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Getting used to bark chips.

This is a discussion on Getting used to bark chips. within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; Hello, I am new to growing orchids so I may be overly concerned. I have ...

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  1. #1
    65skylark's Avatar
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    Default Getting used to bark chips.

    Hello,
    I am new to growing orchids so I may be overly concerned.
    I have at this point re potted all of my orchids into 90% bark chips. I am having a difficult time determining whether or not the roots are becoming dry. I have tried the pencil tip method as well as some wooden skewers but I can not really tell. I just watered yesterday morning and 2 in particular feel quite dry already. Should I be soaking in the sink for several minutes or simply running the water through the pot to let drain? I am concerned that I didn't soak the chips enough prior to planting. I was thinking of putting them outside during the day while it is warm and dry for a couple of days and then soaking well on monday ( 2 days ). I have 2 leaves beginning to turn yellow, I am hoping it is from being repotted. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Ben
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    Hi Ben,

    When you say bark chips, is this the only medium in your mix? We like to use a bit of coconut hust (holds water) in our mixes here. Regardless of your mix though, to answer your question: Try the weight method of determining if your orchid needs water. First, find one of your plants that you are 100% sure has dry medium. Now, lift it or weigh it if you have a small scale. Feel the dry weight. Next, run water through the pot - flushing the medium very well. Be sure to water heavily and not just splash the medium. Orchid roots will start to take in water after a few seconds, but not instantly. Now, re-weigh the pot or lift it again and feel the difference. You can compare the two weights to know when it is time to re-water. Hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    BD

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    That is a great idea! Thanks. I am using a mix of fir bark, hardwood charcoal and perlite with a tiny bit of sphagnum moss.
    Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.

    Ben

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    No worries, Ben. The sphagnum will hold water like the coconut husk I mentioned. Good. Hope the weight trick helps.

    Cheers
    BD

  5. #5
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    I find with Odont alliance, they do best in 100% sphagnum. Either that or 90% sphagnum to 10% small bark chips. The smaller the roots, the smaller the medium they say. But thats not to say my system for odonts works over there though. It depends on annual weather conditions. Here we get fairly wet winters, then dry summers, so sphag is good for catching the moisture in winter and using it in summer. Not sure over in DC though, never been further than the Gold Coast to be honest

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