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Switching to Semi-Hydro: a repotting pictorial

This is a discussion on Switching to Semi-Hydro: a repotting pictorial within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Ive been experimenting with a couple of different semi-hydro techniques. I tried the " all ...

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  1. #121
    Spirytman's Avatar
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    Ive been experimenting with a couple of different semi-hydro techniques. I tried the " all Leca" method with the holes about an inch from the bottom. Ive tried the "all Leca" method with the holes closer to the bottom and sitting in water up to the drain holes. Now i am trying something I've never seen anyone else do (correct me if i'm wrong).
    I got an idea when I was looking at some orchids on the web in-situ. While i was reading about them I kept reading about airflow and looking at how moist the substrate (moss) looked in the pictures. It got me thinking how could i recreate that in my home orchid shelf? How could i get good airflow and moss and not have to water everyday?
    I took a small orchid (Dendrobium moniliforme) and put it in an old plastic mayo jar. The jar has holes like you would see normally in a plastic pot. Some on the bottom, then some about halfway up (going all the way around.) I then filled the jar about half way with the clay leca pellets. I made sure that they were at or just above the 2nd group of air holes. Then i filled the rest of the jar with Sphag. moss. I put my little den in there and put the jar in a small dish. I fill the dish about once a week just about an 8th of an inch or about 3mm of the bottom. Since the holes are underneath the jar on the bottom, they wick the water up to the moss which in turn stays moist and makes my little den very happy. When i bought it it had four canes. Now i have over 10 canes! As the plant grew its roots pushed down the moss to the holes but it is still thriving. I was so happy that the experiment worked, that i am trying this method on my Den. dichaeoides, Den. obtusipetalum, Masd. pachyura and Pleuro. palliolata. I realize that some of these have different cultures, but i want to see what happens.Name:  DenMonTop.jpg
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  2. #122
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    Interesting idea, the plant looks very happy, so please share with us how it and your others do! I'm considering experimenting with one of my Phals in regular semi-hydro. I've got some Cattleyas doing great in s/h and lots of grocery store Phal rescues I can experiment with...

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    Thanks for the positive feedback! I am pretty happy so far with my results. I will definitely keep you posted with my results. I've personally never had any luck with cats. I had a whole bunch, but they never flowered. I grow all of my mini phals in s/h and they are very happy. Lots of root growth. However, I cannot get them to bloom. It's probably a little too cool in my space. But I don't know. Going to experiment with night temp drops. See if that works.
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  4. #124
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    I've been told that Phals can sulk if their roots are cold and wet, so for some people s/h isn't the best choice, as the evaporation can over cool the roots. My house tends to be pretty warm and dry, so thinking of giving it a try - it does work great for some people. My Catts are pretty happy and have been blooming this year quite well. They are in a Southern window, where it gets pretty hot at times and get a lot of light. They show signs of burning on their leaves too though. I didn't get blooms for a couple of years, but that seems to be over now as they have grown a lot. The ones blooming have at least 7 - 10 pbulbs, it may be a factor of maturity? I'm not an expert on Catts.

    I've had great luck with Phals, at least with keeping them alive and some rebloom for me faithfully, others occasionally. I've been told a drop in temperatures of about 10 degrees will often trigger blooming, maybe you need to warm yours up a bit for a few months, then let them drop? I have one mini that blooms great and two that haven't done so much.

  5. #125
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    I don't think I'd call that culture "semi-hydroponics", but I can tell you that it works pretty well.

    One of the issues with sphagnum is that it becomes too compact with age, so traps water well and suffocates the roots. By putting sphagnum on top of LECA, and letting the LECA wick water up to the moss, then wick throughout it, the tendency to become compact is greatly reduced or slowed..

  6. #126
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    Thanks for clarifying Ray. I am happy that someone else out there has thought of this method. It is working pretty well for my dendrobiums. I guess I would call it "semi- Semi-hydroponic" lol. I enjoy tinkering to find the best methods that work in my home.

    The next thing I think I will attempt is to use a non degrading replacement for the sphagnum moss. Perhaps a synthetic sponge chopped in a blender? What do you think?
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    I don't see why not. I experiment with stuff like this all the time.

    I have a paph in one of my S/H pots containing EcoWeb cubes and vertical strips of a wicking fabric (Aquamat, which is no longer available), and it appears to be working just fine.

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    Hi, my name is John. I was just reading your explanation above about semi-hydroponics and Iím stumped on one thing. How do you grow Dracula orchids this way? Would that then apply to Stanhopea as well? Unless itís a modified version of the standard semi-hydroponic setup, I donít see how it would be possible, although, I would be intrigued if it were. Thank you. 😊 John

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    Unless plants send their inflorescences horizontally over the edge of the pot, and then down, it won't work. Plants that send spikes down through the medium will never successfully bloom.

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    Thanks Ray, I didnít think so.
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