Releasing Skinneri

by Colleen Rochette

While Brassolaelia Yellow Bird was finishing up her spa day, Cattleya skinneri has been patiently waiting her turn in the steam room. This voluptuous girl was definitely in need of some work.

IMG_4701Skinneri has been placed beneath the faucet for the initial plunge – a splash of warm water to ease the tension. I always moisten an orchid’s roots before re-potting. The warm water helps make the roots a bit more pliable. It also aides in detaching the roots from a surface. In this case, the surface that all of her roots are suctioned to would be that lovely green plastic pot.

IMG_4704Skinneri has grown in, around, over and under every crevice of this 8″ pot. What a piece of work. Thanks a lot!

IMG_4707Rummaging through the tool box in our studio, I selected a flat head screwdriver, wire cutters and my little scissors for this project. I just need to sanitize these pieces before use and I am good to go! I love these little bird embroidery scissors so much! They are the best little snippers for any roots – the cut is always super clean.

IMG_4710I began by using the wire cutters to carefully snip away the plastic pot from Skinneri’s root system. I was absolutely shocked by how complex her growing habits are. The roots were even stuffed underneath the lip of the pot as well! This made removal of the basket extremely difficult.

Unfortunately, those damn tree fern blocks were in this pot as well. Really? The pot was void of any other potting medium. S strange, only roots and another three tree fern blocks.

IMG_4711The removal of the plastic pot and tree fern blocks has been finished. Time to snip away any rotten roots and wash. No centipedes in this one at least!

IMG_4713After Skinneri took her final shower over the milk crate, both Skinneri and Yellow Bird will need to bathe one last time. I mixed up a bucket of Physan 20 to dip them in for a few minutes before I settled in for the evening. This will help prevent any infection to the newly trimmed roots as they rest overnight.

I am not sure if you noticed, but the Maxillaria tenufolia that had arrived with these two has been kicking back and relaxing by the pool. I have heard that Max can resent repotting and can get a little bitchy. Instead, I have decided that breaking her basket off, cleaning her roots, disinfecting any new cuts and re-potting will all take place in one sitting to prevent any frowns and/or tantrums in the end.

Until then…