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What medium,water and fertilizer do you use ??

This is a discussion on What medium,water and fertilizer do you use ?? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I use a variety of potting mediums: right now the new orchid seedlings are getting ...

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  1. #11
    AlexisLake is offline Junior Member
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    I use a variety of potting mediums: right now the new orchid seedlings are getting alifor (the fine size stuff), before they got orchid seedling mix (the alifor dries out better between waterings and the plants don't rot their roots as easily). I also have coconut husk for future plants, osmunda and sphagnum moss, regular size alifor, orchid bark. I also water all the plants with distilled water from the water bottle refilling machine at the local supermarket since I also have paphiopedilums and bulbophyllums which are sensitive to salt and chlormine in the tap water. I figure it's better than accidently watering the sensitive plants with the wrong water and hurting them. Also, my tropical frog Rain gets the orchid water that doesn't have fertilizer in it for her water dish and she needs the chloramine and salt free water.

  2. #12
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    Well, CHC *might* last for seven years (haven't been using it long enough to know) but things get repotted here every year or two, so for me, that wouldn't be an incentive to use it!

    Actually the only reason we started with it was because the chunk peat we used to use for moisture retention became unavailable, and the coconut was in ready supply. If anyone decides to try it, make sure you don't get the kind that's been prewashed in salt water!!! Crystal Company out of St. Louis sells it by the bale and it's been washed in fresh water. Even so, we always go through the soak and rinse routine three or four times with the stuff before we ever pot with it. There have been too many stories of growers who didn't do that, and their plants were completely destroyed. Also, it'll break down a lot faster if you're suplementing with calcium or anything else that raises the pH.

    Tap water's been working fine here, so we saw no reason to change to anything else. Of course, if you know your water's not the greatest, then you should do something different....

  3. #13
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    I heard CHC may last for 4 or so years, maybe 5. Maybe less if using for paphs, I'd imagine, being as how they're always kept moist. I think the main advantage is that CHC still lasts considerably longer than bark (and therefore maintains its air capacity).

  4. #14
    PAGrower is offline Senior Member
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    I use Grower Ron's Medium. It's a mixture of fir bark, perlite and peat that comes in a 2 gallon tub and is sold at boxstore. It's probably not the Stradivarius of potting mediums but it works well for my plants with a bit of tweaking. I always cover the drainage holes with styrofoam peanuts and top off the bark with a little sphag because I like how it looks and it helps keep the aerial roots moist.

    I used bottled water on my orchids for awhile, but switched back to tap water after concluding that it didn't seem to be making a difference.

    I've used a lot of different fertilizers, including a 10.60.10 bloom booster, 19.31.17 orchid food, and a 8.7.6 liquid. My extremely unscientific opinion is that my plants seem to like the 19.31.17 orchid food the best.

  5. #15
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    Originally posted by Gilda

    Jason, do you have pics of your orchids in semi-hydro??? A friend is trying it and so far,so good. She got all her supplies from Ray's. It might be time for me to try one or 2.....I love experiments!
    I'll try to fire up the camera and take a shot or two tomorrow...the plants are in the middle of migrating from NY to NJ and then back to NY again...

  6. #16
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    LOL CHC might last seven years if you don't water it! I water frequently in my GH and repot often. many plants including Paphs and Phrags will not form roots on new growths unless covered with the medium. Also, I prefer to repot all decidious plants after they lose their leaves so if they get watered in the winter the medium will not retain moisture for long and buy the time Spring roles around the bark is "broken in" long enough to hold moisture for the Summer months.

    For all these reasons many genera need to be potted a minimum of once a year for optimal growth and flowering. I have several Paphs that get repotted up to 4 times a year.

    I guess if CHC was cheaper than bark or was readily available here then I would use it more but I have known a few growers that have got a "salted" batch and even with ample soaking have had horroble results with their plants. I have had some plants too long to trust a product that may or may not be safe for my plants. But, that's just my two cents which on the current exchange rate is worth exactly that!

  7. #17
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    Persistence, why four times a year? I would have thought that so much repotting would disturb the root hairs on those Paphs to the point that they would start to decline. But obviously it's working for you; I'm just wondering why you do it so often?

  8. #18
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    Well, I have several Paphs that throw out grows all times a year. The root system is extensive and I try to pot in the smallest pot I can so I do not get too much bark in the pot. These new growths need to be buried so they develop roots and then they will bloom.
    Also, I grow in the Pac NW and grow mainly intermediate to cool plants that love water. I water frequently and with that and our high humidity the medium can break down fast. I have found that most plants do better being watered more frequently and allowed to "dry out" or drain quickly between waterings. Also, paphs here in the NW seem to be very prone to root rot and the decaying bark in an overwatered GH will definitely lead to that. I think that would be my main problem to a mostly CHC mix is that the plant stays too wet.

    If I could mount Phrags and Paphs I would. that would save me a small fortune on medium costs!

    I do know someone who has been growing Paphs forever and has thousands of them. He has tried many in a diatomite/CHC mix with good success. I am willing to try the diatomite as pumice is becoming more scarce and pretty expensive. Pumice WAS the key ingredient to many 'old timer' mixes.

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