Stalite Slate is an all natural medium mined in the United States from volcanic slate which is then rotary kiln fired to over 2000 degrees. The material is then made into sterile granules or pieces that are extremely porous and pH neutral. It has the ability to aerate and also hold moisture/nutrients for orchid roots to seek. Because it is essentially a type of lightweight rock, it is extremely durable, and will not compress. It has low absorption yet the pores store vital moisture and nutrients for uptake.
Picture a sponge and then turn it to stone with all the spaces, holes and crevices retained. Used in extraordinary gardens and planting environments as varied and well known as Busch Gardens. Mount Vernon and the Jefferson Memorial, horticulturists and fine gardeners are adopting stalite for its extraordinary properties. We recommend using it as you would use volcanic rock, aliflor or other similar medias as part of a balanced mix for your prized plants. Incidentally, the structure of Stalite Slate granules is such that it also has been found to be a great barrier for voles in the garden as they detest the irregular and rough edges of it, the same qualities that orchid roots love! Chips vary from about 3/16 - 5/16 inch.
- Can unused mix or media be stored for later use?
Absolutely yes! Because we make all of our mixes fresh, the container of mix or media you get will usually have some moisture in it. This is perfectly normal and is because we use water in the processing and preparing of many of the ingredients. It is necessary to dry out any mix or media before storage so it stays fresh.
- What is the best way to dry and store mix or media?
We recommend removing the mix/media from the container it comes in and allowing it to get bone dry. This can be done on a cookie sheet or other suitable surface and may take a few days. Once dry, it can be placed back in the original container (box and/or bag) and stored in a cool dry location. Leave a small opening in the bag for air to get in and check periodically.
- How long can stored mix/media last?
Dry mix can be stored for many months or longer depending on the location it is in and how dry it is kept.
- When I am ready to use the mix/media after it has been stored, what is the best way to get it ready?
Uniformly moisten the mix/media by rinsing at the sink in a colander or similar container with drainage. It is not necessary to soak overnight. All rePotme mixes and medias are already prepared for immediate use when received, but it is always best practice to uniformly rinse before using.
- What if I see any kind of green algae or mildew form on the mix or media ( stored or in bag or in pots with plants)?
Algae and other natural growth is not uncommon on growing media that is damp and that is exposed to sunlight especially. Normally this is not harmful to the plant as these elements are often present in a natural growth setting too. Rinsing with clean water can often be all that is needed to remove this and we recommend a regular monthly application of a mild solution of Physan 20 for this purpose as well (mix at a rate of 1 tsp per gallon). Keeping containers and mix/media clean and fresh is best as it reduces premature breakdown of material and allows more light to enter while helping us to see and monitor plant development at the root zone when using clear pots.
Quality and Value from rePotme
We've all heard the old adage that you get what you pay for. We know it is true with the clothes we buy, the tires we put on our cars, the food we buy, and so many other things we get. It is just as true with the mix and media we buy for our prized plants. Yes, it is possible to pay less, but you will get what you paid for and the result can be plants that show it! Our mixes give you an edge. Your plants can thrive and you can be confident that you have given them every chance to be their best. Why settle for less?
Why are rePotme mixes superior?
We carry more potting mixes and media than anyone, and along the way we've focused on quality of ingredients, freshness, and value for our great customers. All of our mixes are made by hand, the old fashioned way. This means that we inspect what goes in and we gently create perfect fresh blends that promote healthy and happy plants. Other mixes and medias can even have bugs and larvae in them when you bring them home. Our mixes come in clear bags so you can see what you get. Clean, fresh, just made and personally inspected for quality. Why settle for less?
What about quantity?
It can be a real challenge to sort out competing sizes when shopping for mixes. Some places tell you the weight, some the dimensions, but few tell you by quart size what you will get in the container. We tell you that one quart of potting mix fills a six inch wide pot, two four inch pots, or half of an eight inch pot with no plant in it. The number of plants that can be repotted depends on the size of the roots and how tightly the mix is packed into the pot. Our customers know that they get a stuffed container and it is usually surprising how much mix you get for the money. Good value and a fair deal from rePotme. That is what we strive to deliver with each and every order.
What about choices and sizes?
RePotme offers mixes for just about every plant by name, and we offer more medias in more size choices than anywhere else. We offer containers from our smallest MINI bag, all the way up to our giant CUBE sizes which holds many times that much. We pioneered the Make Your Own Select-A-Blend make your own mix concept where you tell us what you would like in your mix and we custom blend exactly what you want and ship it the same day.
How long does the mix last?
Here again, rePotme delivers the goods! When buying orchids, it is always wise to inspect the mix and the pot that the plant is in. Many times, the mix is old and the plant is climbing out of the pot. Sometimes the pot isn't great either, offering little or no drainage. Repotting your new plants in our fresh mix and new pots is smart, and you would like to do so soon after getting them. Once the bloom is done, give the plant a breath of fresh air ( new mix promotes oxygen movement around the root zone ), and put it in a proper sized orchid pot that offers great drainage, and one that promotes air flow. Our exclusive Oxygen Core Dual™ Pots do exactly that. Mixes eventually break down, and one should expect to repot every year or two to keep the plants root zone healthy. Our mixes can be expected to hold up extremely well because they are fresh and clean to begin with and because they are gently handled and packaged all along the way.
What do you mean by fresh?
Other outfits make their mixes with machines, and materials go in a hopper which often breaks down the media. If it was clean to begin with, by the time it is mixed and bagged ( by machines ), it can be dried out, crushed and dust laden. These "brand X" mixes then sit around on shelves, in storage buildings and trucks which further dries them out and the handling of the bags can further break down the ingredients into ever smaller particles and dust. Here at rePotme, our mix ingredients are washed, inspected and blended with care by people who know what they are looking at. Every mix is hand crafted and every bag is filled by hand. Often times the mix you receive was just made by us and you can tell because the media is still moist and has the look and feel that makes it obvious.
Why do some mixes require "soaking"?
Other mixes need to be soaked for hours because they are all dried out to begin with and they have been sitting around for months or even seasons! Compare a bag of our fresh mix to one of those and you will see the difference right away. Stiff, dusty, shriveled, and hard is the norm. That's why they tell you to soak overnight. Our mixes are ready to use when you get them, and the only thing we suggest is to uniformly moisten for immediate use.
Beware of Box Store Mixes
Be on guard for store mixes that simply describe the contents as "Orchid Bark". The Box stores have little bags lined up on the shelves with pretty flowers on the bag so you can't see the contents. Is it good for your orchids? Do you really know what is in that pretty store bought bag and might that explain why it is so cheap? It might be primarily fir bark which we know is cooked at very high temperatures by regulation and that certainly doesn't "freshen" it. Heat treating bark makes it brittle and dusty. Fir bark can and usually does irritate skin by creating tiny splinters that contact unprotected skin.
We carry wonderful alternatives to store bought "Orchid Bark" that are fresh, great for your fine plants and that don't irritate your skin and are not full of dust and fines. These include sustainable harvested media like Orchiata Monterey Pine bark, Coconut Husk, Redwood chips and bark, Sphagnum mosses and plenty of other wonderful medias in our mixes and that are available individually. In fact, rePotme.com has more media and mix choices than anyone. All of our mixes and medias come in perfectly clear resealable bags so you can see exactly what you are getting. Each of our mixes list every media in them. Don't be tricked by pretty little bags at your local box store!
What is the difference between Classic and Imperial?
We have two mix lines, Classic and Imperial. The Classics were the first mixes we made when our business was formed many years ago. They are great mixes and remain a bit less costly than the Imperial mixes which we created a few years ago. The Imperial mixes are made with some ingredients that are harder to find, tend to be more complex, and are more costly to make. For example, the Phalaenopsis Imperial mixes ( AAA, Monterey Gold and Monterey Dark ), are all made with ultra-pure New Zealand AAA Sphagnum moss and other listed ingredients. The Gold version also includes virgin cork chips from Portugal. The Dark Version contains special aged bark called Orchiata from sustainable forests in New Zealand. The Classic mixes are made with more familiar materials like coconut husk chips from Sri Lanka, and Fir Bark ( often known as " orchid bark " ), typically from the west coast of the United States. In general, the Imperial line of mixes tends to be faster draining and drier while the Classics tend to hold more moisture.
Why do we make 5 different Phalaenopsis mixes?
We are often asked why there are so many choices, and how to choose between them, so we thought it would be helpful to explain the logic here. There are two Classic Phal mixes, Gold and Dark, and three Imperial Phal mixes, Gold, Dark and AAA.
Each of the five mixes we make for Phalaenopsis ( sometimes known as Moth Orchids and Just Add Ice Orchids ) have unique characteristics, and each can be perfect for certain environments and applications. We ship plenty of each, and below are some of the reasons our customers choose one over another. Keep in mind that best practice is to repot orchids annually because over time mixes break down and become acidic which is not good for roots.
Moisture retention and the environment the plant is growing in are key reasons to go with one type over another. For example, the Dark mixes, both Classic and Imperial, tend to hold a bit less moisture than their Gold counterparts ( including AAA Imperial ) that contain sphagnum moss which has high water retention properties. If your plants are growing in hot and/or dry arid locations, the Gold versions will most likely be the best choice for repotting. On the other hand, if your plants are growing in wet, cool, or higher humidity areas, the Dark versions will most likely be the best choice. Orchids like to go through cyclical periods of good moisture in the mix and then experiencing mix that is starting to dry from the top. For this reason, we suggest only watering when the mix feels dry and kind of crunchy to the touch on top.
Your own watering habits and practices may also lead to your choosing one mix over another. Some of us like to water, and some of us tend to put it off. The dark mixes lend themselves to over watering and the Golds, including the AAA Imperial version are well suited to longer periods between watering. That said, we should always be checking for moisture levels about once per week.
The age of the orchids and their condition may be other factors to consider in deciding which mix to pick. For example, your younger plants with smaller root systems are often times aided by sphagnum based mixes ( the two Golds and the AAA Imperial version). We have found that plants in "sick bay" do much better in the Classic Gold and the Imperial AAA mixes because the high concentration of sphagnum moss in both provides an especially nurturing environment to stressed plants and roots.
How many Imperial Orchid Mixes have you introduced and why are they so popular?
We now have 9 Imperial Orchid Mixes organized by genera and plant type like our original Classic Orchid Mixes. While our original Classic Orchid Mixes are terrific mixes, we have been searching for orchid media that are really extraordinary and as we have found them and added them to our offerings we realized that they really provided an opportunity to stand on their own and not be simply and easily just combined with other existing orchid media like coconut husk, fir barks or Chilean sphagnum. We thought that making mixes with none of these traditional orchid media would be a great alternative for a variety of reasons. Some people and plants need more choices. Some don't like the dust of fir. Some don't like coconut husk. Some prefer AAA New Zealand Sphagnum to the less costly and less fluffy Premium Chilean. Based on our order flow since introducing the Imperial Orchid Mixes we know our customers have agreed with our thoughts. We use all of our mixes ourselves and each has its place in our view.
What goes into the Imperial Orchid Mixes?
Each Imperial Orchid Mix is unique, and various ones contain AAA New Zealand Sphagnum, Imported Cork Chips from Portugal, Orchiata™ Monterey Bark from New Zealand, and other media that round out the mix, like sponge rock, or rice hulls, or tree fern etc. Each ingredient is spelled out completely so our customers know precisely what they are buying, just like with our Classic Orchid Mixes - no "secret" ingredients. These are very special mixes, and are perhaps as much defined by what doesn't go into them as what does. For example, we made a decision to not have any Coconut products in the Imperial Orchid Mixes. Not because they are bad, but because we want to have a clear alternative. Kind of like a vegetarian menu is an alternative in a restaurant. No fir bark exists in the Imperial Orchid Mixes. The bark we use for these exclusive blends is Monterey. The long fibered Sphagnum we use is AAA New Zealand. The only place you will find cork in our mixes is in the Imperial Line unless you design your own in our Select-A-Blend section.
What is so special about cork?
Many orchids love to grow on cork plaques, and in cork tubes which we think look great too. The reason these orchids love cork is because it doesn't get sopping wet, resists mold, and has craggy surfaces for roots to burrow into. Cork chips, chunks and nuggets make a marvelous addition to mixes because they impart these same qualities and also keep the mix open and airy. They look fantastic in the mix too, and the top of the mix seems to stay fresh and clean looking for longer stretches of time.
Potting Mix Guide
Dendrobium Imperial orchid mix
What potting soil do I need?
The following chart is intended to assist in the choice of a potting mix for your special plant. We have assembled some of the greatest potting mixes to meet all your growing needs. Our signature potting mixes are hand made in small batches from top quality ingredients.
Below you will find our mix recommendations for various plants like houseplants, bonsai, succulents, african violets, and of course, orchids. If you are not sure what kind of orchid you have, check out our orchid identification guide.