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Stupid question concerning watering sphag

This is a discussion on Stupid question concerning watering sphag within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Ok, I'll just risk sounding stupid ... how do you water plants potted only in ...

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  1. #1
    Dana's Avatar
    Dana is offline Senior Member
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    Default Stupid question concerning watering sphag

    Ok, I'll just risk sounding stupid ... how do you water plants potted only in sphag?
    This stuff is like a big sponge..at least the stuff i've bought. (Ultra Gro, natural organic New Zealand spah moss. It's this pressed tablet you add water to and then it swells up)
    Won't it be much too wet?
    I've read that ppl water when the top of the moss is crispy...
    I've had a spick phal in moss and even when the topp of the moss was crispy, it would often still be moist in the center when you put your finger in.
    I use plastic pots.

  2. #2
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    I have only used sphag for mounting and have 1 plant in it, but I was told that you use a pipe cleaner or a cotten swab and stick it far into the pot. Bring it out and if it is damp, wait to water (or depending on the needs of your orchids water when the top is crispy). I have one orchid in sphag that needs to totally dry outbefore watering, so I use a cotten swab to help gage it.

    No question is a stupid question.

  3. #3
    Clark is offline Junior Member
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    Dana,
    I grow alot of orchids in sphagnum moss. All the phals, some oncidiums, and all the mitonopsis grow in sphagnum moss. I add coarse sponge rock to the moss and use styrofoam peanuts in the bottom of the pot (at least one third of the pot depth). I use RO water. I water any time the moss looks dry.
    Clark

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    Hm..ok so i can just water it like i water my other plants which are planted in bark?
    I do have styrofoam peanuts in the bottom but i'm not familiar with coarse sponge rock.
    What kind of sphag do you guys use?
    Here in Sweden alot of ppl go out and pick white moss (Sphagnum palustre)in the forrest.
    I haven't lived in Sweden long enough to know where to pick it or to know how it looks like.

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    Heather is offline Banned
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    Oh not stupid at all Dana! This question is the bane of my existance re: phals!

    I had one in sphag, first I'd bought actually and the roots started rotting because it was packed too densly and I only watered maybe every 2 weeks! Finally got it out of there and after surgery, and repotting in bark mix, I now have 2 new roots and a new leaf! Too bad it is only a noid white phal! Lol. Anyway, my dtps. is also in sphag and doing ok, though it needs repotting after the spikes finish. I water it once a week usually, or when the top is crispy whichever comes sooner. It's doing fine. Luckily it was in a clear pot so I can watch the roots more closely.

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    not a stupid question! watering plants in sphag isn't as easy as one might think. I water when the top is dry, which means the interior is still a little moist (but should no longer be wet). Now, I only use clay pots with sphag, so that might skew it a bit, but if the sphag is *properly* packed (which is to say not packed down at all), watering when the top is dry should be just fine. When the media is old, however, or packed in too tight, there is no good way to water--the interior will never dry out even if the outside is well past crispy. That's why you have to repot every 6 months in sphag.

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    omg every 6 months you say ...how many orchids do you have in sphag Jmoney?

    Heather, i only have noid Phals..hehehe..well i actually i think i might have one that isn't a noid..but the label is abra cadabra for me so it might ass well have been a noid.

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    Dana, I have all my phals in sphagnum in clay pots (some with side holes, some without), with styrofoam peanuts at the bottom, and they are all outside, so they get lots of air movement, and the clay doesn't retain moisture as much as plastic. I, too, water when the top of the sphagnum is dry. But I don't pack the sphagnum too tight, which is where I think overwatering can become a problem. I use just enough to keep the plant steady and upright in the pot. Depending on the weather, I water at least once a week. In fact, that's where I'm headed as soon as I finish reading all the new posts...
    Liz

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    Gilda is offline "Master of the Moth and Phrags "
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    Dana,
    I use to grow all my phals in sphag. I have since changed over to a peat based mix because of the cost of repotting 100 phals yearly !! I left a few in sphag 2 years with no ill effects BUT,mine was loosely packed and had broken styrofaom peanuts mixed in (the same purpose as coarse sponge rock). It creates pockets that the moss cannot compress, so the roots can dry out . Drainage in the bottom is essential and I also add holes on the sides of plastic pots....you should be able to tell in a plastic pot when it drys out....a spiked phal that is very big will topple over when it drys out! I always had the spiked phals sitting in clay for support...found too many on the floor!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dana
    omg every 6 months you say ...how many orchids do you have in sphag Jmoney?

    Heather, i only have noid Phals..hehehe..well i actually i think i might have one that isn't a noid..but the label is abra cadabra for me so it might ass well have been a noid.
    only a couple. I use clay/sphag to keep masdie roots cool. I tried s/h with them but they absolutely hated it.

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