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Question about potting media

This is a discussion on Question about potting media within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello Everyone, My friend has a moldy phal that he is trying to save for ...

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  1. #1
    Traci's Avatar
    Traci is offline Senior Member
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    Default Question about potting media

    Hello Everyone,
    My friend has a moldy phal that he is trying to save for his wife. It was way overpotted by the florist. I am going to repot it for him and attempt to save it. Currently I have handful t of my normal phal media left (bark, hydroton etc). I do have plenty of paph media which consists of
    Small Coconut Husk Chips
    Small Red Lava Rock
    Medium Red Lava Rock
    Small Sponge Rock - Perlite
    Medium Stalite
    Coir
    Small Granite Chips
    Would it be okay to pot in this mix on an emergency basis or use the handful I have and then supplement with the the paph media? I am going to have to use physan on the phal and I am pretty sure the roots are going to be a mess when I get there. The only other mix I have is the seedling mix that I have used on phals with one or two roots left which has
    Precision Extra Small Orchiata Monterey Pine Bark
    New Zealand Fine Petals Sphagnum Moss
    Turface MVP
    Small Sponge Rock - Perlite.
    What do you think might be the best approach?
    Thank you

  2. #2
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    Default

    Personally, I like long-strand sphagnum for my phals, kept in Air-cone pots. All that relatively fine stuff you have listed seems too prone to suffocating the roots.

  3. #3
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    Now I need to know what an Air cone pot is!

    I'd be concerned about all the fine stuff. If you have nothing suitable, the plant will be better off out of the pot entirely while it dries out and you get some new media for it. I've been known to put mine on the plastic pan that goes under the pots to catch water on top of a paper towel for a few days and let it sit dry if its moldy, then either spray mist it or dunk it in water for a few seconds and put it back every couple of days. There's no real hurry and you can see when the roots are green or getting white and dry very easily. They don't grow in pots in nature!

    Do give it a kelp based rooting stimulant like Kelp Max to encourage it to grow new roots, that stuff has worked magic on my Phals!

    I've also put a few of them in Semi-Hydro when the bark I bought seemed to be causing them harm. They've actually done really well for me, even though they were unhappy when I potted them. This is pretty specific to my dry and somewhat warm conditions I'm thinking. That reminds me... I need to post pictures of all the blooms I got this spring!

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    An air-cone pot is molded to have a cone that projects into the middle of the volume of potting medium. it is perforated to allow better air flow to what otherwise could become the "soppy middle".

    I just repotted a bunch of phals yesterday, and duplicated that by inverting a small net pot in the bottom of a standard flower pot before adding the medium.

  5. #5
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    Oh cool, I will have to try that. I don't have as many orchids as a lot of you, but I do have several Phals that need repotting when they are done blooming. I seem to have gotten a year or two behind (last winter I was dealing with a broken arm, nothing got done except watering) and I need to catch up! I also need to find some larger pots with good drainage, as many of my older Phals are getting huge and you just don't see 10" orchid pots. I may have to take up making my own. (Who has time for that??)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybark View Post
    An air-cone pot is molded to have a cone that projects into the middle of the volume of potting medium. it is perforated to allow better air flow to what otherwise could become the "soppy middle".

    I just repotted a bunch of phals yesterday, and duplicated that by inverting a small net pot in the bottom of a standard flower pot before adding the medium.
    Those little mesh pots are great at keeping medium from blocking the drainage hole in clay pots!

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    moniluhum is offline Senior Member
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    Ray, just wondering do you prefer sphagnum over a fir bark, charcoal, perllite mix? Is there an advantage of one over the other in terms of humidity,temperature,lighting?

  8. #8
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    Thanks for everyone's input. I had enough time to run and buy some chunky mix- not miracle gro brand- to repot the orchid. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The attached picture shows the orchid that I repotted. It turned out to be two orchids in flimsy plastic liners stuffed with soggy and dry moss. Then the liners were buried in the pickle jar with fine bark both above and below the pots. There was no drainage in the jar but the bottom of the flimsy containers had holes. However the water was never going to evaporate at the bottom of the container and only going to mold. The roots were starting to dry from being either way too dry or way too soggy. I know he might lose the blooms on the larger orchid but within a week or two I think the orchid would have had no roots. I wish I had taken pictures of the orchids after I potted them. The bark was more coarse than I like but I find her spaghnum alone doesn't work except for my dracs because it is either soaking wet or dry as a bone. Name:  image.jpeg
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    ---------- Post Merged at 08:29 PM ----------

    the orchids were a gift for his wife after her grandmother passed away and he said that this is the longest they have kept orchids alive which is three months. Hopefully these make it. They had bad roots but the mold at ththe bottom of the jar had not reached them.

  9. #9
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    If I understood correct - they are two separate orchids, not a keiki? Imo it was better to make two separate plants in case one of the gets moldy, dies etc. the other lives.
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    Last edited by theflowerbread; May 19th, 2016 at 10:46 AM. Reason: double post

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    Quote Originally Posted by moniluhum View Post
    Ray, just wondering do you prefer sphagnum over a fir bark, charcoal, perllite mix? Is there an advantage of one over the other in terms of humidity,temperature,lighting?
    Monica, first let me apologize for replying so late - I didn't see your post.

    I use different media for different plants. This is not a case of "one size fits all."

    For phals, I prefer sphagnum. For paphs, I go with medium bark, with- or without a bit of sponge rock added. For catts and the like, I tend to use coarser bark - the bigger the plant, the bigger the bark. Vandaceous plants in the greenhouse had no medium. Now that I'm moving back to windowsill culture, I may go with coarse bark, or EcoWeb cubes.

    My goal is to meet the needs of the plant, but do so in a way that allows me to water everything at the same time.

    My choice of medium is not really related to humidity, temperature, or lighting, except how they may affect the drying rate.

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