Alan Koch, Gold Country Orchids, DVOS 2017 02 16
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Alan Koch, Gold Country Orchids, DVOS 2017 02 16
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:23 PM
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Leafmite Leafmite is offline
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Alan Koch, Gold Country Orchids, DVOS 2017 02 16

Our Orchid Society purchased our Holiday Orchids from Alan Koch this past November. He sent very nice plants, all within a year or two of blooming. The variety, quality and types he sent were all very good, as was the price he gave us.

---------- Post added at 06:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:22 PM ----------

Great information!
I decorate in green!
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Old 02-19-2017, 01:38 AM
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Alan Koch, Gold Country Orchids, DVOS 2017 02 16 Male

Great information, thanks so much for your skills and efforts, ES!

Yeah, Alan's a great guy, fine grower and knowledgeable... except in emails he'll hardly fork over information apparently LOL

I've ordered quite a few plants from him and they've pretty much all done very well in my less than ideal conditions. I think the biggest plus is with his breeding program he really makes extra effort to "weed out" the weak and intolerant growers and puts the best genetics into his crosses, and this information backs this all up.
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Old 02-19-2017, 10:22 AM
MrHappyRotter MrHappyRotter is offline
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Alan Koch, Gold Country Orchids, DVOS 2017 02 16 Male

Originally Posted by estación seca View Post
Of course purer water is better. [...]
Just to be clear, I'm not saying his cultural recommendations are bad; I'm providing some context & commentary for a few of the items that aren't so cut and dry.

It's easy for folks who are just starting on their orchid journey
to take every word of an expert's advice as gospel, so to speak, when in reality, there are lots of successful strategies for growing. Discussing some of the finer points can be helpful for newer growers to help discern what might be applicable for them, versus the recommendations that are geared towards large, commercial growers.

Also, any time I hear or read very specific facts being applied in a very general context, I get skeptical, so I'm always curious to hear more about such claims. For instance "orchid roots absorb everything they can in 25 minutes." Orchids are such a large and diverse family of plants, so without having seen the research to evaluate it, I'm immediately wondering how someone would arrive at that number and how it was determined to apply to all orchids. Then it begs the question, how soon does that reset? How can it apply equally to, let's say, a Phragmipedium hybrid that sits in water and a Laelia species that needs its roots to dry out very quickly between watering? Is it possible that different potting media (or lack thereof) would play a role in nutrient absorption. What role does pH play in this if any? Stuff like that. Similarly on the topic of pH, different plants/species/populations have different needs, different mixes have different pH and buffering capacity, so it's a complex issue. That's not saying any of this advice & information isn't helpful, just that it'd be nice to see what research it's based on.
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Old 02-20-2017, 02:54 AM
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Alan Koch, Gold Country Orchids, DVOS 2017 02 16

Very good summary. The dry fertilizing and flushing after high tds water warrants some experimentation. Especially since it is a pain to filter water all the time.
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Old 05-21-2017, 11:46 AM
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pH is very important, particularly when you start growing "terrestrial" orchids.

There's a reason why Paphiopedilums in the section Brachypetalum and most species in the section Parvisepalum, as well as some other random Paph species in other sections "like lime in their water". There's only 1 Parvi Paph that I can think of that may naturally grow on granite, and would therefore prefer an acidic pH for a potting medium - Paphiopedilum delenatii, (which is most likely why many people don't have a problem growing this particular species).

For those who don't know, the above mentioned Paphs are actually lithophytes growing on karst limestone hills or cliff faces.

Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and southern China are where those Paphs are found growing. These places are full of limestone hills and cliffs.

Limestone has an alkaline pH.

I will reiterate - Paph delenatii is the only Parvi Paph, (to my knowledge), that is an outlier in the section! They grow on granite outcrops and like a potting medium with an acidic pH.

I felt like this was important to mention. Just saying that they needed lime in the water is only half of the story. The other half many people don't see is the limestone hills and limestone cliff part.

Brassavola nodosa has also been found growing as a lithophyte and an epiphyte, by the way. It is not a strict epiphyte.

I tend to agree with MrHappyRotter. I don't quite understand why Alan Koch is detailed in some respects, and just glosses over some of the reasons as to why the orchids are the way they are in some other cases.

Perhaps, to go into too much detail may be off the main topic of understanding the parentage of a hybrid in order to grow them? Who knows?

It is not to discredit his information. On the contrary, his information is very important. But I feel sometimes, it is not the "full story". It is missing some context

---------- Post added at 08:46 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:56 AM ----------


I don't recommend 700 ppm TDS water to be used for watering Disas, especially when you don't know what the contents of your water is. That's just a bad idea.

And like I mentioned in the past, TDS totally sucks in telling you what the composition of the dissolved solids in the water are. That's why it is called Total Dissolved Solids. It is not concerned about the specific solids that are dissolved in the water.

I'm assuming that when he gave the talk and when he said it was ok to use water that was 700 ppm in TDS, he wasn't referring to plants such as Disa, Diuris, Caladenia, Pterostylis, or Thelymitra. If he was including plants like these, then I think it is a gross over generalization.

It also cannot be assumed that everyone's water is going to be roughly the same pH. The source of the water does matter. Some well water may have a slightly alkaline pH, (around pH 8.0 - 9.0), due to the minerals dissolved in it. Rainwater or river water, again, depending on the source, may be more acidic in pH, (around pH 5.0 - 6.5). Many people's water coming out of a sink is probably closer to neutral pH, (around pH 7.0). In general, when pH is between 5.5 and 7.0, that is when nutrients dissolved in the water starts to become more bioavailable for most plants due to enzymatic processes. Keep in mind that there are certain species of orchids that are outliers in regards to the ideal range of pH for enzymatic processes for nutrient availability to occur.

Please remember that pH is a logarithmic function, not a linear one. While the pH of the potting media may affect the pH of the water used to water the orchids with, because pH is a logarithmic function, that effect may be somewhat minimal/negligible. Therefore, if you are going to alter the pH of the water, it is best to treat the water prior to watering the orchids.

It can then be said that if you are going to be concerned about the pH of the potting media or the pH of the water, you must test for pH with the proper pH meters.

Some pH meters can be quite pricey! Some of the lab grade, professional pH meters cost well over $1,000!!! The hobby level pH meters can also be quite expensive as well, with some getting to be between $100 - $300. There are inexpensive pH meters available too. Just letting people know that pH meters come in a wide range of prices, types, and availability.

Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 05-21-2017 at 03:07 PM..
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Old 01-25-2020, 01:17 PM
COCatts COCatts is offline
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Alan Koch, Gold Country Orchids, DVOS 2017 02 16 Male

GREAT notes on a variety of orchids and general growing tips here. Well done!
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Old 01-26-2020, 11:16 PM
thefish1337 thefish1337 is offline
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Alan Koch, Gold Country Orchids, DVOS 2017 02 16

Originally Posted by Orchid Whisperer View Post
Loads of great information. Thanks for compiling it!

Like others, I have a comment. For the average home grower, with anything resembling a budget, a reliable pH meter is an expensive luxury. The cheapest I've ever seen, that I would even remotely trust, are > $250. Most are $500/- $700. If it does not have calibration to two (minimum) standard pH buffers, and automatic temperature correction, I would not trust the meter. The $25 jobs on ebay I would also not trust. pH paper, or test kits with liquid reagents (pool supply or aquarium shop), are "good enough" and less costly for most of us. pH readings with paper or kits, to the nearest integer or half integer, are usually sufficient for making decisions.
I will second this post. If you are using low fertilizer amounts and your water is fairly pure many cheap pH meters wont work well due to the low conductivity of the water. Wasted 75 bucks on a pH meter that sucks. I took a water sample and tested it side by side with the pH meter we use at work... needless to say I paid for garbage.
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