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TheLorax

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What do you do when you receive a plant like this?



So far I've been trying to soak them to loosen up what's left of totally spent medium-



Unfortunately, when they're like this I have problems detangling them and getting leftover medium to release. I use my fingers and try my best to ever so gently free up the plant. When you receive a plant like this, it lends new definition to the term bondage. Sort of frustrating for me and I'm thinking there has to be a better way to free roots that come like this.
 

tocarmar

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I hate when that happens!! :( I leave it out of pot to dry for a few hours & tap on the root ball ( gently). It helps to loosen up the roots & medium. Then I carefully try to seperate the roots with my fingers. There will be some root loss but just try to loosen them up enough to relase the medium from inside the center of the rootball.

I hope this is helpful!!

Tom
 

TheLorax

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I'm sitting here with tweezers right about now and not very nice words are coming out of my mouth because this is like the 5th plant I've received in this condition in the past few weeks.

I tried the dry tapping on this one first and some chunks did fall out but it was definitely still holding the form of the pot. Matter of fact after a half hour of trying to release the roots, it's still holding the form of the pot.
 
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gore42

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It depends on what kind of plant it is.

If its a Phrag hybrid, don't worry about it. Just do your best to pull the roots apart without breaking too many. Phrag roots (on all the hybrids I've dealt with) regrow so quickly that if you lose some roots here and there, it doesn't matter.

If it's a Paph, there isn't much to do but be as careful as possible...

- Matt
 

TheLorax

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The plant above just happens to be a phrag hybrid but I've received a few straight species in this condition. I go as slow as possible trying to minimize loss. Not much more I've been able to do.

What's interesting is that I recently received some paphs that were in similar or worse condition to the plant photographed above. Better hang on to the arms of your chair because I did something totally unorthodox that shocked even me. I doused the roots with olive oil. I could not for the life of me think of anything else to do with the crapmess I had on my hands with two of the plants I bought. The oil helped loosen up roots and the medium and I am convinced it reduced the number of roots I lost. After I finished, I created a mild solution of Dawn dishwashing detergent and swished them around in that then rinsed them in room temperature water then swished them around in the Dawn again then rinsed them again with water real good one last time. They're still alive even with a loss of at least 50% of their roots.

You do the best you can I suppose. I've kept records of who sold plants in what condition. If I lose any of the ones that were obviously not well taken care of, I simply won't buy from those nurseries again. There are too many nurseries out there that don't ship plants in that condition to get hung up on the few that do. Incredibly, I had pillbugs falling out of the roots of those plants too. Hmmm, does this tell me something?

edited to remove poddy language. I was in a particularly foul mood trying to free up that plant with tweezers.
 

Gilda

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My watering hose has a small nozzle that I can adjust the stream of water..I can usually squirt the old medium out without untangling the roots, the nozzle is small enough to go between the roots....works on paphs & phrags. The roots look ok on my monitor...is it just the medium broke down or are the roots rotten ?
 
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goldenrose

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Seeing I don't have an adjustable nozzle. I take a 5 gal. bucket (which it was probably soaking in anyway), fill half way, hold the base of the plant & swish it around like crazy & that will usually loosen things up!
Something like this would not get me the least bit excited. First - THANK GOODNESS IT HAS ROOTS! I will take this any day of the week over a plant that does not have roots. I do not take this as a sign it was not cared for. We all know that pillbugs love decomposing bark, so I dump them with the old media, no big deal. How many plants are in the average nursery? I certainly don't expect them to unpot every plant before shipping. Remember, most phrags LIKE it when the media is breaking down. From what I see of the plant it looks pretty healthy, not indicating it needed repotting? But I do know now that all your pots match!!!
 

TheLorax

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Some roots on the inside were mushy. I never could get that bulge growing out of the top of the pot separated so I just sort of left it as is. I potted it into a WHITE pot (yes, everything goes into white) that was about 1" greater in diameter.

This plant didn't have pillbugs in it. Some of the paphs I ordered a few weeks ago had the pillbugs falling out of them. Sorry if that was confusing.

I don't have an adjustable nozzle inside either. All I have is the regular spray nozzle for the sink that I use to rinse dishes off with before putting them in the dishwasher. I do have adjustable nozzles outside though. Too cold to be doing much outside right about now.

So goldenrose, you don't think this plant needed to be repotted? You are pulling my leg woman! Leaves and crown looked healthy to me. Most of the roots on the outside that were circling the pot were ok. I lost a lot from the interior. Regarding some of the paphs I received just recently, some had rotten mushy roots. Some didn't.
 

SlipperFan

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When I get plants like this, after a good soaking, I squeeze and roll the rootball in my hands. That usually helps pop the roots off each other. Then I can gently, gradually loosen the rest. I wouldn't complain about a plant with roots like that. It looks like the Phrags we get in from Hawaii -- large healthy plants that have great blooms because their roots are great. It's also not unusual to have the old roots in the center be dead -- that's normal growth.
 

TheLorax

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So do you remove what you can then just leave the old medium in and plop the whole thing in a new pot and simply fill around the edges if it is a phrag? I'm sort of more irritated now because of all the time I spent tinkering with that plant to remove as much of the old medium as I could thinking what I was doing was best for the plant. It was in there pretty good. That was the first plant I had to cut the pot to be able to get it out. Normally I can roll them and that loosens them up enough so that they come out of the pot. This one fought me. Used a utility knife to cut the pot.
 

SlipperFan

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Maybe it's because I've done a lot of these that it doesn't bother me. No -- I do loosen all the roots, take out the old media and pick off the dead roots.

But I still remember the first time I repotted my first Phal. I think it took me an hour to separate the roots and clean them off -- I was so scared. But that was hundreds of re-pots ago.

There have been times when I've had to cut off, or break the pot, to get the roots out. But usually pot-bound plants come out (of plastic pots) by rolling the pot on the floor while stepping down on it (with pressure). Sounds hard on the plant, but it's really not.
 

TheLorax

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No -- I do loosen all the roots, take out the old media and pick off the dead roots.
Ok, good. I feel better then because it's not as if I didn't need to sit there with the tweezers then.

This was the first time I had to cut a pot to get a plant out. Never thought of stepping down on it with my foot because I weigh over a hundred pounds. Thought I'd end up crushing the thing.
 

Heather

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I do pretty much as Dot in this circumstance, and yeah, I'm happy to receive plants with roots like that! Well grown!

I remember the first time I divided a plant like this. I HAD to untangle all the roots and I enlisted my two next door neighbor girls to help, I simply needed more hands. They held the plant while I untangled the roots as best I could. They were always interested in my plants too so it was a lesson for them.
 
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goldenrose

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No leave it alone & yes it needed repotting! We're 2 peas in a pod confusing one another! I'm not sure what I said that would indicate this plant would not need repotting.:confused:
 

Leo Schordje

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Phrag hybrids are incredibly vigorous. When I receive a Phrag with the bound up knot of roots like the picture, I simply pot it up into a larger pot. Leave the old ball intact. The new roots will find a way to escape the old root ball. After year or two in a larger pot enough of the old root ball will loosen that you can then tease out the old roots and mix. You are likely to drive yourself insane trying to tease those roots apart and there really is no need to do so. Just pot it up and forget about it for a year. Then go back and tease out the old mix.
Leo
 

TheLorax

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And where have you been while I was working this poor plant over????

You are too late Leo! I already detangled the whole thing and cut out the mushy parts in the center swearing through the whole process and it's currently in its nice new white plastic pot enjoying a fresh potting medium!
 

Leo Schordje

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Sorry 'bout that !
I usually only log into SlipperTalk from work, no time to do so at home, ;)
Sometimes work gets busy and I don't have as much time between testing samples as I usually do. There are days when I have to really work at this "sometimes miserable day job in the chemical industry". Sometimes I get to goof off. :evil:
Leo
 
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