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Phalocalanthe potting medium

This is a discussion on Phalocalanthe potting medium within the Genus Specific forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have a Phalocalanthe Kryptonite 'Blood Bath' that I think needs repotting, but I'm not ...

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  1. #1
    Sequoia's Avatar
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    Default Phalocalanthe potting medium

    I have a Phalocalanthe Kryptonite 'Blood Bath' that I think needs repotting, but I'm not sure what to pot it in, as I can't find any information about the genus anywhere. I'm wondering if maybe it's some kind of hybrid.
    Right now it's potted in what appears to be live spaghnum moss - it's green. It seems like the grower who sold it to me told me that that is what it is, and offered an alternative medium if I don't have access to live Spaghnum - but I don't remember what. I can't repot it until I know what to do, and it's a very big plant in a quite small pot. I'm not really experienced with repotting at all. Any insight would be much appreciated

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    Yes, Phaiocalanthe Kryptonite is a hybrid cross of Calanthe Rozel and Phaius tankervilleae. I have Phaiocalanthe Kryptonite 'Ursula', but it is a rather new acquisition, so I will let others advise about the culture.

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    I dont have that plant or either parents, so I do not have any first-hand experience there.

    But both parents are predominantly terrestrial orchids so they should do well in a mix that retains moisture evenly and does not compact.
    There are plenty of terrestrial orchid mixes available in the market today. If you cannot find one, you can make your own mix.

    The popular ingredients in a terrestrial mix (combined according to the grower's preference ) :

    Primary ingredients (50% or more)
    1. Small/Very small orchid bark.
    2. Commercial potting soil (Or African Violet mix). Some people also swear by horse manure for Phaius and Cymbidiums.

    Secondary ingredients:
    3 Sphagnum moss (shredded)
    4. Small perlite
    5. Small chunks of charcoal
    6. Coconut coir (cut into very small pieces)

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    Thanks for the advice. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to find some terrestrial orchid mix, but now I have another question. When I repot it, should I put it in clay or plastic? Also, when repotting, do I leave the old spaghnum moss around the roots or try and get mostly new potting mix around the roots? And finally, are there any brands or sources of orchid mixes that I should look for? I've heard that some of those available at garden centers can be low quality. I don't know how widespread poor mixes are, or even if it's a real concern-just want to be safe. Thanks

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    Clay or plastic is a matter of choice, but just remember that plants in clay pots will dry out faster than those in plastic pots. I would try to remove all the old sphagnum moss. I'm not a big fan of the mixes they have at the garden centers here. I haven't tried any of the ones that say you don't have to fertilize because it's already in the mix, since I like to control the fertilizer schedule. Also, some mixes have so much dust from the charcoal. I've used them but always rinse them very well. They can also be inconsitent as to the size of the bark-some huge pieces and many tiny ones, so I end up spending a lot of time picking out the pieces that are just the right size for the orchid I'm currently repotting. Other than the time spent rinsing and picking out pieces, however, I haven't had any problems from those types of mixes.

    Wetfeet, thanks for the info on the home made mix. I will be referring to that when I repot my Phaiocalanthe.

    And, Sequoia, I just wanted to add a belated welcome!
    Last edited by ang709; June 25th, 2008 at 07:33 PM. Reason: Pressed enter before I was done. Oops!

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    Thanks for the welcome, I'm glad to be here. For the custom mix - I just want to get it straight because I do actually have a lot of those ingredients, so I guess I might as well make my own - the mix would consist of about 50% small bark and african violet soil, mixed equally (or would more of one or the other be better)? and then some perlite and shredded spaghnum? Would that be sufficient, or should I also get charcoal and coconut coir? I've never made my own mix before, I don't want to mess it up. thanks for all the help

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    Regarding the percentage of each individual component, it really depends on the grower's preference and its performance in relation to the specific growing area.

    The primary ingredients do not have to be mixed equally. If you feel that the plant will do better with more bark than potting soil, or vice versa, then it is up to you. And you don't need to use both. If you feel that only one component will satisfy the plants' needs then it is ok too.
    Same goes for the secondary ingredients. You do not need to use all of them. Just use the ones that you feel work best for you.

    You will have to try out different combinations in order to get that "magic formula" that will satisfy your plants' requirements for your specific growing area and gardening lifestyle.
    A mix that gives perfect results for one grower might result in dead plants for another.

    One of the first things to do when designing your potting mix is to understand what each ingredient brings to your mix, and then determine how much of that ingredient will need to be added to the mix.
    100% perlite for example, will be a very fast drying (and very inert) mix. It will also be very light and loose so it will not offer any stability to the plant and will be prone to toppling over.
    100% potting "soil" however, is heavy and retains moisture for a long time. However, it can hold water for too long and end up with waterlogged roots.
    It also has a tendency to compact over time and make it difficult for roots to grow.

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