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  • 8 Post By pavel
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"Bucking the system"... 2 NoID Phals in pure sphag

This is a discussion on "Bucking the system"... 2 NoID Phals in pure sphag within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Couple of different places would have been appropriate for this post I suppose, but here ...

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  1. #1
    pavel's Avatar
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    Default "Bucking the system"... 2 NoID Phals in pure sphag

    Couple of different places would have been appropriate for this post I suppose, but here it will go.

    Every so often, one of the recurring debate topics that arises (and I do not see this as a bad thing as we constantly have new folks joining us) is the use of 100% sphag as a growing media. Newbies are often adamantly encouraged to quickly switch the plant(s) out into something else. However, the soundness of such advice really depends upon one's growing conditions as well as the types of orchids in question.

    If one lives in a tropical/subtropical climate and is growing orchids outdoors in such a region or in a greenhouse , pure sphag can understandably be extremely problematic for many types of orchids because of the amount of water it can retain and the speed at which it breaks down under "constantly" wet/damp conditions. With the exception of those orchids that do like constantly wet roots, it is often best for orchids such as catts, dens, and phals (as what seem to be the most common three genera one will find in the hobby) to be potted in something other than sphag.

    But what about those in the arid or temperate zones and/or growing indoors in the much drier air? IME, such advice does not necessarily hold true under those conditions. Does one still have to be careful with one's watering? Of course, but "knowing your media" (and your plants) holds true no matter what kind of media you are using -- period. My first phal (long long ago in a galaxy far far away) was in pure sphag and did just fine. A fluke? Nope. Though I do not use pure sphag for most of my orchids, I have over the years had a number of phals and even a few catts grown quite well in straight sphag. Currently I offer these two examples:

    This little white phal is from a BBS in one of those decorative glazed ceramic pots. Be nice to find a name for it one day but certainly not holding my breath. Buying a NoID orchid is highly unusual for me but I really liked the little white flowers. It has been in sphag since I got it a couple years ago. Currently it is doing this:




    The other example I proffer is an orchid some friends gave me because they could not rebloom it. They had had the orchid for a couple years and I know they never changed the media. Upon getting it home, I removed it from its plastic pot. It was in tightly packed, 100% pure sphag. Much to my surprise, the sphag was in excellent condition -- so much so that I decided not to bother repotting. However, rebel that I am , I also decided to forgo using a pot at all. I will allow you to come to your own conclusions as to the plant's health and happiness based on the following photo:








  2. #2
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    I agree very much with you. I have received Phals in moss that have had better root systems than those in bark media. I made the mistake, as a newbie of re-potting them in bark media. I have a bit more knowledge under my belt and think I shall try the moss approach next time I have the option ....nice orchids.......I just call the white Noids, LWO

  3. #3
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    Beautiful phals, and excellent culture, Paul - from you I'd expect no less. Is the BBS one a mini? It reminds me of one I had that had "Tim" in the name - can't remember exactly.

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    I have yet to be able to grow a Phal. I kill them quicker than anything no matter what I attempt to pot them with. I've lost count. Though I currently have two that are alive but not really doing much other than that.

    I don't blame you for picking up that white one. It would catch my attention too.
    How long have you been growing the other one out of the pot?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mauraec View Post
    Beautiful phals, and excellent culture, Paul - from you I'd expect no less. Is the BBS one a mini? It reminds me of one I had that had "Tim" in the name - can't remember exactly.
    Thanks you.

    Sort of -- at least thus far. I am always leary about the classification of "mini" orchids from a BBS. Often they are just young plants being sold as minis. Currently it has a total 'wingspan' of 9 inches. As such I would not really consider it a mini but more of a compact phal. Most likely it has at least some Doritis in its pedigree.

    Think it has been a bit over a year now, Nicki.

  6. #6
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    Phal Timothy Christopher is the one I'm thinking of. I think it's fairly common. Mine was actually a BBS mini that they forgot to remove the id tag from!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mauraec View Post
    Phal Timothy Christopher is the one I'm thinking of. I think it's fairly common. Mine was actually a BBS mini that they forgot to remove the id tag from!
    That sound very familiar. I believe that was the name I had seen on some of the tags weeks prior my picking this one up ( I had waited until the plant was marked "1/2 off"). Thanks!

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    That is really cool how it's adapted to the moss mount.

    Hmmm, I have a tag to Phal Timothy Christopher. It might be one of the two I have remaining or just a tombstone reminder of a really nice orchid I could've had.

  9. #9
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    I'm in the same boat. I can grow cattleya, but phal. I'm one of those people who pull them out of the moss and they struggle and most perish. I also now have to grow indoors. Maybe on the next batch, I'll just leave them alone. It certainly would be better than the outcome I have seen with what I have been doing. Thank You for opening my eyes. These are the darndest plants. So Cool Though! Have Fun, Rich

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    I grow all my phals shaded outdoors and either repot them into a smaller pot with coconut chips or leave them in the sphagnum without a pot. I will sometimes remove some of the sphag if I believe the plant is too small or overpotted. I struggled with them for a while because of the sprinkler system but so far so good

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