The Crownlands (Kings Landing)
Introduction (click here to skip introduction)
If you have not already done so, I suggest and strongly recommend going through the presentation on un-potting and dividing an orchid that can be found here. Divisions do not fall from the sky, they come from breaking an over-sized orchid into pieces. If you are just re-potting an orchid, follow along below.
Gather the items you will need.
- Clean pot
- New, washed bark mix
- The orchid to be re-potted
- a friend that also has orchids that need re-potting
The Orchid Pot: I could go off on a complete tangent here discussing the orchid pot, choosing the right pot for your orchid, clay versus plastic, tansparent versus all black, tall, short, fat, etc., etc. However, I am afraid that if I did, by the time you got half way through with that discussion you decide it be so much easier to re-pot orchids but setting them at the curb with a side that reads "free" and someone drive by and make re-potting on your part a lot easier. Simply because they no longer be your orchids. So I will skip that tangent. Instead, I will suggest the following; bring the orchid you plan on re-potting to an orchid meeting and ask experienced growers for their advice. If you cannot bring the orchid, take a picture and bring that instead.
This is also where I ease the tension starting to build on the faces of experienced orchid growers about the topic of "sterilization". I'm just not going to get into it. The hobby grower is not going to care. They should, but it is not important to them. Experienced growers know that any orchid they purchase before being introduced into the main collection is isolated like a quarantine until it is properly tested. I agree, this is a good practice to get into, but for the hobby grower, it is beyond their need. In the future, I might do a focussed discussion on sterilization. In the meantime, if you are curious, just ask any experienced grower about this practice to prevent the spread of virused orchids.
Bark Mix or preferred potting medium: You guessed it, another minefield in the culkture of orchids, and another seperate discussion to be written and linked here. Once again the solution is ask experienced growers their advice on this topic, when you have your orchid or picture of your orchid in hand and seeking advice.
The orchid to be re-potted: Ah-ha, something I can include here without a seperate discussion, and it should also be obvious.
A friend: This might be a surprise, but other than the orchid to be re-potted, this is perhaps the most important tool you will need. This is not work if you share re-potting with a friend. It is also a great way to perhaps trade any divisions as a sign of gratitude. A friend can be that extra pair of hands when dealing with a cantankerous orchid
If you are new to re-potting orchids, consider this rule of thumb - each orchid from un-pot to completing the new pot, takes about 45 minutes for the beginner. So don't start thinking you will get 10 orchids done at a single potting session, unless you are really dedicated. I speak from experience on this - after 4 hours the frustration can start to set in. At first, focus on maybe 2 orchids per potting session, you will be much happier for it because re-potting can cause unexpected surprises. Not anything major, just be aware that some orchids are very easy and then there are those that were born to be a challenge.
One last comment regarding re-potting an orchid - nobody always gets it right the first time, but do not be surprised if third time is the charm. Once again I can speak on this from experience. Between level of the orchid to the level of the medium in the pot, and the position of the orchid relative to center or a side with new growth facing a specific direction, at times it seems you need 3 sets of hands. Now you see why a friend is so important. Many times I think "this time I got it right", only to dump everything and start again. It is not like I am a perfectionist, but seating an orchid just right means a great deal to the orchid. New growth is free to expand, the orchid is almost floating on the potting medium versus sinking into it. So much to consider, no wonder people bring them to a society and pay (I mean donate) to have someone else do it.
I do my re-potting in the kitchen sink with a drain guard to prevent those big chunks of debris from going down the drain and doing damage to my sink disposal blades. You can also use a large dishpan or even a cardboard box to capture the debris and make cleaning much easier.
At this point, we are starting with an orchid that is ready for re-potting. It has been cleaned, trimmed of any dead material and ready to move into its new home for the next two years.
The Process (18 August 2019)
To the left is the division to be potted. Near the bottom center is the broken rhizome that separated this division-to-be from another part of the main orchid.
The roots look healthy.
Some of the leaves show signs of a lack of water by way of the "accordion effect" they are displaying. This condition is Irreversible. The accordion leaves are due to a shortage of moisture to the plant (humidity in the air or direct watering of the orchid). Maintain a humidity level no less than 60%. Oncidiums like to almost dry out before the next watering.
Like the accordion leaves, a shrivelled oncidium bulb will never "plump up" again. It is a one time emergency source for water to maintain the plant and as the bulb is drained of water by the orchid, it shrivels. These bulbs can be removed during the next re-pot. In this division the shriveled bulb has no leaves, another reason clearing it for removal in the next re-pot.
This particular division is a long-term investment. I seriously doubt it bloom in the Spring of 2020, perhaps it will in the Spring of 2021. Thus my reason for labelling it "long-term".
Holding the division in my hand, I made sure the broken rhizome was facing to the left, knowing that future generations of the oncidium "walk up stairs".
At least that is the theory.
In the image to the right, just to the left of center is the two new growths. I did notice any sign of a swelling bulb at their base.
In the old crowded pot, the rhizome was most likely growing from the center of that pot to the edge of the pot. This part of the original pot may have been the oldest growth as this clump is much smaller in size compared to the other 5 divisions.
Once I have the orchid in place supported with one hand, I slowly added the clay pellets tapping them down as I spun the pot around. About an inch below the rim, I added some Osmocote pellets and finished topping off the pellets. After a few waterings, the pellets will settle a little bit. I just need to water slowly so as to not cause the orchid to shift from its current positioning.
This division was treated with water mixed with some SuperThrive to try and eliminate shock and set-back. I have it and its 5 friends in a 6-inch tote with about an inch of water on the bottom for extra humidity. From now til mid-September it will be kept out of direct sunlight except for what might pass through a tree. The idea is to not agitate it after re-potting. EVery three days (depending upon summer heat) it will have water slowly poured through the pellets as it rests in a container so that it gets dunked and drowned for about ten minutes, then allowed to drain and returned to its growing area.
Normally this orchid would bloom in the spring but I am not holding my breath for Spring of 2020.
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A the Crownlands (Kings Landing)