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Bark Mix for Phals

This is a discussion on Bark Mix for Phals within the Phalaenopsis ('moth orchid') Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; Happy Halloween! I was given 12 nice phals that unfortunately are planted in pure moss. ...

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  1. #1
    gardenguysorchids's Avatar
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    Default Bark Mix for Phals

    Happy Halloween! I was given 12 nice phals that unfortunately are planted in pure moss. They have just finished blooming so it will be awhile before they spike again. My question is concerning repotting them. Can I use hardwood wood chip mulch for the media (as long as it is untreated) or must I stay with the pre-bagged orchid bark? Now that my collection has grown to 87 orchids I hate the thought of having to buy these small bags of orchid bark at $6 to $8 per bag. Anyone care to share what you use for you phals? These are really nice healthy plants but they are really potted tight in moss and some are very wet. Will appreciate any advice. Thanks Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by gardenguysorchids View Post
    Happy Halloween! I was given 12 nice phals that unfortunately are planted in pure moss. They have just finished blooming so it will be awhile before they spike again. My question is concerning repotting them. Can I use hardwood wood chip mulch for the media (as long as it is untreated) or must I stay with the pre-bagged orchid bark? Now that my collection has grown to 87 orchids I hate the thought of having to buy these small bags of orchid bark at $6 to $8 per bag. Anyone care to share what you use for you phals? These are really nice healthy plants but they are really potted tight in moss and some are very wet. Will appreciate any advice. Thanks Bill
    Hi Bill,

    I have read on here that it is not a good idea to use mulch for media because of chemicals - but if you are sure it is untreated - you could give it a go. Orchids can grow in just about any media if the watering and feeding conditions are correct. For our phalaenopsis, we have developed a mix we use that includes large and medium coconut husk as well as several other items. See the details on the RVO Care Page -http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchids/nursery/orchid-videos/how-to-repot-a-phalaenopsis-orchid/ and here is a step by step video that goes with the text on the page I link to above.



    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
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    Cjcorner is offline Senior Member
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    I get plants down here in that husk stuff and wonder why people use it. lol Guess i'm weird, but I love the new stuff they have out for phals in the miricle gro bags. At my local nurseries they often offer to sell me their mixes at their cost. Maybe one of your suppliers might share with you. It would definitely save me money, i'm just picky.

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    Bikerdoc5968 is offline Senior Member
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    Connie what is in the Miricle Gro stuff of which you speak? And does it say 'Orchid Mix' so I'd know what to look for? Up here all we get from Miricle Gro is generic potting mix which nobody in their right mind would use for most orchids. Since they may market products to different regions of the country, I could get some when I'm on the east coast visiting family. I don't know about hardwood chips but I have purchased Western Pine bark in large bags that is in the 1/2" + size for phals, catts, etc. that runs about $3 ~ $5.00 for a 3 cu ft bag. I mix this with the same size CHC and charcoal; 50% bark, 40% CHC and 10% charcoal . Somewhere I read that mixing small and large sized material is counterproductive to air circulation and water surface area because the small material "fills in" the "holes" between the larger pieces.

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    orcoholic is offline Senior Member
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    I've heard that changing from moss to bark (or vice versa) will kill all the old roots. Why not keep them in sphag moss? Phals love it and you don't have to water as much? I'm in PA too and grow all my Phals (about 500) in straight moss, and have been for years. I'm convinced it's the best phal medium for our area.

    I would not use the shredded bark mulch regardless of it's treated or not. The Western Pine Bark sounds like it might be okay if it's nuggets, but I'd be very cautious about this too. Is it sterilized? If not, it may have insect eggs or other baddies you don't want to get involved with. Maybe just put a plant or two in it this year and see how it goes.

    Mike

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    Bikerdoc5968 is offline Senior Member
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    Mike you mention one of the most important factors in selecting a growing medium, "best for your area... and you." So much depends on where you are and how you care for your plants, no matter be they phals, catts or whatever. I can't tell you how many phals I knocked off because of the media and watering! It is absolutely amazing just how well things began to grow once I got this situation down to a science! I hate moss but that is me and my growing situation. I would agree there must be something about it because lots of grows use and do well with it...I'm not one of them. The Western bark is a "nugget" material and I wash it and spray it with Merit upfront. So Bill go out and experiment....

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