Psychopsis repotting...

lwowk(6-B NJ)May 9, 2008

My psyschopsis is currently in it's first spike and has not yet flowered but is close the spike is flattened but no buds yet. It is currently potted in bark which is staying wet far too long for my comfort. When I checked the skewer today that I keep in the pot I discovered that it came out moldy. This is a bad sign and I am afraid of the roots rotting on me. I tend to under water and have not watered this plant in a at least ten days and it is still wet. The roots I can see look ok but I don't know what is going on under the media. The spike has taken an eternity to grow and it sulked for a bit because I accidently pinched the spike with a clip. But it is back to growing well.

I bought the plant in Feb. so I don't know how long it has been in the media. The plant has been off to the side of a 55W CFL with a small fan nearby and is still staying wet too long. I know that these guys don't like repotting. If I repot now do I risk the chance of blooming anytime in the near future? How long do they sulk?


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I would go ahead and repot it with a new very course bark. I redo mine every year with no problems. They really hate stale potting material so leaving it could cause it to go downhill.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 2:03PM
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bcfromfl(z8a NW FL)

Hi Larissa --

I've had a large psychopsis for several years that is rootbound in a 6" pot, and soon I will "pot-up" to a 9". It's in a plastic pot, and I use styrofoam peanuts for drainage. It's outside in my gh, growing next to my cattleyas, and currently has six or seven open blooms. One problem with it is that it's very top-heavy and prone to tipping over, so I have the plastic pot jammed into a clay pot.

I suspect your main problem is lack of air movement underneath the pot, but now that you have mold, I wouldn't recommend continuing with bark. In general, I don't like bark, and my only preferred use of it is loosely in baskets under certain conditions. Otherwise, I only have one plant in my entire collection in a pot with a bark mix (a Coelogyne pandurata), and I hate it. Whenever I water I have to carry it outside while the misters are on, so it doesn't stay too wet. Eventually I'll change that plant to my infinite spare time! LOL!

You don't say what size pot your plant is in, but I would carefully lift it out, tap the loose pieces of bark away with your finger (don't worry about the ones that are firmly attached to good roots), and inspect the roots. Depending on how many good roots you have left will have bearing on the pot size you choose. You're going to make a layer of styrofoam peanuts in the bottom, with enough room above for good-quality sphagnum, so use your best guess. Be gentle as you wrap the roots and place it back in the pot, and you shouldn't have any sulking issues.

If you haven't done so, you need to come up with a "mini bench" so that the drainage holes underneath your pots can benefit from air movement. If the pot is resting on a flat surface, or even 1/2" above a surface, that's not good. Pick up a plastic-coated wire shelf from WalMart.

BTW, if you're using those dragonfly clips (or something similar), be advised that the risk of damage to developing spikes is high. They're OK if the spike is matured and the buds are open, but as far as training a spike, they're bad news. Use a long stake and twist-ties if necessary.

Good luck!

-Bruce C.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 2:23PM
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lwowk(6-B NJ)

I learned about the clips the hard way :( The plant is in a 4 inch terra cotta pot. I am planning on repotting with Lava rock. Sphag and I do not have a good history together.... :)

Thanks for the tip on raising the pot up I have something I can use for better circulation .


    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 3:02PM
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Sheila(8b SW Texas)

My blooming psychopsis is planted in a mixture of lava, sponge rock & clay pellets. I have sty peanuts directly under the center of the plant.

I'd heed Bruce's advice on gently removing loose bark. Spread the roots and lay on a bed of your lava rock. Any bark remaining that's firmly attached to the roots can be removed at a future re-potting. Good luck with your project. I'll look forward to seeing a pic of your bloom.

Sheila :)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 3:17PM
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lwowk(6-B NJ)

So I went to repot and it's a good thing I did because I found the media in the pot was so broken down that it was unrecognizable. The top of the pot had been filled in with new bark . Maybe I should have repotted right when I got it when the spike was still small. In hindsight that would have been best because the Klutz virus has struck again....As I was repotting I accidently broke off the top 3 inches of the spike. :( It was so close to putting out a bud too! Will it branch the spike it has or do I need to wait for a new spike to get blooms?


    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 3:48PM
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Sorry to hear that!!!! You are in luck though, they almost always branch when broken.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 4:16PM
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It will either branch or send out a new growth. Either way, its good. I grow mine under fairly high light. The leaves are freckled and huge. I also grow them dry. I broke a spike last year and it never branched, but made new growths and is now sending out two spikes.

I've repotted without incident. I don't mess with the roots.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 8:56PM
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