Orchids forum: Advice on a re-potting project please?

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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 3, 2014 3:01 PM CST
Dear orchid friends, what would you do with this? All comments/opinions are welcome. Comic relief would also be well received. Big Grin

I have had this nice, big healthy Angreacum Crestwood plant nearly 3 years, and it had a fading flower on it when I got it but has not bloomed since. Yesterday at the orchid show I was bemoaning this to my friend when the lady standing next to us said "I have one that did that, too. Had it 4 years and it never bloomed, then I re-potted it and it has bloomed nicely ever since." She moved on before I thought to ask her what kind of medium she used, etc. Rolling my eyes.

So, today I circled the plant for a while, then made several attempts to coax it out of its (non-vented, plastic) pot. It felt like it was cemented to the pot, so I put it in a tub of water to soak and tried again after a little time. Thankfully it did eventually come out without breaking any roots, but then I was confronted with what you see in the pictures. The medium it had in that pot is sharp grey gravel, (from Krull-Smith who seem to pot all their orchids in that Shrug! ) so of course it is not at all broken down. Some of the gravel came out, but as you can see, the roots have formed a nearly solid 'basket' inside the pot and most of the gravel medium is still in there. Most roots I can see are plump although the ones that were down next to the pot walls are discolored reddish brown. Nothing is mushy or stinky.

Would you:
Pick out the gravel? I've hosed it, and shaken out as much as is going to come out without surgery on the root ball.
Risk breaking roots to loosen up this root ball?
Leave the whole thing intact and just pot it up with new medium around it?
What kind of medium? I know they like to stay fairly moist, so some sphagnum in the mix? I have that, and bark mix and Aliflor-type stuff.
What kind of pot? I have a nice vented clay pot the right size, or also a cedar basket.
Thumb of 2014-02-03/dyzzypyxxy/96b4fe Thumb of 2014-02-03/dyzzypyxxy/715150 Thumb of 2014-02-03/dyzzypyxxy/c513b0

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Hibiscus Birds Bromeliad Greenhouse Master Gardener: Florida
Garden Photography Region: United States of America Roses Tropicals Region: Florida Orchids
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hawkarica
Feb 3, 2014 5:28 PM CST
I would leave it intact and surround it with medium fir bark in a plastic basket. They really like to drain quickly and need to be watered just as they become dry. Give it medium light.

Jim
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Feb 3, 2014 5:49 PM CST

Moderator

I agree I would leave the roots intact too. Definitely no Sphagnum.
[Last edited by Ursula - Feb 3, 2014 6:08 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #549703 (3)
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 3, 2014 5:56 PM CST
Thanks Jim, Ursula. I did get some more gravel out of the tangle. Thinking I'll shake a few handfuls of fresh perlite into the root ball now.

A bit worried about this tall plant being really top-heavy if I use too light a medium. I do want it to stand up. Maybe a good size rock in the bottom of the basket?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Feb 3, 2014 5:58 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #549704 (4)
Name: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Hibiscus Birds Bromeliad Greenhouse Master Gardener: Florida
Garden Photography Region: United States of America Roses Tropicals Region: Florida Orchids
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hawkarica
Feb 3, 2014 6:51 PM CST
Use one of those black plastic baskets and hang it with wire. Tie the plant to the wire just like you would do with a floppy vanda. After all, they are both monopodial orchids.

Jim
Name: Roberta
Cherokee Village, Ark (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Orchids Irises
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901Bertwood
Feb 3, 2014 8:00 PM CST
My plant took off when I put it in a 10 gal black plastic nursery pot that I brought home hostas in, it liked the tall narrow pot and it's roots filled to the bottom in one year. I did not fill the pot with mix but layered it onto the level of the new roots over a period of several years. It only took 3 years for the root level to be at the rim then it started to branch. I had 17 blooms last year.grow in full morning sun, warm wet in spring and summer and down to around 40 degrees in late fall for buds to iniate. These grow on the ground in debris so I used large bark, sponge rock. It looked like yours when I started this and had never bloomed in the prior 7yrs, I now think it needs to be about 1-2ft tall to start blooming, and hates to be repotted, so whatever don't repot again for a long time. I can't find a picture and it was stolen from my porch. It's one I will never forget.
Bert
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 3, 2014 9:24 PM CST
Wow, a 10gal. is a big pot, Bert! That must have been a pretty husky thief who stole it. What a shame.

My plant is already nearly 2ft. tall, and has already had one bloom. But that was 3 years ago. Sure hope mine responds like yours did. I'd love to see a flower.

Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Roberta
Cherokee Village, Ark (Zone 7a)
Region: Tennessee Orchids Irises
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901Bertwood
Feb 4, 2014 7:36 AM CST
You may not see blooms the first year after repot, Elaine. It's gonna sulk for a while, but give it a rest then increase sun, moisture, fert if new roots start. Keep me posted, this one is well worth the wait.
Bert
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
dyzzypyxxy
Feb 4, 2014 9:39 AM CST
Yep, not expecting miracles immediately, but it has nearly a year to re-group before I'd expect to see blooms anyway.

Thanks all, great input here. I am now going shopping for a new pot or basket for this big fellow.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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