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Old 11-17-2019, 03:32 AM
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Default dis-mounting orchids

I looked in the forum but didn't see this subject listed; that said, I'm sure it's been discussed, but I must've not used search terms that got results. Therefore instead of answering again if you just want to share a link to the right discussion, I'm perfectly fine researching further. (Well, I have yet to ask Google, but figured starting here first is best.)

Has anyone had success removing orchids from their mounts (such as when purchased mounted) for transplanting into a terrarium? Given how many are sold mounted in the first place - minis, at least - I'm assuming that's what's happening when people are using them in terraria. I have some minis on pressed-cork and a couple on treefern fiber slabs. I'm concerned about tearing apart too many roots, even taking my time and being as delicate as possible. Would making sure it's well-soaked first help? When I've teased roots out of potting medium for potted orchids, when they're grown through chunks of fir bark or coconut husk, wetting first seems to help. Or, can/does one instead delicately excise part of the mounting medium to preserve the roots that won't come off easily?

I also have a Pleur. grobyi "ball" (mount that's now been completely covered all around) that I want to divide, and since it's on treefern, whatever technique works for the above is what I'll try for that.
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Old 11-17-2019, 03:45 AM
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Default Re: dis-mounting orchids

I'm hoping the orchid experts here will chime in, but I'll give my 2 cents.

P. grobyi can be moved to a new mount easily -- it seems to grow new roots readily. I've split mine, and I just yank a growth off and tie it down onto a mount.

Other genera can be much more finicky -- some of the non-terrarium orchids (Cattleya) I grow will not recover unless repotted only in a couple-week-long window each year.
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Old 11-17-2019, 05:04 AM
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I suppose it depends on if you’re removing Pleurothallids only. Either way, absolutely soak for a couple minutes. Makes roots more pliable. Pressed cork or tree fern, I’d sorta dig them out of the rest of the material. Then manage the debris off roots.

Using a pair of forceps to wedge under then pry up. Another useful tool in unmounting from cork is the plant label. Slide between roots and cork and twist for the spatula affect or push for that long root.

The grobyi, Socrates is right. Not too much an issue re establishing a division. If you massage it down to the rhizome you can usually find a division point. You might lose a few growths your first time doing this, but grobyi grows fast.

Last edited by DPfarr; 11-17-2019 at 05:07 AM.
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Old 11-17-2019, 05:15 PM
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Default Re: dis-mounting orchids

Ok, thanks! The candidates for moving to terraria (sooner or later, and not all the same tank) include these with their current mounts:

Pleurothallis grobyi - treefern
Pleur. leptotifolia - wood slab
Pleur. ornata - split branch, on the raw/interior side of the wood (so, not smooth bark)
Pleur. recurva - treefern
Angraecum distichum (it's still reaaallly tiny) - pressed cork
Holcoglossum nujiangense - pressed cork
Macroclinium aurorae - treefern
Ornithocephalus manabina - pressed cork
Phymatidium tillansioides - pressed cork
Trichosalpinx chamaelepanthes - treefern (this will prob. get divided like the grobyi, 'cuz it's large)
Zygostates alleniana - pressed cork
Dendrobium subuliferum - wood slab
Dendrobium cucumerinum - branch w/ natural bark
Phalaenopsis parishii - branch w/ natural bark
Centroglossa macroceras - pressed cork
Bulbophyllum exiguum - branch w/out bark
Haraella odorata - branch w/out bark
Pteroceras semiteretifolium - pressed cork
Mystacidium capense - pressed cork
Schoenorchis tixieri - branch w/out bark
Masdevallia wendlandiana - split branch
Barbosella gardneri - wood slab

I have a few other mini/compact orchids I'd like to play with in terraria, but they're at least ready-to-go in that they're bare-root or potted. (Tolumnia divisions; Leptotes bohnkiana; a couple more Bulbophyllums; Grosourdya muscosa; Oncidium cheirophorum)

It's always more than you think it is when you list them...yikes.

The pressed cork guys are from J&L Orchids, in case anyone is familiar with their mounts. The rest are from Andy's Orchids.

Anyway, I'm about to start planting one of my two larger tanks, and am quickly discovering that this is one of the hardest parts, in addition to of course being the most fun. What do I put where, aesthetically? Trying to plan, but itching to just get some stuff growing in there. The orchids will take the most consideration, though, as they of course will be harder to move later, as I intent to mount them on branches in the tank(s).
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Old 11-24-2019, 07:18 PM
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Default Re: dis-mounting orchids

I'd say, just try to keep smaller orchids near the front and taller plants in the back of course, to avoid overshadowing and clutter in the foreground. Also, try to plant sparingly and wait for a month or so just to make sure the space won't become too "busy" when factoring in plant growth.

Also, yeah, just remember to soak your orchids for a bit before removing from their mounts and stuff. Neofinetia falcata and Zootrophions that I've had were pretty tolerant of mishandling when I transplanted them, but they're pretty robust plants anyway!
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Old 11-26-2019, 02:11 AM
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Default Re: dis-mounting orchids

Yeah, I'm trying to plan very carefully before planting to visualize more mature sizes and prevent plants from blocking each other from view. Though in landscape design, a bit of hidden mystery makes you want to explore. The problem here though, of course, is that you can't move around much to view it better! In my other tank that's a step behind in the plant-readiness stage, the arrangement is such that you can view the 'scape from three sides, so that will truly be fun (and easier) to plant. I was imagining it would take way more than a month of plant growth needed in terms of figuring out who might run over who, but if establishment is that much faster, I'll take it. I realize it greatly depends on species. Either way, with mounts I want to make, yes - it's "measure twice, cut once."

I was assuming moistening the mount thoroughly was the best way to prep things for being delicately pried off, so it's good to hear another confirmation.

I'm debating putting a piece of my Neofenitia clump in a tank at some point (a different one that will probably stay a teeny bit cooler), but am not looking forward to separating that rat's-nest of roots from its basket. Seriously should have repotted that thing years ago. It's doing just fine, but has something like a dozen fans and so many roots that I'm literally going to have to cut the basket into tiny pieces and pull it out. Good times! It hasn't bloomed regularly for me, but I suspect several reasons for that, all my fault of course: I'm not giving it the ideal temperature drop at night (or even seasonally); I keep using a higher-N fert. on it, rather than switching up with some "bloom-booster" ratios; I'm also not good about changing my lights photoperiod, though I'm trying to be good about it this season. Not sure if that matters with Neos, but I imagine they get seasonal photoperiod variation in Japan. Still...it's alive and otherwise "happy," so that counts for something.
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