Friday, November 14, 2008

Why I repot all new orchids

Almost exactly a month ago I bought a Bulbophyllum laxiflorum. It was a species I didn't have and the plant looked healthy and dividable. All the pseudobulbs were plump and there was a spike just starting to form. The picture was taken shortly after I got the plant.

This week the flowers opened and I was able to get a flower picture that I was satisfied with. Time to repot!

The plant was in a 4" clay pot and sphagnum moss. Underneath the sphagnum were a few foam peanuts. The sphagnum was a little broken down but not in bad shape.

I took the plant out to the hose and washed it clean. I had expected to find lots of roots to untangle. I found almost none. With minimal roots this becomes a rescue plant. Not an extreme case I grant you, but it could become one soon enough.

I unwound the plant, traced the rhizomes and divided it. The result was 5 distinct plants each with a lead and at least 3 pseudobulbs.

The pieces are still together. I set up a community pot for them where they will remain until there is new growth. Then I can decide between mounting and potting, and what medium to use.

The community pot is an 8" clay saucer. I drilled a small hole in the bottom so that water won't pool in it. I added a layer of pea gravel and placed the pieces of the plant around the space. Finally, I added a layer of loose sphagnum top dressing.

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