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phals in coarse potting media

This is a discussion on phals in coarse potting media within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; as a newbie in the orchid game i'm learning through trial and error about over ...

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  1. #1
    athol is offline Junior Member
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    Default phals in coarse potting media

    as a newbie in the orchid game i'm learning through trial and error about over loving my plants with water.i nearly killed my dendrobium sonia so i'm a bit wary of over watering.i'v just repotted my phal for the 1st time as the pot it was in was beginning to crack so i repotted it into coarse bark/charcoal mixture in a plastic pot that i cut out big holes for added air circulation, so its probably similar to being mounted i imagine as the medium is not holding much water.the air can be classed as dry in my side of the world and as we're in spring at the moment with quiet high temps, i'm watering every morning, i'm very fearful of the roots being in a too water retentive mix and getting waterlogged.plant is on the shaded side of an east facing window and gets a decent amount of light without being in full sun.looking forward to hearing peoples thoughts,thanks.

  2. #2
    78Terp's Avatar
    78Terp is offline An Avant Gardner
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    I live in a semi-arid environment and I water my phals potted in a bark, charcoal, perlite and coconut husk chunk mix every 2 days or so. They seem happy.

    I read an orchid saying a while back and since heeding it, my orchids have done even better than they were doing. I don't remember where I read it or I would give attribution (I am not a plagiarist!) It goes something like this.
    'Grow the roots and the orchid will follow!'

    good roots= happy orchid

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    athol is offline Junior Member
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    ja thats what i'm learning,they say the roots need air and the right amount of moisture,the latter being the crux of the matter.so i'v increased the air movement around the roots i just need to find the right watering regime for it now.

    will take some pics and add them on here,i'd say the watering is the equivalent of misting a mounted plant as the water is rushing straight through the pot and in no way is it standing.the plant is indoors as well and gets good light,im afraid to put it outside just yet in case it gets to dry.

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    moniluhum is offline Senior Member
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    My phals also grow in coarse bark, charcoal, and perlite and do vary well. Watering for mine depends on light and humidity. If the mix looks and feels dry, thats when I water.

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    I would suspect every day is too much. Mine go a week or more (the bigger plants) in my dry area. They do have some sphagnum moss packed loosely in the pot to keep some moisture, but they get quite dry in between watering. Over watering is much worse than under watering, as long as you water them!

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    plucker is offline Member
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    Open medias will dry quicker, so you will need to water more to meet the plants needs. Humidity also plays a part for plant watering as it affects how long a plant takes to dry.

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    athol is offline Junior Member
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    after watering the pot does not feel weighted at all,maybe i should soak it for a few minutes in a bucket instead of watering from above but every other day?

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    moniluhum is offline Senior Member
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    I would think watering every other day would be enough. as carol said over watering is worse than underwatering. if watering every other day is not sufficient you should change the mix.
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    athol is offline Junior Member
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    thanks,im gonna see how it goes and get some perlite so long in case it doesnt work out.

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    Another thing to keep in mind - how are the plants growing? Do they look happy? Do they have new growth and fat roots? If so, just keep doing what you are. Don't second guess yourself and don't keep repotting them if they are ok. Orchids don't like their roots messed with too often, it will damage them every time you repot the plant. Roots have to grow in the media they live in and, as they are growing, they adjust to that media and those growing conditions. When you change growing conditions, the roots don't re-adjust and often slowly die off as new roots grow. So, if you plants are doing alright over time, leave them in the new media for a year or more. If they are failing, then you might have to do some emergency work, but I doubt they are.

    I often soak my Phals for 20 mins or so, so that the bark and pick up the moisture, then I leave them for a week, just depending on when I get around to watering them again. If you didn't soak up the bark really well before using it, then I'd definitely soak the plants for a while when you water, then let them dry out before doing it again. Remember to use fresh water for each plant, so you don't spread diseases. You can soak them once and pour water over them another time too, it doesn't have to be the exact same treatment every time.

    Mostly relax, enjoy them, don't worry and let them grow!

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