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Deflasking Paphiopedilum rothschildianum

This is a discussion on Deflasking Paphiopedilum rothschildianum within the Paphiopedilum & Phragmipedium Info. forums, part of the Frequently Asked Questions category; ok.. well.. umm, I finally got a flask of a paph, and not just any ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Deflasking Paphiopedilum rothschildianum

    ok.. well.. umm, I finally got a flask of a paph, and not just any paph, I got me a Rothy!

    So far my experience in deflasking is with two aussie natives, ie Pterostylis nutans and Thelymitra pauciflora. Hard to know how many I killed when i de-flasked those because they multiply their tuberoids so much that if u kill one your bound to have at least another two from the other plants because they multiply so fast... but I digress..

    I've decided that if I put the progress of this little ones on a website then I will probably take more care of them *fingers crossed*

    website is http://www.geocities.com/oz-tim/proth.html

    Now, I've left the flask alone because I am freaking out about what will happen next... ok, has anyone de-flasked these little buggers and what's the best way? I've read both "no agar" vs "with agar" methods and I'm still scared. Also, will it help to have a heat mat? It is summer here in Sydney, average temperature is low 20's lately.. it has been a cold summer

    Oh, I know I should have started with a Paph insigne!!!

    Also, I read about the S/H method of growing plants on this website and can I compot the plants using this method?

    Anyways.. can anyone shed more light on what I'm suppose to do....

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    Congrats on your flask purchase!

    Any of the methods you have read about will work. I'm partial to compotting paphs right out of flask into either a single pot or two pots. I hate to disturb plants right out of flask too much. I have been using the "with agar" method lately with good results. I have taken the mass of plants out of flask and put them directly in a compot. In the compot, I've used 100% sphag with good results. I'm now trying a fine Aliflor (sp?) mix with cocoanut husks and charcoal with a sphag top dressing that I keep moist until the seedlings get going and show new growth.

    I visited a fellow grower over the weekend that does his own flasking. He is now using the clear plastic folding "clam shell" containers to compot in right out of flask. He gets these containers at his local grocery store. They package ready-to-eat salads in them. He burns drainage holes in the bottom with a soldering iron, puts the seedlings in with sphag or other fine mix, then puts them under lights until they are ready to pot individually. He is having excellent results. He keeps the seedlings moist and fertilizes lightly. I am now sold on his method.

    I do not have experience with s/h on paph seedlings right out of flask. Young plants out of flask have small and tender roots. I believe I would try to grow them up before I transferred them to s/h.

    Just remember, handle the plantlets carefully. Minimize handling overall. Whatever method you use for compotting, DON'T LET THE ROOTS DRY OUT! Young seedlings can't take this!

    Just to make things a bit easier, next time consider having the grower sending you the plants deflasked. Breaking flasks is no fun and deflasked plants ship cheaper.

    Also, your flask style doesn't look too user-friendly. I would consider carefully breaking this one because trying to fish the plants out through the side-spout with a long set of tweezers may result in plant/root damage. You want to avoid as much shock to the seedlings as possible.

    Hope this helps!

  3. #3
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    Wow--talk about diving right in with a roth flask!

    There are many ways to successfully deflask and compot, and many proponents of each method will argue heatedly that their method is the best method--some people even get downright violent about it. I've done it a few different ways, and what's going to ultimately work best for you will depend on how much time and care you want to put into the process.

    Personally, I can be clumsy as hell so when I'm in that mode, the agar-on method is the easiest. Get a clean bucket, and mix up a solution of water and sugar: about 1/2 cup sugar per gallon. Some people don't use the sugar, others add in some fungicide. With Paphs, several growers believe that a pre-soak in fungicide can be detrimental to seedlings since it would kill beneficial fungi that actually help feed the young plants. I happen to be in that camp, so I just use water and sugar. R/O water is best to use, but you can use ordinary tap water as well--just let it sit out for a few days so any chlorine in it can have a chance to evaporate.

    Some people compot straight into fine bark and Coconut Husk Chips, others use sphag, still others mix the two along with various other things. If you're going to use CHC, make sure you soak it and rinse it over a period of several days, several times in succession. The tannins and salt in it need to be gotten rid of--the salt especially will kill your seedlings.

    Wrap your flask in a towel and break it with a hammer, then carefully slide everything into your bucket of sugar water. I've found that it's easier to get rid of glass shards when everything is underwater. After pulling out the bigggest pieces of glass, you can gently swirl the agar mass around in the bucket, turning it upside down as you're swirling, and the small glass shards will settle quickly to the bottom. Let the seedlings soak for about 15 minutes, then lift the agar mass out of the bucket, fit it into your compot container above a first layer of media, and gently press another thin layer of whatever media you're using around the seedlings where there are vacant areas.

    It looks like all the plants in your flask are pretty well developed, but if there are some that are still runts, leaving them in the agar this way will help give them a better chance at surviving.

    If you're going to go the traditional method of agar-off, you're going to have to be a lot more careful: the roots are brittle and very easily broken, and it takes next to no pressure at all when you're removing the agar to behead the plants from their roots. Patience is the key here: you need to let the plants soak long enough so that the agar begins to dissolve while you work it gently away with your fingertips. Again, swirl the agar mass around in the bucket to get rid of any glass, then transfer the liquid and the seedlings in agar to another container so you can work with it without cutting yourself.

    When I do the agar-off method, I compot into sphag. After soaking the moss, squeeze out any extra water and lay it out in foot-long strips on your work area. The strips should be about 1 inch wide. Next, lay the seedlings out on the sphagnum so that their crowns protrude above it, and their roots are laid against it. Leave about 3/4 of an inch of space between each seedling. Take another strip of the sphagnum and press it gently over the first so that the roots are covered. Now, lay out another row of seedlings on top of the sphag you covered the first row with. Cover their roots with another strip of sphagnum. Keep repeating that until you're done, then, just cut the sphag strips so that they fit the size and shape of the container you're compotting into, and work the sphag with seedlings into the container.

    A lot of people cover their compots with those clear plastic "mini-greenhouse" domes to help keep moisture in; I've tried, but found that it keeps things too wet for me: with agar-on, the 100% humidity makes the agar feed a mold bloom that can take over the seedlings in almost no time at all. Also, moisture condensing in the dome can drip down onto the seedlings if you accidentally thump it, and they'll crown-rot, literally overnight.

    I've never used heat pads beneath the compots, but some people who do use them say they've gotten good results.

    Anyway, that's pretty much how I deflask here. Sometimes I put the seedlings into community pots, sometimes I pot them up individually, especially if they're already large and well-grown in the flask. About two weeks after I've made the transfer, I lightly spray the seedlings with their first dose of fungicide, mixed at half-strength. It helps prevent damp-off.

    Here's another thread with some links to sites that explain both processes, agar-on and agar-off, in more detail:
    http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/orchid...ead.php?t=1136

    I've never tried compotting into S/H; but I have a feeling that the size of the media won't be very conducive to good growth. The roots really need to be kept moist, and if they're not touching the medium, they'll slowly dry out. You could probably get an extra-fine grade of pellets that might work, but if it were me, I'd experiment on a flask that was less valuable....

    I'm glad you're doing a photo-diary of it all on your website--that'll be really good info.

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    I think I'll make a motion that this thread be made sticky, or otherwise made into a FAQ entry. Lots of details here already.

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    Cool.... Done!

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    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for the suggestions. I think I will do the Antec/Slipperhead method of "with-Agar" compotting. The thing is:-

    1. Louis (hope I'm now in the first name basis ), if I soak the mass in the sugar solution, won't that wash away the agar? How long do I leave the mass in this solution?

    As far as getting a larger opening, I wrote to the seller and he has advised the following:-

    "Hold the flask bottle in your left hand with stopper pointing away from you. Remove stopper. Gently tap neck of bottle with spanner ( or like) and the top will break off."

    Also, he sent some bark which I think has already been treated. So will use that as my growing medium. However, won't the bark dry out quickly? Should I microwave some sphagnum moss to add extra moisture? Also, does perlite retain moisture? Coz I might add that instead of sphagnum moss. I find sphagnum moss for me gets very wet so I try not to use it. I am a "waterer", my plants die from too much watering.

    I'm going to go to the shops today to see what stuff like heat mats, mini-greenhouse etc etc I can get...

    Finally, do I stick the compot in the dark for a week(?) after compotting or normal paph light or, as required by rothys, loads of light?

    cheers
    Tim

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    As far as lighting for seedlings just out of flask are concerned, I have been putting them under the same flourscent light tubes as the rest of the paph seedlings with good results. Make sure to keep them away from any sunny window or cold drafts until they are established.

    Some folks like to start them in somewhat shadier conditions to help reduce the shock of deflasking. I haven't heard of putting them in complete darkness. Not sure if it makes sense.

    By the way, I just read a thread about the expected blooming time of roths out of flask. There is a story of a single flask of roths where the first to bloom was in 3 1/2 years!!! In fact, because of that, the cultivar was named "Three and one-half Years"! The grower used high intensity lighting. The concenses of the group was to expect first roth blooms on average 6-12 years (and up to 18 years) out of flask. There was another contributor that mentioned that the roth cultivar "Borneo" was a good parent because it was a robust grower and quick(er) bloomer! Either way, we're all patient here, right?!

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    Oh my God - 6-12 years? I'd flush them first!

    (But that's why I buy blooming size plants...you don't see me offering any flasking advice!)

    Julie

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    LOL! Tim, I assumed first name basis by calling you by your first name first in another thread, so by me, we're good...

    Agar-on works very well: Antec recommends potting up the agar mass immediately onto medium, and that works great, especially if you're getting your deflasked seedling flask from Antec in the plastic container. But here, you're dealing with a glass flask, which, I totally promise, will never break perfectly "neck off" as advertised. Nine times out of ten it'll just shatter: make sure you wrap it in a towel first so you don't go bloodying up your keyboard when you tell about it.

    I'm not kidding here.

    The 15 minute soak isn't nearly enough time to dissolve the agar. It will, however, soften the agar up enough to allow you to press it onto the medium you're using to compot. The soak will also give you a good way to get rid of any sharded glass, and the sugar provides a first feeding for your shocked-out-of-flask newborns. The sugar water is certainly not a "requirement," but it works very well for me, agar-on or agar-off.

    I have never put compotted seedlings in total darkness, but if you place them in the same light intensity needed for their adult brethren, they'll fry. Shade is the order of the day: gradually increase the light over a period of months to the intensity required by the adults.

    I've always used perlite / sponge rok as an additive to bark media to keep it aerated when the bark begins to break down. I've never used perlite for moisture retention (and, if we're talking about the same thing, it won't retain much, airy and foamy as it is...). Don't be scared of sphagnum: used appropriately, it's magical. It has anti-fungal properties that really help with seedlings, especially over the first three months while it's still fresh. Just be careful not to breathe in the dust created when you break it up dry. There's nothing wrong with being a "waterer" with Paph seedlings, as long as you water early in the mornings and your compot container has good drainage. You're going for "consistently damp," not "soaking wet." So adjust your watering accordingly to provide that.

    I'm not sure why you would want to microwave your sphagnum moss (??) I think LI-Jane mentioned microwaving coconut husk and water as a quick way to get the stuff to absorb, but with sphag, you won't need to do that.

    Finally, if you really are an "over-waterer," you won't need the mini-greenhouse dome thingy, especially if you're going to compot agar-on. I'm not trying to tell you what to do, but you may just be giving yourself more headaches if you use one...

    Garland, OMG EIGHTEEN YEARS???? Someone must have been trying to grow their roths on a Sahara sand dune... Seriously, I've never heard of that.

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    LOL! Me too. I was reading "3 1/2 years" and thinking DANG that's like FOREVER, and then I keep reading and that's considered super-fast? Give me blooming size too!

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