Stories and adventures of the Orchid Hunters...

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Free Orchid shows.

Every month we hold a free orchid show; either near Preston, Manchester or Warrington.

New members are always welcome, but our normal monthly shows are free to all, come along and take a look at your local orchid society.

See our orchid show page

Orchid Paintings

Orchid Paintings

historical paintings

 The above are just two images of the many Historical Paintings of Orchids awarded at our shows from the turn of the century through to the Second World War.

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The RHS Flower Show
Tatton Park

July 18th to 22nd 2018
Come along and meet us in the Society Marquee, free helpful advice and orchid potting demonstrations; we can supply you with  top quality approved orchid compost.

Stop Press
The Society once again has taken a Gold Medal as in last years event, along with the coveted trophy for Best display in the Marquee.

2015 results
Our display in 2015 year created in association with the OSGB and took Gold, as well as the coveted Holford Medal for a slideshow of it please click here

Potting orchids can seem something of a mystery,

but actually its quite easy providing you have the correct equipment, we are often asked where is the best place to buy orchid compost orchid feed and orchid food or clear plant pots suitable for orchids, baskets for vanda orchids orchid compost and orchid food fertiliser etc., currently we are recommending orchiata orchid compost as a preferred potting mix for orchids; if you only have one or two orchids,then there are small packs of mail order orchid compost

wooden basket for orchids For all your orchid sundries and potting supplies - visit Pots for orchids

Why should we repot an orchid?  Often its not because the orchid has out grown its pot, but because the old compost is beginning to break down and the air cannot get to the plants roots, which will cause them to suffer and possibly rot.

Take the time to maintain these beautiful flowers-- they will last longer than having flowers delivered to your door.

Mostly we now use clear plastic plant pots, why? - because you can see any root problems, and see how the plant roots are growing, and you can also see most pests which may have set up home in the pot.

Phalaenopsis orchids and others which normally grow on things rather than in the ground are used to having their roots exposed to light, indeed they seem to enjoy it, so clear pots do give them a little more encouragement.

Terrestrial orchids can also be planted into a clear pot which in turn sits inside a standard coloured pot, you then can see at a glance what attention the roots may need, having chosen you pot, and compost, and a clean pair of cutters -  its always a good idea to either dip them in methylated spirits in or pass the blades through a flame, i.e. Bunsen burner, or even a gas lighter to avoid cross contamination with  virus or pests) then you can proceed as follows:-  

The illustration below show how to repot an orchid which grows from the base, to learn how to repot monopodial orchids such as a Phalaenopsis or moth orchid take this link

Step one -

the correct compost. choose a compost which suits you as well as your orchid, ideally orchids like well drained compost, so if you are able to water regularly, then choose a very open compost, we would recommend orchiata bark orchid compost.

If you cannot water as frequently as you would like, make the compost more water retentive, by doing a little mixing.

Orchid Potting Compostds and mixes

orchid grade bark chippings

come in differing sizes, if the plant roots are thick choose a larger one, if they are small and thin then choose small chippings. They make a good general compost .  

lump peat and foam

a recent addition to the potting medium's this one is ideal for Phalaenopsis and those plants requiring a little more moisture retention.  

Sphagnum moss, bark & foam mix

a good starter for seedlings or very thinly rooted plants, will dry out very fast, so watch out for under watering.  

Rock wool

Usually rock wool is mixed with a little perlite, and can be a good mix for Phragmipediums, advantages, is an inert medium, and certainly contains nothing to harm your plant roots, always flush through very well when watering to avoid a build up of salts,  dis-advantages can seem dry on the surface even when very wet underneath, and over time breaks down into a hard mass.

Step two -

Choosing a suitable candidate,
the plant shown on the right is very much in need of attention,
the old growths could do with a clean up and the old papery sheaths on them should be removed to cheat any insect pests from a home,

and importantly the new growth has emerged from last years pseudobulb and is around 1 inch long.

Perfect for repotting

new growth on orchid
Orchid plant ready for potting

The plant has now been cleaned up:-

the old papery sheaths removed and some of the old roots removed, but as this is a cattleya, at least four of the old pseudobulbs have been retained to ensure a good flowering on the new growth, which at 1 inch long, and as yet without its own roots is an ideal size to acclimatize itself into its new home, and sink this years roots down into the fresh compost.

Step three.

Choose a pot which is the right size for the plant.

It should not be too big.

Ideally that will be one which is large enough to take the plant as it is this year with enough room for 1 more year growth.

Put a few styrofoam chips at the bottom of the pot, this will create good air space and stop an accumulation of waterlogged compost at the base.

Foam orchid pot filler
Orchid in clear plant pot

Step four.

Having put a little compost on top of the foam.....

Place the plant with its newest growth in the best position  (the most room in front), and pack quite firmly with more compost.

The new growth should sit on the surface of the compost and quite soon will put on healthy leaves like the catasetum pictured here.

With clear pots as in this illustration you get the chance to observe root growth as the plant settles into is new home

How to repot a Phalaenopsis - moth orchid

Step one is to choose a suitable bark mix, orchid compost purchased from the supplier at listed at the top of the page is ideal, and ready mixed.

Step two is to choose a Plant Pot suitable for Phalaenopsis orchids, firstly, they do seem to do best in clear pots, don't think that you must repot an orchid into a larger pot, often they will return to the same pot quite happily with just a change of compost,  never over pot, orchids are happiest when tucked tightly into bed.

Step three, remove the old compost and throw it away, look for root damage, and pull off any dead roots, they will come away easily with gentle pressure if they are dead, leaving a fine wire like centre which can be trimmed off; sometimes Phalaenopsis orchids produce aerial roots, these can be left above the compost, or it you wish to be tidy placed inside the pot with the other roots, where they may re surface or possibly perish.

Step four hold the plant in place inside the pot keeping the base of the plant roughly where it should eventually rest, i.e. in line with the top of the compost, with your other hand, begin to drop compost around the roots, tapping the pot firmly as you do so to shake the compost down amongst the roots, when the compost is almost level with the leaves, the jobs done, there may well be some gaps which you can see through the side of the clear plant pot, don't worry the odd air chamber is beneficial to the plant roots.

Golden Rules

Try to avoid repotting an orchid which is in flower.

Best time is just after flowering, but not sooner than 12 month intervals.

Let the compost soak in water overnight before repotting.

If possible always use new plant pots, or if you cannot wash the old one out very thoroughly and rinse with boiling water to kill any pathogens.




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One of our Gold Medal RHS Displays

For many years we created Gold Medal Winning Displays at the RHS Show Tatton Park....

Large Annual Orchid Show

Each year our Annual Show brings one of the largest orchid events to the North of England, Held in the Tenants Hall at Tatton Park....

World's Oldest Orchid Society?

Established in 1897, we have been giving awards to orchids since the turn of the Century, this is an image of one of the early orchid paintings, from which our badge is derived....

Catesatum pilateum

There are over 35000 species of orchid, here is one of the more unusual from the tropics, often seen at our monthly shows....

Laelia purpurata

This showy species makes a change from the usual Phalaenopsis Orchids found in the supermarkets; many specialist growers attend our shows....


Another species of orchid prized by the enthusiastic grower, these plants can be quite large, and are very showy...

Ophrys - The Bee Orchid

At each of our monthly shows, you will see (at the right time of the year) some fine specimens of terrestrial orchids from the temperate zones....

Dendrobium thrysiflorum

For sheer flower power you cannot beat some of the orchid species which may carry over a thousand blooms....

themed object

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