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plastic or clay?

This is a discussion on plastic or clay? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Do you prefer clay or plastic to grow your orchids in? Why or why not ...

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  1. #1
    pretty_bug01 is offline Senior Member
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    Default plastic or clay?

    Do you prefer clay or plastic to grow your orchids in? Why or why not use the other? What about the clear plastic ones?

    I seem to think it is easier to tell the difference between a wet pot and a dry pot with the clay. I was just wondering what other people used, and why they use them. Thanks for the imput.

  2. #2
    Jmoney's Avatar
    Jmoney is offline Senior Member
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    I think it would be easiest to tell media water levels with clear plastic pots, pretty easy with regular opaque plastic pots (dry pots are extremely light) and most difficult with clay (heavy wet, heavy dry).

    I use clear plastic for my paphs & phrags, grown in s/h, not out of any real reason except a desire to see how the roots are doing. I grow my catts in clay pots so I can water them very frequently while actively growing (and still have them dry out properly). I don't really grow phals, but I potted my mother's, and half are in clay, and half are in plastic in a s/h system.

    I'd definitely use clay if a plant is prone to tipping over, i.e. dendrobiums, big gangly cattleyas, or phals prone to producing long arching spikes. The difference between watering clay and plastic pots, all other things being equal, is quite substantial. I might water a plant in a 6" plastic pot once a week and the same plant in a 6" clay pot every 4 days. Just as an example.

  3. #3
    Paphraguy is offline Former User
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    Hi Jennifer,

    Like Jason, I also use clear plastic pots for my Paphs and Phrags and sometimes clay for larger, taller and heavier plants like my one and only large Phal hybrid and a very tall Dendrobium spectabile that may tip over. Plastic pots also retain more moisture.

  4. #4
    Máire is offline Member
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    My paphs and sad little rescue phrag are grown inside and in opaque plastic. Everything else (~85 plants) is outside in slotted clay pots, or barerooted or mounted. Overall I really do prefer the look of clay over plastic. But I've only been at this a little over a year and given the fact I've a wide assortment of clay pots, from the cheap HD type to those really heavy *antique* type, I'm still lousy at guessing how wet a pot is from its weight. Bottom line I don't trust myself... lol... so I stick wooden skewers into all the pots and do the dip-stick thing to assess moisture. The orchid house curator at the botanical gardens (where I frequently volunteer) laughs at me for doing this... "You do know that little stick isn't gonna grow...?" But I'd rather the ridicule than the rot!

    Máire

  5. #5
    Paphraguy is offline Former User
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    Like Jason had mentioned, clay pots do dry out faster and also keep the roots cool.

  6. #6
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    OrchidTraci is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: plastic or clay?

    Originally posted by pretty_bug01
    Do you prefer clay or plastic to grow your orchids in? Why or why not use the other? What about the clear plastic ones?

    I seem to think it is easier to tell the difference between a wet pot and a dry pot with the clay. I was just wondering what other people used, and why they use them. Thanks for the imput.
    I use both. I use them according to whick orchid needs to dry out quickly and which orchids need to stay moderatly moist. That way I have less of a guessing game to play. I'm getting pretty good at lifting my plants and telling by their weight if they need water too.

    Chickadee is perking right up, did it flower for you? Or did you buy it out of bloom?

  7. #7
    Paphraguy is offline Former User
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    Jennifer,

    Here's a tip on clear see thru plastic containers. I just use the 2 liter soda bottles or any size plastic see thru bottles, cut the top half off and drill holes on the sides and you have a plastic see thru container for your orchid plants.

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