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  #1  
Old 08-05-2022, 03:17 PM
Hazeldazel Hazeldazel is offline
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Cymbidium Mostly Rootless
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I've had a small cymbidium out on my covered patio (Northern California, zone 9b) for a couple years now not growing very much. The potting medium in the plastic pot was old and had some grassy weeds starting to grow in it so I figured I should repot it. There weren't very many roots at all left, like maybe one or two short questionable (but not squishy)ones and maybe one nub starting to grow. I left all the old bulbs on. I repotted it a couple weeks ago in what I know now to be crappy orchid mix from a box store in a terracotta slotted orchid pot, put it in a fairly shady spot and watered it a little twice a week.

It was starting to look dry so I did some reading and realized I probably made a mistake in my repotting considering how much moisture they need and how damaged it's roots are. I think it's been way too dry with just bark in a terracotta pot in our hot weather (we've been consistently in the upper 80s-low 90s) with lowish humidity.

I've ordered some nice long strand spagnum moss and some decent bark which will arrive today. I've unpotted it and gave it a really good watering making sure to remove any additional debris or rotting roots I missed last time. I currently have it in a shaded protected area on my patio resting on a bed of crumpled damp paper towels in a plastic pot within a pot sort of a version of The Orchid Girl's ICU.

So should I continue with the ICU idea using the spagnum moss once it arrives? Or just pot it up now using the moss and bark? I'm think I should use a well-drained plastic pot instead of terracotta.

Thank you for any advice you can give me!
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  #2  
Old 08-05-2022, 09:47 PM
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Cyms don't need sphagnum. I use plain old (cheap) small bark with some perlite. Actually, even the crappy orchid mix is likely OK... it tends to retain water, which is what you want. At this point, just keep watering, don't repot it again... we're getting pretty late in the season for Cym repotting. but still a good time for growing. Heat is fine. Cyms basically don't care. Just enough shade to take the edge off the noonday sun. It likely will surprise you... If there was a root nubbin, it's starting to grow. This is the season (if a little late, depending on whether it is an early bloomer or later bloomer)
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:39 AM
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Definitely doesn't need a slotted terra cotta pot. Cymbs like LOTS of water and fertilizer. It's likely been kept too dry. Don't let it dry out, and it should really take off.
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Old 08-06-2022, 11:14 AM
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It doesn't need ICU, just cheap bark, plastic pot, and lots of water. It grows more like a terrestrial than epiphyte, so don't treat it like a Phalaenopsis!
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Old 09-06-2022, 07:42 PM
Hazeldazel Hazeldazel is offline
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Thank you both for the help, I did what you advised and checked it yesterday and there were a few new baby roots! Also about five new growths just starting which is amazing considering itís been slowly deteriorating for the last five years or so. I cut off one mushy pseudobulb and trimmed off about a dozen that were attached that were papery and without any substance. Thereís about 11 firm bulbs left not including the new growths. Itís a very different cymbidium than the ones I grew up with, those ones were huge beasts that could withstand almost anything. This one is so small and petite in comparison! In any case, I have it in a nice bark mix and will make sure itís watered regularly.
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Old 09-06-2022, 07:48 PM
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One more suggestion... in the spring, a good pinch of time release fertilizer will give it a nice boost. Not now, it'll be slowing down a bit for the winter, but it sounds like it's well on its way. Because Cyms are such heavy feeders, I give all of mine a bit of time-release fertilizer in the spring to supplement what they get from my routine fertilizing.
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  #7  
Old 09-08-2022, 11:48 PM
Hazeldazel Hazeldazel is offline
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Oh interesting, I usually water with RepotMe's MSU once a week thinking that would be sufficient. Next spring I'll add a time release fertilizer as well. I guess I've underestimated what a "heavy feeder" means!
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Old 09-09-2022, 12:20 AM
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Cyms are hungry. But then, they tend to get big, and growing new tissue needs the minerals of fertilizer. Mine grew OD with just the standard liquid fertilizer, but the grew better with the time release supplement.
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Old 09-17-2022, 10:16 PM
Hazeldazel Hazeldazel is offline
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I really wonder at this cymbidium (still growing strong), as it is so tiny. I grew up here in California and always had a bunch of humungous cyms growing in the backyard. The pseudobulbs are fist-sized on those. This one I have, the entire thing fits in the palm of my hand and the leaves are very thin. I've never gotten it to bloom but a relative gave it to me saying it was orange or red, so a very unusual color for the typical cyms at the box store or whatever. It will be interesting to see the blooms.
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Old 09-17-2022, 10:28 PM
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If this one is small, it also could just be its parentage... small/compact Cyms are bred with some of the small Asian Cyms as parents. Get its root system healthy, it may surprise you next spring - if it's one of the mini-Cyms, it can bloom on a very small plant.
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