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Better-Gro Phalaenopsis Mix by Sun Bulb was the first Orchid potting mix I ever purchased when I realized I might be addicted to Orchids. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’ll totally understand what I’m talking about.
The only thing I knew about using bark as an Orchid media is that it needs to soak prior to using. The bag itself was so pretty, and the reviews were pretty decent too. I didn’t know anything else about Orchids at that time, nor did I realize there was anything else on the market that could be used to pot Orchids. WOW was I wrong! But that’s not what this article is about.
This article is about how to prepare Better-Gro Phalaenopsis Mix and this goes hand-in-hand with her sister, Better-Gro Special Orchid Mix, which is not only formulated for Phals, but also for Cattleyas, Oncidiums, Dendrobiums, Cymbidiums and all other Epiphytic Orchids, Epiphytic meaning they basically grow in the air.
Whichever one of these mixes you choose, or any other Orchid bark blend, the mix MUST be prepared prior to potting your Orchid in it. Why? Because dry bark does not allow for water absorption, which is what the roots need to stay alive. Soaking the bark in hot water allows the bark’s cells to open so it can absorb water.
Not understanding this? Take one piece of the dry bark out of the bag and run it under water. What happens? The water runs right off the bark like water off a duck's back, right? Bark that has been properly prepared will actually absorb water, which is what we want.
The first step is to get a pot of water boiling. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, measure out how much of the mix you’ll need for the size pot you’ll be using.
How Long to Soak Bark Mix Before Repotting?
I put the mix in either a Pyrex cooking dish or in the ceramic outer pot the Orchid came in. Once the water has come to a boil, I pour it slowly over the potting mix so that all of the potting mix is completely covered in the boiling water. I then let it sit until it comes to room-temperate. Once room-temperature, usually around 2 to 3 hours, I then drain the water and the media is ready to be used. I always begin this prep first thing in the morning on the day I want to repot an Orchid. You can soak the bark overnight, if you prefer, but a few hours in the morning will suffice.
Using boiling water also kills any little pests that might have set up living quarters in the bag, plus it removes any dust and other fine debris. It’s much more pliable too, making it that much easier to work with, fitting in between all the nooks and crannies of Orchid roots.
Happy Potting!!! 😁
Categories: Orchid How To, Orchid Media, Orchid Tips
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