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Friday, December 01, 2006


RepottingRepotting is the part of orchid growing that hobbyists consider most intimidating. However, with some guidance, even the novice grower will find it to be an easy and rewarding experience. First decide whether you simply want to shift your plant or divide it into several pieces. To shift your orchid, remove the plant from the pot and clean the old mix off the roots. Then choose the proper pot size allowing room for two years of growth.
When dividing cattleyas and other orchids with similar growing habits, we recommend leaving 3-5 bulbs per division. Decide what size cutting you want to make. Then use a sterile knife to cut down through the rhizome and the roots staying as close as possible to the older growth. Choose the proper pot size allowing for two years of growth.
Next consider what type of container will suit your orchid and watering schedule. Most orchids grow well in plastic pots. However, if you have a tendency to over-water, clay pots may work better for you since they are porous and will dry out faster. Clay pots, because of their extra weight, will also help top-heavy plants to remain upright. We recommend potting in a fir bark mix. This media was originally developed by our founder George Off in the1960’s. Fir bark is still used extensively by many commercial growers in various modified formulations. Orchids like good drainage, so we suggest using large bark or sytrofoam peanuts in the bottom of the pot. Place the plant with the newest growth farthest from the edge of the pot and fill in with mix. Make sure to get the right level for the potting medium. Be careful not to bury the eyes at the bottom of the bulbs and leave some room for water in the top of the pot. Note: There is some controversy as to how hard the mix should be packed. We have always tamped the mix in tightly, while others just use their fingers. The main point is to pot firmly, eliminating most of the air pockets.
If you are potting in sphagnum moss, just remove the old medium and choose the proper pot size depending on the amount of roots. Spread the roots over a cone of moss, then wrap some more moss around the root ball and place it into the new pot. Phalaenopsis should be centered in the pot, while orchids that grow like a cattleya need to be placed with the new growth farthest from the edge of the container. Be sure to cover all the roots. Moss should be spongy and should not be packed too tightly.

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