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Orchid potting mix

Posted by bunnygurl AB, Canada (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 22, 09 at 23:03

I read somewhere on here that having an Orchid potted in Sphagnum moss was bad and that they'd rot if left in it...is this true? I have two orchids and both are in sphagnum. One I've had for several months now and it seems to be doing fine.

Should I worry and repot into a proper mix, or should I just leave them seeing as they're not declining?

Thanks so much!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Orchid potting mix

Sphagnum Moss is a valuable potting mix. It is a fact that under some growers conditions plants do decline but if your plants are doing fine, let well enough alone. Just continue to observe and if your plants stop looking good, maybe think about changing the mix.


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RE: Orchid potting mix

No no no no no! Where'd you read that?? That couldn't be farther from the truth...sort of. Read on:

Theres nothing wrong with sphag, as long as you have the right conditions for it. For some people, it is bad. Some people can't grow anything in sphagnum moss at all, they'll rot their plants instantly! Others, such as myself, are perfectly find growing orchids in straight sphag, or in combination with a bark mixture. Same goes for bark mixtures: some can grow in them, some can't.

It really all depends on your growing conditions, watering habits, and plant culture requirements. Examples from the extreme: Plants growing in drier places-or a forgetful waterer-may benefit more from sphag's superior water retention, whereas plants growing in places that are cool and damp-or overwaterers-would likely kill plants in sphag quickly and would benefit from a more porous open medium. Rarely are our conditions so clearly deliniated (unless you have a desert room and a cloud forest room!), so experimentation is required to find the right potting medium for you.

Should you repot? I'd say not yet. So far, the axiom "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies here. You have two plants in sphag now, see how they perform. If they wind up rotting, you might need to switch over to a more open medium (bark, CHC, LECA, etc...)

If you're curious, I'd suggest buying another plant or two (always a good thing anyways!:) ) and try growing them in bark or CHC and see how those go for you! In the end, you really have to experiment to find the media that's right for you.


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bad timing!!!

LOL Looks like we were posting at the same time arthur! My first line was to bunny, not you :)


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RE: Orchid potting mix

New Zealand sphagnum? I wouldnt grow in the other type.

One thing to remember about NZS, if you leave the collar loose, it will hold more water and will rot faster.

Whats a collar? Making a ring around the upper portion of the root zone (tightly) so that there is an open area between the inside bottom of the pot and the bottom of the moss. More drainage!


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RE: Orchid potting mix

Ok thanks everyone. Good to know. I tend to be a forgetful waterer.


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RE: Orchid potting mix

bunnygurl,

AB? Alberta?

It's important to watch from where your advice orginates. Your location in Alberta? is not even close to the usual -- Lucky You!

People from your nearest orchid society will be your best advisors. They will understand your conditions.

I have ordered the same species orchid plants from Southern California and South Florida. The media for each plant was appropriate for each vendor's location, yet totally different. Neither SoCal nor S Fla media are meant for each other nor for me in Maryland.

Be wary of advice from beginners.

GOOD GROWING and success to you!

--Stitz--


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RE: Orchid potting mix

Thanks Stitz! Yes I live in Alberta, Canada. The weather here is totally unpredictable...right now we're working on (if we haven't already) set a new all time temperature record high since 1881 I think they said. However in July is was so cold with rain for weeks on end.

And not really lucky me all too much...it's hard finding new and interesting plants here.

I keep a close eye on all my plants, so if I notice either of my orchids start to decline, I'll switch mediums.

Now another question...what's the difference between sphagnum moss and spanish moss? Is there a difference? I found spanish moss at my garden centre, but not sphagnum...

Thanks so much!


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RE: Orchid potting mix

Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoide) is a flowering plant that has tiny greenish flowers. I grow it so that i can use it at orchids shows to hide plant tags and unsightly pots in displays. The plant has no roots and may have some value draped around Vandaceous plants as an aid to raise humidity around the plant. It is useless as potting material. Easy to grow here and it doesn't go feral. In Canada?


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spelling correction

Oops, left the s off usneoides


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RE: Orchid potting mix

Welcome to the board :) If you're near the Calgary area, check out Paramount orchids - they have fantastic stuff, albeit a bit pricey.

Arthur - I've been looking for tillandsia usneoides around here, although not with too much effort. I have a tillandsia (the type that forms a little ball though) and I love how it hangs on to the water from the mister and creates a microclimate around the roots of my plants. I've seen several other terrarium growers with it. I'm going to look harder for suppliers.


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RE: Orchid potting mix

I actually live in Calgary. My Colmanara is from there, but I didn't buy it directly from Paramount, it was at my garden centre.

So Spanish moss is just used as a cover, meanwhile Sphagnum moss can be used as a mix. Got it. Would it be beneficial to mix moss with bark or is that again based on climate, growing conditions and the grower themselves?


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RE: Orchid potting mix

Based on conditions, etc...For me, thats pretty much what I use if its not straight sphag (for phals only) or S/H, a mix containing both bark and sphag. More bark than sphag!


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