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repot the monster?

This is a discussion on repot the monster? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I'm not accustomed to an orchid that isn't a phal , so when I got ...

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  1. #1
    LeGray is offline Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    Default repot the monster?

    I'm not accustomed to an orchid that isn't a phal, so when I got a hold of an onc sharry baby, I became baffled. The sharry baby was among the batch I got at full price, and to be honest, I didn't think I could keep it alive when I purchased it. At the time, I thought of it as a rather glorified cut flower. Then I brought it home, and did some belated research. By gum, I think I could keep this thing alive

    It's huge though. It's supposed to be a 4" orchid, but not only are the roots spilling over the edges, the plant itself is as well. I'd say that the plant itself, extends outwards away from the pot a good inch and a half. It's hopelessly rootbound. I know that these guys enjoy being a little pot bound, but this just seems excessive. Even when it's newly watered, it's so top heavy that I have to brace it in a tiny stand to keep it upright. The pot itself has nearly merged with the plant. I think, if I were to pot it myself, and the little 4" plastic tub that it came in were imaginary, I wouldn't hesitate to put it in a 6" pot, and the roots would still seem a shade tight.

    I hesitate to put it in a new pot, because the old one is so tight, and also the sharry baby is in bloom. Aside from the blooming spike, there are two other spikes coming off it that are taller than the plant itself is.

    I've heard of the "empty pot" technique, and I know that having it be potbound isn't necessarily something to be alarmed about, however I'm baffled about the next step.

    Should I give up, let it keep the 4" pot, and just stick it inside an empty ceramic pot or basket? Should I cut the old pot off? I don't think I could get the old pot off any otherway...

    I've been debating s/h for it, as well, but I don't want to commit to any drastic changes yet.

    In any case, whatever I decide to do, should I wait until all the spikes or done, or should I take more immediate action?

  2. #2
    LeGray is offline Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    Aiyee, I screwed up, and it's only my second post. If the mods could please nudge this into the appropriate forum -- ?

  3. #3
    peteMc's Avatar
    peteMc is offline innocent bystander
    Join Date
    Jul 2004


    since you're still online i'll reply here, and lja and BD will most likely take care of the move......

    one or two things i can tell you is that i'm sure you will hear from the more experienced growers that it will be best to wait until it finishes blooming before disrupting it. takes a lot of energy to bloom, repotting while it's doing so would/could stress it out.

    you may also look to a couple threads in cultivation regarding repotting - the search here works well - and aerial roots; aerials like to stay aerials, hanging out of the pot is ok for them, adjusting to being in media would be difficult.

    i recently repotted a brassia that had become quite potbound into a 6", just making sure the pot roots went in and the aerials stayed out. had to soak it for a while to loosen it's grip on the pot, then carefully removed as much old media as i could safely, and placed it in it's new home. seems to be doing ok.

    there will be more info coming your way, and probably quickly...welcome to the group


  4. #4
    LeGray is offline Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    i should attempt a picture, after i get off of work. the pot seems to me, to be ridiculously small.... the plant itself measures around 6" across, and the pot only around 2.5"

    i was probably going to wait until it bloomed out, i just wanted a second opinion. newbie nerves.

  5. #5
    LJA's Avatar
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    Louis J. Aszod
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    Feb 2003
    Clarksville, Arkansas
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    No nerves necessary--but Pete's right. If you're looking to maximize blooms and bloom time on it, just wait till it's finished blooming before you repot. No harm will be done by waiting. If the blooms aren't an issue for you, you can repot now. With something that pot-bound, I'll grasp the bottom of the root ball in both hands and pull the mass apart slightly with my fingers before putting it into its new pot. Doing so isn't "vital," but I found that it gives new roots an easier and quicker time to get established in new medium. Of course, the process also damages some roots that will get torn apart--that won't hurt the plant, but it more than likely will make the buds blast and the flowers drop off.

    If it were me, I'd just wait and do a proper repotting after it bloomed, rather than do a "gentle" repotting now for the sake of preserving the flowers. The plant will fare better in the long run.

  6. #6
    LeGray is offline Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    thanks. it's got two more spikes on it that haven't formed buds yet, so i suppose i'll be waiting for a while before i put it in a proper container.

  7. #7
    dosal is offline Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    South Carolina


    I would put that tiny pot into a larger, sturdier pot. Make it either ceramic or clay, it doesn't matter. This will give it the stability it needs.
    Later, when you get ready to repot, soak the rootball very well and the roots will come off the pot much easier.

  8. #8
    LeGray is offline Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004


    this appears to be a great shot of my red vase, my schulz "orchid expert" food (hey, it was on sale), and a very poor shot of my creeping sharry.... it seems extremely happy, though. the two remaining spikes are producing honeydew like crazy (and cat hair).

    if you're curious about pics of those 'chids which I keep...

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