Rhynchostylis gigantea
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  #1  
Old 08-05-2018, 03:44 PM
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Fairorchids Fairorchids is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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Rhynchostylis gigantea Male
Default Rhynchostylis gigantea

This species absolutely HATES having it's roots disturbed.

Under my conditions = in a greenhouse, watering once a week in winter, twice a week spring, summer & fall, they grow very well in an octagonal Vanda basket packed with a spaghnum/bark mix (3:1 ratio). However, no matter how carefully I pluck out old mix and re-pack with fresh, most of the plants seem to go into suspended animation for 6-12 months each time I repot.

Following loss of my collection due to a bad freeze, I purchased 6 new Rhy giganteas in various colors back in March. They arrived in the small 4" square baskets common in Asia, with no mix whatsoever. With my watering schedule, I can't grow them that way.

Rhy gigantea has thick fleshy leaves (like many succulents), so it is one of the very few orchids that should dry out between waterings. When you consider this, and their intolerance of repotting, I decided to try a new approach.

First, with sharp scissors I cut away as much of the 4" baskets as possible, without disturbing the roots. One plant had so many roots, that I could not cut away any part of the basket.

Then I placed each plant in a 6" octagonal Vanda basket, and filled the basket with large size LECA (Aliflor) nuggets. This material provides the plants something to hold onto, holds moisture for 24-36 hours after watering, and never breaks down, so I should not have to repot these again.

3 plants continued their growth uninterrupted. The other 3 sulked a bit initially, looking a bit desiccated (especially one of the two coeruleas), but as of this week, I can see fresh root tips and new leaf growth on all 6.

I will try to remember to report back on this experiment in another 12 months or so.

In the meantime, I also brought in 30 seedlings (plug size) = 2" to 3" across. Since 'babies' are much less tolerant of drying out, I put these into 3" net pots, with pure spaghnum, packed fairly loose.

They will probably stay in that for 18-24 months. Then, as they outgrow the small net pot, they will graduate into 6" baskets with LECA (without removing them from the 3" net pot).
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Kim (Fair Orchids)

Founder of SPCOP (Society to Prevention of Cruelty to Orchid People), with the goal of barring the taxonomists from tinkering with established genera!

I am neither a 'lumper' nor a 'splitter', but I refuse to re-write millions of labels.
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  #2  
Old 08-05-2018, 03:58 PM
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Dollythehun Dollythehun is offline
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Kim, I adore these but, they are SO frustrating. Grrr! Mine grow slower than a snail. I have one in moss and clay, one in moss in a basket and one with nothing but basket. The one in nothing grows best but is losing some leaves while growing roots and a new leaf. Please keep us posted on how you method works!
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  #3  
Old 08-15-2018, 02:16 AM
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estación seca estación seca is offline
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Mine grew very much faster than I expected - almost as fast as Phals. I think it was the heat. Then the rats ate them.
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It's a dry heat.
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  #4  
Old 08-15-2018, 01:23 PM
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Paphluvr Paphluvr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estación seca View Post
Mine grew very much faster than I expected - almost as fast as Phals. I think it was the heat. Then the rats ate them.
Rats!
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  #5  
Old 08-15-2018, 01:37 PM
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estación seca estación seca is offline
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I really feel for Kim and the freeze disaster. I've lost at least half my plants this year to pack rats, which are native here. I've trapped over 50 and they keep coming. They're getting into the house now, and eating my house plants. I can't figure out where they're getting in. I'm going to need to take a ladder and examine the entire house under the eaves.
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It's a dry heat.
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  #6  
Old 10-11-2018, 03:59 PM
Rebecca817 Rebecca817 is offline
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Well, I *was* going to buy a Rhynchostylis gigantea, but thank you for talking me out of it!
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  #7  
Old 10-11-2018, 04:04 PM
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You're welcome. 😉
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