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potting orchids in general

This is a discussion on potting orchids in general within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I have used orchid mix, spag moss and coconut fibre mixture - the last of ...

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  1. #1
    vorchid111 is offline Junior Member
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    Default potting orchids in general


    I have used orchid mix, spag moss and coconut fibre mixture - the last of which seems to turn the roots a very dark brown....is this bad or dangerous? what would be the best mix - I want to mount a couple of my orchids on driftwood - should I use the moss as suggested in a video I watched? My larges orchid is thriving and has bloomed several times in the orchid mix (baged commercially)...should I used this on the rest of them....also should the roots of the smaller orchids be raised to the air on top of the soil - my large orchid is and seems to be doing very well - or should the roots be completely covered with soil???? thanks

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    nicki is offline Senior Member
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    Are your other orchids the same as the largest one that is thriving? Sounds like the mix you use has been tested and you have a happy plant as a result then I'd stick to that.

    I have no experience with coconut fiber. I have used the chunks without success, roots stayed wet for too long for me.

    As far as how far to cover roots, I keep covered what was already covered. If there are air roots then I keep them out of the mix.

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    vorchid111 is offline Junior Member
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    thanks for the info nicki - the one that is surviving is simply planted in bagged orchid mix compost - (Petite Star) but the others have just been purchased and I don't want to waste the money by messing them up....mostly Cattlyas - the chunks of coconut stuff has been too wet for my plants so that's why I thought I'd ask the question about - anyone else had the same problem....thanks again for the info -

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    Orchid roots tend to go where they want to Typically if you are potting in a pot with a cattleya you would put the roots in the pot and then add media so the rhizome is resting on it. If something is working for you that is a good indication that you are doing something right. Can you post a picture of the roots?

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    espranch is offline Senior Member
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    Different orchids prefer different mixes it seems. I used to pot my cattleys in 60% large fir bark, 20% perlite, & 20% charcoal.They seemed to do pretty good in this mix. Now, all of my orchids which are not mounted are in LECA, and are doing fine. I guess it depends on the climate you're in and also the kind of orchid you are growing... Betty :-)

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    Betty's right, different orchids in different conditions do well in different mixes. If you tell us what kind of plant you have and, like Zozzl said, ideally post a photo, people can give you lots of specific advice.

    I don't know of any reason coco chips or fiber should turn a plant's roots brown -- especially since, usually, brown roots are dead roots. You have to go by how the roots feel, more than how they look; live roots will be firm and dead ones will be soft, hollow, and/or squishy. I have a few Oncidiinae in coco chips that seem to be doing well, but that's in my apartment. It won't be the medium per se but the combination of a particular medium, humidity levels, frequency of watering, and light levels for the individual plant.

    As for roots growing out into the air, that's just the growth habit of lots of plants. I have a few that do that, and when I repot, I tuck all their roots down into the pot, and then on their next growth cycle they grow a bunch more out into the air. Some people leave them out -- again, it depends on your conditions. Mine are dryish, so I figure my plants are better off with buried roots, whatever their rainforest-adapted genes think. When plants that usually grow down into their media start putting roots out into the air, though, that can be a sign the medium is breaking down and they're looking for better ground to grow in.

    Mounting, again, depends entirely on the type of orchid and your conditions. I just did a C. aclandiae over here http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...g-project.html and did use a pad of sphagnum, but people with wetter conditions grow that plant mounted without any padding. Plants that need more moisture like Phalaenopsis definitely want the moss.

    Most of us lose a few to experimentation before we get it figured out. It happens! It's part of the learning process.

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