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  • DIY - guide to orchid propagation!

    Ok, time to share my journey into orchid propagation

    It all started a month after I got my first orchid last year, where I pollinated (selfed) without knowing ANYTHING about the rest of the process - kind of a shoot first, ask later mentality here..

    Well I'm glad I pollinated then since I've now had 9 months to do a lot of research. Actually that was how I found this great place, and I owe most of the knowledge I've build up until now to the users here. In this case particualry to McAll-knowing (Julie) - again thanks for that e-book!

    My approach to the propagation has been that it should be entirely in a DIY fasion - no lab equipment etc. just ordinary household equipment and ingredients.

    Ok here we go then!

    To start of I'll try to show how I prepared medium and sterlized the jars for seed sowing. This I already posted once a while ago but I think it will better to have it all gathered here :

    First of the potato recipe:

    1 Liter of rain water (aprox. 4.2 cups)
    300 grams of grated or blended potato with peel (aprox. 10.5 Oz)
    25 grams of honey (Aprox. 0,85 Oz)
    7-8 grams af Agar (Aprox. 0,25-0,3 Oz)
    Citric acid for adjusting pH
    Orchid fertilizer same amount as you use when watering This should include micro nutrients!
    A bit of banana

    Now to the pictorial:


    After this you take out a small sample, let it cool down a bit to around body temperature measuring pH in to hot sollutions may give false readings, and measure the pH level (I bought some indicator strips online..). The medium should at this point be around pH 6-7 and the goal is getting it to be around pH 5,5.
    This is done be adding a little bit of citric acid (or plain lemon juice) to the medium in the pot, taking out a new small sample that is measured when at body temperature. Eventually you will get there If you can get hold of an electric pH meter it will make the process much more simple..

    After I took these pics I found a good method for sowing that require that you drill a small hole in the lid of the jar/flasks and make a plug of silicone in this hole

    I've also tried another recipe that is based on the following:

    1 Liter of rain water (aprox. 4.2 cups)
    25 grams of honey (Aprox. 0,85 Oz)
    Orchid fertilizer same amount as you use when watering This should include micro nutrients!
    ½ multi vitamin pill
    7-8 grams af Agar (Aprox. 0,25-0,3 Oz)

    The procedure is more or less the same as above:
    1. Get water to boil
    2. Stir in ingredients and let simmer for 2 mins.
    3. Adjust pH using citric acid

    Now to the sterilization part..
    For this you will need a pressure cooker - I don't have one so I improvised using a large pot, a ring of silicone and the weights from my dumbbells. For you own safety don't use this method unless you feel REALLY sure what you are doing!! A pressure cooker is on my wishlist now btw

    First you place your jars or flasks inside the pressure cooker, and make sure they are lifted a bit of the bottom by whatever means
    The lids of the jars should be placed gently on top, not screwed on! If air is not able to get out you might risk a sudden POP inside the pot when the pressure gets high enough.
    You should also make sure that the lid will not get sucked on the the jar when things start to cool or you will get a negative pressure that will try to suck in air and thereby spores and bacterial!
    Here's my set up:

    Note the silicone plug in the lid of this jar

    Now you turn on the heat with the lid of the pressure cooker just resting on top. When the water boils you fasten the lid, and let it cook at max pressure for half an hour before you turn of the heat.

    EDIT: Picture removed for safety reasons

    Again, don't use the method I'm showing unless you are really sure of what you are doing! You could get injured!

    You should let the pressure cooker cool completely down to room temperature before you open it very carefully and quickly screw on the lids! You can cover the lid and top of the jar/flask with aluminum foil to further prevent infection(You can see this in pics further below).
    Now you leave the jars/flasks alone for a week or two to check if they're sterile - and trust me you'll know if they aren't...

    Time to start sowing
    I'll get right to it..
    First of all you need a mature seed pod: Here it's my noid selfed phal from last year!

    Then you'll need:

    1. syringe and scalpel
    2. small amount of RO or rain water in a small cup or glass
    3. 5 grams of sugar (aprox. 0.2 Oz)
    4. 1 deciliter of RO or rain water (aprox. 0.45 cups)

    Dissolve the 5 grams of sugar in the 1 deciliter of water

    Cut of the seed pod - remember to make a drum roll here! It's been sitting there for so long..

    Split open the pod using your scalpel. (I found out afterwards that it's easier to get out th seeds if you cut the pod in three our four pieces..)

    Scrape the seeds in to the glass of water and shake it violently - jumping is allowed. This will separate the seeds from the "packing peanuts" (the mass you can see semi-floating in the middle)

    Get out your syringe(s) and suck up some seeds!

    Push out the water by simple allowing the seeds to settle on the bottom and gently push the piston.

    Now suck up some of the sugar water you prepared earlier, and leave the syringe for 12-24 hours.
    This step is nessesary to wake up any spores or bacteria that might be in their "resting" state, since they can be VERY resistant to even high temperatures when not actively growing. Picture the sugar sollution as having a church bell in you room to wake you up in the morning...

    12 hours later, take out the rest of your stuff:

    5. jars/flasks with sterlized medium that have rested for 2 weeks
    6. needles for the syringes
    7. your two syringes with seeds in sugarwater (rested for 12 hours here)
    8. 3% peroxide sollution and a small glass

    Now you push out the sugar water as you did with the ordinary water earlier

    Here is the sterilization part of the seeds!
    You suck up some peroxide from the small glass. Al ot of small bubbles will start forming, and you need to get those out!
    To du this you put your finger in front of the tip of the syringe and start compressing the sollution with the piston, this is followed by a negative pressure by pulling the piston (be careful here! I pulled to hard on one syringe and spilled all the seeds in it.. IM SO GLAD I HAD TWO! otherwise it would be 9 months of waiting wasted..). While you make the negative pressure tap the syringe with your nail, to make the bubbles gather in the top where they can be pushed out.
    This is done every 5 minutes for half an hour. Then you are done sterilizing!


    You now take out you jars/flasks and sterilize the silicone plug with a bit of rubbing alcohol. Attatch the needle to the syringe (if this needle is not sterile, before using it, you should suck some rubbing alcohol through it, and wipe the outside with alcohol to). Shake the syringe to get the seeds dispersed in the peroxide, then stick the needle through the silicone plug, and push out as many seeds in each jar as you like and tilt the jars/flasks to disperse the seeds on the medium. There is no problem in sowing the seeds floating in peroxide since this turns in to water and oxygen.
    Between each jar you can again sterilize the needle by wiping it with rubbing alcohol - just to be on the safe side .

    Each hole you punched in the silicone plugs, should now be sealed by either a piece of tape or a small amount of silicone.

    YOU ARE NOW DONE SOWING! SIT BACK, RELAX, BRING OUT THE CHAMPAGNE - or whatever you want.. Now there's at least a couple of months of waiting time ahead before you will see if your seed are viable!

    And this concludes my progress at this point. The seeds were sown og the 06. July and I'm still waiting.

    Please note that these types of medium that I have described here may not result in high germination rates, and may not even be able to support the seedlings till they are ready to be deflasked. If you are very serious about your propagation, you should by proffesional medium. This is meant as a toutorial for you guys who are just doing it for the plain fun of it or the experience - like me


    Learn more about orchids and flasking orchids in the OrchidTalk Orchid Forum
    This article was originally published in forum thread: DIY - guide to orchid propagation! started by Korxi View original post
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