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#233727 - 03/02/10 09:54 AM Pro Mix
Bluesky Offline
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Registered: 08/06/06
Posts: 207
Does anyone here use Pro Mix to grow Phals? What has your experience been with it?

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#233743 - 03/02/10 11:55 AM Re: Pro Mix [Re: Bluesky]
Ed M Offline
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Registered: 06/27/03
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I have used it in the past with great success. I was able to bloom Phalaenopsis 18 months from flask. In order to do so you must repot every few months into fresh mix, keep them warm (70 - 80F) and water when they become barely moist... every 10 to 15 days. With larger plants you should plan to repot every 6 to 9 months. You can extend the life of the ProMix to one year if beginning after 6 months you top dress with Dolomite Lime (magnesium carbonate) and add a little dishwashing liquid, like Dawn or Joy, to the watering.
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#233795 - 03/02/10 09:28 PM Re: Pro Mix [Re: Ed M]
abaxter Offline
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Registered: 07/10/03
Posts: 10152
Loc: KY
On the other hand, my Phal. species' roots will never, ever touch
Promix. I hate the stuff...packs down over time so that water goes
down the inside of the pot instead of to the medium because of the
crusty stuff on top, hard as hell to get throughly moist out of the
bag and some people have problems with mold. I even stopped using
it in annual pots because of the crust problems.

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#233800 - 03/02/10 09:50 PM Re: Pro Mix [Re: abaxter]
Irma Offline
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Registered: 05/26/03
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Loc: Puerto Rico
Ditto....what Angela said, in every word! Hate the stuff eviltongue
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#233802 - 03/02/10 10:08 PM Re: Pro Mix [Re: Irma]
Brian Monk Offline
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Registered: 01/09/08
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Loc: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Ed - why dolomite lime?
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#233810 - 03/03/10 03:35 AM Re: Pro Mix [Re: Brian Monk]
Ben in SoFla Offline
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Prop mix is also called 'mud' by the growers that use it. Owens orchids grows cattleya violaceas in it...? I have never used it, but, like Ed said, it has a short life span and requires frequent repotting.

I see the end results of this 'mud' on the bulk phals selling at big box stores. The plants are sold just as they are blooming and they are also in desperate need of repotting. The growers will not invest any more labor on the plants and off they go to HD and the like. Some plants will be ok, but most will be on their way to that big greenhouse in sky, with one foot and a couple of toes in the grave due to mud decomposing and chocking/rotting the roots. The gamble is that the flower will last until somebody buys the plant, to enjoy the last few days of the plant's life. They guarantee the plants for a year and if all sold orchid that died within a year were returned, HD would stop selling them immediately. Some wholesalers are now using sphagnum moss. They are packing so much moss in the 6 inch plastic pots that it has the same effect as decomposed mud... hate to see it, as I know it will lead to dead orchids...

Brian, I have also seen the 'lime' used as a topping on cymbidiums grown in South Florida. Not sure if it was intended to induce blooms or if it was needed as heavy minor element supply. Maybe Andy can chime in...



Edited by Ben in SoFla (03/03/10 03:45 AM)
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#233830 - 03/03/10 08:10 AM Re: Pro Mix [Re: Ben in SoFla]
Bluesky Offline
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Registered: 08/06/06
Posts: 207
Thanks all. I have put a couple into the mix - guess I'll see what happens.

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#233908 - 03/03/10 09:31 PM Re: Pro Mix [Re: Bluesky]
abaxter Offline
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Registered: 07/10/03
Posts: 10152
Loc: KY
Bluesky, did you amend the ProMix with perlite or something to break
up the packing?

I think ProMix is primarily peat and I'd imagine the lime might reduce
the acidity. Of course, I'm guessing. Tell Ed, tell why the lime.

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#233914 - 03/03/10 11:35 PM Re: Pro Mix [Re: abaxter]
Pook Offline
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Registered: 05/08/03
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Loc: Golden Isles of GA
Angela, perlite comprises a large percentage of Promix to begin with.
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#233952 - 03/04/10 07:22 AM Re: Pro Mix [Re: Pook]
MrCym Offline
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Registered: 03/30/06
Posts: 6413
Loc: Salinas
Ben,

I used dolomitic lime as a mix additive for pH correction and then would topdress second year (in the same pot) plants, with gypsum, to act as a buffer as the mix started to break down.

I have no problem with Pro-Mix. It grows excellent plants if you know how to grow in it. The only obligation I see with a big box Phal is that the customer gets a couple of months of flower life and that is easily attained with plants in either moss or Pro-Mix if the customer isn't a total black thumb. After all, I don't see people complaining about Poinsettias in Pro-Mix!

My point is that orchid hobbyists should not be shopping at big box stores.

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#233954 - 03/04/10 07:26 AM Re: Pro Mix [Re: abaxter]
Ed M Offline
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Registered: 06/27/03
Posts: 20853
Loc: Nowheresville
Originally Posted By: abaxter
Bluesky, did you amend the ProMix with perlite or something to break
up the packing?

I think ProMix is primarily peat and I'd imagine the lime might reduce
the acidity. Of course, I'm guessing. Tell Ed, tell why the lime.


ProMix is a mixture of peat moss, perlite, dolomite lime, wetting agent, and fertilizer. The dolomite lime, wetting agent, and fertilizer are gone after about four months.

The dolomite lime (magnesium carbonate) prevents the media from getting too acidic. Too acidic media can kill the roots and/or change nutrient uptake. The acid also allows moss and algae to form a crust on top of the media which can shed water. Top-dressing with more dolomite lime every few months brings the acidity under control and balances out the pH more to the plant's liking.

The wetting agent makes the ProMix take up moisture and spread it evenly throughout the media. As the wetting agent leaves, the media contracts away from the sides of the pot and the water drains off the sides instead of wetting the media. Adding clear dishsoap such as Dawn or Joy occasionally, after the first few months, acts as a wetting agent and solves this problem.

Regular ProMix out of the bag should be mixed with a small amount of additional perlite to help lighten it up. But, not too much. You want the ProMix to stay evenly moist at all times.

I often use Fafard 2b in lieu of ProMix. I still use it for Oncidium alliance hybrids and Zygopetalums.

Orchids produce their roots to adapt to whatever media they find. Roots produced in ProMix are very similar to those produced in sphagnum moss. They are very different from those roots produced in fir bark or other more open, drier media. Roots produced in bark do not do well when put in moss or ProMix. Roots produced in moss or ProMix do not do well when transfered to bark. New roots must be produced to adapt to the new media.
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#233963 - 03/04/10 09:02 AM Re: Pro Mix [Re: Ed M]
Rich Offline
emphyein

Registered: 05/09/03
Posts: 20506
Loc: .....once Upon a Time
When I've been adapting Box Store finds to my conditions I'll often use 1/2 Pro-Mix 2 : 1/8 course vermiculite : 1/4 sponge rock : 1/8 small charcoal.
..... and yes a topping of oyster shell lime.

The increased aeration of the medium can extend its pot life up to a year with periodic rinses with clear dish soap at 1:20
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#233976 - 03/04/10 10:20 AM Re: Pro Mix [Re: Ed M]
Kyle Offline
OSF Gold Member

Registered: 05/29/04
Posts: 514
Loc: Canada
Ed, Do you flush the pots each time you use promix?

Kyle

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#233978 - 03/04/10 10:26 AM Re: Pro Mix [Re: Kyle]
Ed M Offline
OSF Platinum Member

Registered: 06/27/03
Posts: 20853
Loc: Nowheresville
Originally Posted By: Kyle
Ed, Do you flush the pots each time you use promix?

Kyle


Do you mean, when I use ProMix do I water the plants thoroughly? Yes. However, depending on your growing environment, the watering frequency is less often. When I used ProMix on Phals under HID lamps in a basement room I was watering about every 10 to 14 days.
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Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do. - Benjamin Franklin

The genius of American politics is our ability to compromise. - Shelby Foote

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#234071 - 03/04/10 08:43 PM Re: Pro Mix [Re: Ed M]
abaxter Offline
OSF Platinum Member

Registered: 07/10/03
Posts: 10152
Loc: KY
Pook, I used to buy ProMix for our garden center for potting annuals
and that was a longish time ago. The huge bales I bought had very
little else besides the very fine peat and we had to add perlite, sponge
rock, etc. I only used it one season and switched to Ball Seed's potting medium...much better and I still use it at home, just not on
orchids. Apparently, ProMix has been improved.

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#234119 - 03/05/10 07:56 AM Re: Pro Mix [Re: Bluesky]
Mountin' Man Offline
OSF Member

Registered: 02/11/06
Posts: 45
ARTICLE FROM MSU, published in Orchids on the subject

https://www.msu.edu/user/harveyb/mud.htm

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#234126 - 03/05/10 08:20 AM Re: Pro Mix [Re: Mountin' Man]
jojo in minnesota Offline
Good grief!

Registered: 02/13/04
Posts: 13514
Loc: Minnesota
Thanks a lot. I did bookmark that.

I don't use "pro mix", but I have a lot of the genera listed growing successfully in coconut coir and clay pots. I mix the coir (bought in brick form and hydrated) with perlite and charcoal. Although it is recommended to adhere to yearly repotting, the charcoal does help "sweeten" the mix somewhat and I can stretch it. I use the clay with this medium as I am an out of control waterer for the "just in case" factor.

And now that I think of it - I used to get peat moss from Germany, offered by an African violet supplier/grower here. The bales of the Canada peat moss I use in my garden are loaded with debris. The peat moss from Germany is clean, fine and sterilized. Check around for something like that.

I'm not sure if I would like adding vermiculite at all, for the reasons stated. I would prefer, if things really needed to stay "wet" to use moss, which took me years to figure out. My phals, when I had them, just loved this mix as well as all the "fine rooted" plants listed and grew and bloomed consistently. Just my two cents.


Edited by jojo in minnesota (03/05/10 01:48 PM)
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