Monday, March 11, 2013

Thoughts during re-potting and a Dendrobium

This weekend I took on a task I'd been dreading. I had a few plants in 6" wood baskets that had been there for a while. In some situations one can simply "pot on" by placing the old basket in a larger basket without disturbing the plants. But in these cases (and in my growing conditions) I decided against this course of action. For one plant, a C. maxima, I suspected the roots were in bad shape at least partly because of poor treatment it received this winter - but it was growing over the basket. A second plant, a C. labiata was also growing over the basket and the new growth was heading down instead of across. I carefully took apart the baskets using wire cutters (and a screwdriver for a wedge). The C. maxima basket had coconut husk chips and sphagnum and just got too wet during the winter. What I found was that the C. maxima had relatively few roots, but enough remained to get a good start for this year's growth. I put it into a 6" Aircone pot (after cutting off a few old pseudobulbs) with large orchiata, which should be good for a few years. My current thinking it that I will use pots up to 6" and only then, if I decide not to divide, go into an 8" or 10" basket with large orchiata (plus some charcoal) - basically from now on I'm only going to be using baskets for big plants. The story was different for the C. labiata. The roots were pretty good. It too had CHC + sphagnum but had some charcoal thrown in too. The CHC was mush, the charcoal was rock hard, the sphagnum was marginal. The roots were very tightly packed - they were seeking to stay in the moist environment of the basket. In fact, they were extra densely packed over the broader bottom slats, which were probably the wettest parts of the basket. I cleaned up the plant as much as possible (it was pretty tough given how dense the roots were). I thought about dividing and getting it into a pot but it would have meant mangling the plant. I put it into a large basket with large orchiata. It will be interesting to see how this works out. Sorry, no pics!

Here is a Dendrobium delicatum, a cross of speciosum and kingianum. Great fragrance!

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