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  #1  
Unread 12-21-2009, 09:33 AM
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Default Moss or Bark

I'm a novice who went to our local orchid show where I was told that the moss soil for a phalaenopsis I have was a bit of a weakness in that the retention of water it allows can be dangerous for the well being of the plant. I therefore bought bark at the show, replaced the moss and now find that the bark dries out so quickly that I'm watering twice a week instead of once. The orchid lost leaves before I realised this.
Would a combinatrion of the two- moss and bark be preferable?
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  #2  
Unread 12-21-2009, 10:03 AM
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First of all, welcome! I was born and raised on the "other side" (the US side of the river).

All of my Phals are in bark and, yes, a couple need watering daily. The idea is to water when the roots turn back to a whitish color. When they are greenish colored, don't water.

It is possible to grow Phals in sphagnum - lots of folks here do. But if this is your first try, you may have better luck with bark. You'll need to ferilize more often with bark as well as more water, but the advantage is there is less likelihood of root rot.
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  #3  
Unread 12-21-2009, 10:15 AM
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Ross is right, basically either go with coarse bark and water them often, or go with sphagnum and water them less. I don't like to mix the two, the acidity of the sphagnum breaks down the bark faster and it goes off quicker.

If you want a good medium ground, then use sphagnum moss mixed with chunks of styrofoam, perlite, clay balls, or something else where you would normally use the bark.

I had the opposite experience to Ross, i had bad luck with using bark and only started growing Phals well when i switched to sphagnum.
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  #4  
Unread 12-21-2009, 11:05 AM
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same here, i have phals i both medias - and my spag-chids are doing better then the ones i have in bark.
Want to put all my phal in spag - but have more then 25 phals at this moment - and cant afford so much spag.

But if you use a 50/50 bark and coco husk, you may need to water less - the cocohusk can hold a lot of water.
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Unread 12-21-2009, 11:18 AM
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Erce you should think about S/H - cheaper than sphag in the long run and the growth rate is as good or better.
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Unread 12-21-2009, 11:20 AM
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i think it a bit to cold here to use the S/H - got some cheap hybrids in it, and they seem to do nothing compaird to the other chids - but thinking of getting bottomheat - that might help
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  #7  
Unread 12-21-2009, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Undergrounder View Post
I had the opposite experience to Ross, i had bad luck with using bark and only started growing Phals well when i switched to sphagnum.
I'm also in the sphag camp here, and started to have real success with my species Phals (five of them) when I switched to moss. They really took off, new growth and bloom spikes all over the place. As others have pointed out, though, you need to be especially careful with watering, or the moss can turn into a constantly soggy mess that drowns and suffocates roots. I wait till the top of the moss is dry to the touch (almost crispy) before I water. I've also found that slotted pots or baskets are much better if you want to use moss; they help the roots get air and dry out a bit between watering. One more caution: when potting them up, less is more. Don't use a lot of moss, and pot the plants fairly loosely. Stake them or use a rhizome clip if you have to, until new roots attach themselves to the pot walls.
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  #8  
Unread 12-21-2009, 04:01 PM
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I agree with Undergrounder with trying S/H. It is quite cool where I am at and am having great success with Phals, Catts, and a few vandaceous. I have grown in sphag and bark before. If you do not want to give S/H a try. With plastic pots 4 inches and under pure loose sphag is good. 5 inch pots and over I would go with a bark mix or sphag on top of styrofoam peanuts.
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  #9  
Unread 12-21-2009, 05:56 PM
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Thank you all for your suggestions
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  #10  
Unread 12-21-2009, 06:35 PM
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I, personally, set up all my orchids so I can just water them everyday. My phals are in a mixture of bark and moss in a clay orchid pot outside where they get plenty of air movement. Their happy as a pig in you-know-what.
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