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  • 1 Post By gardenguysorchids
  • 1 Post By cakedaddy

Growing Phals in dirt

This is a discussion on Growing Phals in dirt within the New Growers: Ask the Senior Members forums, part of the New Growers category; I'm wondering if anyone has tried growing Phals in dirt instead of bark? I've been ...

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  1. #1
    Gail.'s Avatar
    Gail. is offline Junior Member
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    Default Growing Phals in dirt

    I'm wondering if anyone has tried growing Phals in dirt instead of bark? I've been keeping Phals for a number of years and have always had trouble keeping them water. It very dry here and the bark only stays damp for a couple of days.
    Many of my plants get wrinkly and drop leaves, even when watered weekly and its very hard to get them to bloom.
    This winter I decided to try potting them all in fine bark/soil mix, its helped some but they still are drying out at rapid speed. I have one little plant I experimented on, I planted it in mainly dirt with just a tiny bit of bark and clay bio balls to help with drainage some.
    The plants with more soil then bark are doing better then they have in years and today when I repotted the one in soil, I was surprised at the amount of new, FAT roots. All very healthy and not a squishy one in site.
    I know this goes against all recommendations but its working for me.

  2. #2
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    kiwiorchids is offline Plant Nut
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    no. never ever grow orchids in dirt unless they are terrestrial! the need good air movement and drainage around their roots 24/7 so if you use soil, then you will choke them out. If they keep shrivilling with a weekly water, water more often!

    But i suppose, experimentation is the only sure fire way to find a solution. Please post some pics Gail, it would be interesting to see!

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    Gail, have you tried sphagnum moss instead of, or in addition to, the bark? It's dry where I am, too, but the moss helps so the roots don't get so dry. I still have to water a couple times a day, but they seem to be doing ok. I also use humidity trays to help.

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    I recently bought two mini phals from a well known grower here in the East that grows in a peat/dirt mix and swears by it. Her phals are fantastic. I have been watching mine carefully with watering and they are thriving. Fantastic root systems. I only water them once every 10 to 14 days. Am still debating about moving them to bark mix when they have finished blooming.

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    I have tried sphagnum moss mixed with and on top of the bark, it really doesn't make a difference. Some of you seriously water every day? There is no way I have time for that, I can barely manage to water my veggies everyday.
    Right now I only water the ones in dirt every two weeks or so and even then they only get a splash of water. I only soak them ever few months. I'll try to get pics if I get the time.

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    I received a phal from a friend once and was horrified to find that it was in what looked like dirt. I unpotted immediately after telling her that she was on the right path had she wanted to kill it. It had been in the same medium for over a year and had fantastic roots! Experimentation is truly a great thing...just be wary and watch closely as often there is a fine line between thriving and dying.

  7. #7
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    I have been putting half to two thirds fine coco fibre then covered with medium bark to stop the fibre being washed out, so far this year I have had more spikes than ever. The crunch will be to see if they go through the winter, I was having trouble keeping them moist through the summer. We will see.

  8. #8
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    I'm glad to hear that I'm not crazy for trying this. I have a few that need repotting soon and I will be using a 50/50 bark/soil mix.

  9. #9
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    Good luck Gail. Keep good records and let us know how everything turns out with your orchids.

    Cheers,
    BD

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