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Trying Dends again--need advice

This is a discussion on Trying Dends again--need advice within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; Hello. I found this forum while I was trying to research which orchid alliance to ...

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  1. #1
    Kassie's Avatar
    Kassie is offline Senior Member
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    Red face Trying Dends again--need advice

    Hello. I found this forum while I was trying to research which orchid alliance to try next after the ubiquitous big box phalaenopsis (now that I'm managing not to kill them anymore). I was hoping to find something "easy" that would fit with my care conditions and starting to get really confused about what would work. Then I decided I was way overthinking it and should just pick something easily accessible in my area and wing it (Translation: There was a big bargain table full of plaintive-looking NOID dendrobiums at my grocery store and I am a sucker. ).

    I picked one that seemed to be in pretty good shape, but now I'm not so sure. It definitely had the most growths--8 large canes (10 to 18 in.) and 5 small ones (back bulbs?). Two spikes have been cut back and one is still blooming nicely. Of course it is potted horribly--peat moss in a no-drainage glazed ceramic. But the visible roots seem OK.

    I want to do right by this den, since the last one I had didn't last long. My previous one was a nobile-type and my green thumb just got twitchy looking at all those gnarly stems all winter long. This one I'm pretty sure is a den-phal. I've read over CJ corner's great article on repotting, but I have a few specific questions.

    First of all, does it look ok? Should I wait to repot this one until the blooms fall or does it need to get out of that pot? Does it need to be divided with so many growths?

    I grow my phals in a south west windowsill, but plan to move them to our 3-season room for a while in a couple months. Should I keep the den there for a few weeks too? There is lots of light there but no hvac so it is too hot right now, I think. We live in Iowa where the seasons vary hugely. We winter over our patio pots in the 3-season room with a space heater to keep it just above freezing. There will be a nice day/night temp differential this fall, but I'm afraid it will be too cold for the phals or the den all winter long.

    Thanks for any advice! I'm really trying not to be too neurotic about the whole orchid thing--don't ask how well that's working for me.

  2. #2
    rich63's Avatar
    rich63 is offline Senior Member
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    Trish,I'm not a expert by no means.The glazed pot with no drainage will have to go when you re-pot.As a rule for me,I always re-pot new additions.I like to see how the roots are,and get rid of any pest hitch hikers.I have found a roach in one pot once.That did freak me out.The potting mix on your plant seems very fine.I use a med. bark mix with charcoal and perlite. I sure others will chime in.Thats just my thoughts. Have Fun,Rich
    Last edited by rich63; July 22nd, 2010 at 07:50 PM.

  3. #3
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    Hi Trish. I'm in central Iowa and move my orchids into the basement when the weather starts getting too cool for them. I don't do the best with Dens... they tend to commit suicide in my care. I have a lot of Cattleyas and oncidiums. these seem to work well for the temps and lights I provide.

  4. #4
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    HelloTrish and welcome to the community . That's definitely a Den phalaenopsis type and they are warm growing and you'll have to move it indoors in the winter. They need more open potting and the peat moss and glazed pot must go. I think Rich has given very good advice on potting. I don't believe you should divide now - give it another year until it has settled nicely in the new pot.

    You seem to have the right attitude towards orchid growing. Here's wishing you success with your orchids.

  5. #5
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    I will just say welcome, Trish and recommend that you follow the advice given. These folks know what they are talking about.
    Best of luck to you!

    Cheers,
    BD

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    Thanks all! My bark mix is soaking. Roaches?? no thanks. My orchids did not get moved outside this summer because we are overwhelmed with earwigs who have eaten every bloom they can find. I don't need any more creepy bugs.

    Cindi, we are in Northwest Iowa. The way things have been here this summer, I would be afraid the orchids would drown outside.

    Should I try to actively encourage growth at this time of the year or just try to preserve the status quo?

  7. #7
    rich63's Avatar
    rich63 is offline Senior Member
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    Trish,As long as you provide the correct culture for your chids,they will grow. Den's. need a lot of sun to bloom,you can have a plant that will grow and produce new growths.But if it isn't getting enough sun it just will not bloom. Have Fun,Rich

  8. #8
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    I'd agree to repot now --- if you wait until the plant is done blooming, no telling if you'll have any viable roots left.

  9. #9
    Kassie's Avatar
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    Angry Why do they pot them this way?

    Day three in its new pot and my dend seems to be taking the change well. Thank you for the suggestions to repot. I don't know why I hesitated to do so, especially after what I found inside!

    This dend appeared to have been "potted up" 3 times-- the old media was all still there. First it appeared to have been mounted on a 5cm square chunk of coconut husk. This was directly under the center of the older growth and had roots growing through it. Luckily the fibers were so badly rotted they peeled away easily.

    Then it had about a 2.5 inch pot's worth of bark mix (also rotten). The third layer (judging from the little round fertilizer balls) was miracle gro potting soil! Surprisingly, the roots were not as bad as I expected--not great and healthy, but not rotting. I did see a tiny snail so I rinsed them very well. Before a minor trim, they looked like this:

    So, this is the 3rd orchid I've purchased from a store that was potted completely "wrong". I picked up 2 mini-phals that were wedged so tightly with sphagnum in glazed un-drained pots that I had to submerge the whole pot in a bucket for a day to get them out. Only then could I use a tweezers to pluck out enough moss that I could get the plants out.

    Why do they plant them this way? Unless the purchaser finds a place like this to learn the right way to pot things, they are doomed to kill their plants.

  10. #10
    rich63's Avatar
    rich63 is offline Senior Member
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    Trish,there is a lot of commercial growers who grow plants for the retail market.Many people purchase orchids in bloom and through them away after the blooms are done."Ice orchids" are a good example of this,no one that knows anything about orchids would not water a phal. with ice.They want to sell more orchids.Snails or slugs are not good for these plants.I glad you were able to get around to repot. Good Luck,Rich

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