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Potting Medium Experiments

This is a discussion on Potting Medium Experiments within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; i think i might just go ahead and give the s/h a try... i have ...

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  1. #11
    GrumpyBear is offline Senior Member
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    i think i might just go ahead and give the s/h a try... i have a noid phal i think i could risk. other than that how do you all feel about moss for media instead of bark? i've heard of it but it seems like it'd be really soggy...

  2. #12
    Gilda is offline "Master of the Moth and Phrags "
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    I have used almost everything ..started out in a bark mix for phals, they did not do well ,switched to sphagnum moss, that worked really well..too expensive for a large collection though. Now I am growing semi hydro and most phals love it as do other genera, oncids, some slippers and even dends. I have mixed my own bark mix and find it works better as you can add things for more moisture or air around roots. We grow our phrags in what we call "barko". It is a bark mix in a semi hydro pot. Phrags love it..same principal as sitting in a saucer of water...only the saucer is built into the pot !!

  3. #13
    GrumpyBear is offline Senior Member
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    maybe i'll try one in moss and one in s/h... time to branch out... you might start hearing a lot from me in the s/h section...

  4. #14
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    Well, my flasklings that I put in a mix that included pine needles did not do so well. The ones that are in a pot of fresh bark and twigs, about 1/4" diameter and broken up with about 1/4 store-bought mix, are thriving.

    And happily, I found a whole sac of the red bark-flakes from the East Texas long-needle pines that my other orchids just used to love!

    Those trees are great. They just shed big flakes of bark and you can gather a basket-full and crush them up just sitting on the porch, the whole process takes about 15 minutes. I wish I could find that kind around here, but the only pine trees I have seen in Austin have grey bark that does not flake off. The twigs are good, though.

  5. #15
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    Sorry to hear about the flasklings in the pine needles. Perhaps you can move them over to a better mix before they completely croak on you. Good luck!

    Cheers,
    BD

  6. #16
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    Some croaked. They were probably too small in the first place, but the others that I moved into the better mix appear to be stronger and have good color and firmness. They had just the slightest bit of root left.

    The roots on the ones that died just disappeared and I did not realize it until the leaves started to wilt. I watered them all the same, so I am thinking maybe the needles just hold the water differently compared to the barky twigs.

  7. #17
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    I just read a paper regarding potting medium for phals. It had 2 focuses, what caused the plants to produce aerial roots and what increased leaf size (better growth). The clear plastic containers were best, obviously, for reducing aerial root formation. The best growth mix that was found was equal proportions, by volume, of chunky peat and coarse perlite. It was also the medium with the least aerial root formation. So, I ordered some chunky peat and will evaluate. The authors had a good point regarding the use of fir bark. Its supply will be limited in the (near) future so it is advisable to find alternative materials.

  8. #18
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    Are aerial roots bad? I thought my phals with the biggest growth of roots were healthy. Is it a matter of balance, or should they be discouraged completely? if so, why?

    And Fir tree limitation, yes, but is that the same as pine tree? Anyway, the kind of bark-foraging I like to do, which is off live trees, would not be feasible at the commercial level. Only a hobbyist who wants to supply bark for about a dozen plants would want to do it.

    I can't see how pine could be limited, since it is such a weed-tree! Fast growing and pretty common in most climates where it can get enough water. I think the lack of water in west Texas is the reason we don't see the same trees, and I am on the central border of the two zones.

    I'm also wondering about magnolia. I noticed that magnolia is mentioned as a common tree in the zones where a lot of dendrobia grow, and so maybe magnolia leaves (which sure can be plentiful) are another good thing to crush into the mix?

  9. #19
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    I thought phals probably formed aerial roots because they were trying to grow like they do in nature, with the plant hanging down and the roots above it.

  10. #20
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    The article does not state that aerial roots are bad, only that they are "insignificant" as far as nutrient and water absorption go. Aside from water retention problems with Douglas Fir Bark, there is a fungus that causes Sudden Oak Death disease and MAY prevent fir bark from being exported.

    That being said, I like the appearance of aerial roots even if their function is negligible. And I would love to use products that are more renewable so I think organic material in general will be slowly phased out.

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