The Q&A Archives: Repotting Epidendrum Orchid

Question: I have a epidendrum polybulbon orchid that I purchased about 5 years ago and it is desperate need of repotting. The problem is I'm only used to paphs and other orchids that require orchid bark as a potting medium. The epidendrum is in a very small terra cotta pot in something that looks like moss. What kind of moss or other medium should I use? A friend suggested I tie it (with fishing line) to a piece of horticultural bark - sold specifically for orchids - with sphagnum moss around. Does that sound correct? Is that the right kind of moss?

Answer: Yours is a terrestrial orchid and can be grown on a bark slab or in a pot. Terrestrial orchids love to be in finer bark mixes such as redwood fiber or peat moss. This makes watering a critical situation, and done very carefully to avoid turning the mix sour and/or rotting the roots. These type of orchids still love water, though. You simply water heavily first, then by careful observation, water again only when material becomes dry a considerable distance down the pot. Then, water only enough to dampen the material and watch out that you do not keep it soggy wet, particularly in the bottom of the pot. If you decide to allow your plant to root on a slab of bark, you can provide adequate moisture by periodically immersing the slab in water.

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