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Potting Deciduous Flasklings
Text by Troy C. Meyers

Some species have dead plant matter attached to them when they are removed from the flask because they are normally deciduous, because of advanced age, or because of problems. When leaves die in a flask, they may not dry up and detach as they would outside.

Since moist dead tissue, including both roots and leaves, can become a harbor for pathogens, I recommend trimming off all such tissue, of course being careful to not damage any concealed new growth. If there are few or no live leaves, then the plant will not need much water or humidity, and keeping it relatively dry will help dry out the remaining necrotic material, and harden up the plant.

Deciduous plants that are in their dormant state may normally have no leaves, and for temperate zone plants with tubers or pseuodbulbs, they may also not have any living fine roots. For many of these both the leaves AND the roots are grown new every year. Trimming the plant down to the clean tuber or bulb and letting it rest until dormancy breaks, with minimal watering, is generally best. Bulbs and tubers that are normally under the surface (bulbs such as Bletilla) can be rested in potting soil which is only slightly moist, but not wet or bone-dry. Bulbs that normally grow at the surface of the soil (such as Pleione) can just be rested on the surface, perhaps with only a slight covering.


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