Orchid re-potting woes
Hiya folks, Relatively new to the community, been enjoying what I see so far. Everyone has such nice pictures of their gardens (floral and likewise)! I'm more of an indoor gardener, leaning more towards the general houseplant arena than cultivating herbs and veggies. Just a couple of African violets, a peace lily, and a few others that I've found around that were just in the "Ooo, that's cool" category that I can't name offhand. Nothing horribly high-maintenance in the collection, until now, it seems. I was hoping some folks here might be able to assist with my minor repotting dilemma with a pair of orchids that I have. I rescued one from the clearance rack for the sake of "What the hell, let's see how I do", as I wasn't keen on paying $30+ for a plant and the one I found was simply on sale because it had no blooms. I was caring for it as best as possible (being mindful to not over-water) and finally decided to re-pot it, in the hopes that it might thrive a little better. Turns out that whatever medium it was potted in was, from what I could tell, entirely comprised peat moss and the majority of the roots had actually rotted away. The other is in a better state, with a much larger root system, most of which appears relatively healthy. I've read up as much as I can, books and articles state that I'm supposed to use a bark-based medium, soaked in advance. So, I dutifully bought a bag of orchid potting "soil" and went to task of soaking it in hot water (even went so far as to soak it overnight) before tackling the re-potting. The problem I'm encountering (or maybe it's just my newbie-ness with orchids) is that the bark dries out terribly quickly and doesn't seem to hold much in the way of moisture. Any water I put in almost immediately runs through to the bottom tray and I don't think that's how orchids are supposed to be treated, considering that everything I've read says that they need to be in a relatively moist, yet well-draining, medium. Somehow, I don't think it's supposed to be that well-draining. Honestly, it's comparable to watering a pot of rocks, hardly ANY water is being retained and I'm worried that the orchids are going to wither due to under-watering. Am I doing something wrong? Am I supposed to mix the bark with some sort of soil or peat moss, or it really supposed to drain that quickly? Any guidance and/or input would be greatly appreciated.