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Repotting 3 Phals in a 100% Perlite Semi Hydro medium

This is a discussion on Repotting 3 Phals in a 100% Perlite Semi Hydro medium within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; ...

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  1. #1
    empiref's Avatar
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    Exclamation Repotting 3 Phals in a 100% Perlite Semi Hydro medium

    Hello everyone,

    I purchased 3 Phal Orchids for my mother on her birthday and I have been taking care of them since. 3 months have passed and there have been no problems besides the occasional bud drop.

    I have been reading about the S/H growing method and decided that I wanted to give it a try. Unfortunately where I live I couldn’t find any LECA pellets or HYDROTON, but I was able to find Perlite; so I decided to use the new repotting medium as 100% Perlite.

    The Perlite was soaked 24 hours prior to repotting, and it was washed several times. The orchids were watered thoroughly before un-potting and medium removal. 2 Phals were planted in a bark medium, and 1 Phal was planted in a sphagnum medium. All the damaged, rotten and dry roots were removed with a sterile pair of scissors. The entire old medium was removed carefully from the roots, then the roots were carefully washed with running water to remove all the small pieces of old bark and sphagnum. The Perlite was fairly wet when the repotting occurred. After I finished repotting, I added a Urea free organic fertilizer made from seaweed extract with all the trace elements and N, P, K (100% soluble in water) , PH 9 – 11 (half a tea spoon in 2 liters of water as directed). I couldn’t find any specialized fertilizer for orchids.

    Please have a look at the pictures and give me your expert opinion? How much time should I wait before I start seeing any results? And how frequently should I water and fertilize?





    Any other comments and advice is highly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
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    Hi Johnny,

    In my opinion, I am not sure the perlite is the best choice for semi hydro. The medium in s/h is key to this type of culture. The medium needs to provide good capillary action to keep the material uniformly moist and be inert so that it doesn't breakdown over time. But it should also provide lots of free air space.

    The perlite in your photo shows very small pieces of perlite. If you are going to use perlite for semi-hydro you might consider using 3/4 or at the minimum 1/2 inch chunks. Also, perlite will breakdown over time and compress. This will limit air movement to the roots of your orchid.

    There are many here in this community who use s/h and perhaps can offer alternatives to the perlite you have chosen. (You might even consider using small lava rock if that is available in your part of the world.)

    Please others weigh-in. I have only three or four plants growing in this culture, so my experience with it is limited.

    Cheers,
    BD

  3. #3
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    I agree with Bruce. The size of the pieces is very small and since perlite is very lightweight, I would worry about stability of the plant as well as aeration.

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    This is the only Perlite size that was available....as for stability, contrary to what you see, the plants are more stable then when they were potted using a bark mix.

    I have 12 small holes drilled above the reservoir level for drainage, i can drill more above for better air movement if you think it's better.

    Thanks for your time.

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    I totally agree with Bruce on plant material, plus I see you have planted the tree too deep in this pot, able to be maked orchid to die and roots ugly and ability has increased the danger due to evaporation of water of the leaves is difficult

  6. #6
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    I have heard of perlite being used for S/H, but don't know how successful it was. I also think that the plants are buried too deeply in the medium. Since perlite holds water, maybe you could mix it with medium sized gravel to allow more air at the roots? I also put in a couple of chunks of charcoal to "sweeten" the medium.

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    Quote Originally Posted by delilah View Post
    I have heard of perlite being used for S/H, but don't know how successful it was. I also think that the plants are buried too deeply in the medium. Since perlite holds water, maybe you could mix it with medium sized gravel to allow more air at the roots? I also put in a couple of chunks of charcoal to "sweeten" the medium.
    can charcoal be used with medium for S/H? I am trying to look for Leca or Hydroton...any substitutions for them?

    Thanks.

  8. #8
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    I have found Diatomite works great! Basically for any thick rooted orchid that likes moderate to dry conditions. It supplies nutrients, never breaks down, its reusable, and provides stability. I love it! Cattleyas love it, too.

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    It comes in rock form. It's a great replacment for Leca and Hydroton.

  10. #10
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    I find hard to find Diatomite in NYC. I wanted t try it. But i feel sphagnum or coconut chips would work better than perlite. Anyway I think some use coco chips for hydroponic gardening. It may work. or you could try lava rock

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