SO Gardening October 7

Sunday, October 07, 2018

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Dear Orchid Doc:

I have a dendrobium plantlet in a wooden box. There is a baby plant growing out the bottom of the box. Can I cut it off? Is there any particular way to remove it? How should I go about potting it? Thank you!

Orchid Lover

Dear Orchid Lover:

I love a dendrobium plantlet! Most people would love the novelty of the plant coming through the bottom of the box.

If you would like to multiply your collection, go right ahead. Use a sterile bypass pruner to snip the baby plant from the parent plant.

Plant in a four-inch pot with washed gravel.

Put in about 50 per cent shade. Water well for the first day and allow a few days to pass before wetting again. Water every three days until the root has emerged, and more frequently thereafter.

Dear Orchid Doc:

My orchid has roots growing everywhere out of the top of the pot. Is this a problem?

Karen

Dear Karen:

As orchids grow they continually send out new roots, and often the new roots start above the surface of the medium and begin to head off to parts unknown. This is typical orchid behaviour. The next time the plant is repotted be sure to select a (probably larger) pot into which these new roots will fit comfortably.

Dear Orchid Doc:

What are the drawbacks of growing orchids in peat?

Tash

Dear Tash:

If you have a heavy hand with the watering can you need to be careful when growing in a peat mixture. Because the medium stays moist longer you need to be careful not to overwater. Wait until the top inch of the medium is dry. If you're not sure, wait another day or two. Our customers find that Phalaenopsis orchids grown in peat require watering only half as often as plants grown in bark.

Peat is lightweight, especially when dry. We find that our specimen plants, with long flower spikes and heavy blossoms, tend to become top-heavy. Unfortunately, our top-heavy specimen plants tip over when they're in lightweight peat, in lightweight plastic pots. Between the light medium and the light pot there isn't enough weight to keep a plant upright. So when plants are specimen sized we move them into heavy clay pots.

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