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Moving Phals out of Sphagnum?

This is a discussion on Moving Phals out of Sphagnum? within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I don't do well with orchids potted in pure sphagnum. The last phal I tried ...

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  1. #1
    Kassie's Avatar
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    Red face Moving Phals out of Sphagnum?

    I don't do well with orchids potted in pure sphagnum. The last phal I tried to move from sphag to bark mix with 20% sphag went from very healthy with fat vigorous roots to rootless within about 10 days. When I pulled it from the pot, there was moisture in the pot, but the bark was not wet. It is currently going nowhere in a sphag and bag.

    I just got a Dtps. I-Hsin Ice Coke in the mail that I wasn't expecting to be in pure sphag. It looks so good--7 leaves, lots of air roots, 2 old spikes--I hate to send it to the ICU like the last one. But it is in a soft, clear plastic pot with just one hole and did not seem to drain very quickly when I watered it. What is the best way to transition a phal out of sphag and into a bark medium?

    Thanks,
    Trish

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    When I get a phal in sphag, I just repot it. Leaving it in sphag in my greenhouse is a death sentence most of the time. Take a look at the RVO care page on repotting a phal. This is how I do it: Repotting a Phal (Video and instructions)

    Cheers,
    BD

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    stefpix is offline Senior Member
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    But on a windowsill sphagnum could be OK as the humidity is way lower than a greenhouse.
    Personally i like coconut chips/ fiber.
    You could use sphag with a net pot...
    Did you soak the bark before repotting?

  4. #4
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    I did soak the bark starting with boiling water, but only overnight--not several days. I moved some mini-phals from sphagnum to bark ok, but I am traumatized by how badly the last one took the move. Is it typical for them to reject all the roots that were growing happily in sphagnum? I wish I had taken pictures of it when I first repotted, because I would really like to know what went wrong. Except for a few old roots in the center 'plug', all the roots were fat and strong-looking. The aftermath photos are in my last thread 'Asstd. Newb Questions'.

    I don't know if I can cater to this new one in sphag seperately from all the others. All my other phals are happily growing right now, and I'm sure my regimen for them won't work for Ice Coke in sphag.

    I added some coconut husk to my Odm., it holds a lot of moisture in my setting. If this were a smaller phal, I might try it, but it will take at least a 5.5 to 6 inch pot to corral most of those air roots and I already struggle with my big pots not to overwater.

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    stefpix is offline Senior Member
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    I don't know, not expert enough. But to see such a quick decline seems unusual unless they were sitting in water etc. If you have a few roots it might be enough.

    I bought a Phal equestris and a Phal bastianii from the same vendor. large seedlings. One is growing healthy roots the other one has been stunted for months.

    I think sometimes some plants are healthier than others, some may be runts etc.

    Phals can be finnickier than other orchids like Oncidiums or Dendrobiums in my opinion.
    You could post some pictures.

  6. #6
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    It seems to me, when you change the type of medium the orchid is planted in, the orchid changes roots. (Does that make any sense?) The present roots were addapted to that medium, now it has to grow new roots adapted to the new medium.

  7. #7
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    Have you tried and experimented planting your phals in PrimeAgra as in growing them Semi-Hydro culture?

    Another method is to repot the phal in its original sphag medium in a open wire or wooden basket used for Vandas. You can remove some of the sphag - that way the roots won't get overly soaked up with the perfect drainage and will dry our better with the air circulation.

    Whenever I replant/repot, I water the root area with a solution of SuperThrive and it sure does help a lot and lessen root and plant shock.

  8. #8
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    I have had the same problem when switching phals from spag to bark. What I found...there is a mix out there that is specifically made for phals. When you open the bag, if you think there is too much peatty material, it's probably the right one. The other option I've found they love is the semi-hydro thing. I was so afraid to try it because I thought the only people that could handle that sort of thing was the biology students. Then I tried it and got a good laugh. My phals that are handling the heat and move like pros are in semi hydro! I went to my local deli and bought some clear plastic containers that were tall and narrow. I took my husbands soddering thing and melted holes about 2-3 inches from the bottom (depending on the size of the container). It leaves a well to hold a little water at the bottom. You get some clay semi hydro pieces...usually stocked by orchid nurseries and soak them in a bucket overnight. You fill the container about an inch past the holes you melted, then hold the plant (now cleaned of all potting materials...Very Important) and fill the rest of the container up to the base of the phal. Water the plant whenever the well gets close to being empty. They grow roots like ropes in this method. You mix your water and fertilizer exactly the same. Good Luck...

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