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  #1  
Old 06-09-2014, 06:47 PM
Bahar Bahar is offline
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Container and Medium Advice For Repotting Phal with Huge, Healthy Roots?
Default Container and Medium Advice For Repotting Phal with Huge, Healthy Roots?

Hi All.

This is my first post. I've been growing orchids for 2-3 years (mostly phals). I have a Phal that had been in the same pot that I bought it in for two and a half years. It was in bark (nothing else) in clear plastic pot that was inside a terra cotta pot with hole in the bottom. The plant was really healthy: always growing new leaves and/or roots and flowered sometimes twice a year. The plant flowered this past January and the flowers stayed on for 5 months- the last one fell off a few days ago. It started growing a new leaf about 3 weeks ago, while still in flower. Also, had tons of aerial roots.

Last night I tried to repot it into a clear plastic 5 inch pot. I had no idea what the roots looked like beacuse the plastic pot was completely stuck inside the terra cotta pot. So, once I broke the clay pot, I saw that the root system was massive. The roots were all twirled and twisted around each other, especially at the bottom. The roots on top were extremely thick and hard (like immovable hard. I had to cut the plastic pot to get the plant out of it as well. The bark inside looked good (not really decomposed) and I found no rooted roots- although the roots in the center are a yellowish color, they are really firm, not mushy. Anyway, here is the problem:

Once I untangled the roots to get the old bark off, I realized the roots would not fit into the new 5 inch pot. I needed a much taller and slightly wider pot. The problem is, I didn't have one! The only thing I had (with drainage) that would accommodate the plant was one of those fancy decorative ceramic pots with the holes/openings around the sides. Having no choice, I repotted it into that (I used the Better-Gro Phal Mix with coarse bark, peat, coarse perlite and charcoal, which I had soaking in water/physan for 6 days). I need to get it into a plastic pot of the right size because with my growing conditions and watering habits, I'm worried about the lack of moisture in that ceramic pot with huge holes in it. Plus, the pot is a bit larger than necessary and I'm worried the mix in the center will stay wet while the mix around the edged and top will dry really fast.

I have to repot it again, but I have to first order the right pot and more mix, which will take a couple of days to get as I have to buy it all online. I'm going out of town tomorrow for 6 days, and my husband will be the only one here to keep an eye on it. Here are my questions:

1) I need a clear pot that's 6 in wide by 6 in high. Where can I find a pot with that height? The only thing I've seen that may work is the 6 inch Air-cone pot on Firstrays.com Does anyone know if that means it's 6x6 or only 6 inches wide? Any info would be appreciated.

2) I'm worried about stressing the poor plant by repotting it again in a week, but don't see any other choice. I don't think it's wise leave it in that pot. Will it be able to tolerate the stress of a second repotting, and is there anything I can do to minimize the stress? It is currently growing a new leaf and numerous new roots.

3) While I'm out of town, how often should I tell my husband to water it? The medium is still quite wet from last night. Like I said, the new mix was soaking in water (1 gallon mixed with teaspoon of Physan) for 6 days right up until I repotted it. I didn't strain it or anything, I just scooped up a handful at a time and let the excess water run through my gloved fingers before dropping into the new pot. In the old pot (plastic) and medium (just bark), I watered it once every 7-8 days and it thrived. Now that it's in a ceramic pot with decorative holes and in a bark, charcoal, peat moss, and perlite mix, I'm thinking it may need to be watered on the fourth day after repotting? I'm not sure that he'll be able to tell by looking/feeling when it's drying out...

4) When I order the new pot, I also need to order new media. I'm thinking of getting the Better Off Moist Orchiata mix (coarse) from Firstrays.com. If I do get that, it should retain more moisture than just plain bark. Also, I've never used Orchiata before. Any thoughts?

Thanks!!
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  #2  
Old 06-09-2014, 09:47 PM
King_of_orchid_growing:)'s Avatar
King_of_orchid_growing:) King_of_orchid_growing:) is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bahar View Post
Hi All.

This is my first post. I've been growing orchids for 2-3 years (mostly phals). I have a Phal that had been in the same pot that I bought it in for two and a half years. It was in bark (nothing else) in clear plastic pot that was inside a terra cotta pot with hole in the bottom. The plant was really healthy: always growing new leaves and/or roots and flowered sometimes twice a year. The plant flowered this past January and the flowers stayed on for 5 months- the last one fell off a few days ago. It started growing a new leaf about 3 weeks ago, while still in flower. Also, had tons of aerial roots.
Nice. Every Phal grower's dream.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bahar View Post
Last night I tried to repot it into a clear plastic 5 inch pot. I had no idea what the roots looked like beacuse the plastic pot was completely stuck inside the terra cotta pot. So, once I broke the clay pot, I saw that the root system was massive. The roots were all twirled and twisted around each other, especially at the bottom. The roots on top were extremely thick and hard (like immovable hard. I had to cut the plastic pot to get the plant out of it as well. The bark inside looked good (not really decomposed) and I found no rooted roots- although the roots in the center are a yellowish color, they are really firm, not mushy. Anyway, here is the problem:

Once I untangled the roots to get the old bark off, I realized the roots would not fit into the new 5 inch pot. I needed a much taller and slightly wider pot. The problem is, I didn't have one! The only thing I had (with drainage) that would accommodate the plant was one of those fancy decorative ceramic pots with the holes/openings around the sides. Having no choice, I repotted it into that (I used the Better-Gro Phal Mix with coarse bark, peat, coarse perlite and charcoal, which I had soaking in water/physan for 6 days). I need to get it into a plastic pot of the right size because with my growing conditions and watering habits, I'm worried about the lack of moisture in that ceramic pot with huge holes in it. Plus, the pot is a bit larger than necessary and I'm worried the mix in the center will stay wet while the mix around the edged and top will dry really fast.

I have to repot it again, but I have to first order the right pot and more mix, which will take a couple of days to get as I have to buy it all online. I'm going out of town tomorrow for 6 days, and my husband will be the only one here to keep an eye on it. Here are my questions:
Ok...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bahar View Post
1) I need a clear pot that's 6 in wide by 6 in high. Where can I find a pot with that height? The only thing I've seen that may work is the 6 inch Air-cone pot on Firstrays.com Does anyone know if that means it's 6x6 or only 6 inches wide? Any info would be appreciated.
Ask Ray.

In the meantime, if Ray doesn't carry it, ask Chula Orchids, (Chula Orchids - Clear Pots - Orchid Supplies - Plant Clips).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bahar View Post
2) I'm worried about stressing the poor plant by repotting it again in a week, but don't see any other choice. I don't think it's wise leave it in that pot. Will it be able to tolerate the stress of a second repotting, and is there anything I can do to minimize the stress? It is currently growing a new leaf and numerous new roots.
It can withstand another repotting in a week. Nurseries don't like to do it, but they sometimes do. If you're not breaking/killing roots, it'll be ok.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bahar View Post
3) While I'm out of town, how often should I tell my husband to water it? The medium is still quite wet from last night. Like I said, the new mix was soaking in water (1 gallon mixed with teaspoon of Physan) for 6 days right up until I repotted it. I didn't strain it or anything, I just scooped up a handful at a time and let the excess water run through my gloved fingers before dropping into the new pot. In the old pot (plastic) and medium (just bark), I watered it once every 7-8 days and it thrived. Now that it's in a ceramic pot with decorative holes and in a bark, charcoal, peat moss, and perlite mix, I'm thinking it may need to be watered on the fourth day after repotting? I'm not sure that he'll be able to tell by looking/feeling when it's drying outů
It's better to grow a little drier than it is to grow too wet. For a complete novice, the guideline of watering once every 5 - 7 days is often good, unless it is really warm, then it'd be once every 3 - 4 days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bahar View Post
4) When I order the new pot, I also need to order new media. I'm thinking of getting the Better Off Moist Orchiata mix (coarse) from Firstrays.com. If I do get that, it should retain more moisture than just plain bark. Also, I've never used Orchiata before. Any thoughts?

Thanks!!
Don't have experience with the Orchiata brand, ask Ray or someone else on the OB who does.
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Philip

Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 06-09-2014 at 09:50 PM..
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  #3  
Old 06-10-2014, 01:28 AM
james mickelso james mickelso is offline
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Container and Medium Advice For Repotting Phal with Huge, Healthy Roots? Male
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Leave it in the pot you put it in. Just leave it. Sounds just right. You do not have to worry about the media staying too wet. You do not need to have this planted in a plastic pot. Clear plastic pot. Or an air pot. It doesn't even need to be potted. If you can water it every day or two and you don't live in aridzona you can just hang it with string or wire and it will grow just fine. Put it in a pretty bowl with no media at all and take it out every few days and water it, let it drip awhile, and put it back into the pretty bowl. I'm serious. Learn how orchids grow and free yourself from all those constraints. Phals grow on trees and branches with no media. They are rained upon and then wind dries them out rather quickly. Sometimes they don't get rained on for days. Weeks sometimes. Leave it where it is and just enjoy it. The medium coarse media you say you potted it into will have good air flow through it. Phals can be wet for awhile but can be dry also. Phals can be dry. Here:
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Container and Medium Advice For Repotting Phal with Huge, Healthy Roots?-phals-moss-repotting-bark-moss-033-jpg   Container and Medium Advice For Repotting Phal with Huge, Healthy Roots?-phals-moss-repotting-bark-moss-034-jpg   Container and Medium Advice For Repotting Phal with Huge, Healthy Roots?-phals-moss-repotting-bark-moss-035-jpg   Container and Medium Advice For Repotting Phal with Huge, Healthy Roots?-phals-moss-repotting-bark-moss-036-jpg   Container and Medium Advice For Repotting Phal with Huge, Healthy Roots?-phals-moss-repotting-bark-moss-037-jpg  

Container and Medium Advice For Repotting Phal with Huge, Healthy Roots?-phals-moss-repotting-bark-moss-038-jpg   Container and Medium Advice For Repotting Phal with Huge, Healthy Roots?-phals-moss-repotting-bark-moss-042-jpg   Container and Medium Advice For Repotting Phal with Huge, Healthy Roots?-phals-moss-repotting-bark-moss-049-jpg  
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  #4  
Old 06-10-2014, 02:02 AM
lotis146 lotis146 is offline
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Container and Medium Advice For Repotting Phal with Huge, Healthy Roots? Female
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I've very recently, oh say yesterday, run into the same pot problem (Wils. & Zygo/Ptpm needed bigger pots and all I had was the decorative ceramic their plastic pots were in). Same type of pots - shapes and holes on the sides - and i went ahead and potted them up because I've already got three Phals potted in similar types, okay no 4. Then I have a 5th Phal in a plastic pot that I took a drill bit to and "redesigned" it full of holes all over. The two smallest of the group (keikis) are doing pretty good; no new leaves but several new roots and one of them is in spike. The mother of these twins is actually over-potted to be honest in a decorative orchid pot and she has grown many new roots after being severely dehydrated with crappy root system, leaves have improved quite a bit too. The other two came from big box stores, they've grown a new leaf and their roots look pretty good. Sure I have to water a little bit more (orchid mix with charcoal, lava rock, peat moss, bark, added some coconut coir and moss) but mine have been happy enough it seems.

So as strong as yours sounds like it is I can't imagine this additional aeration would upset it, even if it needs a minute to adjust (one of my box store rescues dropped a few flowers after I changed media, it currently is holding tightly to one last flower after having two spikes in early march).

Got pics?? Keep us posted.
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Old 06-10-2014, 10:49 AM
Bahar Bahar is offline
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Container and Medium Advice For Repotting Phal with Huge, Healthy Roots?
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Thank you all for your replies.
I guess I'll see how it's doing when I get home next week.
I understand how orchids grow in the wild and
would prefer to grow them all mounted, but i go out of town frequently (and am lazy about watering), so I can't have too many plants that require watering more than 2-3 times a week. Also, it was doing so well the way it was (in plastic), that I don't want to change things. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

I'll post before/after pics if i can figure out how to attach a picture from my iphone...
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:15 AM
kindrag23 kindrag23 is offline
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You need to post 5 times for the system to allow you to post pictures.
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Old 06-15-2014, 07:14 AM
mtorchid mtorchid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bahar View Post
Thank you all for your replies.
I guess I'll see how it's doing when I get home next week.
I understand how orchids grow in the wild and
would prefer to grow them all mounted, but i go out of town frequently (and am lazy about watering), so I can't have too many plants that require watering more than 2-3 times a week.
You might look into semi/hydroponics (clay pellets in a reservoir pot) for a solution to watering, or trusting someone else to do it while you're away. Clay pellets wick moisture up uniformly through the pot while allowing air around the roots at the same time. You can also fill the reservoir a little higher than usual for an extended absence.
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Old 07-01-2014, 04:12 PM
Bahar Bahar is offline
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So, it's been a few weeks now and I think it's doing ok. I see about 5 new roots growing into the medium from the top and the new leaf that was growing before I repotted, is still growing.

There are 2 things that concern me. The tips of the leaves are curling under a bit (don't think they were like that before. Do you have any idea if that's normal or what could be causing it?

The other thing is either a really good sign or a really bad sign. Yesterday, I noticed the emergence of a new spike. My first reaction, was joy! But, then I remembered that plants that are very stressed and demising often send out a new spike. That happened to one of my plants in the past just before they died.
I doubt that's what is happening because the plant looks good otherwise (except the slight curling under of leaf tips). Any thoughts?

I wish I could post a pic, but I guess I need to post a couple more times before I can upload pics...

The other
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  #9  
Old 07-01-2014, 09:45 PM
james mickelso james mickelso is offline
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Orchids push spikes when they have the energy. If it is unhappy, it will grow leaves and roots before pushing a spike. If it is a spike, congratulations.
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