By Jerry Delaney at 2009-07-07 22:36
There is hardly a day goes by that there isn’t a question regarding some facet of repotting. There are a number of orchids that reliably make good specimen plants. I like to repot these in 7 to 12 inch pots. I have had a number of people in our small orchid society lament over the fact that when they try to pot in this size pot, they have lots of problems with the mix staying too wet, especially in the center. This will give an outline of MY method to prevent this. I’m sure many out there have their own method that works equally well for them. This method is nothing new as there are numerous growers using the same or nearly the same technique. This method works well for those orchids that like to dry out before being watered again. The orchid being repotted here is BC Pastoral ‘Innocence’ AM/AOS. There is an album titled REPOTTING FOR SPECIMEN SIZED PLANTS that shows pictures of the various sequences.
1. The “victim” is a 3 year growth from a 3 – 4 bulb division of BC Pastoral ‘Innocence’ AM/AOS.
2. Usually, squeezing the pot will allow you to slip the root mass and potting mix out of the old pot in a single block. If the plant refuses to come out this way, you may have to split the pot to remove it. If I don’t see a root mass like this, I feel that I have not done a good job of growing.
3. In 7 – 12 inch pots, I usually insert an inverted net pot in the center. This is key to eliminate soggy, wet centers.
4. Using a new or sterilized cutting instrument (I use single edged razor blades once and then discard them), divided the plant into suitable sized divisions for repotting. I usually use 3 – 4 bulb divisions that have a new front lead growth. Some like to use larger divisions. I avoid using less than 3 (if you won’t tell anyone, I confess that at times I have used only two, but NOT in such a large pot).
5. Choose a pot (clay, plastic, or?) that will allow for at least two years growth. Insert an inverted net (or your choice) pot in the center of your new pot. I then add enough of your mix to prevent the net pot from moving around. The mix I am using is 4 parts medium fir bark, 1 part #3 perlite, ½ part medium charcoal and ½ part medium tree fern.
6. Place the division(s) in position. Note that if you are thinking of submitting the plant later on for AOS judging, do NOT use more than ONE division. Using more than one will disqualify the plant for consideration of a CCM or CCE award. While on that subject, these are two of the awards that are given to the GROWER, not the plant (which is also why, unlike a quality award, the award does NOT become a part of the plant’s name).
7. In this case, I’m using two 3 bulb divisions in a 10 inch pot. Note that I have chosen to place these divisions in the CENTER of the pot with the new leads pointing toward the OUTSIDE, which is just the opposite I would do when just normally repotting a plant. These large pots are for MY enjoyment and I have found that doing it this way usually gives me flowers completely around the outside of the pot.
8. Fill in with mix and pack FIRMLY. I use a plastic tent or lawn-edging stake for a potting stick.
9. Stabilize the plant so it doesn’t wiggle around easily. Otherwise, the new roots may break off when watering.
10. I immediately water the plant, then place it in the greenhouse. There are any number of divergent thoughts on when watering should begin, so do what ever works best for you.
11. Sit back for the next 2-4 years and enjoy the show!!