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Author Topic: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium  (Read 3843 times)

Beza

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Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« on: April 07, 2019, 08:50:52 PM »
Hello,

I am a newbie to these forums. I stumbled across a Cypripedium plant in a local garden centre, which I assume is some hybrid and I believe it comes from the Anthura nursery in Holland. As I have been in love with Orchids for many years - tho usually tropical ones - I couldn't help myself and take it home. Then I started to search the web for info, and thus I ended up here.

Anyways, the plant looks quite healthy and new growth is just beginning. Now I am wondering whether I should still go ahead and re-pot it into a larger container, as I've read that Cyps like a lot of space for their roots. As soil I wanted to use either pumice (haven't gotten any yet tho) or else Perlite (found that today in a nearby garden centre), with the current bark-mix the plant is in added. I am looking at using a bowl-shaped glazed clay pot of about 26cm diameter, compared to the current plastic pot of 10cm it is in.

Below are pictures of the plant in its current pot, sitting in the planned pot for comparison. Hoping to get some advice :)
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Steve Garvie

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2019, 10:56:28 PM »
I find that Cyps resent repotting and take at least one growing season to recover from this trauma. Cypripedium roots (and rhizomes) rot easily in organic mixes -even in bark. Your best option is to plant out in a raised bed in an area sheltered from afternoon sun and strong wind in a very inorganic mix.

If your only option is to use a pot make sure it is on the large side and with good drainage in the base. As regards the potting mix I would suggest a mix of 40% coarse perlite, 40% 3-8mm pumice and 20% well-rinsed Sophistocat low dust lightweight cat litter (baked moler clay granules). Gently wash off the old potting mix and plant in the new mix with the “noses” positioned just below the surface. Water in and leave somewhere cool and out of direct light for 3-4 weeks. Keep just damp.  Hopefully some new root hairs will have then developed on the existing roots. As the plant shoots off, feed with a half strength high nitrogen feed alternate waterings (and watch out for slugs/snails). In between water with rain water. As the plant completes its top growth reduce the feed frequency and switch to a high potash feed (at 50%). Use feeds that contain micronutrients as well as macronutrients. Cyps are frost-hardy but no plant does well when frozen through in a pot, so plunge the pot over winter and keep on the dry side.

I am certainly not an expert grower of cypripedium but I have in the past killed a great many of these plants in pots!  ;)

Good luck!
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Steve
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Beza

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2019, 11:26:15 PM »
Thank you for your reply!

I should have added that planting into the garden is not an option right now as I need to move house soon. Now I am aware that Cyps do not like being disturbed, so would it not be an option to take that plant with its current potting material and just surround that with say perlite in the new pot, to keep the disturbance to a minimum?

From what I read, perlite and pumice are supposedly pretty similar in its function as potting material, just that one is lighter and more susceptible to floating than the other. Getting pumice might take me a week or longer, so if I want to re-pot as soon as possible then it would have to be perlite.

I also read that initially one should use a 1-1-1 fertilizer on Cyps, until after they flowered. Or is there a consensus here that high N works better while the plant is growing?

And ye, I was planning to put some copper tape around the pot, to hopefully discourage any slugs. For now the plant is sitting on top of an old washbasin which itself it sitting on little feet, so any slug has to be somewhat determined already to find its way up.

Sorry for all the questions, just want to give that plant the best possible treatment I can :)

Steve Garvie

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2019, 12:16:32 AM »
I would get the Cyp out of the bark/cork/coarse peat mix that these orchids come in as the plant is likely to experience a greater set-back due to root rot than it is due to the act of re-potting.

I can only advise on what has worked for me but the pumice/perlite/moler clay mix seems to provide the right balance of aeration, drainage, moisture retention and cation exchange and I find it to be superior to pure perlite or pure pumice.

Cyps have a surprisingly high nitrogen demand in the early growing season -hence the suggestion of a high nitrogen feed. In the past I have experienced some leaf chlorosis which disappears with high nitrogen feeding.
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Steve
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Maggi Young

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2019, 11:45:07 AM »
If you repot it, Beza, I don't think you should  use as huge a pot as the one you show.  Most plants, even ones which enjoy a larger root run, resent  being  "over-potted".

 Have   good rootle about this  forum for  further advice - and   have a look at this  website : http://lanesidehardyorchids.com/growing_hardy_orchids.htm

Have  fun!
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


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Beza

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2019, 12:34:51 PM »
Thanks again Steve, I'll try and find some pumice as well as a suitable Fertilizer.

Thank you Maggi for the link - that is certainly an interesting site. Now I am a bit puzzled about the over-potting - by that logic wouldn't then any orchid planted out into a flowerbed be over-potted too? And yes I had a good read around this forum already, lots of good stuff here :)

Maggi Young

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2019, 01:25:47 PM »


 Now I am a bit puzzled about the over-potting - by that logic wouldn't then any orchid planted out into a flowerbed be over-potted too?
You'd think so, wouldn't you?!  But the  open ground is a more natural space - the  area is able to drain more readily, whereas a pot is a confined space and  often subject to greater wetting.drying. heating, cooling than a  plant  in the  garden would be. 

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=864#section-1
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arisaema

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2019, 02:11:11 PM »
Thanks again Steve, I'll try and find some pumice as well as a suitable Fertilizer.



I bought the same orchids way back in 2011, and you'd probably get away with repotting in a mix of moler clay cat litter with 25% composted bark and a handful of crushed oyster shells, no pumice. You can see the roots of my plant as it arrive from Holland, and after a summer in cat litter here:

http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=6999.msg202929#msg202929
http://www.srgc.net/forum/index.php?topic=6999.msg213071#msg213071
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Beza

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2019, 07:08:58 PM »
Thank you again for that link, Maggi! Now from reading that I understand that the problem with overpotting is that the plant won't have enough roots to actually drain all the soil of moisture. But isn't the point of using a mix of say perlite + pumice to keep that from happening at all, as that mix would drain very easily? And everyone keeps saying Cyps don't want to be disturbed, and just keep on growing into big clumps. Conflicting info there  ???

Also thanks Arisaema for your links, I read the rest of that thread and found it rather interesting too - especially since you seem to have re-potted that very same plant twice in the same season. How did it do in the following year, did it indeed show signs of "begrudging" having to move house twice? That root system looked indeed rather tiny compared to what I have seen on some pictures. Also, do you know what the actual cat litter brand would be in the UK which is suitable to use? Now I have found two suppliers of pumice - one is funnily enough IKEA, and the other a place which sells Bonsai. Will take some days to receive that stuff tho, so I haven't ordered yet as I was wondering whether the cat litter might do instead.

Steve Garvie

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2019, 08:36:27 PM »
There are two options regarding cat litter in the UK. Tesco do a version that was previously labelled as own brand low dust, lightweight cat litter. However it seems to no longer be stocked by my local Tesco.

The better option (as the granules are larger) is the Sophistocat brand as stocked by “Pets at home”:
http://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/pets/lightweight-non-clumping-pink-cat-litter

Both brands are scented though this seems to do the plants no harm and disappears if the cat litter is soaked in water for 4 or 5 days.

Pumice is not cheap as it has to be imported into the UK. I use crushed (3-8mm) horticultural pumice that I obtained from this supplier: https://www.specialistaggregates.com/pumice-crush-p-6063.html

In a pumice/perlite mix drainage and aeration are so good that over-potting is not an issue and indeed a large container is subject to less temperature fluctuation.

I find that for certain species of Cypripedium a “compost” based primarily on cat litter can be too moisture retentive which is why I prefer pumice.

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Steve
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Beza

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2019, 09:01:29 PM »
Thanks much for that input, Steve! I am tempted by the pink cat litter now - do you think a mix of that pink cat litter and perlite would do the trick and work with my rather big container?

Steve Garvie

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2019, 09:31:41 PM »
Thanks much for that input, Steve! I am tempted by the pink cat litter now - do you think a mix of that pink cat litter and perlite would do the trick and work with my rather big container?

Yes, that should work. I would suggest at least 50% perlite by volume (supercoarse grade) with the remainder a mixture of cat litter and horticultural grit ( 2:1). I don’t use any organics but if you are tempted to do so then use orchid bark -no more than 10%. Liquid feeds (including trace elements) are a necessity with such lean mixes. Adding about 5% horticultural zeolite is quite beneficial as it has a high cation exchange capacity allowing binding of both micro and macronutrients which are slowly released to the orchids roots (replaces organics and doesn’t break down).
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Steve
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arisaema

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2019, 01:42:22 AM »
Norway is cooler, so Steve's advice of less to no bark is sound. (You can even see a couple of blackened root tips in my second picture, so while my mix worked fine for the Chinese species I think it was too moisture retentive for kentuckiense.) I'd still add finely crushed oyster shells if you can find them, unless your tap water is hard.

That plant had three flower buds the next year, so it didn't seem to mind being uprooted twice, the second time was for planting it in the garden. I moved in 2012, so I have no idea what happened to it after that point.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2019, 03:52:51 AM by arisaema »
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monocotman

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2019, 10:56:44 AM »
As long as the plant is repotted into something close to 100% inorganic that drains very well then the actual mix you use is probably not that important.
I use 100% super coarse perlite and that works well enough. I've added 10% orchid bark in the past and noticed no real difference in growth.
I would use whatever you can get your hands on now - its important to repot now before the plant gets any bigger.
The pot you picture is probably a bit over the top. I'd use something a bit smaller with maybe four times the volume of the pot the plant is in now.
As you are potting into a basically inorganic mix you don't have to worry about the mix souring or breaking down.
Hybrid cyps need plenty of feed early in the year - they make a very great deal of growth in the first month.
I use full strength miraclegro or phostrogen  -whatever is to hand of the basic plant foods from the local garden centre.
Use it every couple of weeks until the plant is fully grown and the flowers are out, then you can ease off and maybe use it once a month.
From July onwards I then tend to use something with lower nitrogen like toato feed, tomorite, at full strength.
David
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brianw

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Re: Question about re-potting a newly bought Cypripedium
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2019, 02:53:04 PM »
I bought a pot of Cyp. reginae alba at last springs RHS orchid show in London, apparently potted in 100% perlite, flowered and leafed OK.
I have a large pot of Cyp. kemtuckiense, currently with 10+ shoots, that has grown quite comfortably for 10 years+ in an open cold frame, covered only in mid winter (when I remember) and potted in approx. 50% grit plus pet shop cat litter, a little perlite, and some fine bark. Gets fed sometimes. Seems indestructible. Only problem is it is still a tight clump and has so far not been divided. Last year's purchased Cyp. rotted by the autumn under the same conditions.
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