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Seeking S/H Cultural Advice

This is a discussion on Seeking S/H Cultural Advice within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; After many months of reading on this forum an others about S/H, I finally brought ...

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  1. #1
    work2ski's Avatar
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    Default Seeking S/H Cultural Advice

    After many months of reading on this forum an others about S/H, I finally brought in the unopened box of clay pellets ordered last summer sitting in the garage. Brought out the drill and a dozen of the carry out plastic containers (4 1/2 x 5 1/2), absolutely perfect. Measured 2 in. from the bottom and drill drill drill. For every successful container made, I would crack 3 (should have soaked it in hot water). Mom is going to have a cow. Anyway, manage to make 6.

    Here are some questions. I transferred 2 of my sickest plants, a Phal primary hybrid Belina-Violacia cross and a Paph Lowii. They are in a pathetic shape with about 2 very thin, dark but otherwise alive roots on each plant. Are these plants good candidates for S/H ? Will they have a better chance to recover in S/H ? Took a pic but can't find my usb cable. Right now, I am eyeing 2 mediocre shaped Phrag Longifolium var Hinksianum and considering them to be the next volunteers. Elaborations on this is much welcomed.

    More orchid drama. I purchased 2 more Phrags, one Besseae ('Haven' x 'Smokin') and one Sgt. Eric. A package arrived yesterday but what it contained was 2 blooming Catts (one deep fuscia and one yellow, beautiful but nevertheless, I didn't want 2 Catts. I wished that my complaining emails weren't so loaded with &#%@* because the seller are re-sending my order and giving the 2 Catts as a gift for their error which made me felt really bad. Because of the quality of the plants (Catts) and the great care taken in the packing, I feel obligated to pay for them. So with one quick paypal transaction and a kind email, all with be WELL. Another package arrived today. It contained a fully matured Dtps. Kenneth Shubbert 'Blue Sky'. The seller told me that they are summer bloomers so we will see.

    Already exceeded my quota for this month. Purchased 9, got 11, not to mention last mo. and the mo. before that. When will this sickness ever end ?

  2. #2
    Mehera's Avatar
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    Hi Trung,

    NOT claiming any S/H expertise, but I have been using it for about a year now. Most plants take to it pretty well, but if you haven't done it before, I don't think you should expect any miracles with struggling plants. Of course, if they are on the way down, and you haven't been able to stop it, what do you have to lose by trying? But not the best way to learn the basics of the method. I think you should start with a healthy plant that you know people use S/H on successfully. A phrag is a natural to try in S/H--mine have done very well--but maybe don't try it on your new Bessae until you have worked the kinks out!

    On a side note, I use those pot in a pot type S/H pots that you buy because I like the way they look, but the do it yourself types sometimes write of melting holes in their containers with a hot glue gun tip--which kinda makes sense.

    Sounds like your collection is on a roll! You're working with a good vendor, it would appear!

  3. #3
    Jmoney's Avatar
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    I have found that putting poorly-rooted plants into s/h is the absolute kiss of death. I have heard people who say they can revive them in this manner (usually in a greenhouse) but that is not the case for me.

    as mentioned, most phrags take very well to s/h. exceptions are the caudatum types. I tried besseae in s/h, it initially did well but really suffered when the temps rose in the summer. I have since switched my besseae back to clay pots + sphagnum moss and will probably never use anything different.

    I would not attempt to put catts in there, at least not standard catts. unless you just nix the reservoir. or perhaps one can experiment to have the reservoir only during super-active growth?

    also have found that most phals take well enough to s/h as well.

  4. #4
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    I have had poor results with Phrab besseae in s/h but my phrag longifolium hybrids love it.
    I do have 2 Catt species in s/h but i have the res only 1/2" high so that the res dries out after a few days.
    No success rejuvenating rootless paphs in s/h , sphagnum moss seems a better medium for this.
    I have rejuvenated Phals in s/h .I have the res @ about 1" high & mist the top layer of the medium a couple of times day.
    I agree starting with a healthy plant does give you a better idea to what the cultural needs are for s/h in your conditions & a certain amount of trial and error is needed .

  5. #5
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    That does not sound encouraging especially "the kiss of death" part.
    Maybe I should start looking for replacements since I have always want a Paph Lowii with perfect straight petals (pink ears) and not twisted. For the Phal, I have always struggle with this particular hybrid getting more roots to grow. I know the existing roots on the Phal are pretty shot but I was hoping the high humidity in S/H would encourage more growth.

  6. #6
    Jmoney's Avatar
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    I don't think s/h would add much more to local humidity than the so-called humidity trays--I believe the difference was measured to be on the order of 5% or so in relative humidity. I think it is a viable growing option but would only use it for healthy plants, and preferably in a state of active root growth. While I'm not convinced it is the *best* way to grow paphs, the vast majority of mine are in s/h simply for the flexibility of watering. for most phrags, though, including almost all of the hybrids, I think you will be hard-pressed to find a better system than s/h.

    when punching holes, my preferred method is to heat an awl with a flame and then punch away. rarely crack a pot when the awl is hot enough.

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