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  #1  
Old 07-24-2018, 12:40 PM
dave77 dave77 is offline
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Why do so many orchid sellers sell plants planted in moss. I have had to tell many friends, when there plants start to fail, how to repot their orchids. I am sure sellers do it on purpose, thinking people will buy more, when all it does is put them off. I have grown orchids for a few years, some of them over ten years old, They are the easiest plants to keep and grow, and suppliers should be told to stop conning people. regards David
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Old 07-24-2018, 12:52 PM
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Spagnum moss works great in many conditions, including nurseries and my house.
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Old 07-24-2018, 01:04 PM
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In my limited experience, few orchids arrive in potted solely moss. I agree that it is a trickier medium to use than the usual bark and I have struggled to get to grips with the correct technique for watering it. Some orchids like to be wetter than others and for these moss is useful but I've started to re-pot any that are in moss to a 50:50 moss/bark mix to try and reduce the overwatering that is so easy to do. It appears to have helped.

What I really don't like, though it's extremely common, is where nurseries don't remove the medium that the plants were first grown in. A lot of the time that's moss but I even came across one orchid that had a small net pot with what looked like peat inside. In every case, any roots that had been in this medium had died.

But I think we have to accept that the vast majority of orchids that are sold are not expected to be kept by the buyer once the flowers have faded. A £5-£10 Phal from a supermarket or garage forecourt will be lucky if it survives more than a couple of months before being thrown away. However we may dislike it, they're as much a consumable item as a cabbage so there's little incentive for the wholesalers to do the best job. Specialist nurseries ought to be a different matter because they do want to returning customers and positive feedback to keep going.

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Old 07-24-2018, 02:48 PM
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NZ sphagnum moss gets a bad reputation due to the state roots are in when buying from a grocery or big box store but it is a really good medium when used correctly and it actually helps to stimulate root growth.
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Old 07-24-2018, 03:36 PM
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Thanks for your reply. I have been growing my orchids for years in just coconut husks with great success. I never have trouble with drainage. I water my orchids every week on a Sunday morning feeding them every time, except on the fourth week when I just run clean water through to wash out any excess salts etc. my orchids are always in flower, when one branch fades another starts to grow.
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Old 07-24-2018, 09:06 PM
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Using what works best for you is the key to success.
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Old 07-25-2018, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafmite View Post
Using what works best for you is the key to success.
Yep.
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Old 07-27-2018, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave77 View Post
Why do so many orchid sellers sell plants planted in moss. I have had to tell many friends, when there plants start to fail, how to repot their orchids. I am sure sellers do it on purpose, thinking people will buy more, when all it does is put them off. I have grown orchids for a few years, some of them over ten years old, They are the easiest plants to keep and grow, and suppliers should be told to stop conning people. regards David
I wonder why too... can't tell you how many times i've received orchids from vendors that are packed with smelly, rotted moss.
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Old 07-27-2018, 02:32 PM
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A large-scale nursery needs to be economical with its labor costs. Sphagnum is very easy to pot with, making that step quick and simple. Then, after that, it is good at holding water, yet still dries out readily in a commercial greenhouse - which it may not do readily in a home.

You'll note that in most cases, the sphagnum is tightly compressed in the pot. That serves to minimize the porosity, which is where moss stores most of its water. It's analogous to squeezing a sponge - the material itself is still moist, but the spaces in between empty quickly as it dries.
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Old 07-27-2018, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafmite View Post
Using what works best for you is the key to success.
+2

I have grown both cattleyas and phals in straight sphag with success though usually I use different media. One's growing conditions and watering makes all the difference. If using straight sphag, I do find it helpful NOT to pack it tightly. A fluffier, airy sphag fill can work quite well. That said, I do think for the average newbie, it is not the best media to use.

As to why nurseries use it ...
As Ray mentioned, in their conditions it works well. When watering their plants, nurseries do not necessarily drench/soak their plants. The watering the plants receive dampens the media but doesn't leave it saturated. Having the sphag packed tight makes it unlikely the center of the pot will be wet at all as it would take too much time for the water to seep in. Instead, only the outer layer of the sphag winds up wetted.
Furthermore, there is the issue of the BBSs/markets which will be selling the plants. Sphag -- unless it is saturated -- is quite light which lowers shipping costs. At the same time, when packed tight, it does an admirable job keeping the orchid in the pot. Once at the seller's shop, the nursery has no way of knowing how much care -- if any -- the seller will allot for the plants. Damp sphag can hold enough water to maintain the plant for sometime ... hopefully long enough for a buyer to make the purchase.

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