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The inevitable flask question

This is a discussion on The inevitable flask question within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I struggled with where to put this thread, but since this isn't really about flasking ...

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  1. #1
    nabakov5's Avatar
    nabakov5 is offline Cecilia, You're Breakin' my Heart.....
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    Default The inevitable flask question

    I struggled with where to put this thread, but since this isn't really about flasking techniques, I thought it would be appropriate here. I've been considering purchasing one of these "mature" flasks of orchids and trying to grow a few babies. I don't know much about the flasking stuff, but what I really need to know is what to look for in a mature flask. Is there a certain type of orchid that is easier to transfer from a flask to the outside world? When potting the little fellows for the first time, is there anything I should know about watering, potting material or the potting container? Basically, any information would be appreciated.
    cat

  2. #2
    orchid-man's Avatar
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    you are taking on a task that we all dread until we do it,(the purchase of a flask and the deflasking).
    Here my Dimes worth.

    Generally the grower will not let a damaged flask out of the growing area.Damage is mould and funus growing inside .
    There are no orchid that is easier to tansfer from flask to normal media than any other.For a start it will depend on your enviroment.The general rule is that the deflasked plants want temps about 5C higher than the mature plants.A finer growing media is needed some wet sphag moss and wring out the water so that it is just moist and pack the pot with that , without opening the moss from the tight squash,and some of us use pine bark fines and then others like me us fine chc.
    I find the best setup is this for the deflasking :-
    Get 3 plastic contaners,about 2 litre size,half fill one with warm water.In the other I put about 5ml of a systemic fungicide and then half fill it with water.
    Next is to get some paper towels and lay one down on your work bench.Now we can break the flask seal so that we may remove the plants,if possible remove the plants and their growing media all in one into the warm water.
    I use a couple of scwers for the next step.Carefully seperate the plantsfrom the media and their growing mix,as the plants are seperated put them into the container that contains the fungicide untill all plants are in.Now garefuly remove the plants from this solution and place on the paper towel and pat dry.
    The plantlets may now by potted up.Depending on their size they can go into a community pot or potted individually.

    Watering is from overhead with a small amount of a balanced food in the water.This can be started in about 2-3 days .Misting the foliage frequenty helps the plants and is highly reconmended.

    The plantlets should be placed in a shadyplace.

  3. #3
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    I'll just add that when choosing a flask of plants.... go with a genus or group of plants that you are comfortable growing... say, if you have had success with Phalaenopsis, buy those in flasks...

    I've recently gone on a spree and have three that i have recently deflasked and compotted Paphiopedilums, another four still sitting in their flasks and two flasks of Phragmipediums... notice... all slippers!!! There were Cattleya flasks that I wanted but because I have issues with my Catts getting rot during winter, I stayed away from them...

    oh, unless ur really confident (or crazy like me) stay away from kovachii... you need to keep the temp in their growing environment around 21 degrees celsius.. and never below 18 or above 24... apparently if it goes either side of those maximums... it only take a couple of hours for the little tykes to cark it! (I'm staring at my 19.6 celsius thermometer)

  4. #4
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    I second everything said by everyone, and would like to just add one thing. I have started using this stuff called rapid rooter. It's a type of potting media made specifically for orchids fresh out of flask. You may be able to get it from a local grower, or where ever you buy you flask from. I have noticed that the plants/compots that I have used this stuff on grow faster, and have more vigor then the plants it was not used on.

  5. #5
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    very interesting Aaron... looks like the media is full of microbes which would assist in it's breakdown and hence releasing the nutrients...

    What about it's water holding capacity? I would be too scared of something that holds too much water as I am a recidivist waterer!

  6. #6
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    I would say it's water retention is some what like sphag. I keep my compots/plug trays in humidity trays, and really only water once a week with a light feeding. Early on, I killed about 4 different flasks trying to learn the proper technique of watering/humidity balance. Also, yes it does break down very quick. I would say they need repotting in 9months to a year. But the growth that you get out of them is amazing! Compots are ussually ready for 2-2.5" plug trays/pots or 3" in a year, or less!

  7. #7
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    Just a couple additional thoughts, Cat...

    New seedlings want less light that more mature plants. Indirect light is best.

    Also, a neat trick when planting into a compot is to sit the compot in water up to the top with the potting medium in it. The medium will float up and want to escape, which is perfect for tucking those little roots down into it (a pencil makes a good tucker.) It's very difficult to line up a bunch of seedlings and pot them sequentially in the same pot otherwise (you'll wish you had 50 hands!)

    If you're thinking of trying slipper orchids, I can PM you a flask source I've been very pleased with!

    Julie

  8. #8
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    Default

    Thanks so much for all of your great advice! And yes, I would love to know a good source for a ladyslipper flask. Since slipper seem to be my strong-suit, I thought I should start with them. You guys have me all excited now....

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