Hello, and re-potting these two plants

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Greetings! My first post on this board. Another member here suggested I post my question and see what kind of response. So hello, and stuff.

A quick bit about me: I live in San Francisco, CA and have a little over 200 orchids. They are mostly all Paphs, Phrags, Masdevallia's, and some Psychopsis. With the exception of most of the Masdies, everything is grown inside my apartment either in my windows or (mostly) under T5HO lights attached to racks. I've been pretty successful with my plants, so I decided to try a couple that might be 'harder'.

So to my question - I need to re-pot both my Paph Dollgoldi and my Paph armeniacum.

They were, of course, expensive, and 'one of a kind'. It's very obvious to me on both that they haven't been re-potted in a long time, and might be doing well because of that, but also probably really need it. I'm very, very afraid - on both of them. :p I have no problem pulling any of the other plants but these two - it's like looking at a really old bonsai tree that's been around longer than your grandfather, and knowing how daunting it will be to re-pot it, even though the tree will really appreciate it.

The armeniacum was sold to me as a "I think it has 7 or 8 growths" but when I got it and counted all of them, there are 14. I'm counting immature ones too, but ones that are at least a 'fan'. 10 are (fully) mature. I get there are much larger plants in culture, but, it's big to me.

The Dollgoldi - The plant is 23.5" across. I don't even know how many growths. Very VERY root-bound. As far as I can tell, it's close to a solid ball!

Both are in flower or in bud now, so I'm trying to do my research and talk to as many people as possible... then I will hopefully make good decisions when it's time to do something in a couple months.

I've talked with people about some different media types, baskets, no winter rest for the armeniacum, and a few other things. I'm posting this here because I want more opinions and thoughts, from those willing to speak up! Thanks in advance.


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Hi Jeremy and welcome,
Firstly I wish I had your problem of a huge armeniacum needing to be repotted!!
I would definitly put it into a basket lined with moss. As for the mix use something like medium orchiata, perlite, and a few chopped oak leaves or maybe a little moss. I also wouldn't do any cleaning or old soil removal whatsoever and just place it stright in and let it go...After that you won't have to touch it for years. Of course you are going to wait for spring for this I assume?
Good luck and keep us updated.
I agree with Stone. Plants that big with roots that are tightly root bound are better off not trying to take the roots apart.

I'd also wait until they are done blooming before repotting them.

Good luck -- show us photos when they are in bloom, and welcome to Slippertalk!
If they are in bud, I'd wait on repotting until they are done blooming...just be very careful about watering. Basket culture might be difficult in an apartment. Also, armeniacum does need a cool winter rest. It's slow- if it's in bud now, the bloom probably won't open until March or April. As long as it's in bud, I wouldn't keep it quite as dry as I would normally keep armeniacum in the winter...but don't overwater either.
Yes, I'm not doing either of these now, that's why I said I'm asking now so I know what to do in a couple months! But, I didn't know armeniacum would hold a bud that long. But, OK, I can deal! And thanks for letting me know.
The bud is on the right hand side in the picture. Still pretty small. It's a mix that appears to be bark and some limestone (I think). I've heard several say baskets - but I too am concerned about how that will work growing under lights in my apartment. I'd love to hear more thoughts on this topic! I will keep it hydrated and try not to over-water. Generally, that's not a huge problem for me, or at least as much as it is for some!

The Dollgoldi has had flowers open since at least the beginning of August. One of the three spikes as past and the other two still have both their two flowers. There is definitely stuff living in there - I've already seen both centipedes and millipedes. Looks like it's a bark/charcoal/perlite mix of some sort. And lots of expired roots at the top. I'm fine not taking the ball apart, and that makes me feel better.
Welcome from KY. If the idea of baskets is a bit scary, you might try plain
clay orchid pots with lots of holes around the sides and a nice big drainage
hole in the bottom. Far less spooky to me. I definitely recommend Orchiata from First Rays Orchid Supply and just "dropping on".
Gorgeous plants!
Most has been said. Just want to add that there is no need to fear baskets in apartements. I have lots of plants in baskets of all kind and the plants are doing well. Just a bucket beneath when you water - thats all.
Welcome to this forum and PLEASE show as photos when both plants are flowering!
OMG :eek::eek:
Those huge lovely plants! I would never consider offering advice, apart from have you asked the person who you purchased the plants from for their advice? They obviously grow them very well!
Welcome from South Africa, I look forward to see how you resolve this problem:)
H and welcome
I would recommend what stone told you.
Or you send them to me and I take care of it.

Armeniacum takes long to open flowers
Suggest waiting until spring to repot unless the roots are in really bad shape due to mix deterioration. Repotting in the fall during decreasing day length can set plants back - especially parvi species like armeniacum. However, getting rid of any pests the plants may harbor should be done now. And, of course, welcome to slippertalk!
Thanks for all the greetings!

I asked where I got them from and didn't get a thorough response. I was told to come to a group like this where there would be a lot of ideas and opinions :)

I'm not so much in fear over the baskets, just more concerned with how they might work under the lights. I realize the growth habit of this plant and don't want to allow it to grow down through the bottom of a basket, if it's sitting on a shelf below a light. Because, below it, will be another light (and a liner for the shelf). But perhaps it can work, and it will grow out and to the sides.

Agree both are in really great shape, and now I know to wait for them until the spring. I had never seen a Dollgoldi that size before, so when it was offered, I realized I would regret it forever if I said no. Now here I am! Overall I have been very fortunate this year to find quite a few specimen Paph's, but these two are the only really challenging ones (for me). I appreciate folks letting me ask for help.
I like it when they come out on every corner.
My biggest one I devided 3 years ago into 3 plants, now the one in a basket show up on 3 sides, and start a bloom....
They are much easier in this baskets I have the feeling. And grow faster, even you do not see it on the first year, but when I noticed the shots all over I was very happy, first I though she dont wanted to grwo in this basket.
Here you can get a t eBay big basket with sphag around and on the bottom it is platic the ysell soemthing to put it on the tabel too.

Only and example I made something like that my own, and have 2 over each other, in the lower one seedling, which grow fine and on top armeniacum and fumis together
I don't want to ask what either of those monsters cost... :eek:

I can't give you any cultural advice, but welcome to the forum! :D

Oh, and I want to see pictures of the Dollgoldi in the photography section. You can't have too many Dollgoldies there.
.....The armeniacum was sold to me as a "I think it has 7 or 8 growths" but when I got it and counted all of them, there are 14. I'm counting immature ones too, but ones that are at least a 'fan'. 10 are (fully) mature. I get there are much larger plants in culture, but, it's big to me.
maybe there's larger ones in culture but I think that's something to brag about!

The Dollgoldi - The plant is 23.5" across. I don't even know how many growths. Very VERY root-bound. As far as I can tell, it's close to a solid ball!
Both are in flower or in bud now ......
That's exactly what I don't like to see, just got a multi cross that's similar. My consideration was to divide it but the least invasive way to divide, I didn't think that portion had the roots to support the growths so I went the basket route and maybe next year.
About 6-7 years ago a vendor had huge multigrowths Dollis, beautifully grown but not one sign that any of them had ever bloomed, word was, at that time, that there were some that just didn't want to bloom. That's great that you've got buds! Look forward to seeing the flower.
I'm really liking the basket idea, and Stone, I'm going to take your suggestion about the bottom liner. That sounds perfect for me.

I'm not sure about the etiquette on this board and where to post photos (put them here, or in photos section), but since people want to see the blooms from this Dollgoldi plant, here they are. It produced three spikes this year with two flowers each.


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