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Old 07-22-2013, 04:59 PM
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Wink To Pot or not To Pot, that is the question

Hi again, after much thinking about my dying orchids, my fail experiments on reviving them, their scary life with me, and all the suffering I have caused them, I thought: maybe if I buy a nice base, you know, those ceramic base made just for orchids, with a nice design and tiny intricate holes that resemble something from the Renaissance, maybe, and just maybe, my surviving orchids would feel much better about me, and their future.

However, then again, i read somewhere, that I should use a plastic pot first (before putting the plant inside the ceramic base). But wouldn't that defeat the purpose of the ceramic base? since the holes on it would supposedly help the plant?... What do you think? Should I pot or not?
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Old 07-22-2013, 06:03 PM
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For me, my preference is to use that ceramic container without an inner plastic pot. I want the roots to breathe and drain fast, especially my Phal. I also use it for my one of my noid dens, and they really need fast draining, so it works quite well. You just have to be extra careful when it is time to repot, for sure, the roots may be clinging to the sides, or maybe escaping towards the bottom hole. I like dunking the root zone when I water the plants, and having lots of holes makes it easier for me, and it is also easier to position the plant as they become top heavy.

Here is a photo of my Phal Baldan's Kaleidoscope, it is not in bloom right now, but it has made a big leaf after the bloom and it is doing quite well in it. My ceramic container is sitting inside an outer clay pot with a lip so I can hang the container on a pole.
Photo in May 2013 with new leaf
IMG_3539.jpg

Photo today 22July, new leaf has grown big and large:
IMG_5288.jpg

Just to show how it looks like off the pole.
IMG_5290.jpg

I prefer to pot the orchids, just makes it easier in keeping some moisture for them. Besides, I do not have an appropriate place to keep them mounted.
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:39 AM
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Hi Trev: your orchid looks really healthy!! Thank you for your response. I think I will be potting my new orchid in the glazed vase this weekend. Right now is it a coconut type of medium (quite a few, in fact most of the medium looks like dust and is at the bottom of the pot, which might be preventing water to scape through the bottom holes), so is not firmly potted in the plastic pot.

Right now I'm mixing bark and moss, since moss is not recommended, but with the bark, I have noticed that my plants seem to not handle well the moisture, and most have loss root. I'm astonish as why this is happening since the bark should work better than moss. I water my plants when I see the medium is dry, but still I have lost 3 plants already to root rot. So right now I'm trying not to water them too much, since I think that the humidity here in NJ and the lack of air circulation might be the cause for my plants dying.

Thank you for your advice.
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Old 07-29-2013, 02:00 PM
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I have one Phal that has been temperamental too with bark mix, seems the roots were getting too dried out fast in it. Even if I dunk water it, it just does not like it with just bark mix. So just for this particular Phal, I had to use some sphag moss, but I did it in such a way that the remaining roots are like sandwiched by it. The way I sandwiched them I had the moss and some styro peanuts inside some old nylons, I made two of these to make a sandwich. Then as added top dressing I used hydroton clay rocks and some kanuma rocks. And it worked for this Phal. It grew an aerial root and the remaining roots held on, so it does like a bit more moisture, but at the same getting dry ..go figure..ah, our Phals have different growing styles at times. And this is a noid, so I do not know its parentage, just learning as I go: maybe you can try this method too and see if it works. Since the repot in January it has made two new leaves.

Here are some photos:
This is its photo right after I repotted it in late Jan2013:
DSC_0233.jpg

These are photos today 29Jul2013:
IMG_5374.jpg IMG_5376.jpg
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:10 PM
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Your mix sounds okay. You say you water your plants when you see the medium is dry. Seeing just the top layer isn't enough. Do you know whether or not the medium is dry in the middle? I suggest you get a shishkabob skewer, trim it down, and keep it in the medium. When you think the plant needs water, take out the skewer and touch it to your lip, cheek, or the back of your hand. If it's dry, water thoroughly. If it's damp, wait. If it's wet, don't water. How wet or dry the skewer is before you water will depend on the type of orchid. Phals like to be damp, while cattleyas like to dry out before being watered thoroughly again. And be sure to water thoroughly.
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:40 AM
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Trev, I noticed in the pictures those round pebbles, are those the hydroton clay rocks you mentioned? when I saw your pictures, I remembered a youtube video about orchids and root problems, and the guy in the video used pebbles like that that had like oxygen or something, and he said that it helped the orchid's roots a lot, in fact thanks to those pebbles, the orchid had been growing a lot of new roots.

Where did you buy those pebbles/rocks? I usually go to homedepot to buy my orchid medium, I don't think they sell the hydroton clay rocks. Thank you for your response
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 11Orchid126 View Post
Your mix sounds okay. You say you water your plants when you see the medium is dry. Seeing just the top layer isn't enough. Do you know whether or not the medium is dry in the middle? I suggest you get a shishkabob skewer, trim it down, and keep it in the medium. When you think the plant needs water, take out the skewer and touch it to your lip, cheek, or the back of your hand. If it's dry, water thoroughly. If it's damp, wait. If it's wet, don't water. How wet or dry the skewer is before you water will depend on the type of orchid. Phals like to be damp, while cattleyas like to dry out before being watered thoroughly again. And be sure to water thoroughly.
Thank you!! that's a very good idea, I was wondering...maybe I could use those coffee stirers from starbucks, those that are made of wood and look like popsicle wood stick...
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Old 07-30-2013, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meugeniacc View Post
Trev, I noticed in the pictures those round pebbles, are those the hydroton clay rocks you mentioned? when I saw your pictures, I remembered a youtube video about orchids and root problems, and the guy in the video used pebbles like that that had like oxygen or something, and he said that it helped the orchid's roots a lot, in fact thanks to those pebbles, the orchid had been growing a lot of new roots.

Where did you buy those pebbles/rocks? I usually go to homedepot to buy my orchid medium, I don't think they sell the hydroton clay rocks. Thank you for your response
Yes, those round pebbles are the hydroton clay rocks. I get them from hydroponics store..I also see them at some pet stores. These are light expanded clay aggregates (leca). It has air cavities,very little porous holes, so roots love to hold on to them as it tries to get moisture.

Hydroton is a brand name..there are different brand names for leca. Just have to wash the rocks very well before first use to remove the clay dirt. After washing, I soak it first with some fertilizer and super thrive. I like using these rocks because they do not decompose and is reusable, plus the roots like them too. I have seen some orchid bark mix have them too, because it is good in aeration. And that is why I also like dunking the root zone, as I dunk the root zone, the leca absorbs water, and later on the roots can cling to the rocks and get their water too, without being too soggy.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trev View Post
Yes, those round pebbles are the hydroton clay rocks. I get them from hydroponics store..I also see them at some pet stores. These are light expanded clay aggregates (leca). It has air cavities,very little porous holes, so roots love to hold on to them as it tries to get moisture.

Hydroton is a brand name..there are different brand names for leca. Just have to wash the rocks very well before first use to remove the clay dirt. After washing, I soak it first with some fertilizer and super thrive. I like using these rocks because they do not decompose and is reusable, plus the roots like them too. I have seen some orchid bark mix have them too, because it is good in aeration. And that is why I also like dunking the root zone, as I dunk the root zone, the leca absorbs water, and later on the roots can cling to the rocks and get their water too, without being too soggy.
Thank you Trev for the tip! I searched the web and I found a store called repotme.com where they sell the rocks. I will definitely try it and see if my orchids prosper with that medium. Thanks again
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Old 08-05-2013, 03:25 PM
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Hope it works for you later too!
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