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Custom Bark Mix....

This is a discussion on Custom Bark Mix.... within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Ok...so now that I have a boat load of plants that will start arriving later ...

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  1. #1
    mtequine's Avatar
    mtequine is offline Senior Member
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    Default Custom Bark Mix....

    Ok...so now that I have a boat load of plants that will start arriving later this week after my total loss of control shopping spree, I need to think about repotting them! LOL

    I dug out the bark mix I have-it's too small, is paph seedling mix. I went on this big S/H kick, but don't want to put any of these plants coming in S/H....so all those materials are going to do me no good.

    I have a bag of charcole, a bag of sponge rock, some med. chc.....

    If I get some sphag and cut it up and were to mix it with the above mentioned 'ingredients'....what ratios of each would one use, and would that be a good mix? Or, do I just break down and go buy some bark mix from the local greenhouse? Would I need to add bark to my custom mix or is just the chc good?

    Thanks!

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    My catt alliance plants all are in straight bark or bark/charcoal/perlite. I find chc can hold too much water - but it depends on your watering cycle, the size of the plant and the pot, and the humidity. I'd get some bark and go 70 bark, 20 charcoal and 10 perlite.... but you'll certainly get other opinions..

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the input Diane. Is the white stuff I'm calling sponge rock the same as perlite? LOL

    You're in CA, right? Pretty arid there? I water about once a week in the winter, previously twice a week in the summer but had really strong south light which I don't have in new location. I have a few Catt alliance members in a chc/bark?/charcoal type mix I'd purchased somewhere and they are doing well-potted in plastic.

    Will be interesting to see what others say too. More decisions to distract me from work. ARG! I'll never get my masters degree at this rate!

  4. #4
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    sponge rock is larger than perlite. it does the same thing. Perlite holds more moisture though because of its finer size.
    I just mix everything together and use it...I have no recipe, as long as the texture feels right, it has to be airy. Orchids will grow in almost anything. I don't think you should be using sphag unless you want to water less frequently. I have some mini catts in coconut chunks and husks

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    With our watering schedule, the catts are in large chunk bark mix with sponge rock, and charcoal. Spag would keep the roots wet too long.

    Cheers,
    BD

  6. #6
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    Like you, I am in an arid situation. Humidity doesn't rise above 30% all winter--and that's with 2 humidifiers going. My usual mix contains about 20% chopped sphag. I use clay pots and it dries out pretty fast.

    Diane's mix is safe here, but you're going to be watering all the time. I love the plants she has sent me, nice pots and fresh media, great roots, but I'm gonna have to change them out come spring because they dry out way too fast here. Your watering practices will determine your fate, but dehydration is a bigger threat to my orchids than rot. Even the catts.

  7. #7
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    Hi All,

    Thanks for the input...I was hoping that you would pipe up again Linda-I know we talked a little bit last summer when I was moving some oncids to S/H about our similar conditions.

    I have most of my plants in plastic now, partly because I couldn't keep up with the watering in clay. I think what I'll do is a chc/bark/charcoal/sponge rock mix with slightly less than 20% chopped sphag to account for the difference in plastic vs clay pots. I have a few dends in clay and it's brutal to keep them watered /happy in the summer-not so bad in the winter.

    I have a few catts in my classroom at school-potted in plastic in a chc/bark mix w/no sphag and they are in strong southern light-I have a terrible time keeping them watered there and I'm in the classroom all the time with them...they acutally get more attention than my plants at home and are struggling. I do think I have a couple of those overpotted though-imagine that....I never do that. Ha.

    The few catts I have here at home, like I said are potted in plastic and in a chc/bark/etc. mix w/little/no sphag and we manage ok but fight needing a third watering per week, especially in the summer. But, they are growing roots like crazy and appear quite happy.

    Anyway...will report on what is/isn't working....

    One of the venders I ordered from on Saturday called me at school to discuss shipping (due to potential cold). Looks like we have a window and three of my plants will be here on Wednesday! Yahooo.

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