Orchids forum: Bark for repotting orchids

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Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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csandt
Apr 5, 2016 8:57 AM CST
I am new to the world of orchids. I was given one orchid plant as an Easter gift several years ago and two as retirement gifts in January, 2016. After the Easter orchid finished blooming and refused to bloom again (for me, anyway), I gave it to a more knowledgeable gardener. I plan to keep the two retirement orchids and would like to repot them. Both are currently in tiny (2" diameter) pots.

I understand that orchids should be repotted in bark. I have lots of bark (bags of pine bark nuggets, bark that is peeling from Norway maples and shagbark hickory trees and other trees of unknown identity growing in a fence row on my property). Question: Is bark from any of these sources suitable for repotting my orchids, or do I really need the bark marketed specifically for orchids?
Carol Sandt
"Hope is the simple trust that God has not forgotten the recipe for manna.” - W. Paul Jones in "Trumpet at Full Moon"
Name: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Hibiscus Birds Bromeliad Greenhouse Master Gardener: Florida
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hawkarica
Apr 5, 2016 10:49 AM CST
CS, there is no rule saying you have to use bark at all. I have plants growing in chopped up wine corks, tree fern, aliflor, gravel, moss and mounted on a piece of wood with no medium at all. First of all, what type of orchid do you have? Knowing that will help not only with the potting/ mounting but with light and water requirements. If you are set on using bark, buy the clean orchid bark that comes in a bag at HD or Lowes. The stuff you gather from the field may be contaminated with things you don't want your orchid setting in.

Jim
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Apr 5, 2016 11:01 AM CST
I think the problem with bark from your yard is that you might bring bugs home. (Bugs!). The second would be that the bark you have may be of inappropriate size for your particular orchid.

You could probably sterilize your bark and run it through the chipper a few times until it got to the right size. Also you would need to add some perlite and maybe charcoal to your bark. It may be easier to buy a bag. But buy the right bag for your plants. So, as Jim stated, we need to know what kind of orchids you have.

Daisy

Name: Carol Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Peonies Butterflies Region: Mid-Atlantic Hibiscus Daylilies Xeriscape
Hostas Roses Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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csandt
Apr 5, 2016 11:13 AM CST
Thank you, Jim and Daisy.

The orchids did not come with labels, but perhaps you can identify them from their photos. Here they are:


Thumb of 2016-04-05/csandt/97c075

Carol Sandt
"Hope is the simple trust that God has not forgotten the recipe for manna.” - W. Paul Jones in "Trumpet at Full Moon"
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
Apr 5, 2016 11:33 AM CST
Hello CS, I have initially used before chunky bark media for orchids, easy enough to get from the stores. Then later on, as I got more accustomed and understood what it really likes, I have been using different media, sometimes mix of clay rock, lava rock and coco husk chips, in another container, using hygrolon baggies which has clay rocks and styrofoam.

Whichever you prefer, just remember those Phal roots are thicker and does not like being too soggy wet, that is why we want to provide good air circulation around it, and I also tilt my plant a bit to the side, it makes it easier for water to slide off, so the crown does not get too wet. And that is why I hate sphagnum moss, I always repot right away when I see that media in any orchid I buy. I find it harder to gauge if sphagnum moss has dried enough.

When I use bark media, I presoak it first overnight, before I use it then first few weeks, have to dunk water the root zone area. It takes awhile for bark to be moisture retentive. Some do not presoak, but I prefer to do that, to remove some accumulated dirt it has.

If you got good humidity levels in your area and have the space for it, it is nice to mount Phals.

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