Sunday, March 05, 2006

How I Pot Orchids

How I Pot Orchids

Written by [Philippine Orchid Review] Andres Golamco, Jr.
Tuesday, 01 October 1985
Ever since I started raising orchids about 15 years ago my goal has been to grow the plants into large specimens in pot and enjoy them indoors when they are in full bloom. And potting the orchids in the best way should be considered.
So, I have been experimenting with various media, and the best medium that suits my environment and treatment is charcoal. But every year, Especially right after the rainy season, when the algae covers the potting medium, the plant’s growth become smaller and the roots begin to rot. To improve the plant’s condition, I have had to repot the plant into a fresh medium a new pot.
Year after year, I have found my self-repotting more plants, which no longer produce good growths and roots. Having more plants to repot, I have decided to remove the charcoal pieces that occupy the bottom part inside by the pot by enlarging the bottom drainage hole to two inches or three inches in diameter for the pieces to pass through, leaving only less than one half of the original potting medium content of the upper surface intact, and then returning the plants back in their places
After one year, it is surprise to find the plants with accelerated growths and find the roots spreading inside and outside the pot. Impressed by this unexpected discovery, I have decided to pot all the plants in this manner but with some slight variations. To make the plant stand up, I use a good and strong wire-stake and securely tie the base and the middle portion of the plant and place. Then I position the newly stake plant where its latest growth has room to grow and use about three or six charcoal pieces. (1” think times 2” – 3 long) to anchor the plant.
The charcoal pieces have to be fitted carefully such that the base pf the plant tightly secured and does not allow any movement otherwise. The plant cannot root properly and the roots get damaged every time the plant moves.
Using this technique for five years now, I have found that several plants show improved root and bulb/stem growths. Upon flowering, these plants produce outstanding blooms. I have also discovered several advantage in using this method:
I can now water everyday without fear of over-watering the plan.
With fewer charcoal pieces only to serve as anchorage, I use less potting medium and therefore cutting expense.
With more air spaces, air can feely circulate through and reach the roots.
With less medium, the roots are cleaner and healthier without problems of rot or decay.
The fact that there is less medium, the roots have more room to grow and spread out freely.
With good system, the plants grow larger and robust, thereby producing flowers of superior quality and long life.
A very important one, the plant could be grown to specimen size quickly.
Several of my plants are now approaching specimen sizes and I am quite pleased that I have discovered a very effective method, to reach my goal. Using this unique method, I could now grow orchids in pot with good root system and vigorous growths into the best-looking specimen plants.


At 6:30 PM, Blogger rheyskie said...

im really inetrested in this since i grow basically a lot of phalaenopsis,mostly on bark with sphagnum moss but have to re pot every year since it usually disentigrate after that time and instead of growing continously the disturbance on the root system cause by re potting hinders it .i would like to grow them to spesimen size to their full potential.Can you show a picture on how you did in Florida and our charcoal are usually not big but 1/4 inches only thanks so much


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