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Phal repot mystery

This is a discussion on Phal repot mystery within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I used a sphagnum moss and fir bark mixture. I bought both from a local ...

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  1. #11
    jensoca's Avatar
    jensoca is offline Member
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    I used a sphagnum moss and fir bark mixture. I bought both from a local retailer. The pictures I already posted show what happened to the roots after just a few days actually less than 10 days. I was amazed at how fast it destroyed the roots.

  2. #12
    ang709's Avatar
    ang709 is offline Loves 'chids
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    For future reference, while it may be useful to put cinnamon on cut leaf tips, it is not good for the roots. It can make them dry up and die.

    You might try some rooting hormone.

  3. #13
    mauraec's Avatar
    mauraec is online now Senior Member
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    Maura Caffrey
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    When I first started repotting the phals that came in sphagnum moss alone, I used a mix from a special orchid supply place that contained fir bark, volcanic stone, a little charcoal, a little perlite, and A LOT of sphagnum moss. I have since discovered that sphagnum moss is not my friend - it hold too much water for too long, and will also hold any fertilizer you use for too long. In my experience, it gave me the impression that my plants were still damp and didn't need watering, when in fact, it was only the area that the moss was in that was still sopping - and starting rot/fungus/mold - whatever you want to call it. So, I pulled all the moss out of my "professional" mix and separated it to use when I need to generate roots, or if I ever try propagation. I don't really have anywhere to mount orchids, so I don't use moss for that, but it seems to me, from others, that that's where it works best.

    All my phals are in regrouping mode, and, I have to repot one giant one that has huge roots hanging out everywhere and drying out - I will repot it in the mix I have put together, including a small amount of soil/peat, medium fir bark, charcoal (chunks, but smaller than the 1/2" or so size I'd ideally like), 1/2" or so volcanic rock, and a few styrofoam peanuts on the bottom. This mix is really just a result of what I have used and worked, what I've read is good for most orchids, and what I actually have easy access to. Also, when I repot, I spray the whole plant, including roots, with combo fungicide/insecticide, dredge the roots in root hormone powder, pot it, water it enough to settle the mix, and then put it somewhere in low (but not "no") light until it recovers and starts regrowing.

    The boxstore phals never come in any medium that's good for long-term use and, in fact, is sometimes so bad that you have to repot even if the plant's in bud or blooming instead of waiting for the new growth to appear. I have found that even the orchid greenhouses around Atlanta are having a hard time keeping their plants cool and shaded enough to prevent some serious rotting problems. I don't think we've had rain for 3 weeks or more, and it's been above 95 everyday, so even my inside plants are moved back a bit from my south window. As for repotting problem plants - I rescued a specimen-sized cattleya from a local nursery, did all the things I wasn't supposed to do (like not dividing it, not removing the buds, not waiting until after blooming to repot), and I am just about to post the photos on the In Bloom photos forum. So..... you'll get tons of advice that sounds pretty much the same, nearly as much advice that totally contradicts everything else. My advice is to read it all, read the research in your orchid books (I think everyone should have some good book resources), and research reputable sites on the web (besides this one, I mean). I'm talking about sites like the AOS and RHS. And THEN... go with what feels right to you. What I do now is the product of all these things, plus eliminating the things I did that efficiently killed some of my orchids - which I won't get into since it's kind of embarrassing, as well as full of memories I'd rather forget, and wouldn't necessarily help anyone else.

    So... that's my "Quick Reply" for you.

    Good luck -


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