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Old 02-06-2012, 03:08 PM
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Question Repotting - do you water more to establish roots?


I just repotted my white phal. I got it for free from a seasonal display and after I cut the spikes off, I repotted it. This is my first orchid, ever.

First of all, I could not tell what medium it was in because the roots had grown so much out of the top, it looked like a nest. I had it for a week and did not water it just in case. Good thing, because when I took it out, the medium was more like soil and was still moist.

I got new orchid medium from a local garden shop. They have been repotting their orchids in it and are doing well, so I got it. It's different kinds of barks and some special kind of charcoal chunks. MUCH different than what it was potted in.

Well, when I took my orchid out of the pot, there were many bad roots as you can well imagine. The nest ones on the top had to be taken off. They were dried out and crunchy. I had to take off some mushy ones as well. I ended up having to take off about 60% of the roots - they were that bad. The remaining roots are strong and healthy, and it has been a few days and it seems to not be dying

I was wondering if with the reduction in roots if it needs to be watered more, or maybe fertilized? I am also in a cold winter weather state, so it's dry inside my house. I have been misting it, but I have heard setting it on top of a tray of water with aquarium rocks will be a good way to maintain humidity.

What do you think? Do you even think it will make it with all the root removal?

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Old 02-06-2012, 04:02 PM
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Well, I'm quite new with what to do with the orchid.

But, I just repotted a phal that I had previously *tried* to repot. This time I cut off (and cinnamoned) all dead and most of the mushy stuff.

I water it every 3 or 4 days - whenever it seems to be dried out, which is more frequent in this smaller pot, and I'm seeing its one and only new leaf (it has 2 viable roots and one withered leaf) begin to grow - it's rather miniscule, but I can tell .

So, I think your orchid will probably be fine!

Linda in Ontario
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:17 PM
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Dayna -- first of all...we've all been where you are. I have had an orchid or 2 lose all their roots and they've come back so yes, it's possible that it will survive.

My recommendation would be to put the phal into a pot that isn't too large. Just big enough + a little extra to fit what roots are left. This will ensure better drying between waterings and help avoid any further root issues. If the pot you have it in is too big...it won't hurt it one bit to pop it out and put it in a smaller pot.

As to the watering...water when the medium is about dry. Phals like it moist but not soggy or too wet. Water it well allowing the water to run out the bottom and then don't water again until it's almost dry. The timing of your waterings will vary depending on your growing environment...could be days or even weeks. I have been known to allow my phals to go completely dry between waterings and it doesn't hurt them so if there's any doubt about the moisture level...let it go a day or 2 more and then water.

Fertilizing -- I wouldn't fert more but because you do have viable roots then yes, I would fertilize. A 1/4-1/2 strength dosage weekly is a good schedule.

Here's the AOS culture sheet...this will help fill in some of the gaps.

If you have any other questions...just ask.
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Old 02-06-2012, 05:30 PM
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I agree with Katrina. I think we've all been there where you are now

I also have all my orchids on what I call pebble trays. I just buy all my "rocks" at our local dollar store. You'd be surprised at how it helps where I live!
~ Love my orchids, but a mini dachshund will melt your heart ~
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:33 PM
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I've met a few orchids potted in 'garden soil' type mediums. What I've noticed after repotting into a bark mix was that the orchid would get dehydrated really fast, likely because they have to adjust to the airier/drier mixture. So I upped humidity around the roots by watering more often. But you really don't want to over-water so do so at your discretion!!! The skewer method is always a good indicator.

Another thing you might want to consider are the open wounds the plant might have from the trimming. It's good to let wounds heal dry so they don't get infected.
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Old 02-07-2012, 08:33 PM
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Thank you everyone!

I did re-pot it in a pot that was just a little bigger than the one it was in. The thing is... it doesn't have a root "ball." The remaining roots were all horizontal and then down the sides of the pot. It looked like a spider with an orchid hat on. That presented me with a conundrum because I know you should not pot them in too big of a pot, but the way the roots were situated, getting it into only a slightly bigger pot was a bit of a challenge. Also, because the roots that were left were situated like that, it is leaning at a jaunty angle. I am guessing that roots will grow down the middle and form a traditional ball at some time. I think I am going to prop it up with one of those poles previously attached to a spike.

So far, so good. Still green and at a 45 degree angle.

Glad to have the forum!
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:23 AM
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actually i water when i repot, then dont water again till i see new growth of roots....usually is about ten days....gl
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newbie phalaenopsis help, newbie questions, repotting, roots

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