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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; This may be a really dumb question. I was testing some paphs this morning to ...

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  1. #1
    Aerides is offline Senior Member
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    Default Watering Paphs

    This may be a really dumb question. I was testing some paphs this morning to see if they needed watering. I take a slender stake, about half to one quarter the size of a chopstick, and stick it down in the mix. What happens with me is I expect what happens to most people. When I draw the stake out to check it, the part that was in the top of the mix is dry, the middle part is maybe slightly more moist, and the very bottom is quite moist. Do you water or not?

    If you wait until the bottom is dryer, then the middle and upper parts of the roots get too dry, don't they?? And if you go ahead and water, don't the tips stay too wet?

    Thanks a bunch!

    John

  2. #2
    Heather is offline Banned
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    That's not a dumb question at all! I am always struggling with this issue! Having the clear pots has really helped, because I can see how wet the outer layer of bark is, and how much condensation is left in the pot, but that doesn't tell me much about the interior, and I hate sticking skewers down into the middle of the roots - I'm always afraid of injuring something. So, I don't know what a good solution is...especially to me as a newer grower w/out years of experience.

  3. #3
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    instead of a full-on watering, you could just mist the top.

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    Aerides is offline Senior Member
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    I know what you mean, Heather. I cringe every time I meet some resistance to the stake about halfway down. Hoping it's just a piece of bark and not a root. I just use the thinnest ones I can find and have accumulated about four now that I keep track of. I know the experts don't have to do all that. What do they know that we don't??

    I have some, but not all, of my paphs in clear pots. I think it helps too. I just bought two new Paphs this weekend at the Parkside Orchidfest in Pa. (Yellow Butterfly and Thomas Fourman, both in spike ) and was agonizing this morning whether they needed water or not. I decided to wait a day.

    John

  5. #5
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    I use bamboo sticks for making shiska-bob (I'm sure that's spelled wrong) from the grocery store. They are really long, so I break them in half so I don't poke my eye out peering over to see something up close. Someone also suggested toothpicks, which will work fine too. They're both so small that I don't really worry about the roots, as long as I ease them down and wiggle a bit if there's resistance. If the bottom of the stick is still moist but the top of the bark is really dry, mist it, and then water it in a day or so.
    Liz

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    Watering was the biggest problem for me when i started my collection @ the begining of the year.This was the main reson for going to s/h.Now i can water every day if i like & it makes no difference to the plants.Because the weather is relatively hot(high 70,s) @ the moment(note temps in the house can get higher if i,m not in to open doors/windows) i give the Paphs(& Phrags) some cool water first thing before i go to work , hopefully this will help to keep temps a little cooler for them.

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    Aerides is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks Liz and kewpie - you two seem to be in agreement.

    Re: S/H: I'm always wondering about watering, but the long-time growers say that you eventually get the feel for it. Plus, I've heard some unpleasant stories about switching paphs over to s/h - some do ok, others throw a hissy fit. O'course, you don't really know what else may have contributed to the difficulties, and logically it seems they would love that method. Alas, logic has failed me many times in the past when applied to orchid growing.

    Thanks,

    John

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    I understand completely with the reservations on s/h & also that it isn,t the Holy Grail of orchid growing.It just works for my 'chids & my cultral conditions.

    CHC with a saucer of water seems like a good compromise but to me this is just a modified version of s/h.

  9. #9
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    Regarding any standard mix, keep in mind that the top is always going to dry out faster. Presumably most of the roots go deep inside the pot and so it will not matter too much if the top gets a little dry. They will absorb moisture from the middle. My advice is to water while the wettest part of the mix is starting to dry out. If you water based on the top, it's a recipe for root rot for sure. (unless all the roots are up top, of course, but then again the pot size should be downgraded accordingly).

    I switched to s/h solely for convenience--everything gets watered the same day regardless of pot size, and on whichever day of the week I have time to water. I don't know about watering every day in s/h; seems to me that paphs would rot their roots in short order. They still like to dry out a little, although the phrags probably cannot get enough water in s/h.

    I'm not convinced s/h is a better medium than a CHC-based one, or bark-based, or whatever. Some of the best growers I know use CHC, bark, and various combinations thereof. It's just matching the media to your conditions.

  10. #10
    Aerides is offline Senior Member
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    Hi, Jason. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think there are really three moisture zones in the medium: the top, which naturally dries out first (no big deal, right?), then the middle, which starts to dry pretty quick also, then the bottom, which seems to stay moist for days after the middle has started approaching dryness.

    So my question was really more about the contrast between the middle and the bottom - most of the roots occupy both of those regions at the same time.

    I know it seems silly to make a point of it , but I don't want to be salvaging any more paphs.

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