Saturday, January 01, 2011

Repotting a cymbidium

I like this cymbidium a lot. Here it is at its peak. The compact size can be misleading - cymbidiums have a lot of roots compared to other orchids. They're like Clivias or Daylilies in the shape of the leaves and the mass of roots compared to their tops. I have one cymbidium in the state of almost-rebloom, so I hope that means I'm able to grow them and they're worth the effort.

Here is was just before repotting. I thought about leaving it until the bitter end, but instead of being fresh and joyful, it looks sad now. Time to accept that and clean it up.

It came out of the pot easily. This was about a 1 quart pot. The original mix looks like a medium grade bark.

I love the mass of roots, like a handful of night crawlers. Massive amount of roots. At this point I also cut off the old flower spikes, to get them out of the way, and trimmed off any dead or broken looking roots with a sharp sterile pruner. There were not many bad or damaged roots. At the center was a tightly packed mass of sphagnum - probably what the plant was started in. I removed it. My theory is that it can be a source of rot when the plant is in my hands, as opposed to in a tiny starting pot in the hands of the original grower.

I wanted to use a pot about the same size, but with so much root mass, I moved it up instead. Some authors recommend cutting off the roots. I don't know what's best, but this is how I did the last one and it did very well and is about to rebloom soon.

Here's the mix I've been using for all of my orchids. Medium grade fir bark, some perlite, some oyster shell calcium.

Now I've added the bark medium, with lots of tapping and shaking and holding the plant in place. It was interesting that even with the mass of roots, when I poured the old medium back into the old pot, it filled it to within 2 inches of the top. The dead leaf tips are also pruned back. I sprayed it with neem oil, which I hope makes it more disease and insect resistant, and also gives the leaves a nice shine.

Before potting, I wrote a description of the plant and the date on the inside rim, using a Sharpie. That way I know what's what, but in an unobtrusive way.

No comments:

Post a Comment