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Maintenance Schedule-Long Winded ??

This is a discussion on Maintenance Schedule-Long Winded ?? within the General Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; I have a few Questions ?? Currently all of my collection has been acquired within ...

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  1. #1
    rich63's Avatar
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    Question Maintenance Schedule-Long Winded ??

    I have a few Questions ?? Currently all of my collection has been acquired within the the last 6 months.In general I have phal. den.cattleya,1-encyclia and paph. Most all phal.den. and catts. are in Med.-Lg.bark mix w/charcoal and pellerlite.Paph. are in a phal. mix(very fine w/wetting agent) All of my plants when potted were given 13-13-13 slow release pellet fert.The paph.were also top dressed with a teaspoon of hydrate lime pellets(garden lime).My paph. always are watered w/ RO bottled water.All the others are de-chlorinated tap.Once a month they all get watered w/ 30-10-10 fert.I would say 2/3 of the collectons is indoors underlights,the rest outdoors.The gnats have been difficult to combat(indoors) because of the paph. are being watered about 5-6 days apart,the other indoor plants 7-9 days apart.So far I haven't lost many.When I see a plant isn't doing well,I unpot it, 9 times out of 10.The original re-pot was poorly done.(over potted,moss packed roots) What else should I be doing ? Is there something I'm doing wrong? My plants are growing well and seem healthy.I would like to keep that way. Please feel free to be as long winded as you want to be! Thanks,Rich

  2. #2
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    Well, nothing obvious jumps out at me as something you are doing "wrong." Sounds like you have it well in hand.

    As you go into winter, all the plants will stop growing so much, so I usually cut down on fertilizer by at least half. Also you will need to cut down on your watering too (do it less frequently). The plants are just using MUCH less water and fertilizer in the winter. As a general rule for your dends, they need to be nearly dry most of the time. It helps them bloom. If you want to switch to a bloom booster fertilizer for the phal, now is the time. I would go to a balanced fertilizer exclusively for all your plants--whether or not you do a bloom booster. THey aren't growing as actively, so they don't need as much nitrogen.

    Watch your nighttime temps. For everything except cymbidiums and my dendrobiums like kingianum and speciocum, I don't let them get below 60. Phals can handle slightly lower, but I'm always worried that I'll expect an over night low of 58 and it will actually get down to 48 or 50.

    Watch repotting now--plants aren't actively growing roots so it makes it harder for them to reestablish. (Although if you are getting root rot etc etc it is MUCH better to repot now than struggle through to spring.)

    Just my two cents.
    Last edited by sadie; September 30th, 2008 at 08:44 PM.

  3. #3
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    ... and a great two cents they were. Nice post, Sarah!

    Cheers,
    BD

  4. #4
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    Good info . I can't add to it .. gin

  5. #5
    Lizgeo is offline Senior Member
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    I agree with Sarah's two cents.

    I leave my orchids outside almost all the time. When Houston gets cold night (below 40), I bring them in at night and bring them out again when cold front passes. However, there were some cold nights, I left them out cold because it was cold and I was too lazy. That might be the reason some of my catts didn't bloom this year

  6. #6
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    Is it customary to add lime to paphs? Maybe that's why I can't grow them!

  7. #7
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    Two issues.First thing,I live in Florida.The 1/3 of the plants that are outdoors.Those are the plants that should be cut back on water and fert. ? Does this really apply to the indoor plants underlights? I do understand about outdoor temps.,getting to cold.Yes,I have been here when the temps.have gone below 40 degrees on vacation(Brrrr).I will go with a balanced fert.I just need to get confirmation,that indoor and outdoor plants face the same requirements ? Ischel,sometimes people use oyster shell,egg shells or Lime as a Calcium supplement.A local grower,said that this would be helpful for Paph.s that I had purchased from them.There is a Thread for beginner growers that talks about Calcium supplements,(which plants benefit) From what I have read there,I was unsure.This local grower is very knowledgable.My Paph.s are growing well,Pinocchio's(two) are blooming well,and a unknown is still working slooowly on blooming. I do not mean to beat a dead horse, Thank You For Your Help,Rich

  8. #8
    Lizgeo is offline Senior Member
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    I cut back water and fertilizer during winter (Nov. - Feb. in Houston), maybe water every 10-14 days, fertilize once a month. After reading several threads from this forum, I will try to water ever less for my dends this winter to reduce keikis.
    I am not sure if it's the right way to grow them, just the way I can fit it in my schedule.

  9. #9
    Ron-NY is offline rothaholic
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    Some Paphs require limestone others don't but I add limestone to my Paph mix and they all get it. It doesn't appear to bother the ones that don't require it.

    I would recommend repotting any plant you bring into your collection.

    Gnats...stop at the garden center and get the yellow sticky card traps...they work fairly well for fungus gnats. They usually grow in a medium that is sour, starting to break down. You said your Paphs are indoors under lights...air conditioned space?

    Rich, what are you using as a "wetting agent" in your medium? For Paphs and Phals I use a mix with fine and medium bark with sponge rock and charcoal.

    Personally, I don't care for the slow release fertilizer...certain orchid roots are sensitive to the salts in fertilizer and can get root burn. I do top dress heavy feeders like Cyms with slow release fertilizer. Otherwise, I fertilize weakly weekly with a balanced fertilizer like 30-30-30. I do fertilize less in the cooler months. Occasionally I use fish emulsion.

    I water all my plants at the same time, except for mounts that get watered more frequently. Determining when to water varies on multi factors, medium, humidity level, temperature, ect. I use rain water that is collected for watering purposes. Plants dry at a different rate based on medium, pot material and pot size. Encyclias, Catts ect want to dry between watering. I use a medium that is well drained and a clay pot or basket (if I haven't decided to mount the plant). Paphs I only use plastic pots. From 2" to 8" depending on the plant size. They should be potted for root size not leaf size. All my Phrags are being moved into S/H culture. Even the kovachii crosses seem to love it! I have quite a few Catts in that culture as well. I really think air to the roots is more important that drying with Catts. For the roots are constantly wet with S/H but at times I need to cut the pots off when potting up for the # of roots are amazing. You may want to explore that culture for it will take away some of your watering concerns.

    Plants that stay wet on a constant basis require potting more frequently...every year with Sphag...every other year with bark...never with S/H (or when they need to be divided or potted up

    Many of the decisions come from experience of years of growing and learning from trial and error as well as paying attention to more experienced growers.
    Last edited by Ron-NY; October 3rd, 2008 at 10:51 AM.

  10. #10
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    Thanks Ron,The paph.s inside is air cond. The avg.humidity is 45% 82 degrees during the lighting. 15 hours a day and cools down slighty at night.I keep the apartment temp. set at 80 all the time.I don't like it cold.I just want to get rid of some of the humidity to make it comfortable.The wetting agent is in the commercial phal.mix from a national fert. co.(little yellow balls). 99% of the plants that I have have been repotted when they were brought home.In the beginning I did not do a very good job of repotting.That has changed for the better.It seems like the phal.were the ones that didn't like the first repotting that I had done. Thank You and Everyone For Their Input, Rich

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