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  #11  
Old 10-29-2022, 10:32 AM
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I avoid foam peanuts in the pot altogether. If your plants grow better with them, it suggests you’re using too deep of a pot and/or your mix is too moisture retentive.
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  #12  
Old 10-29-2022, 03:50 PM
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Packing peanuts were more commonly discussed in orchid forums before they were mostly replaced by paper and air-filled plastic as packing materials. They are excellent, as you have discovered. Another method that was common was putting a small pot upside down in the middle-bottom of a pot.

It is really difficult to find that perfect potting medium for orchids. I use lava rock for many of my orchids and, lately NZ sphagnum moss. The moss has become quite expensive so I am going to try something different when the orchids needed up-potted/new medium.
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  #13  
Old 10-30-2022, 06:34 AM
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Interesting... I have used styrofoam peanuts for many years and had several big trash bags in attic. These days ,however, they seem to have faded away from the packing purpose they were initially used for. I shopped around and wound up buying a 20 cubic foot bag from a commercial packing material wholesaler (33$). I now have enough to share with orchid friends and to last me several lifetimes. Will start using them in most of my potted plants and even hanging baskets for big cattleyas. Using net pots, chunky media and styrofoam bottoms allows me to grow my plants outside for most of the year and lets the plants enjoy the Florida rain.
They alwo work very well with moss in my phals and due to price of moss, I will be changing media on phals and do not want to reuse old styrofoam peanuts.
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  #14  
Old 11-01-2022, 11:08 PM
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Given that these styrofoam "peanuts" are getting hard to find, here's another approach for keeping the middle of the pot from being too wet/airless. Invert a small net basket in the middle of the pot, drape roots over it. It prevents the medium from collecting in the middle of the pot, so you end up with a little air pocket. For larger plants, you can use a larger basket, or even a solid pot if it has enough air holes. It's the concept that counts... keep fresh air in the center of the pot. The "how" part has mulitple options.
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  #15  
Old 11-02-2022, 05:48 PM
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I do NOT care for packing peanuts in orchid pots. It makes the plant top heavy, so it falls over when watered with a hose. This has led to my 'Rule #1':

If I find packing peanuts in a pot, I stop buying from that vendor.
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  #16  
Old 11-12-2022, 06:57 AM
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Default doesn't anyone use styrofoam packing material?

Unless they've stopped shipping with it, I've always saved the styrofoam shipping materials for electronics and other items, break them into small pieces and use that for my orchids. Really hoping that hasn't been discontinued in packaging things
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  #17  
Old 11-12-2022, 08:26 AM
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Every orchid grower has their own way tp use potting media and I find that's what works for me in my environment. My potted plants benefit from using these styrofoam peanuts in that I reduce the amount of media needed, I increase root air capacity and extend the life of the media as it dries quicker.
I grow outside in North Fla with a frugal shade house make of 4 T posts and 50 percent shade cloth and my cultural challenge scenario is daily downpours for weeks on end. This is frequent in our summers and orchids LOVE rain. Until I can build a shade house that protects from rain I will continue with current methodology.
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  #18  
Old 11-13-2022, 05:58 PM
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I admit that, personally, I am an aesthete when it comes to potting. If I am going to put an orchid in a pot, the way the pot looks and is presented inside and out matters quite a bit to me. I also like to use antique or other fully closed terracotta pots. So, synthetic materials like peanuts and marbles, and methods like semi-hydro have never appealed to me. Although I cannot deny how useful peanuts probably are. It just goes to show how what is "natural" is not always what a plant prefers, given a choice. And I'd be curious to know whether people have had more success with different colors of peanuts - because the pink peanuts have an antistatic chemical added to prevent the buildup of static electricity.

When I pot into a deep pot I layer the bottom with coarsely ground charcoal, then, a layer of large chunks of cork that have been dusted with charcoal powder (biochar if I can get it). On top of that go large and airy fir bark and 20-40% charcoal mix. With small amounts of moss used for positioning and water retention if necessary.

The cork functions as the packing peanuts do, essentially. Cork is mostly made out of suberin, a biopolymer (eg a natural plastic). And is relatively inert and resists degradation. Not nearly as well as expanded polyurethane closed-cell foam (which is what peanuts are made out of) but, I imagine that in the future we will have new types of media to work with.
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  #19  
Old 11-13-2022, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by florianradke View Post
I also like to use antique or other fully closed terracotta pots.
First, Welcome!

Out of curiosity... what types of orchids do you grow? My concern with using a relatively valuable pot is that for many (even most) orchids, when they're "happy" the roots can be rather aggressive, and may stick to the pot surface (or cram themselves in so tightly that the plant is well stuck in). (I do like terracotta for its water-wicking properties, as well as weight for top-heavy plants) This is true especially for unglazed surfaces characteristic of terracotta. I have had plenty of instances where I had to choose between destroying roots or destroying the pot. I have always come down on the side of whacking the pot and preserving roots. That's not a hard decision for a cheap, generic terracotta pot. But I'd hate to do that to a pot that I had spent real money for (or something that I cared about) Mostly I don't care what the pots look like, but if I do want to display a plant, I will drop the plant (cheap pot and all) into the decorative pot, knowing that I can easily remove it. How do you approach the issue?
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  #20  
Old 11-13-2022, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roberta View Post
First, Welcome!

Out of curiosity... what types of orchids do you grow? ... How do you approach the issue?
Thank you for the warm welcome, Roberta. (Once I get the
hang of things I'll set up my profile more fully)

I grow species almost exclusively. Oeceoclades are my primary interest. Which, being terrestrial, are less prone to root adhesion concerns.

But I do have several other plants of mixed genera which are epiphytic, and for those, I usually mount to cedar. But some I pot as well. I like to use a very large diameter (10"+) low, wide pot so that it takes relatively long time for the roots to reach the unglazed surface, and/or, I can catch and repot or mount before they do. This is probably an unorthodox and in most cases temporary solution but it works for my setup and aesthetic concerns. I avoid tearing roots off of things whenever possible.

Now I was given a brassavola in rough shape, and decided to place in an antique unglazed upright pot. I coated the interior of the pot with powdered graphite. My hope is that the graphite will be non-harmful to the roots, but also close and smooth out many of the porous holes in the pots surface that the roots and their glue-like substance grow into, deterring adhesion, while still allowing the passage of water. It's a bit of an experiment.

-Florian
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