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This is a discussion on Semi-Hydro when done correctly within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Thanks Magnus, exactly that is what I do I double potting, the inner pot has ...
Gurj, the blackening and dying is not because of the SH, it is because of mechanical damage caused during repotting. Orchids produce a lot of phenolic compounds when wounded which turn black on oxidation. This is also a major problem during tissue culture, the media becomes black due to the phenolics that the explant exudates, thats why activated charcoal is added to media that binds the phenolics. Anyways coming back to the point, SH and conventional culture with bark are like comparing apples with peaches, both having their pros and cons. With SH everything else is taken care of by the LECA that you have just worry about the water quality and that is the exact parameter you are leaving out, thats why you have the problems, just get that parameter right and you are good to go.
That wonderful Amey I'm not confident in doing that in my place I noticed some orchid growers end up with stunted nearly died and the roots is not progressed but yours really fantastic they responded very well in your environment are you in India or still in Europe ?
I can't invest into a mechanism for improving the water quality. Hence, I have decided to go back to the normal way of potting up. I spent all afternoon re-potting my orchids from SH to bark based mix. So disappointed and the 6 past months I was expecting to have better orchid growth. The whole uproar of SH was too much and I just believed it, was my shortcoming. I can only pray that the orchids that went through the phases forgive me and put out new growth. If at all I can afford a water filter system to eliminate the compounds that hinder water quality, then I might give it another go. I don't doubt your advice regarding water quality but I spray the same water on them, I mist them. But as the roots touch the clay balls, they go brown. Whatever the case, SH is not meant for me.
Oh Gurj, you gave up too quickly ! A small RO unit is not at all costly considering the about of time, and money you would spend in repotting. Also if your water has a lot of sodium used to make it soft, it is not good for your health in the long run either. Small RO units making anywhere between 30-50 litres of RO water are sufficient for your purpose of drinking and watering your orchids, since you can mix it with normal water. It also consumes minimal amount of electricity since it is membrane filtration.
I'm sorry Amey, just couldn't see them going through such ordeal. Well, finances are so tight since I was made redundant. We depend on a regular filter though.
Zain, as I mentioned before, it is all about the timing and changing the conditions slowly for the plants like Phals. And especially the water quality. If the water is hard or with a lot of dissolved solutes then the plants will die slowly. These plants are here with me in Germany, but I have had the same success in India.