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  #1  
Old 07-02-2021, 12:43 PM
Zaskia Zaskia is offline
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Help on whether to repot small Phalaenopsis
Default Help on whether to repot small Phalaenopsis

I'm very new to growing orchids and have only repotted an orchid once, this week. I received my first mail order this afternoon, two Phalaenopsis, and I'm not sure what to do.

The Mini Mark is in a tiny pot with sphagnum moss and.. something very dark , earth like in the middle. It seems very happy. Should I leave it as is for now? It has roots but not very many and there seems to be room for more roots to grow.

On the other hand, the Memoria Val Rettig is in a plastic cup/bag kind of thing and has lot and lots and roots. It is also growing in sphagnum moss. I feel like this one really ought to be repotted? Its container is about 9cm/3.5in (9er topf?). How large a container should I get?

I have a potting mix that is 75% pine bark (7-15mm) and 25% pumice (2-8mm). Would that be appropriate for such small orchids? The shops around me don't seem to sell much else and no small transparent pots. If the Memoria Val Rettig needs to be repotted, can it wait a week until I have a pot delivered?

Thank in advance!
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  #2  
Old 07-02-2021, 01:29 PM
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Welcome to the Orchid Board!

Sphagnum works well for Phals if you learn how to water properly. Neither plant needs to be repotted right now if you wish to learn to grow in sphagnum. But either could be repotted now into another medium. There is no rush.

For sphagnum, do not water until all the roots you see have turned silver. This might be more than a week. Then briefly run water only over the top of the sphagnum, just 1-3 seconds. Your aim is to wet only the top of the moss, not all of it. The water will diffuse through the moss leaving it evenly just moist but well-aerated. Phals growing well in sphagnum make so many roots they push themselves up out of the pot. That is the signal to repot.

Clear pots are not neccessary, but they do make growing Phals easier.
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Old 07-02-2021, 02:44 PM
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Hi zaskia,
welome to the forum.
Your phals are looking great, looks like they came from a good source.

Phals like these are grown in warm nurseries in jiffy plugs (the dark brown squishy thing in the middle). They retain a good amount of water and dry out at a good rate in a hot greenhouse so are great for phal seedling roots.
Once the roots poke out they are wrapped in spaghnum moss which protects them during shipping. They then arrive in Europe and we buy them.

Now what to do with that jiffy plug. If that plug stays damp for too long the phal will rot at the base. A european climate cannot handle a jiffy plug well unless you know exactly how to water it. The jiffy plug will actually change color quite drastically between wet and dry. When it is wet (which will cause rot) then it is a dark brown color. When it is dry it will look a lot lighter, more like a coconut color.

The problem is in a european climate with moss wrapped around these jiffy plugs they can take up to 3 weeks to dry. That is far too long. The phal will suffer.

So, option 1 is to remove the jiffy plug and pot the plant into some bark.

option 2 is to use fan and heat to help dry the moss but phals don't like much airflow so it needs to be passively blowing away from the phal not directly on it and heat is not that easy to provide but if you don't want to repot it you have to make sure that jiffy plug in the middle turns a coconut brown within a week. If it stays damp for longer than this then the plant will be in serious risk of developing rot.
Aim to water the plant enough that is stays damp for up to a week and then let it dry for a couple of days.

If the substrate does not do this for you then you need to pick something that does work for you. A jiffy plug and moss is not a preferred choice for anyone in europe, that is how they arrive from transport.

If you want to do what is best for these phals, I'd repot them. It will stress them and it is a good idea to let an orchid adjust to its new environment first but if the plants start rotting that is no good so I would not take the risk, jiffy plugs are a real danger in a european climate.

helpful video if you are unsure how to repot:



PS: If you don't have the right pot size or the right substrate yet that is ok! I would still remove the jiffy plug and then just wrap a bit of the moss around the roots till you have everything for a repot. Spray the roots to keep them hydrated when they turn a silvery color.

Last edited by Shadeflower; 07-02-2021 at 03:08 PM..
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Old 07-02-2021, 06:13 PM
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Growing in sphagnum moss in transparent plastic liners is a common method for mass-producing Phals. They are not merely rewrapped in moss for shipping. That is why the roots are so threaded throughout the moss. That is also why the moss doesn't look fresh, as it would had they been repotted recently.

The second plant you show was probably repotted not long ago.

What are the ambient temperatures in your home?
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Old 07-03-2021, 12:52 AM
Zaskia Zaskia is offline
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Thank you estación seca for telling more about how to water when using sphagnum moss! It's very different from what I'm used to.

They are currently by a window facing East, temperature is about 22/25 degrees during the day and about 59% apparently. I have blinds that I partly close when the sun shines directly on them.
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Old 07-03-2021, 01:10 AM
Zaskia Zaskia is offline
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Thank you Shadeflower for all this interesting information! There is so much to learn but it's a lot of fun.

I would rather not use a fan so removing the plug seems like the best option. I could maybe reuse the little pot it came in? Even though it looks tiny (looks way bigger in picture), relative to the plant it actually looks large enough. This is the only place where I can see roots inside the pot.
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Old 07-03-2021, 01:22 AM
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Different people have different approaches. Judging by the flowering plant, you know how to grow them. With your temperatures I think you could grow them in sphagnum or in bark, though watering is different. I would not remove the foam plug if you decide to grow them in sphagnum moss.
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Old 07-03-2021, 01:49 AM
Zaskia Zaskia is offline
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I do feel like I've cleared stage 1 of Phalaenopsis growing... Keeping one happy within its original pot, including getting a new spike. I know they are the easiest but I'm still pretty proud of them.

Hopefully nobody will be sacrificed while learning about repotting!

Thanks again for the advice.
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Old 07-03-2021, 09:57 AM
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zaskia,
hope you figure out what to do. There are always several differerent approaches by members.

But Jiffy plug + staying wet for more than a week =

Estacion luckily does not have this problem as he lives in a desert.

Use tweezers and tooth picks to help get at hard to reach places, you want to work slowly and carefully that you don't rip any live roots off but have repotted far worse.

I'm sure you'll do fine. GL

ps : one of the plugs gets shown in the video although she says it is a coir plug but same problem, the second phal she repots (12 minute mark)- have a look at what happens if you leve the phal in it for too long.

Last edited by Shadeflower; 07-03-2021 at 10:11 AM..
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