Why I think bark is the worst media for orchids
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  #31  
Old 02-17-2021, 10:45 AM
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Why I think bark is the worst media for orchids
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i will just put this out there but i think that plant roots grow faster onto something than they do into the air. I base this on only the couple hundred or so orchids i personally have and the ones in situ and displayed at the many botanical gardens i am blessed to be proximal to.

plants with both airieal and mounted roots that originate from the same growth point will grow longer and fast on the mount than into the air ( i assume mostly because there is stuff there as opposed to getting lucky enough to encounter it by chance in the breeze) and once an air root touches a surface, it grows much faster then it did previously.

SO, i always like to have the airiest medium possible and still give the plants lots of surface area to touch and anchor to. As Ray points out often, roots are also for mechanical stability and the plant wants to be secure too
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  #32  
Old 02-17-2021, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Orchid Whisperer View Post
In addition to the ones I (ahem...) collect myself, I have friends that save theirs for me. A friend just dropped off a bag of corks today!

I recently found out that plastic corks work as well as the real corks, and they don't decompose. I still have and use both types, tending to use all plastic in one pot, all real corks in another pot. I mostly use them for orchids that prefer the most rapid-drying medium, like Cattleya types.
Unfortunately, Iíve found wine corks made of tree bark rot much more quickly than orchid bark.
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  #33  
Old 02-18-2021, 04:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyCoconuts View Post
i will just put this out there but i think that plant roots grow faster onto something than they do into the air.
I once heard someone commenting that Cattleyas' roots suffer so much when they are repotted because they no longer "feel" they're attached to something, so the plants simply aborts the older roots that had this function, I guess the same could be applied to other orchids too. I'm not sure if it's true - it's interesting though.

I think that you could grow even Oncidiums bare rooted, if you can offer the moisture, nutrients etc. they would have when they're in a substrate, but I never experimented this as it's close to impossible for me, I don't really know how much root development depends on this "feeling" to be attached to something or if the plant aborts aerial roots only because it doesn't find the right constant humidity and nutrients it was looking for.

Last edited by ChrisMalaga; 02-18-2021 at 04:36 AM..
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  #34  
Old 02-18-2021, 09:50 AM
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To clarify. I donít think the plant aborts the air roots. I just think more energy is placed in the roots that are touching something.

This, of course could also have to do with the coincidence that those will usually be the darker, more humid areas as well. Too many variables.
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  #35  
Old 02-18-2021, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ChrisMalaga View Post
I once heard someone commenting that Cattleyas' roots suffer so much when they are repotted because they no longer "feel" they're attached to something, so the plants simply aborts the older roots that had this function, I guess the same could be applied to other orchids too. I'm not sure if it's true - it's interesting though.
It probably depends on the conditions. Probably. I think if the 'aerial' roots don't drown in the new media, then all ok. And if they get enough humidity and air-flow too maybe ----- and suitable temperature is maintained as well.

Some of our orchids have roots in the pot, and also roots that grew out of the pot. So maybe they can get the best out of both worlds.

For orchids at home with aerial roots ------ they can get moisture for sure. But as for getting nutrients/elements ...... maybe not so easily, unless some growers use their own methods to get fertiliser/mag-cal etc into those roots ----- eg. soaking/spraying/dunking.
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  #36  
Old 02-19-2021, 08:35 AM
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Here are a some (I hope) thought-provoking comments and anecdotes:

◄►◄►◄►◄►◄►

Give any orchid exactly what it wants, and it will preform to the best of its generically-programmed capabilities. If it is not, then we are doing something wrong and not giving it what it wants and needs.

◄►◄►◄►◄►◄►

Sometimes, doing or trying something new appears to result in "amazing" new growth, when in reality, the grower has been stimulated by the novelty factor to start paying closer attention to his or her plants again. Eventually, that wears off and the care suffers again, and the "magical" new thing isn't as magical.

◄►◄►◄►◄►◄►

Back in the mid-80's, ground cork became all the rage as a new potting medium. Cheap, readily available, graded well by particle size, held water well - how could it be beat? It seems to work great for many for several months, but when the microbe population that thrived in it grew big enough, the stuff turned into a jelly-like "mush" seemingly overnight, suffocating the root systems.

Absolutely spectacular! ...until it wasn't.

I have used wine corks, but find they are best if not cut to expose the interior.
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  #37  
Old 02-20-2021, 02:54 AM
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Why I think bark is the worst media for orchids
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Just going to stick to my lava rock and NZ sphagnum moss....
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  #38  
Old 03-28-2021, 07:57 PM
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I use coconut husk chunks in a wooden basket and water twice a week. My plants are located under a roof and get bright light but no sun. That combination seems to work well in my 9b growing area.
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  #39  
Old 03-29-2021, 07:58 AM
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Why I think bark is the worst media for orchids Male
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As I try to stress in my talks on orchid culture:

You can grow orchids in pretty much any material you care to select, as long as you water, feed & repot according to the plants needs IN THAT MATERIAL.

I have seen the same plant grown very successfully:
  • Clay pot with all spaghnum moss.
  • Plastic pot with bark/charcoal/perlite mix (fine).
  • Clay pot with bark/charcoal/perlite mix (fine).
  • Plastic pot with granite nuggets.
  • Clay pot with spaghnum/bark mix (4:1)
  • Mounted on a stick.

Obviously, each of these growers is using a different watering schedule.
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Last edited by Fairorchids; 03-29-2021 at 08:02 AM..
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  #40  
Old 03-29-2021, 08:05 AM
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It is true. A grower that has grown their orchids very successfully over relatively long periods of time - usually knows what they need to do in order to keep the system rolling along nicely. This includes knowing how to make their media work - including organic media ----- and renewing the media when they see fit.
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