Wow! Thank you!
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This is a discussion on Mini slice of the tropics. Orchids in bloom! within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hi Cathy, one thing i can do is share my results and conclusions that have ...
Hi Cathy, one thing i can do is share my results and conclusions that have improved the longevity and health of Phals in my care! of course this is applicable to my growing situ and raises the common issue of 'whats good for one, is not necessarily good for another'.
Phals have officially drove me crazy and to a point tested my patience with a fare few in the past thrown in the garden waste bin. It all comes down to one thing, being simply 'caring too much'!
A rough summary of my grow enviro 60 - 80% humidity, east facing so rays hit home from dawn to about 1 or 2 in the afternoon and temp wise 18 - 20oc at night 24 -26oc daytime. All epiphytes mounted with only two terrestrial cymbids in pots.
'Back to basics', if we consider that we overwhelm our orchids with too much care and attention, practically wrapping them up in cottonwool! if the orchid recieves all this it will never learn to survive and its natural instincts become abandoned.
The temp range above is great for phals, a bonus factor most certainly. I think phals despise growing media/ confinement and the silver/ grey velamen is a very complex delicate yet genius tissue - this is the key factor!!!Treat roots as a leaf!!!!!!!!!. Airflow is essential so a compromise is required for the balance of water/ moisture/humidity and airflow increasing drying out.
IMHO the success of the phal is increased with a little more light than care advice suggests. Without burning in the direct sun, some morning sun is essential and filtered/ sheltered as it gets stronger during late morning early afternoon. A reddish tinge to the leaf colour, although considered a bad thing is easy to live with and benefits the plant. Its not as if the reddish tan causes a messy unsightly sight.
As soon as a phal arrives, the pot, bark and moss is discarded. The phal cant talk to you when its confined and restricted. This is where our royal Prince Charles enters, a man adamant in talking to your plants! Suspend/fix/tie phal to its support (bark/branch etc) with no other added organic media but tie so crown angled down.. Leave the roots hanging freely like the vandas.
It is in the plants interest to seek, grab and cling to support/mount. Its within the genetics of the plant to stay alive and reproduce. The phal is already motivated to aim for and meet its objective. More often than not a newly purchased blooming phal will abandon its spike/blooms or bud blast so the spike is removed sooner rather than later.
I spray the dangling roots twice a day until water saturates and runs off. If the silver /grey velamen remains this colour spray again. When the spongy tissue has absorbed sufficient water they will remain in a greenish tone and so it wont require anymore as the velamen has reached its maximum water capacity. Aslong as you observe the velamen in green mode for a reasonable amount of time during the day. That Is It. Job Done. but do allow a reasonable share of the time during the day for the roots to remain greyish - The thirst and hunger will give the plant its drive to survive.
phals adore seaweed extract and respond very well when applied regularly, as for fert, apply when misting, high nitrogen feed promotes better results 30.10.10, I never use bloom boosters but will use tomato food in grow season to add to the range of nutrients.
Sorry this is so long!
Wow! Thank you!
Wow, thank you for this info. I have mostly Phals, and have been a lil bit unsatisfied with my results. I think I will try your method with a few and see what happens.
Thanks Maura and Dee, fingers crossed for good luck and hope it helps or assists you in your approach to growing Phals.. With a few compromises here and a dash of adjustments there, a few tweaks can work wonders. Its all to easy to overlook the simple things! My previously ongoing murder spree of Dendros was rectified by simply ensuring roots and media have had an average 2 days completely dried out before watering again. A few dendros didnt even require any media at all and merely required being mounted bare.
For me, the real issue is that I am trying to do 2 relatively incompatible things at the same time (probably many more, but these occur to me now): 1) I am trying to habituate orchids of greatly diverse origins to my one little environment; and 2) I am trying to habituate my environment to accommodate the greatly diverse requirements of these various orchids. It can be, and for me, often is, a lose-lose situation - although it is generally the orchids who lose their little lives in my hands.
Beautifully put! It is easy to forget just how small (and naive? ignorant?) our little environment actually is compared to the world where millions of years of evolution has determined time and time again, mistake after error, the correct setting for each and all differing living organisms. Just because we like it because we choose how to decorate it, how can we possibly expect an orchid to settle and flourish within a ridiculously short amount of time whereby our lifetime is barely a blink of an eye. We are the true definition of Insanity! I mean...... we grow orchids that have genetically mutated into freaks with no hope as a result of our passion.! The boundaries of ethics and morals have long been broken because we were disatisfied with mother natures offerings and wanted a laelia that looked like a catt that had shapes like assia and spots like odont and smelt heavenly and lasted longer and would grow in less light at a cooler temperatures because we couldnt afford to install heating in the bathroom......oh and could do with being more vertical in growth because windowsills arent made wide like they used to be.
Synicism, sarcasm and irony aside i adore my miltassia because it thrives, growing vigorously, blooming freely, propagates with ease and atlast I can finally say "theres one that I havent killed." "i must be getting better at orchid growing! I might try giving oncidiums a go for the 13th time and increase my bid on that shrivelled catasetum that has got no chance in hell of surviving." .....ciao
Has it really been named a Bratonia? Maura. Why do they do it? such a waste of resources! Must be some method in the madness! or not!
'Award-winning' definetly has a place in the equation. Yes I remember your Miltassia post now, Royal Robe' and your recognition.
Still amazed at your unfortunate experience and the shock, with the obscure and macabre actions taken by 'her', pratically borders on illegal and twisted! Will remain a mystery and leave behind many unanswered questions not to mention the damage to your 'faith and trust' in people. Atleast youve retained your passion for the orchid beauties, 'she' cant take that away from you. Some circumstances have had me question the future of the hobby. There is only so much we can take before our choices become regrets.
So glad its a vigorous and strong plant minimising the time required for it to return to its former glory. Left unattended i think it could form a spiral staircase and pounce on criminals. Responds well to a seaweed extract tonic twice a week, the roots go wild and no need at all for a high nitrogen fertilizer. I find it a very untidy plant though and with insufficient light would become a domineering mass of green.
I always choose this time of year when orchids rest or slowdown to perform a ruthless clean up. With this came a new sight to be seen and admired by me. Never can return exact plant to precise position, so use law of light requirements to organise.
Decided to install an artificial light source as a top up with the new season of winter here and the wait for days to commence getting longer again. " 2 birds with 1 stone" it serves a purpose and function allowing me to do a bit of necessary gardening when i finish shift and return late at night 2200 - 2300 pm
Some examples of the welcomed remixed set up.
Where's that Bratonia in this jungle?