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  • 2 Post By Ryan.Walsh
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  • 1 Post By raybark

First time S/H - help needed!

This is a discussion on First time S/H - help needed! within the Semi Hydro / Lights / Greenhouses / Accessories forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; So... this is my poor celogyne cristata. The condition is very bad (as far as ...

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  1. #1
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    Question First time S/H - help needed!

    So... this is my poor celogyne cristata. The condition is very bad (as far as I can tel). Almost all the roots are dead and it seems to me that the plant too?!?! It is in this condition for 6 months now and nothing helps.
    So I decided to put it in Semi Hydro, but don`t know will it help and is it right? Isn`t it too wet?
    I am confused...

    Attachment 61184Attachment 61185

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    I don’t know it will help you. I am facing same issue as compare to yours. Can someone prefer more efficient hydroponic nutrients for us?

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    I can't really tell from the picture the actual condition of the plant but I can make a few suggestions based on Coelogyne alliance preferences and my experience with S/H. First of all, your pot has way too many holes in it. The additional holes at the top and middle of the pot are actually allowing the media to dry out quicker which is somewhat defeating the purpose of s/h. A s/h should only have a couple of holes an inch (2.5 cm) or so from the bottom to create the reservoir. The media then wicks water and nutrients up from that reservoir. The addition of holes above this dry out the leca media which is counterproductive in s/h. Also most of the Coelogyne alliance likes really high humidity, 60%+. If you are getting brown leaf tips it's because your humidity is too low. They really sulk in low humidity environments. It's very typical for the original roots to rot when transplanting to s/h but they should then be replaced by roots tailored to that growing environment. If your plant hasn't grown any new roots, and your humidity is low, the plant is simply losing too much moisture and not able to compensate.

    Personally I would transfer it to a new s/h pot with only holes at the bottom as I mentioned. This will give you a chance to inspect the roots and see if all of those are actually dead. Roots that are dead are squishy and can be removed. Transferring it to a new pot at this point won't really disturb the plant if there aren't any roots to begin with. Providing bottom heat will greatly increase root production also. You can buy seedling heat mats at this time of year at most garden centers. These will increase the temperatures at the roots by about 10F (12C). Although C. cristata is a cool grower during winter, at this point you want some root growth and the bottom heat will help accomplish that.

    As far as fertilizer recs go, any hydro fertilizer will be acceptable for the most part. Typically you will want a fertilizer higher in N and K (first and third letter on the label). Hydroponic fertilizers are formulated complete with both macro and micro nutrients in order to supply everything the plant needs. Commercial growers typically fertilizer based on the parts per million (ppm) of nitrogen (N). You can calculate the ppm of nitrogen needed (typically 100-150 for orchids) by multiplying the desired ppm of nitrogen x the number of gallons of fertilizer desired. Then multiple the nitrogen content of the fertilizer (on the label) by 75. Divide the first number by the second number to get the ounces of fertilizer that you need to add to get your desired amount of solution.

    For example I use an MSU-type fertilizer with a N of 12 and fertilize at a rate of 125 ppm of N. To make 1 gallon of fertilizer the calculation is as follows:

    125(ppm) x 1 (gallon) = 125
    12 (label N) x 75 = 900
    125/900 = 0.1388 oz/gallon

    If you are using a dry fertilizer you can then convert to grams by multiplying ounces by 28 (28 grams in an ounce). So:

    0.1388 x 28 = 3.88 g

    Hope this helped.

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    Thanks “Ryan.Walsh” for reply, it’s an informative reply for us. N-P-K this are the main nutrient of the plant. But there are some nutrient and fertilizer in market which have the balanced ratio of N-P-K. Can you give some tips regarding some nutrient and fertilizers product?

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    Ryan.Walsh is offline Junior Member
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    Regarding the products, like I said pretty much any complete hydroponic fertilizer with high N and K should give you good results. There is some debate amongst the orchid circles about the effects of high K in fertilizers but I haven't read any literature that backed their claims. Most scientific orchid research I've read suggests 100+ N with 150+ K and a lower amount of P. Personally the MSU type fertilizers have been tested and used by multiple growers with very good results. It's against forum rules to recommend any specific retailer but a google search for Michigan State University orchid fertilizer should put you on the right track. The MSU fertilizer certainly isn't the end all be all in orchid fertilization though. Most hydroponic and orchid fertilizers will be just fine for the typical home grower. Apply the fertilizer in s/h around 100-200 ppm N as I outlined above and your should be just fine.

    As a side note, optimizing fertilizers should really come after the conditions are optimized. If your plants are struggling due to poor culture, there is very little an optimized fertilizer regimen is going to do. Struggling orchids will do just fine with 50 ppm N because the nutrients needs of the plant aren't very high when the plant is barely growing.

    Hope this helps.

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    It can be disappointing, I was in a similar situation with SH. If there is a rooting issue then I'd suggest no fertiliser to start with because, you'd end up with a burnt out orchid. I'd tackle the problem with plain water first and moisture issues.

    Are you sure it is not winter dormant? I can't see anything above your pot to analyze the leaves. It might spring back to life in its growing period.

    Once you see roots forming then you an go ahead with fertilising. If SH is not working out then put the plant in bark. No roots means no water, keep the bark moist and wait for new roots to emerge. Don't soak the plant. Let us know what you'd like to do.

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    As the developer of the S/H culture technique, and likely the person with the most experience, I will throw in my two cents with a bit of background and an alternate remedial approach.

    Plants should be moved into S/H conditions when they are just beginning to grow new roots, as those roots will "tailor" themselves to the new conditions; we expect the old roots to die. Moving a plant into the culture technique when that's not under way is asking for trouble.

    If the evaporative cooling from the open, airy, moist medium chills the root zone, new roots are not going to grow. Moving the plant back to bark may lessen the evaporation, hence cooling, but by itself does not necessarily make for a better environment.

    If your goal is to grow the plant in S/H culture, to get it to recover, set the pot on a heat source, boosting the root zone temperature to 75°-85°F (24°-30°C) or so. Seedling heat mats are commonly used for that, but almost anything can be utilized. The idea is to boost the plant's metabolic rate by warming, but do so preferentialy in the root zone, so that is where the plant expends its energy.

    I agree that fertilizer is of little use at this point - you need roots and active growth before that becomes necessary - but if you can get hold of some auxin-containing supplement, like K-L-N, SuperThrive, or a seaweed extract like KelpMax or Kelpak, it can add to the stimulation of root growth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan.Walsh View Post
    Regarding the products, like I said pretty much any complete hydroponic fertilizer with high N and K should give you good results. There is some debate amongst the orchid circles about the effects of high K in fertilizers but I haven't read any literature that backed their claims. Most scientific orchid research I've read suggests 100+ N with 150+ K and a lower amount of P. Personally the MSU type fertilizers have been tested and used by multiple growers with very good results. .......

    Hope this helps.
    It’s great tips about hydroponic fertilizer and really it’s helpful for us.

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