Shop Orchid Care OrchidTalk Orchid Forum Weather Station Links Nursery

Welcome to OrchidTalk Orchid Forums


The Friendliest Orchid Community on the Internet!


  •  » Learn to Repot your Orchids
  •  » Learn Orchid Care Tips and Secrets
  •  » Find the perfect Orchid for your Growing Environment
  •  » Chat with Orchid Growing Professionals

OrchidTalk - "Bringing People Together to Grow Orchids Better!"


Let us help you grow your Orchids better; Join our community today.


YES! I want to register an account for free right now!


Register or Login now to remove this advertisement.

Results 1 to 9 of 9

Repotting...Can I change the medium?

This is a discussion on Repotting...Can I change the medium? within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I'm so new to orchids...trying to learn but a bit flustered. I recently purchased my ...

Click here to increase the font size Click here to reduce the font size
  1. #1
    Centerharbear is offline Member
    Real Name
    Chuck
    My Grow Area
    On a Windowsill.
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Phalenopsis and Paphiopedilum.
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Center Harbor, NH (near Lake Winnepesaukee....central NH)
    Posts
    38

    Default Repotting...Can I change the medium?

    I'm so new to orchids...trying to learn but a bit flustered. I recently purchased my first orchids (Phals..Paphs..Cattleya..Cymbidium) and thought I should take them out of the ugly plastic pots they were in. I bought some sphagnum moss...moistened it and put my orchids in new pots.
    The other day I went to water them and no water ran out of the bottom of the pots. I panicked and pulled the plants from their pots. The moss was laden with moisture and the entire plant was VERY moist under the surface. I was so scared that I had waterlogged them that I put them back in their original plastic pots. There seemed to be a space at the bottom of the pot, so I put some medium bark in the bottom. Lots of the orchids I have purchased have been in bark...can I take the moss off of the roots and replace the planting medium with bark?
    Also, in my panic I bent a long, grey tendril coming off of my phalenopsis orchid....it has a small green tip on it. Was this a bloom spike? Since I bent it and partially broke it does that mean that the plant is doomed?
    I know I sound silly with all of these questions..I guess I should have learned a lot more before purchasing my orchids...but I think I have the fever...they are so interesting and wonderful.
    I hope there is someone out there who will take a "newbie" in hand and give me some advise. I'd appreciate any and all advise and even criticism....I look forward to hearing from you!

    Centerharbear
    (Chuck)
    Center Harbor, NH

  2. #2
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
    Real Name
    Bruce Brown
    My Grow Area
    Greenhouse
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Cattleyas & Slippers
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    33,846
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    Hi Chuck,

    First off - No Worries! Helping each other grow our orchids better is why this forum exists! So breathe easy and know you can ask any and all questions here without worry that someone will be mean or negative. We don't have members like that.

    So, about your questions.

    1. the grey thing you broke is an aerial root. Do not worry. It will not hurt much - most assurdly it will not cause doom for this orchid. (Just don't break lots of them. )

    2. When you say you took the orchids out of their plastic pots, what kind of pot did you put them into? Orchids need air around their roots to breath. Most orchids (the ones you mentioned) are epiphytes and grow on the sides of trees or lithophytes and grow on rocks. If you put them into pretty ceramic pots with a glaze coating, they cannot breath and will not dry out properly. This is a normal mistake folks make - no worries, you caught it. If you put them into clay pots, then your spag was packed too tightly and therefor could not drain.

    A common item to use to help create space for your orchids roots and help them keep air around them is to put peanuts (packing peanuts - the non-biodegradable kind) in the bottom of the pot.

    3. Orchid Bark vs. spag. I like orchid bark because it works for my watering schedule. Others like spag and still others will tell you to go semi-hydroponic for the best success. The simple fact is that you have to decide how you want to grow your plants. If you like to water lots, then go with a larger bark mix or even lava rock. If you don't want to water very often, spag or s/h is a good method. I use a mixture of small, medium, and large barks, along with perlite (sponge rock), and charcoal. I always put a handful of packing peanuts in the bottom of my pots. I use plastic pots because they dry out faster, although I do keep some orchids in clay. Clay tends to pull the water away from the plant (good for some).

    You should check out the orchid articles here on OrchidTalk. I put up a repotting article that you might find helpful. Also there is an article on growing phals that will tell you more about their requirements.

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
    Centerharbear is offline Member
    Real Name
    Chuck
    My Grow Area
    On a Windowsill.
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Phalenopsis and Paphiopedilum.
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Center Harbor, NH (near Lake Winnepesaukee....central NH)
    Posts
    38

    Smile Thanks Bruce

    Hi Bruce,
    Thanks for the reply...lots of helpful info. Just one other question...can I take all of the sphagnum moss out of the pots...from around the plant ..and replace it with bark?
    Again..I'm so glad i found this orchid forum. thanks for the helpful hints! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    Chuck

  4. #4
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
    Real Name
    Bruce Brown
    My Grow Area
    Greenhouse
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Cattleyas & Slippers
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    33,846
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    Sure, Chuck. The orchids can be grown in bark without any sphagnum. Just realize that they will dry out faster. This will be good for the cattleya .

    Cheers,
    BD

  5. #5
    Centerharbear is offline Member
    Real Name
    Chuck
    My Grow Area
    On a Windowsill.
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Phalenopsis and Paphiopedilum.
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Center Harbor, NH (near Lake Winnepesaukee....central NH)
    Posts
    38

    Default

    I think I have my work cut out for me tomorrow! I'm going to re-pot all of those in sphagnum...I think I prefer being able to water my orchids and see that they are draining properly.
    I'm going on vacation in July...I'll be gone for 10 days. I've heard that my orchids should be ok, as long as I give them a good watering before I go and put them in a shaded area. Any other thoughts? I'm thinking of a dining room table that gets some very indirect light..and put them on pebble trays with water....

  6. #6
    hcubed's Avatar
    hcubed is offline Senior Member
    My Grow Area
    Windowsill
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Oncidium alliance
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Hamburg, Germany
    Posts
    625

    Default

    I think a cymbidium would prefer being in coarse bark mix also - mine likes to dry out a little more than the others - keeps the roots from rotting.

  7. #7
    Diane's Avatar
    Diane is offline Can't Re-Member
    My Grow Area
    Windowsill
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Catts and Paphs
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Surprise, AZ
    Posts
    6,250
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hcubed View Post
    I think a cymbidium would prefer being in coarse bark mix also - mine likes to dry out a little more than the others - keeps the roots from rotting.
    Ah, it's all in where you are! My cymbidiums are potted in regular potting soil. Many people here in California actually plant cymbidiums in the ground - although it has to be well drained!

  8. #8
    celiviel is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    18

    Default

    From one newbie to another, when repotting in bark, make sure you work it between the roots and tamp it down with your fingers! It shouldn't be so loose that the plant is wobbly.

    The first time I repotted, switching from sphag to bark, I didn't do that and it set off a long spiral of dehydration that my poor phal is still valiantly trying to recover from. I was underwatering it a bit to begin with, considering the heat, and it just couldn't get enough moisture out of the medium before it dried out because there was so little of it in there.

  9. #9
    Centerharbear is offline Member
    Real Name
    Chuck
    My Grow Area
    On a Windowsill.
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Phalenopsis and Paphiopedilum.
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Center Harbor, NH (near Lake Winnepesaukee....central NH)
    Posts
    38

    Default

    I really appreciate all of your help. As much as I have always longed to have orchids, it's all become a bit overwhelming. I have 16 now....apparently, I've got orchid fever.

    Chuck

Similar Threads

  1. Title Change
    By Tednz in forum Registration / Login issues
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: January 8th, 2009, 12:32 AM
  2. Help needed to change login name
    By Debbie in forum Registration / Login issues
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: August 31st, 2008, 03:18 PM
  3. When to change fertilizer?
    By Petalsofsugar in forum New Growers: Ask the Senior Members
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: August 26th, 2006, 04:12 PM
  4. is it a bad idea to change medium...
    By Cinderella in forum General Orchid Culture
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: July 23rd, 2004, 04:35 PM
  5. I want to change this for next month
    By LJA in forum RVO's OrchidTalk Contest Winners!
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: July 6th, 2004, 08:12 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
OrchidTalk --An Orchid Growers Discussion Forum brought to you by River Valley Orchidworks. A World Community where orchid beginners and experts talk about orchids and share tips on their care, cultivation, and propagation.