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Orchid Water Culture!!!!

This is a discussion on Orchid Water Culture!!!! within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Originally Posted by sake of silence The 'bubbler' would evaporate the water leaving salts, not: ...

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  1. #11
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sake of silence View Post
    The 'bubbler' would evaporate the water leaving salts, not: "cause the salts to evaporate like a humidifier"

    Especially like if there is small amounts of splashs with a fertilizer solution in it. Get hard water spots in unlikely spots on in your shower? Same principle.
    That makes sense. Thanks.

    Cheers!
    BD

  2. #12
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    Does anyone else have an update on this process? Due to the fact that the roots are almost completely removed when placing in the water, this seems like a great way to at least try to save an orchid that has been badly hit with root rot. It would be atleast one more try before going to the compost bin.

  3. #13
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    I have done this in the past with epidendrum radicans and NOID catts.
    It does work (at least for the plants I tried), but just like any other orchid culture technique, proper conditions and prepwork must be observed.

    This is what I did for my "water orchids"
    1. Cut off all existing roots.
    ** It is believed that the developing orchid roots are specialized to fit the future medium in which it is growing, but have poor adaptability if the medium is changed when the roots have already emerged.

    For example, new roots that grow when the plant is in bark are designed to make the best use of the bark medium. Switching them to a drastically different medium (pure spagh, S/H, etc) tends to cause the roots to suffer.
    The plant does not die though, and you see a new set of roots emerge that are then specialized for the new medium.
    ** This is why it is a bad idea to keep changing potting media/culture on orchids as it forces them to keep changing their root systems.

    The same principle then would apply for water culture. The current epiphytic roots are not suited for pure water submersion so you have to remove them or risk having them die and rot - eventually spoiling the water.
    You then allow the plant to reacclimate itself in water and produce "aquatic roots".
    Consequently, the resulting "water roots" do no do well when switched to a dry medium such as bark.

    2. Water should have a relatively large surface area, in relation to the volume of water in order to facilitate proper gas exchange.
    ** Air exchange only happens at the surface of the water. Oxygen is drawn into the water and carbon dioxide and other byproduct gases are expelled out. The more agitation you have at the surface, the greater surface area is presented to the open air.
    This is why bubblers work in aquariums. The "bubbles" do not infuse the water column with oxygen. Their upward motion causes the water to circulate, therefore allowing the CO2 rich water from the deeper sections to rise up and make contact with the surface.
    The ripples they cause on the surface also creates more surface agitation and increases the contact surface area between water and air.

    3. Let the algae grow.
    ** The algae that eventually coats the roots are vital to the survival of the "water roots". The algae creates an envelope around the roots that provide oxygen to the roots.
    Without the algae, the roots will have to work for the oxygen by scraping them from the water (like fish gills). The algae acts as a free oxygen factory that spoon feeds the roots all the oxygen that they need.
    ** NO PHYSAN 20! If you want to keep the algae alive, do not use algae killers on your plants/water.

    You will need to change the water regularly and some of the algae falls off. Thats ok, but do not make an effort to remove algae that are sticking to the roots and inner surface of the containers.
    In fact, the algae that falls off can be used to inoculate your new water culture containers to give them a jump start.

    4. Avoid cold/frost/freezing temperatures.
    ** Orchid popsicles anyone?
    Water culture will be more prone to cold damage than "dry" potting media. Water is also a poor heat conductor. So when the roots do get cold, they stay cold for quite some time.

    5. Keep the water level up and do not let the roots dry out.

    6. Provide structural support for the plants. The water will not hold the roots like how bark or moss does. Without structural support, the slightest breeze would knock down the top-heavy plant.

    7. Keep an eye out for critters who plan to use your water containers as breeding pools.
    ** Tadpoles, mosquitoes, dragonflies... I have seen quite a few critters try to make use of my water containers.

    Where are my water orchids now? See #4 above.


    ~John

  4. #14
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    Thanks John, that's interesting. So once you use the water method you can't later switch back to a 'normal' medium because of the specialized root system? It seems like a good way to revive a no-root plant though.

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    You can switch it back, but then you have to cut away the existing "water roots " and let the plant grow a new epiphytic root system.
    Doing this repeatedly would obviously traumatize the plant and is not recommended.

  6. #16
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    Yeah, definitely not a good idea. I was thinking of it as a sphag-n-bag replacement but since the roots have to go again it might not be a suitable option.

  7. #17
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    I have a page bookmarked from a grower regarding water culture if you would like the link PM. me . Gin

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    I was reading up on orchids in water culture because I just potted in water only my most beloved and newest phal and I am scared to death in doing so.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by wetfeet101b View Post
    You can switch it back, but then you have to cut away the existing "water roots " and let the plant grow a new epiphytic root system.
    Doing this repeatedly would obviously traumatize the plant and is not recommended.
    Hi wetfeet. I'm new, so I don't have PM capability yet. I posted 6 or 7 "sick orchid" posts in the Ailment/Compost Bin section. In my first post, somebody mentioned to do water culture since the general consensus was that the chid was a goner. So, I did that. But now, I'm thinking, if the chid has no viable roots (there are still some green leaves), then a water culture wouldn't solve anything that an orchid bark wouldn't be able to do?

    Here are my posts:
    http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...ill-saved.html
    (the pic of the water culture is on page 2)

    http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...ght-goner.html

  10. #20
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    For water culture,the plant will grow new roots that are for a water environment.You can remove all the existing roots from the plant.The plant will adapt to being in water. Good Luck,Rich

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