Repotting my masdavalia

This is one of the most bizarre looking flowers but I have to say I love how bushy she is with her strange spikes

But her flowers are fading and so I’ve repotted her and made a step by step video explaining a little about my pots and watering system.

So I hope it’s useful… happy potting! 🙂

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It’s all about media…

So for me , the subject of media for my orchids is fascinating. I have researched at length what’s best and why. I’ve attempted various combinations and in the end I’ve done what each grower should do, I’ve reached a conclusion about what medium suits my orchid collection, my watering schedule, my humidity levels and my setup. What follows are just my opinions about media based on my own experiences.

For a visual demonstration of how much impact media can have on your orchids I photographed 3 of my dendrobium phaelanopsis which are potted in the same system with 3 variations of media.

From left to right we have Seramis orchid substrate, Seamis + Pon and lastly just pon.

Here is the orchid which is in seramis orchid substrate

You can see her canes are plump and Happy. The results in the mixture of the two was similar. However, the dendrobium in just pon is vastly different…

The canes are shriveled and suffering. This is with the same watering schedule and method.

So I thought I had better switch her to Seramis again. It’s been 48 hours and the difference in her canes is noticeable already.

So my conclusion is not that Pon fails as a substrate buy instead I have to say it doesn’t work for me in my setup.

I like the Seramis mix because it’s water retentive, it’s big chunks so my roots aren’t smothered and overall I think it works better for me. I’m a fan of inorganic substrate in general and I like that this mix doesn’t break down like other organic orchid substrate does.

Repotting an orchid

I found my favorite orchid medium online and my order arrived in no time , so I’m able to repot some of my orchids which are a little desperate.

As you can see it’s a mixture of kiwi bark and ceramic pebbles. I’m a huge fan of this.

The pieces are also big enough to allow circulation and good drainage.

I had been experimenting with various media and some new inorganic media. Needless to say I have some opinions about the variation in hydration between the various substances ( but that’s a post for another day. )

So, one of my awesome dendrobiums was desperate for a repot as well as the little unidentified “Cambria” orchid I bought a couple of weeks ago on sale (it’s blooms were finished, I always repot when they finish blooming after i buy them). I thought I’d share how I repot an orchid.

My kit includes a tray (so husband doesn’t get upset by dead orchid roots and dirt everywhere), clean scissors, pots and media.

I add extra holes in my pots with a hot nail to ensure good drainage and good air circulation, it also helps with even drying in the media so there aren’t patches which are always wet.

Next I remove the orchid from its pot, it usually helps to soak it before hand, means more flexible roots and less damage.

I then remove the old media from the roots, gently teasing it with my fingers and using jets of water from the tap.

At this point the root structure is visible and I can assess the roots and remove dead ones (usually brown and squishy)

What I’m left with are the good roots, healthy and hydrated

As you can see I start with little media in the pot and then I position my orchid with any new growths in the center of the pot and fill in the media around the roots.

The result…. a happy stable orchid.

In my opinion it’s good practice to change the media, make sure it’s fresh and right for your plant. It also allows you to assess the root structure of the plants so you know the health of your orchids. The whole process is not too hard, not is it excessively time consuming. I figure if I spent all that money on my orchids I should make sure they are going to thrive and of course…. bloom 😊

All bound up

Well, finally my incredible cymbidium finished blooming, she has been an absolute joy, I can hardly believe how beautiful she is ❤❤❤…. here’s a picture in case you don’t remember

As with all my orchids, I repot them as soon as they stop blooming which ensures they have fresh medium and healthy roots.

To my horror, when I took my cymbidium out of her pot I found this…

Yes…. she is completely and utterly root bound. She seems to have almost no media in the base of the pot (it would have gradually been pushed up out of the pot by the growing roots ) and the roots are well and truly knotted, undoing them is impossible without serious damage which will compromise the plant significantly.

There is a chance that parts of this plant will die as it is unable to absorb sufficient nutrients with the roots in this state. However, I found three happy New growths

I am hoping that they will put roots out into the new pot and fresh medium and the plant will have a healthy future.

I potted her in a mixture of organic and inorganic media.

1 – perlite

2- bark

3- seramis

4- pon

She’s in a pot which is double the width of the old pot and she is positioned eccentrically with her new growths in the middle of the pot.

She’s a terrestrial orchid and so she doesn’t need the same air circulation or light on her roots that an epiphyte would, such as a Phalaenopsis. This allows me to place her happily into a dark pot.

I always add extra holes to my pots, with purpose of increasing drainage and sometimes air circulation.

It’s easily achieved with a hot nail of the desired circumference (I heat the nail with a flame, do take safety precautions if you attempt this )

I am hoping she will be able to settle in and will survive her knotted roots, I’ll keep you updated of course.

I’ll be posting tomorrow as well with some new acquisitions… ahhh orchid love ❤

On the bright side

So while battling mites and dismaying over my collection I came across something that is out of place in the middle of winter.

Apparently my dendrobium nobile is flowing. This is surprising for two reasons…

1. My dendrobium is supposed to be in its winter rest

2. I was firmly convinced this was a white dendrobium

So, in the light of the loss of so many of my new flower spikes, this is a beautiful change.

Disaster … mites

Mites are munching on my orchids. I noticed before Christmas that something was going on but couldn’t see for sure. However it was 3 weeks ago that a close investigation revealed the truth as I watched some little monsters crawling on my babies.

So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been spraying insecticide and repotting my orchid in an attempt to get the infestation under control. As you can see from the picture I’ve lost flower spikes as a result. I couldn’t even bare to share all the pictures of all the spikes as it was too devastating.

Hopefully this insecticide will do it’s job and I’ll be able to save my collection.

Oncidium twinkle

Clare (from my orchid diary) asked me recently to talk about how I care for my Oncidium twinkle and if I could make a post about it.

As you can see she’s still in bloom and seems to be very happy (she’s forgiven me for some poor watering habits of late) I am adjusting to my new phone camera, I feel like it may not be as clear as the last.

I can’t say I do all that much differently for her but here we go. She seems to like a lot of light so in the summer she sits in a well lit spot (not direct sun) and now she sits in a shelf with two strips of light near her, above and to the side.

I know she hates drying out so I try not to let that happen. She’s not in the large bark and seramis mix, instead she is in the finer granulated seramis alone. This is more moisture heavy than the mixture (maybe like sphagnum moss but without the deterioration).

And then in the summer I fertilise every two weeks with a big standard orchid fertiliser.

As you know, her spikes took something like 4-5 months to develop but then she produced 4 spikes so I can’t complain. And they are perfumed blooms, gorgeous tiny blooms which smell like cake, in no way overpowering, just a delicate sweet smell.

You may have noticed that she has some brown leaves, this isn’t the first time this has happened. The last time I snipped the brown leaves and she recovered.

I wonder if it follows periods of stress (prolonged dry spells when I have not watered her sufficiently) orchids are slow to react at times. But she seems healthy, despite the brown/ yellow leaves. I’m not sure.

Also, the recent disaster with my Howard’s dream has made me wonder about spider mites. I don’t object to using chemical miticides for my orchids so I may do so in the not too distant future. Does anyone have a recommendation regarding a miticide?

Clare, I hope this was somewhat enlightening, even if just to show that may care is similar to yours. For everyone else, if you haven’t checked out Clare’s page, you should definitely do so here.

Have a good weekend people.

Disaster

While watering my orchids I noticed an odd colour to the leaves of my Howard’s dream Orchid. They look almost rusty but there doesn’t seem to be thinning of the leaves like I would expect with a mite infestation.

It’s on the pseudobulbs too and the worse affected leaves I removed completely.

I’m so upset, I adore this orchid, I hope she pulls through.

There was no apparent disease on the new growth and the previous pseudobulb looked clear too so I’ve divided them off the rest of the plant and put the entire thing in quarantine. I’ve checked the rest of the orchids which were next to her and they seem ok but that’s a bit of a waiting game, hopefully it will be all clear for the rest of my girls.