Mini phals in bark or moss???
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Old 04-02-2019, 08:19 AM
Jodsbods19 Jodsbods19 is offline
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Location: Morisset, NSW Australia
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Mini phals in bark or moss??? Female
Default Mini phals in bark or moss???

Hi there!

Iím a newbie, with a dwindling orchid collection- from 13 phals I am now down to 8 (a long, sad story).

Anyway the three newest are beautiful no ID mini Phals. Their buds were beginning to blast (going yellow and wrinkly), so I have reported them out of the moss plug they were in. The roots are pretty good.

After reading on here that bark is the best media for phals I used orchiata medium bark for them, and put them in proper orchid pots, being careful not to over pot.

But they have dried out soooo quickly!! Iíve had problems with Mold so I have a little fan near them for airflow. I read on here to leave them for a week before watering, but many of the roots had gone wrinkly and dry after 4 days.

So I guess my question is should I leave them in bark or put them into Sphagnum moss? The pots are really small.

Canít tell you much about my environmental conditions, as I am waiting for my thermometers with humidity readers to arrive. The temps are probably in the range of 17-25 degrees centigrade, and the humidity outside (according to my weather app) is around 90%.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-02-2019, 09:06 AM
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Ray Ray is offline
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Mini phals in bark or moss??? Male

You have described very well why nobody can give you a definitive answer on which is better:

►The plants have certain needs; in this case it's constant moisture but with lots of free air movement to the root system.

►How that is achieved depends upon many factors that are unique to your growing conditions and your ability to water the plants.

While some folks may do absolutely great with phalaenopsis in Orchiata, obviously it's too dry for you, under your current overall regimen, but let me throw out a couple of more cultural factors that may influence your decision:
  • Orchids should not be watered on a schedule; they need water when they need water. Different media - or blends of them - provide different retention properties.
  • They do not need to dry out between waterings if the medium is sufficiently airy (but they can, for a short while).
  • There is no need to blast a fan on the plants. "Air movement" ought to be gentle and tumbling in the overall area (think a slight summer breeze in a meadow), not wind directly on them.
I will also add that buds blasting may be due to factors other than the potting medium and watering (although letting them get bone dry will do that).
Ray Barkalow, Orchid Iconoclast
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Last edited by Ray; 04-02-2019 at 09:09 AM..
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:32 AM
Mountaineer370 Mountaineer370 is offline
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Mini phals in bark or moss??? Female

As Ray pointed out, Orchiata is a very fast-drying medium. Still, for me, it works out. I have all of my Phals in medium Orchiata. A few new minis I recently got will be repotted when they're ready into small Orchiata. My house is very dry in the wintertime, so I am watering about every other day. My collection is small, and I enjoy caring for my plants, so I really don't mind, but I can see where that might be difficult, depending on your individual circumstances. If I wasn't up to watering as often as I do, I would probably pot mine in a mixture of bark chips, medium Perlite and/or charcoal, and a bit of sphagnum moss. Many vendors out there sell such a mix commercially.

Also, about the mold you mention. Are you sure it is mold? Orchiata is coated with dolomite (contains calcium and magnesium) in its final stages of processing. It can leave a bit of a whitish coating on some of the bark pieces. It's normal and should not be washed off.
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:38 PM
aliceinwl aliceinwl is offline
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Mini phals in bark or moss??? Female

You can tweak things. Putting them in a faster drying media may negate the need for the fan. I use small grade orchiata for my Phals in clear plastic slotted pots (I use 3 inch diameter for the minis). If pots tend to dry out too fast, Iíll put the plastic pot inside a terra cotta pot or loosely fitting ceramic pot (if the pot doesnít breath, you want to make sure thereís a bit of room so that it doesnít form a tight seal and limit air in the root zone). By playing around, Iíve been able to get mine to a point where I just water most weekly.

I will say that Iíve seen amazing plants from people growing in chunkier media: they just water more often. Some people also grow successfully in moss. rePotme Orchid Supplies has some good bark and moss based Phal mixes available, they list the ingredients and proportions so itís relatively easy to copy their formulas with modifications to your personal tastes. Thereís no one size fits all and itís a bit of a juggling act to figure out how to provide the conditions the plants need at a level of effort thatís sustainable for you.
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Old 04-02-2019, 01:18 PM
Tyrfing Tyrfing is offline
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Mini phals in bark or moss??? Male

Also, it seems like Orchiata needs a couple of good soakings to get things going.

I use Power (and even Power+) for phals, and they seems to like it.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:16 AM
Jodsbods19 Jodsbods19 is offline
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Mini phals in bark or moss??? Female

Thanks for the tips. For further clarification, I didnít have the fan blasting them, but I have moved it further away now to see if that helps.

I wasnít waiting for them to dry out, I had read in here that it is good to not water them for a week after repotting, to allow the roots a chance to heal- perhaps this works in some conditions, but not mine.

In this case the buds blasting seems to be from either the inadequate airflow to the roots, or the difference in conditions between the nursery/ikea/my house.

Cheri- sounds like my conditions might be similar to yours, as in my current setup it looks like I will be watering every other day. And, I am certain it was mold, (I work in a lab, and have seen plenty of different molds and fungi) sadly it was the sign that my other orchids were losing roots due to some well-meaning but misguided treatment with hydrogen peroxide, and a short period in a dodgy batch of inaccurately named ďorchid mixĒ.

Thanks again! I will keep tweaking, and find something that works

Aliceinwl, I would love to be able to get some of repotmeís media, but living in Australia, with our strict customs regulations I will have to make my own- Iíve got good bark and Sphagnum moss now, so I can experiment 😊
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Old 04-03-2019, 10:36 AM
ArronOB ArronOB is offline
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Mini phals in bark or moss??? Male

Hi. Im not very far away from you (Killcare area) so I expect our conditions should be pretty similar. I have had great success with rescue phals over the last couple of years. I pot them in a mix of orchid bark and sphagnum moss. The bark predominates but I weave a few strands of moss through, plus I place a few strands on top. The moss is not dense-packed.

When Iím tending to them, if I feel they are staying a bit too moist I just remove the moss strands on top, and if I feel they are drying out too fast I add a little more. I find this dynamic approach allows me to keep the moisture within the desired range very easily.

I use slotted pots - actually I think they are hydroponic pots. Air flows right through the pot and medium fairly easily.

I donít use Ďorchid barkí as such. I just use the fine bark mulch you can buy in Woolworths for $3.99. I sieve it, then soak and age it a bit. I end up with regular little 12mm x 12mm chunks, although somewhat more flattened then I would like. I havenít found any of the so-called orchid bark available at the local nurseries or hardware stores to be of such quality that Iíd risk growing a phal in them. Generally, way too much fines for my liking.

Anyway, it works for me as my small collection of phals are growing and flowering well. Winter temps are the challenge.

Looking at the BOM site, I think Cooranbong would be your nearest weather station. Would your climate be the same as Cooranbong?


Last edited by ArronOB; 04-03-2019 at 10:42 AM..
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Old 05-29-2019, 01:50 PM
CZF CZF is offline

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Mini phals in bark or moss???

I agree with Ray. I was trying to water on a schedule and two things happened. My Phals in small pots were too dry and dehydrated, and my Phals in bigger pots had rotted roots from being too moist.

I like to check the sides of the pots (I use the clear pots) and when I don't see any moisture, I water in a day or two. Seems to be working better
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Old 05-29-2019, 10:32 PM
plantzzzzz plantzzzzz is offline

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Mini phals in bark or moss???

My best success with phals has been in precision orchiata, and except for cattleyas, I pot all the orchids whose survival I'm invested in, in that.

I have two mini phals in moss and they also do well, but I water them less often of course.
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bark, mini, moss, phals, wrinkly

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