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Growing in sphagnum

This is a discussion on Growing in sphagnum within the General Information forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; New Zealand sphagnum is my preferred medium for most of my orchids (excepting Catts and ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Growing in sphagnum

    New Zealand sphagnum is my preferred medium for most of my orchids (excepting Catts and Epi's), and I've had good success with it.

    It does break down quickly, necessitating annual repotting, but I don't mind checking out the roots for my own yearly report card.

    I've been knocking away at the repotting over the last few weeks and only today realized a consistent finding: those Paphs and Phrags in clay pots grew substantially more than the others in plastic.

    I hadn't really paid attention to pot material in the last couple of years. Plastic is convenient, cheap, and I love clear pots to see what the roots are up to. A small minority of my Paphs/Phrags were in clay because I grabbed the appropriate sized pot, without caring about the material.

    The leaf growth on the clay potted plants was consistently better, but in the repotting, I found much healthier root masses when I lifted their skirts. It was impressive enough for me to connect the dots. So much so, that I took a Phrag I had just repotted into it's previous plastic pot, and re-repotted it into clay to speed it on its way.

    Julie

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    Really?
    More shopping for me I guess :c)

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    I'm not surprised about the phrags, they can be real water hogs, but I am surprised about the paphs. May have to experiement.

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    Very interesting Julie...

    what I get out of this is...

    clay pots tend to dry out faster than plastic pots... so.... the sphag in the latter must stay wetter longer... so...

    I'm sticking to bark... confusing enough already...

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    I can't quite figure it. I can get a bit behind on watering, which is why, I think, my phrags aren't reblooming. But I've found the moss in the clay pots dries out faster.

    I think it's more than just the moisture factor. I think the breathability of the clay may allow more air into the roots. Just a guess on that, though.

    Julie

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    Yes Tim, that's my experience too, but see my last. It may be more about air circulation to roots than pure moisture content.

    The hypothesis du jour!

    Julie

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    Worth mentioning that this guy:
    http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...34125#poststop

    is in moss and a clay pot. Jason said uniflorals would bloom like this under exceptional growing conditions and I snorted (knowing how lazy I can be to rewater in the summer when things get busy).

    This fellow was always the first to dry out, so I figured he'd fare the worst, but from a single growth grocery store $10 purchase last year, he's blooming on his second growth with two more healthy ones started.

    Quite the opposite of what I'd expect. But the difference in the roots has been amazing!

    Julie

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    hi Julie,Pleased to here that you like our spag.
    Just be very carefull when you use it,When it is used here in New Zealand ,
    it is normally only used to initiate new roots or deflasking into.As you have noticed that it does break down quickly.I myself seldom use it now as it breaks down to quick.Instead I use chopped coconut husk,which holds lest water than the moss and is easier to rewet.Moss holds 10 times its weight
    of water.Also when it is used it is soaked and then squezzed so that it is just moist and quie often packed tight into the pot.

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    Thanks for sharing Julie.

    Growing anything in sphagnum (other than bulbos) usually equals early death for my plants here in Miami. We've been seeing a lot of growers here growing in 100% alliflor. (Which for me has it's positives and negatives.)

    I am definitely going to have to experiment with the clay pots vs. plastic. I've always grown my paphs and phrags in plastic pots but usually set the plastic pot in a clay pot for stability reasons. Whenever I re-pot I always think, why don't I skip the plastic pot? All I could come up with was that the people who taught me about orchids said so. So...as I have been spending my weekends re-potting, this weekend I will do a little experiment and eventually will report the results!

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    I know how potting material is such a voodoo combination of the type of plants, the growing climate, your watering habits and moon phases. I'm not advocating sphagnum - I figure let each choose for himself.

    I just had never considered clay's porosity from the perspective of air getting in. I only ever thought of moisture getting out. Now I'm suspecting the former may be the more important consideration...

    Julie

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