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What size pot for repotting?

This is a discussion on What size pot for repotting? within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; On another thread I mentioned that I bought his phal on clearance. My potting supplies ...

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  1. #1
    Traci's Avatar
    Traci is offline Senior Member
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    Default What size pot for repotting?

    On another thread I mentioned that I bought his phal on clearance. My potting supplies came in today. It is currently in about a 2 inch pot. The new pot is 3 inches and the pot seems to dwarf the phal. I am not sure if the pot is too big (it is the smallest pot I have), if I can make it work using some packing styrofoam peanuts, or if I should repot in the 2 inch pot it is currently in. I am attaching some pictures of it. I hate to have to buy another pot (mostly due to shipping costs) but I will if I have to. The current 2 inch pot isn't rigid, it is flimsy. Name:  rsz_orchid_2.jpg
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  2. #2
    78Terp's Avatar
    78Terp is offline An Avant Gardner
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    Personally, I don't decide on the pot size until I have unwrapped the roots and see what I am working with. The pot size , IMO, is determined by root volume, not plant size per se.

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    Chris1140's Avatar
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    Agree with Harvey. Pot size should be the smallest pot that can comfortably hold the roots.

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    What about a clay pot? You should be able to find those locally.

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    Thanks! I actually have a few now that you mention it. My mom gave me a chia herb garden and I have a few pots from that. They are small so At least I have something on hand if the roots prove too small for any of my clear pots.

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    The local chain big-box hardware store, or garden center, should have a good selection of pots. If it is now in a 2-inch pot, a 3-inch should be OK, especially if it is a terracotta pot & you are re-potting in bark or another coarse medium.

  7. #7
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    Thank you. I repotted the little guy and all roots were ok and green except for one which just came off in my hand. I was actually able to use the 3 inch plastic pot as the roots were coiled around and around in the 2 inch pot. It seemed to fill the 3 inch pot pretty well. I used finely chopped Monterrey orchiata bark , spaghnum petals, rice hulls , and turf tvp. Hopefully this new mix agrees with him as he was TIGHTLY packed in moss. Even though I soaked the root ball in water to make removal of the old moss easier some of the moss inside was dry as I picked it away. The roots seemed too small to try to use the regular sized media to repot. In the next few days I will cut the spike back. I didn't want to shock him more than necessary.

  8. #8
    T4tlrman's Avatar
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    Default Good question

    Would also like to ask - Orchids are often sold in a 2nd pot that isn't vented and not much bigger than the first pot. Will the 2nd pot prevent the roots from getting the amount of air they need?
    Thanks, T

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    The second pot is a display pot. When I use those for a time after I get a new Phal, I take the plant in its smaller pot out, soak it for a time, let it drain thoroughly, then put it back in the display pot. The display pot can cause rot if you aren't really watchful or if you over water. So can the moss pot inside it.

    The little plastic pots they come in are designed for greenhouse growing and generally are not suitable at all for home growing. I find I usually go up to a 3" pot if the roots are still healthy in the 2" they come in. I usually just cut the plastic pot off, soak the roots and gently untangle them. They are going to be shocked by the re-potting, no way around that. They have grown to thrive in the greenhouse and orchid roots actually develop for the conditions they are grown in. They is why you generally prefer to re-pot when new roots are actively growing, so they can adapt to the new conditions. The old ones will mostly slowly die. Your new plant will be a year or so recovering before it's likely to grow well and bloom again. Those Phals are sold basically to be used as long lasting cut flowers, rather than to be grown on.

    So, yes, re-pot if the Phal is struggling, has rotten roots in the moss, losing leaves, etc. If it seems stable I just watch it closely to see how its doing and re-pot when its done blooming. I put them in either terra cotta orchid pots (I find the 3" ones just about perfect most of the time for those Phals), or, if I have a small ceramic one, I might use that.

    Hope that helps!

  10. #10
    78Terp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T4tlrman View Post
    Would also like to ask - Orchids are often sold in a 2nd pot that isn't vented and not much bigger than the first pot. Will the 2nd pot prevent the roots from getting the amount of air they need?
    Thanks, T
    The short answer is yes.

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