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Watering Paphs

This is a discussion on Watering Paphs within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; If you don't grow them in saucers of water, the single area that is wet ...

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  1. #11
    Jmoney's Avatar
    Jmoney is offline Senior Member
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    If you don't grow them in saucers of water, the single area that is wet the longest is the core. Right smack dab in the middle of the pot. Hence the reasoning behind the "rands aircone" pots, which are clear to translucent to white plastic pots with an inverted cone in the middle of the pot with slits in it. It may or may not really do anything to benefit the plant.

    That's also assuming that you have perfect drainage, because sometimes pots will tend to retain a little water at the bottom after watering...which could of course keep the bottom wetter (although I still think the core is the wettest).

    If you don't believe me, and there's really no reason you should--I'm just some schmoe on the internet (I'm being facetious, although I am skeptical of advice in general and I'd encourage you to be too), most of the time when you repot a paph you'll find that the active roots are attached to the sides of the pot. In general, they avoid the core, and you may even find some old dead roots there (it tends to be both wet and anoxic).

    I struggled for a long time figuring out when to water. You want the wettest part of the pot to start to dry out. Hopefully nothing except the very top will be really dry by that point. And, most importantly, let the plants tell you when to water. If you notice over time that the leaves start to get less turgid, it may be that you need to water slightly more. Or if the plant starts to wobble, it may be that the roots have suffered some rot from overwatering.

  2. #12
    Aerides is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks again Jason. I believe you. Usually when I get quality advice and my experience doesn't seem to match up, I assume its because of something I'm doing wrong, and I try to "fill in the blank." Maybe the tip of my skewer is the wettest because it is pushing through all the wet part on the way down to the bottom

    I definitely don't have a green thumb but figure that eventually trial and error will teach me. But I'm getting a little weary of the error part.

  3. #13
    e.muehlbauer is offline Junior Member
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    There is a paradox with paphs...they need lots of moisture. they also need lots of air and cannot be wet at the roots for long. This is why most paphs are grown in deep pots....they allow plenty of air in the top half, while allowing some moisture to remain near the bottom. Watering frquency, however, will be based on your growing conditions...in a humid greenhouse a paph may need watering no more than once a week....in the winter, in my light garden with a blowing fan, even every other day isn't enough water for some paphs. Take care, Eric

  4. #14
    Forrest is offline Senior Member
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    The way I water all my potted pants is based on weight. For those of you who are squeemish about poking a skewer into roots you might want to feel the weight of your pots frequently until you get an idea of what a dry pot weighs. It wont take long before you will be able to tell if it needs water or not by just picking it up.

  5. #15
    Aerides is offline Senior Member
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    Hi, Forrest. That seems to work for me with sphagnum moss, and bark, to some extent - but I don't really trust myself. Coconut husk doesn't get that heavy when it's watered, and does't get much lighter when it's drying out. At least I can't tell.

    Or it could just be that I'm totally inept! I could go there!


  6. #16
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    it's hard to tell sometimes with an airy medium like chc. but dry pots really weigh next to nothing, although most would say a paph that gets that dry is too dry.

    one could use clear pots if so inclined--you can see the moisture pretty clearly. no pun intended. i use clear pots to monitor s/h root growth, and get them from chula's orchids in CA. that's the original source and still the cheapest, as far as i know.

  7. #17
    Aerides is offline Senior Member
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    Chula? Didn't they go out of business. Maybe they just stopped selling orchids and kept a supply business?

    I like clear pots too. Come to think of it, the paphs I have in clear pots are doing well. Maybe most of the others are doing well too, but seeing the healthy roots is such a positive reinforcement.

  8. #18
    Heather is offline Banned
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    I'll never go back to non-clear pots. Love being able to see what is going on. Helps w/ my watering also.

  9. #19
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    I usually use the weight method, too. if I have any doubt, i wait a day and check again, figuring that going a little drier is better than drowning the things.

    seems to work ok.

    p

  10. #20
    Aerides is offline Senior Member
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    Unfortunately, I have some paphs in an older mix that contains aliflor. That confuses the weight issue for me. When everything gets moved over to chc/perlite, the pots will get that "floaty" feeling that signals "I need water NOW"!


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