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Old 08-21-2013, 11:15 AM
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Repotting questions?

I am going to be repotting some of my chids soon and was thinking about trying s/h! Where do you purchase the little clay balls you use and has anyone ever tried lava rocks? As you can tell, I haven't taken the time to research, just reviewed some of the old posts quickly! I've never ordered materials online, so I'm not familiar with the best places to purchase from. Any suggestions will be appreciated!
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:56 AM
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Repotme.com is great for potting supplies, they have the clay pellets and lava rock and every other type of medium. I ordered the small lava rock from them a while back. My chids that I put in lava rock are doing very well (2 phals and a Miltassia) and the ones I have in S&H are doing well also. I recommend both!
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:00 PM
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If you have a hydroponics store nearby, they typically have light expanded clay aggregate (LECA) pellets, such a Hydroton. My local hydroponics store (Flora Hydroponics) has these for $10.99 for 10 pounds (I don't grow using S/H so I don't buy these, but get other supplies like net pots from the hydroponics store).

Getting them locally might save you a bunch on shipping.
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Old 08-21-2013, 01:55 PM
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I've read many positive comments recently about planting in various rock media, but if you are specifically thinking of S/H, you need to be sure that the product you use will give you the necessary wicking action. That is the purpose of LECA, whatever product you use. Lava rock is not the same. It will hold moisture in its nooks and crannies, but it does not wick the water up, as far as I know. The First Rays site has information on this topic.
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Old 08-21-2013, 02:03 PM
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Repotting questions?

To the best of my knowledge, the German company that made hydro ton no longer is making it. But there are other options besides hydro ton. Research any hydroponic stores in your area or you can check amazon, orchid supply businesses, etc. I grow only a few in pure S/H now. Some I am using the hydroton strictly as a growing medium. I love using lava rock for growing many of my plants. Catts, dens, encyclia are a few. Menards carry bags of lava rock in pebble size, much easier to get them amongst finer roots. If there is any negative it's that the pot may be a but heavier. On the plus side, no reporting till the plant outgrows the pot.
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Old 08-21-2013, 03:10 PM
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I find clay rocks in hydroponics store as mentioned, also from pet/reptile stores, it is packaged and called as hydroballs. I got my clay rocks from Orchard Supply Hardware. If you go online at amazon and search for leca (light expanded clay aggregate) it will give you a lot to choose from.

I would suggest you read thoroughly about s/h. It works good if the plant is in active root forming stage when you start to move your plant to that set up.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:09 PM
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for such wonderful advice! As far as I know, there are no orchid supply stores close to me! I happened to be looking at a Lowe's Hardware sale paper and saw they have lava rock on sale. I thought maybe that would work for growing orchids! Sounds like some of you fellow geeks have tried it already without any problems!?
Trev, I will look at the pet supply stores for the hydroballs you mentioned! I've already been eyeing a neat bird perch to use as an orchid mount!
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:18 AM
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definitely check out first rays site for s/h info. there is a TON of info there. i use a lot of lava rock and get 50 lb bags at home depot very in expensively and there are all sizes in the bag.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:26 AM
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I grow most of my orchids in lava rock but a few in moss/lava rock. If you are doing semi-hydroponics you will likely find it does very well. I use it mostly as a replacement for bark but with a few, I do use it as in a semi-hydroponic manner. Works well. I would buy the clay pellets but they aren't available anywhere in this area and it is rather expensive to ship them. Lava rock is six dollars a bag at a local gardening center. I really love using an inorganic medium but a few of my orchids seem to insist on sphagnum moss.
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