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Old 04-25-2013, 05:21 PM
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Average life of potting medium

I would like to throw out a question which I know can depend on many factors. How many years does the average potting medium last? I live in S. Florida so we have extreme heat and mild winters. I use clay pots outside and I am getting ready for my spring repotting. My guess is around 2 years?? Would love to hear from others on this subject.
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Calypso
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schoepp View Post
I would like to throw out a question which I know can depend on many factors. How many years does the average potting medium last? I live in S. Florida so we have extreme heat and mild winters. I use clay pots outside and I am getting ready for my spring repotting. My guess is around 2 years?? Would love to hear from others on this subject.
Thanks,
Calypso
Largely depends on what your potting mix is and type of fertilizers used, My treated pine bark should last at least 4-5 years, but if you use large amounts of organic fertilizer life may be on 2 to 3 years at best.
I use CoCo nuggets and they have a very good life but I like to use a little amount of organic fertilizer as well as chemical, still 4 to 5 years is no problem
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:27 PM
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well, as you said it it depends on the type of media. if my memory serves me correctly, media like moss last for about two years and for bark media it can last for about 3-5 years before the media breakdown. i only used charcoal media, moss and bark. for other media i am afraid you would have to wait for others to drop in their opinion.
It also depends on how well you maintain them throughout the years as well and how robust is the orchid. some orchids have very prolific roots that they will fill up the entire pot by second or third year while some can sit in the same pot for 4-5 years without having the roots suffocating itself to death. (the moment you water it and you notice the water is staying in the pot for a prolonged time than usual before it drains out, most likely the root is filled up inside and needs repotting. i got a catasetum doing this right now and the worst part is it is throwing out female flowers and i would like to pollinate it.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:56 AM
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Lava rock lasts indefinitely, and in Florida, it's a great medium for orchids. You can't overwater the plants when they grow in lava rock. Here in dry Toronto, I will sometimes mix some sphagnum and charcoal with it, but the phals I have growing in just lava are very happy.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:55 AM
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I have to agree with Ian. I've seen some Cymbidiums completely fill a pot with roots in 2 years, with no trace of the potting medium left. Lava rock is good for some orchids, but you still need to repot every 5 years at least in order to open up the media. And if the orchid grows fast enough to break its way out of the pot, it's time to repot, even if the media hasn't broken down yet.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:01 PM
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Not that I have ever been known for this before, but I have to throw out a different view:

The environment around the roots is THE most critical aspect of potting media. Outdoors in Florida, your medium is going to degrade much faster that any greenhouse or windowsill grow is liken to experience. You may find that it will "last" longer, but I'd bet you'll see much better growth if you replace it annually.


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Old 04-26-2013, 04:41 PM
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I like the forever aspect of lava rock but for a few, I started using sphagnum moss and I think the good quality stuff will last two years for me. Moss is much easier to remove from roots than bark for me at least.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:22 PM
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Sphagnum Moss only lasts a year for me.

A different angle is to look at what plants you are growing in the media.

I repot Paphs every single year in bark, even though bark will last at least 2 or 3 years it's better to repot them every year. Whereas I've left Cymbidiums in bark or coconut for 3 years no problem.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:15 AM
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Thanks for all of the information. I definitely have some repotting chores. I have some plants potted in 2011 and I think the bark is way past its prime. I agree that in Florida the medium does not last as long.
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Calypso
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