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Go Back   Orchid Board - Most Complete Orchid Forum on the web ! > ORCHID DISCUSSIONS > Potting & Repotting
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  • 1 Post By DavidCampen
  • 3 Post By Gage
  • 1 Post By Leafmite
  • 1 Post By greengarden

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  #1  
Unread 03-19-2013, 05:03 PM
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Default Orchids like to be root bound?

I've read on the net about how orchids (Phals & Den) like to be slightly root bound. This confuses me since they grow on tree branches in wild.

Or is the small pot suggestions based on moisture retention?
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  #2  
Unread 03-19-2013, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mnguyen110 View Post
Or is the small pot suggestions based on moisture retention?
That is my opinion.
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  #3  
Unread 03-19-2013, 05:37 PM
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The latter, "root-bound" can be misleading in terms of what their cultural needs are. Most commercially available orchids like to be in the smallest pot the roots can fit in so that the media doesn't stay wet and rot the roots. The roots of epiphytic orchids need air and therefore the media needs to dry out to some degree (depending on the type of orchid and season) between waterings. This varying need for air to the roots determines much of the culture we give them, i.e. pot, media type, air circulation, watering schedule.
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Unread 03-19-2013, 05:43 PM
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The theory behind this is that, by being rootbound, the medium will dry quickly, not giving roots a chance to rot. Healthy roots translate into healthy blooms. The way around it is to use a fast draining medium (rock) and an open pot (vanda basket, plastic net pot) or should be mounted. I have non-orchid plants that 'like to be potbound' and they, too, just need to have a fast draining, light medium that allows them to dry quickly before watering.

---------- Post added at 05:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:42 PM ----------

Just like Gage has said.
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  #5  
Unread 03-19-2013, 07:11 PM
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Yep, it's all about water. I have plants growing in pots that would be considered much too large but with careful choice of mix and very careful watering they are still thriving. Those pots are mainly only used for decorative reasons, for the most part I grow in smaller pots or mounted, it's just less stress.
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  #6  
Unread 03-20-2013, 02:06 AM
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They hate to be rootbound. lol
You will find out when they start walking out of the pots they are forced in.
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  #7  
Unread 03-20-2013, 07:10 AM
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It's all about air flow, which is sort of linked to water but it's not really the water that matters. You can grow orchids constantly wet if you have enough air flow (that's what Semi-Hydroponics is all about, where there is always a reservoir of water at the bottom).

In a standard medium if they do not dry quickly enough then the gaps in the medium are blocked by water and there is not enough air flow, especially as it starts to break down (which it does quicker if not regularly dried out).

Smaller pots mean the medium at the center dries more quickly (and is more likely to dry between waterings) and air gets in more easily. If a plant in a larger pot has so many roots there is not much medium in between it also works well, what you don't want is a mass of damp medium blocking air flow to to the roots.

Growing in Lecca you can use much bigger pots, whether you combine that with S/H or not. Ray has often said you can use bigger pots for S/H but I find you can use them for Lecca watered in a standard way as well. Lecca does not block up between the pellets and air flow is therefore always good.

As NYCOrchidman said, they don't actually like to be rootbound, as can be seen from the masses of arial roots they like to produce, but if you grow them in pots you need to find a way of getting enough air to the roots, and smaller pots with smaller amounts of medium do just that.
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Unread 03-20-2013, 10:53 PM
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Rosie, I plan to try my cattleyas in straight hydro balls (I think similar if not the same, to lecca), but not s/h.
How well do they hold moisture? or more directly, how often would you water with just hybrdoton balls?
I'm talking about rather smaller size ( I would say the size of pea or slighly larger).
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Unread 03-22-2013, 08:08 AM
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I'm watering my catt (in lecca with a clay pot) with my mounts so quite frequently but currently that's only every other day. In the summer last year it was outside and we had a really really really wet summer, it got rained on most days. Then I was just fertilising once a week. Once it goes outside again I'll just keep an eye on the rain and only water if there has been no rain.

The phals, which are in plastic pots with straight lecca are more like every 5 days (inside)
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