Repotting an overdue sarcochilus
The sarcochilus shown above is well overdue for
repotting. It's been in the same pot for many years so many of the
older roots are probably dead and the older growths are sitting up a
bit out of the mix.
The experts tell me that autumn is the time to repot these orchids
(March here in Victoria) so I'm going to get to it.
This is the orchid out of the pot. Note the
brown roots. Many of these will be soft and flatten out when gently
squeezed so they should be removed from the plant. All old potting
mix should also be removed.
With orchids that have not been seen to for many years I usually
find that the roots and mix in the middle has completely broken
down. This makes it easy to push the fingers up into the
centre from underneath and tease out the roots that way.
The results of doing that in this case can be seen below.
Here we see most of the old mix removed and many of
the old soft roots. The stringy centre part of the root many be left
on or removed. I find sometimes that it can help to hold the plant
in the new mix, particularly if there are not many good roots left
on the plant.
There are some roots still to remove (lower right corner of the
picture for example) and more old mix to remove also.
Here we see the plant ready to pot into the 4"
(100mm) pot shown.
I'm holding the pieces together as I want to put them all back
into the pot together. The alternative would be to pot them up
individually into 3" (75mm) squat pots.
Note that the remaining roots are white to light brown (and
I will hold them together with the base of the plants level with
the top of the pot and fill in with a mix consisting of 10mm
chunks of bark plus similar size pieces of Absorbastone. (around
To distribute the mix down and around the roots I pick up plant
and pot together with both hands and shake. I do this 2-3 times
as I fill in the mix.
Here I am pushing the two halves of the plant
apart a little to get some mix in the middle and as I type this
info I have realised two things.
The plant should have been a little deeper
in the pot. This can be seen from the growth in the middle
at the back. The brown remains of the old leaves at the
bottom, just in front of the piece of stone, is where the
new roots will come from.
There is scale on the plant. The small brown
circular lump at the base of the leaf on the left is adult
I have sprayed regularly with a mix of white oil and
pyrethrum so hopefully it's a dead adult scale. The white
oil seals the edges of the brown cover and suffocates the
The finished plant.
Still looking a little untidy particularly with
the marks on the older leaves but the lower ones will fall off
as the year progresses and the new leaves grow nice and clean
and green. The fact that some of the lower leaves fall off as
the new ones grow on top is another reason why I should have
planted it a little lower in the pot. (Next year perhaps)
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