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U3A Writing: Dividing And Re-potting A Cymbidium

There’s more than one way of successfully re-potting a cymbidium as Dorothy Robinson reveals.

This was the heading of the good advice (given in stages 1, 2 ,3 etc.) in my gardening book, which I read before attempting to do just that with my orchid. However my re-potting attempts went somewhat differently!

1. After many taps, bangs and wallops I had to resort to cutting down a perfectly good plastic pot to release the tightly-matted root ball. The orchid had been given to me by friends five years earlier and I had re-potted it a year after that, so the message is re-pot more frequently than four-year intervals!

2. After two hours of trying to loosen the roots I gave up and went in and had lunch. A few more pokes, then I went and got a sharp knife and hacked away - a dreadful thing to do to my good carving knife! As this wasn't getting me anywhere, I got the axe and chopped it up, probably destroying several bulbs in the process. Back aching by this time.

3. Eventually managed to pot up the largest bulbs into a big plastic pot and put the remainder in two smaller pots.

I knew there were things to look for, like "back bulbs", but I was past caring by this time and staggered in for a restoring cup of tea, hoping that my lovely orchid would survive this brutal treatment.

P.S. It did, and I have had many spikes of flowers since. However, that was eight years ago! Is there anybody out there who would like a pot of root-bound orchids?

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