use pots in our nursery, because there remain several advantages to pot-culture. One just needs to be aware that you are beginning with an artificial situation and therefore increased vigilance is warranted.

    4. You must repot or re-mount your orchids on a regular basis. Whether you grow your orchids in pots or mounted, the growing media will go sour! And surprisingly quickly, I might add. Yes, even plants mounted on expensive cork bark will quickly go downhill when the cork gets "old". Exceptions: Some growers report that hardwood mounts, with little or no sphagnum added, can last a very long time. Also, we have begun to grow some species hanging in empty plastic net pots. These would theoretically last indefinitely, as long as you water enough to keep plants from desiccating. Many orchidists will use a pad of wet sphagnum moss on their cork or hardwood mounts, to help the plant get established. Sphagnum moss works great initially. It is a tremendous resource for growers, but it can quickly go sour. Later you discover that all the roots within the sphagnum are dead. A good root system is the most important thing!

    Contrary to popular belief, most of the time orchids do not mind being disturbed. Generally they get a boost from growing into fresh media. For example, Paphiopedilums like fresh media all the time. Some paph growers "refreshen" (repot) up to four times a year! Notwithstanding paphiopedilums, orchids generally prefer to be disturbed at the right time of the year, and it can be a different time for each species. So, how do you know when to repot? Simply observe the plant. The ideal time is when the plant is in active growth and new root-tips are just beginning to emerge. This way, the roots can grow into the new media immediately. Otherwise the plant might have to sit there for half-a-year without roots, and no way to take up water or nutrients (our Dearly Departed...). In our commercial nursery, we have so many thousands of plants that sometimes we just have to repot, regardless of root activity. However, if we already know a certain species can be "touchy", then we wait until new roots are emerging. If you do have to repot when a plant is inactive, give water sparingly and coax the new growth out with your careful observations and love. The famous and controversial book 'The Secret Life of Plants' (Tompkins, Bird, 1973) cites experiments in which the thoughts and beliefs of the person tending the plants were found to dramatically affect the rate of growth and health of the plants!

    ---------- Post Merged at 05:50 AM ----------

    Kirk,.. which orchids you think gets more benefit from frequent repotting.

  8. #8
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    I think you need to delete this info site for all time. Its written by some one who doesn't grow orchids.

  9. #9
    ksriramkumar is online now Senior Member
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    100 Sqft root system...I have not seen anything like that. I concur with Roy.

  10. #10
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    There is a lot of useless information on the internet and this website you posted excerpts from is one of them. I just love all the absolute 'rules' that orchids are suppose to follow. Like when I read that you need to water your Vandas for 8 minutes or your not allowing full absorbtion of the water by the Vanda roots. Any more than this 8 minutes though was a waste of time as the roots stopped absorbing. I did not know Vandas kept watches? All this was from a 'grower". Your own instincts, observations, and experience's are your best cultural tools. AL

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