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  #1  
Unread 05-25-2010, 07:56 AM
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Question Repotting rootbound Phalaenopsis

I'm a repotting novice. I recently purchased a very nice, blooming Phalaenopsis that I need to repot, as it was store-planted in a mix of odds & ends and I want to get it into our Coco-Chip medium. On inspection, the plant proved to be quite rootbound -- most roots look healthy but are wrapping around the inside of the pot rather tightly. I've read the Member Article on repotting, and it does not address my question: When repotting, do I need to loosen or otherwise rearrange the roots in the new, larger pot, or will they take care of themselves once they have room? I welcome all tips & tricks, thanks!
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Unread 05-25-2010, 09:28 AM
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editorbob,

A while back I went to a "how to repot your orchids" class at my local greenhouse and as a demonstration, they repotted a phal that was just like the one you describe - the roots at the top of the pot had woven themselves into a ring that encircled the top of the pot.

First, the orchid guru soaked the pot for about 10-15 minutes while she did other stuff. Then, when she returned to the orchid, she loosened the roots by hand as much as possible (she was much more aggressive with the orchid than I would ever be with mine - but it just goes to show you how tough these plants really are). She could not loosen the woven circle of roots by hand so.... she cut them in two places!!! I couldn't believe that she hacked into otherwise healthy roots, but she explained that the phal had a vast and healthy root system and it wouldn't miss the cut roots if they died. She was less concerned with the loss of a few roots and more concerned with ensuring the proper fit in the new pot - a pot that was ever so slightly larger than the last pot.

Hope this helps.

-J
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Unread 05-25-2010, 10:16 AM
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Thumbs up Thank you

Wow, that's more aggressive that I would have thought to be, too! Don't know if I've got the nerve to cut the roots, but I can at least shake 'em loose. Thanks for the reply!
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Unread 05-25-2010, 10:21 AM
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Soak soak soak (don't be afraid to do it for a whole hour, if things aren't working, it will help make the roots more flexible), and be sure to remove all the old medium by any means necessary. I've found that swishing around, even vigorously, in a large bowl or bucket of water helps dislodge stuff.

After that, Jrod is right, if it has a great root system, it won't miss a few- they're hardier than you think.
But it isn't the end of the world if the roots are a little tight if you've gotten all the old media off. Spread them over the mound of new media as much as you can after soaking, and they'll work themselves around.
Good luck!
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Unread 05-25-2010, 10:38 AM
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Thumbs up Thank you, too!

Sounds like the way to go. I'll be repotting tomorrow morning, and will post here how it went, for the benefit of any other interested newbies. Many thanks!
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Unread 05-25-2010, 10:47 AM
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Good luck! I'm sure it will be fine. I'd start soaking whatever media you're going to use now so that it's ready tomorrow. Start with boiling water to really open the pores up so it holds water well.
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Unread 05-25-2010, 10:47 AM
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Echoing Izzie, I would only use the cutting of the roots as a last resort. I would soak the roots for a good long while - I find that the sprayer on the sink helps to agitate the roots while they're soaking.

Good luck and post pics if you can!

- J
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Unread 05-25-2010, 05:35 PM
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i a spag kind of man - the otherday o got a phal that were potted in bark, big and with a basal keikie - repotted it on spag and i already doing better then it did in bark - i soked it for a hour and then took all the bark out with a pincett - and potted it in a sligthly lager pot with spag an leca
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Unread 05-25-2010, 06:00 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the info. I'll post pix!
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