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Repotting for newbies

Posted by billy_kain 8 (My Page) on
Wed, Nov 24, 10 at 14:50

I sometimes buy orchids on the big stores discount shelf. These are not rescues, I am cheap. I got this one and the potting mix would never dry out, so I took it apart. Seems to be in moss with a little bit of bark in one place. So far, I have not broken many roots, but it's getting dicey. The two pieces on the right are not well connected to the rest. Can I tear it apart and have two plants, so maybe one will live? Do I have to get all the old moss off of the roots? Here is a picture:

Orchids roots

I have read in the FAQ about whether or not to leave the flower stalk, but apparently there is no "yes or no" answer unless you know what kind of orchid you have. If it will make a new plant, without hurting the old one, I would like to keep it. The stalk is 3 feet in length and looks very green. Should I remove it?

Orchid stalk


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Repotting for newbies

Some orchids will bloom again from the old stem but most experienced growers cut the stem off once the blooms are spent....sure you might get a side branching spike but the number of blooms will be less.

Yes, you can divide the plant if you wish and you will end up with two plants but usually you would wait till the plant had a few more pseudobulbs before doing the dividing thing. Two smaller plants need smaller, appropriate sized pots for your potting material and conditions and should you use the old spag? buy some new spag or use some other potting material? Cannot advise here because i do not know what your growing conditions are like in zone 8 USA.

RE: Repotting for newbies

It looks like a hybrid oncidium type so I would cut the spike right back as they seldom throw a secondary spike from the original.

I would leave it as one plant in a single pot and remove as much as the old moss as possible without damaging the roots.

RE: Repotting for newbies

Thank you very much. I whacked off the bloomstalk, but while I was trying to get all the moss out of the roots, the plant fell into two parts. I looked but did not see where it had ever been connected. Also, one of the two pieces had bark in its roots, and the other had none, as if they had been potted seperately at one time. I couldn't get all the old moss out without tearing up roots so I got as much as I could and quit.

I am grateful to both of you for the information.


RE: Repotting for newbies

sometimes growers will put two smaller plants into one pot so they look bigger and they can charge more.

RE: Repotting for newbies

Repot both halves into the smallest pots you can. Orchids not only like tight shoes, but if there's too much medium and not enough roots, the medium can stay too wet and gradually rot.

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