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And now a break for… Gardening!

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I love gardening (and flowers) almost as much as I love books, but since I live in an apartment that is my garden right there! I haven’t had a chance to do much beside water since last summer since I don’t have a good place to mess with dirt anymore. However, it was time to repot the orchids and they didn’t care whether I had a good place to do it or not. This morning I found mold growing on the wood chips of one and the other one’s moss was nasty. As a side note, I absolutely hate growing orchids in moss. It is so difficult to water them the right amount and you are just asking for them to start rotting. The moss compacts way too easily and then the roots don’t get the air that they need. Wood chips are so much better, so look for that if you are buying an orchid ever if you want even a chance of keeping it alive!

Anyway, this is also why the orchids needed replanting:

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They were obviously not happy with their current arrangements. The one with stinky (rotting) moss was desiccated and overwatered at the same time, crazy right? First thing when repotting an orchid is to pull apart the root ball and get all the old potting material out. This also loosens up the roots and makes them happier when they are replanted. I really shouldn’t have let it get to this….

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You can see the pot I’m replanting in in the background, hehe. Anyway, those roots on the bottom are waaaay too squished, but at least they are still green and alive. I didn’t take a picture of the one planted in moss because it stank too much, but nearly all the bottom roots of that one were rotted away *sigh*. I was honestly lucky that it still has some higher up roots that should be able to keep the plant alive while it regrows a proper root base.

The other thing about store bought orchids is that they are so often in pots without drainage and without holes. That in the background of the second shot is a proper orchid pot. The holes help the orchid’s roots get enough air. While they do let some material get through, you should be using planting material that is chunky enough not to completely fall out anyway. I was super excited to find out the gardening center I went to had custom mixed orchid planting material :D. This stuff has fertilizer, wood chips, just enough moss to hold in some moisture but not rot the roots, it’s freaking awesome :D. Unfortunately I didn’t buy enough D:


That’s my second orchid pot under there. I thought the black would look nice with the colorful blooming one and the brown would go with the white blooms. Here is the first finished product:

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Much happier roots! I cut off some of the farthest reaching top roots because they have been making it difficult to close my blinds at night, haha. Sorry about the garbage in the background; I needed something to keep all the old planting mix in. The one downside of my repotting at this time is that both of my plants are in bloom and the fertilizer might make them drop their blooms sooner than usual. At the same time, they were struggling majorly with the compacted material, so I’d rather them live to bloom again ;-).

Remember how I said that I didn’t buy enough of the awesome wood chip mix? Well, I ran out on the second plant which made me sad. I’m actually going on vacation (or will be on vacation by the time you read this, hehe) and didn’t want to leave the project half done. Especially because the one that wasn’t repotted yet was the one that needed it the most. So I ran out to the grocery store because I remembered them having a potted plant section. This is what I found:

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Seriously Miracle-Gro?? I could tell in the store that it wouldn’t be as rough of wood chips as I wanted, but I figured it was better than the state the plant was in at that moment. I’m quite dubious about planting an orchid in only that mix, the back of the package says that it enables proper aeration, but I don’t really believe it. It’s basically potting soil with some thin wood chips thrown in. However, I had some of the awesome mixture left over, so I put that in the bottom and the Miracle-Gro on top of that. I’m most concerned about the horrible state of the bottom roots, so I’m hoping the bigger chips on the bottom will enabled those roots to recover. I kind of wish that the nicer looking material was on top, but the blacker Miracle-Gro actually goes with the black pot pretty well, so whatever ;-).

Here is the final product for the second one. The Miracle-Gro also makes a more fun mess :D

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Having that one repotted with drier chips at the bottom also allows me to water the top roots while still letting the bottom roots dry out more. Hopefully this will fix the dual problem of rotting and drying out at the same time! You can even see one of the green root tips poking towards the camera, hehe.

Those pink and yellow blooms are my absolute favorite color I’ve ever seen, so how about a close-up :D


This is the first time it’s rebloomed since I bought it (over a year ago), so I’m very excited. I just hope it recovers and opens the rest of those blooms. Here is a final shot of both of our patients back in their spots, hopefully on the road to recovery!

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The aloe is also looking a bit overgrown, so be sure to come back next time (ie when I get around to repotting all of them) for our next grand gardening adventure :D. Here’s a sneak peek:

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If you made it this far, thanks for reading ;-). I would love any advice on the orchid situation if you have ideas for what could be going on with them, by the way! That aloe is another one that is keeping me from being able to close my blinds, and that is one of five plants I still have (gave about five away!). Freaking things breed like rabbits…. Worse than rabbits, they don’t even need another one around! I think it’s time to go read a book now, hehe.

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -Anya

© 2013, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. Christmas Gift Malaysia says:

    I can relate myself to you with love in books but I have no idea about the gardening. At the time of the new year I took the new year resolution that I’ll start gardening as my mother force me but as time passes I also forget about this. Through your blog I get to know that how do I do gardening in a small pot. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  2. Miss Mimz says:

    Ooooh I love gardening though I mostly do herbs but since I have a yard out in the country now we planted our first garden this year :D I do want to get into planting flowers though, we have some around the house but they came with it so I’ve been learning as I go maintaining them. I appreciate your tips on orchids though because those pink and yellow blossoms are gorgeous ♥ An Ale-Vera plant is probably the next plant I’ll be, I used to have one my first years in University and I have no clue what happened to it ­>.<

    • I’m so jealous of your yard! I want to do herbs since then maybe I’d actually cook more hehe. I would definitely send you one of my many many aloe if you want one (can you ship plants??) since I just repotted and have so many baby plants now D: They’re invading!

  3. Have you tried to make a mini-garden in a lightbulb? From the looks of this post, you would do a GREAT job!

    • Oo, I haven’t even heard of this, but that sounds awesome! Are you supposed to use a dropper or a spray bottle to water it?

  4. Jenn @ A Glo-Worm Reads says:

    Pretty! I do not at all have a green thumb. I tend to kill any plant I touch :(

    • Hehe, as soon as I get overconfident in my plant-raising abilities, things like this happen and I worry they are going to die ;-)


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