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Time to deflask?

This is a discussion on Time to deflask? within the Flasking Equipment & Technique forums, part of the Orchid Propagation category; Hey all! I received my first flask ( Phal violacea) about a month ago. I ...

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  1. #1
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    Question Time to deflask?

    Hey all! I received my first flask (Phal violacea) about a month ago. I was in a bad place health-wise and wasn't able to do the deflasking then, so I let them go, hoping that they would "hang in there" in their flask. So far, they seem to be doing just fine.

    The seller had told me to deflask "immediately upon receipt" of the orchids, because the gel can get all shaken up in shipping and often the babies will end up in distress if you don't get them out of the flask immediately after receiving them.

    Here's what they look like right now:

    Name:  flask 1.jpg
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    As you can see, they're clearly NOT dead a month after having received them, so they must not have been shaken up too badly in shipment, although there is some gel stuck in various places to the inner walls of the flask.

    What I want to know is... do I deflask them now, or should I let them go a bit longer? I'm not sure when it really gets urgent to deflask the babies... from what I had read, it seems that the longer you can leave them in their flask, the better. So since they're stable as they are, can I just wait a while and let them grow, or do I need to get them out of there?

    To me it seems like they have plenty of room, but as this is my first flask, I really have nothing to compare it to. Here's another shot of the flask.

    Name:  flask2.jpg
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    To my beginner eye, the babies appear to have lots of growing room, but I don't know if they'll run out of food before they fill the container. So, any input would be appreciated. I'd like to leave them in their flask as long as possible so they'll be as hardy as they can be when they get out and have to adjust... but the last thing I want is to leave them in there TOO long and have them start to rot/die.

    So... looking for opinions... should I deflask now or do I have more time?

    Thanks, friends!

  2. #2
    cucubirds is offline Senior Member
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    I feel like it is time to de-flask now coz your babies are actively growing & I saw some yellowing leaves at bottom parts.

    I'm afraid if keep them in flask for too long, the bottom part may start to rot eventually.

    If you decide to de-flask, I recommend sphagnum moss(with some Styrofoam peanuts as drainage in bottoms) as growing medium for young seedlings since it can provide high humidity to seedlings.

    You can either plant them individually in thumb pot or in community pot. Wash carefully & soak with some fungicide solution to keep them away from fungus & rot problems.

    The most important aspect is humidity. As you can see in flask, seedlings are grown up in almost 100% humidity environment. If sudden environment changes such as too dry place & direct sunlight will cause them stress. Keeping them together will also increase humidity.

    Phal violacea is warm loving species, so providing warm & high humidity place with some bright , indirect sunlight will accelerate their growth. Don't use fertilizer until you see some progress on new leaves & roots development.

    Oh I'm so long winded. I must stop here

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cucubirds View Post
    I feel like it is time to de-flask now coz your babies are actively growing & I saw some yellowing leaves at bottom parts.

    I'm afraid if keep them in flask for too long, the bottom part may start to rot eventually.

    If you decide to de-flask, I recommend sphagnum moss(with some Styrofoam peanuts as drainage in bottoms) as growing medium for young seedlings since it can provide high humidity to seedlings.

    You can either plant them individually in thumb pot or in community pot. Wash carefully & soak with some fungicide solution to keep them away from fungus & rot problems.

    The most important aspect is humidity. As you can see in flask, seedlings are grown up in almost 100% humidity environment. If sudden environment changes such as too dry place & direct sunlight will cause them stress. Keeping them together will also increase humidity.

    Phal violacea is warm loving species, so providing warm & high humidity place with some bright , indirect sunlight will accelerate their growth. Don't use fertilizer until you see some progress on new leaves & roots development.

    Oh I'm so long winded. I must stop here
    Oh, my goodness, THANK YOU!!!
    That answered a lot of my questions, actually. If the verdict came back as "deflask now" I was next going to ask if I should use a fungicide or if they're too delicate... then I was going to ask what type of media to use... etc. I have a greenhouse IN my house that I will put them in. They'll be very happy in there as it's sort of like a tropical jungle in the middle of my home. Indirect sun, lots of heat and very high humidity. I have species Phal seedlings in there and plants that are struggling for whatever reason, and they all thrive. So my happy Phal family will be all going into the greenhouse together.

    I'm going to attempt compots because I've heard the survival rate is higher if they're with their siblings.

    I was also going to ask about fertilizer or nutrient supplements, but you answered the fertilizer question. The only other question I would have would be about whether there's some sugar-based solution I should be augmenting their watering with, since they've been on a high-sugar diet in the flask.

    I've been also wondering if I should water with tap water (city water) or rain water... I usually water everything with tap water and they're all happy, but I know that the seedlings are particularly delicate, and I do have a rain barrel full of rain water just waiting to be used for something. I don't really know the chemical makeup of the rain water, (that sounds rather silly to me, actually... there's probably some chemistry major out there laughing at me right now...), but I do have stats on our tap water that I get from the city, so I've always gone with the tap water because I know it's okay for the orchids.

    So... okay.... on to deflasking. I will hopefully post some pics soon! I need to prep an area to do this in that's relatively sterile... I've already got sterile gloves...

    The only questions I still have would be:
    1. Rain water or tap water?
    2. Supplement of some sort? Seaweed perhaps to encourage root growth?
    3. What type of sphag (the "high-quality" "deluxe" tightly-packed stuff or the looser stuff that comes in bags?) I usually use the loose stuff for anything in sphag because the tight stuff ends up holding moisture way too long and I can never get the roots free from the sphag when it's time to repot... I've also had problems with root rot with that stuff... but since these orchids are so tiny, perhaps the extra moisture would help them. I'm just worried that it would be too tight for the baby roots to grow down into. The looser stuff is much more open and would allow the roots some space to "breathe." I welcome any opinions on which type of sphag to go with. I already purchased a "block" of the "deluxe" stuff to use, but I'm not 100% sure that's the best choice.

    Thank you!!!! I really appreciate the help! I'll get those babies out of the flask and into some compots asap... and I'd love any answers anyone can give to the questions above!

    YAY!! MY FIRST DEFLASKING!! WAHOO!!! (I'm a tad excited... LOL)

  4. #4
    cucubirds is offline Senior Member
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    Hi ,

    Just my 2 cents.

    1) Since you have been using tap water with no problem, it is safe to use tap water for seedlings.

    2) You can start spraying seaweed extract after about one week. But very lightly.

    3) I recommend New Zealand "high-quality" tightly-stuffed sphagnum moss as it decomposes slower than other. If you concern about rot, you still can use it in a bit loose fashion. No need to be that tight those come in hardware store so long you can keep high humidity. Watering has to be controlled. But, if you pot in small pot, it will dry out much faster.

    Remember fungicide, seaweed extract, fertilizer have to be diluted than usual usage since the seedling are so delicate.

    You can mist them in the morning but avoid the crown area(of course good ventilation must be provided)

    Let me know if I can be of any help to you.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
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    YOU ARE AWESOME!!!

    Now I know exactly what to do! And I already have the "brick" of moss, so I'm good to go! Thank you!! I REALLY appreciate the help, and I'll PM you if there's anything in particular I need to know as I go through the process. Fantastic info!!


  6. #6
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    sorry to hear about your initial health problem but glad that everything is alright now.
    i used to have similar experience when i ordered my first flask, when they arrived, those seedlings were like victims of landslide survivors. leaves were yellow and with some damaged roots as well.

    i used sphag for seedlings as well, but i disinfect those spahg, can use either physan or bleach according to the internet, but i had only access to bleach. 1:20 dilution, soak for about 20 mins then rinse a couple of times but i soaked the sphag in clean water overnight before used.
    fertilizer- i use 1/4 strength fertilizer
    i initially plant them in a mineral bottle, layered with large chunk of styrofoam at the bottom then the disinfected sphag moss, laid around loosely then the seedlings on top of it. (as hown in pic)
    i plant them in compots, IMHO, seedlings do better in compots initially. once the develop good rooting system you can plant them individually
    you can do this by initially cut a large flap on the mid center of the mineral bottle, just big enough for your hand to pass through, then put all the foams, sphag and finally the seedlings. after that i spray with the quarter strength fertilizer and i tape he flap back to create a close system again. after a week i begin opening up the tape, another week later i will cut away the flap i created ...with this the seedlings are gradually introduce into the harsh environment to reduce "shock"

    good luck
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by catasetum-ian View Post
    sorry to hear about your initial health problem but glad that everything is alright now.
    i used to have similar experience when i ordered my first flask, when they arrived, those seedlings were like victims of landslide survivors. leaves were yellow and with some damaged roots as well.

    i used sphag for seedlings as well, but i disinfect those spahg, can use either physan or bleach according to the internet, but i had only access to bleach. 1:20 dilution, soak for about 20 mins then rinse a couple of times but i soaked the sphag in clean water overnight before used.
    fertilizer- i use 1/4 strength fertilizer
    i initially plant them in a mineral bottle, layered with large chunk of styrofoam at the bottom then the disinfected sphag moss, laid around loosely then the seedlings on top of it. (as hown in pic)
    i plant them in compots, IMHO, seedlings do better in compots initially. once the develop good rooting system you can plant them individually
    you can do this by initially cut a large flap on the mid center of the mineral bottle, just big enough for your hand to pass through, then put all the foams, sphag and finally the seedlings. after that i spray with the quarter strength fertilizer and i tape he flap back to create a close system again. after a week i begin opening up the tape, another week later i will cut away the flap i created ...with this the seedlings are gradually introduce into the harsh environment to reduce "shock"

    good luck
    Wow!! What a neat idea! I love it! I'm particularly grateful for you mentioning the disinfecting of the sphag. I wasn't sure if I needed to do that or not, but now I will. And, oddly enough, I've often found that bleach works BETTER than Physan for certain things. I had a major problem with algae growing in my vanda vases. The Physan did absolutely NOTHING to the algae, whereas bleach got rid of it in a couple of hours, and the plants' roots were a brilliant white afterward. Bleach is now my go-to product for my Vandas.

    I like what you've done with the bottle and how you can use it to introduce the orchids to their new environment slowly. That's a really neat idea. I think, though, that the sphag would stay too wet in my environment in a bottle like that. I don't use sphag much for anything (unless I'm trying to root something) because it just takes forever to dry out and I get root rot. When I do use it, I use the cheap stuff because it's more open and will dry out more thoroughly. For some reason the fancy New Zealand moss just stays really damp, and fungus sets in faster than you can say "fluffy white buggers."

    I'm planning on putting them in clay compots with the sphag as media, and the compots will go in the greenhouse that I have in my home, so the babies will have plenty of warmth and humidity. The plants I have in there LOVE it, so the seedlings should, hopefully, love it too!!

    Thanks for the great tips!!! I'm learning something new with every comment! This is really exciting!

  8. #8
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    Looking forward to following your progress as you deflask and grow these Phals.

    cheers,
    BD

  9. #9
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    Deflask now...they won't immediately die suddenly...because they are sterile and also in their flask micro climate...but the medium IS broken up and u should deflask as soonas you can...phals do best in compot wen no roots are left exposed..and are one of the fastest to flower (18months)good luck
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  10. #10
    King Kjeldz is offline Senior Member
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    u got a lot of good advice....with my experience with phal deflasking they are very tuff....many survive and unlike many orchid seedlings that have their agar roots dying and replaced with new ones it is integral to COVER PHAL ROOTS or whichever ones exposed to the light dies.....i use promix(mud) perlite and crushed chargoal in a 4 inch clay pot over styrofoam squiggles...the layer of promix media is 1 centimeter as i can never use sphagnum in my climate without disastrous results...seedlings like it humid..cool and slightly moist not dripping wet...once air movement is good u dont need fungicide....GOOD LUCK

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