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Go Back   Orchid Board - Most Complete Orchid Forum on the web ! > ORCHID DISCUSSIONS > Semi-Hydroponic Culture
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  #1  
Unread 05-24-2012, 04:15 PM
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Question How deep in the container with S/H?

I have a new inter generic oncidium that is 'blooming size', and as it's not spiking or budding as yet, I have just today put it into S/H. I got this on line, in a bark mix. A small amount of roots could be seen on top. Anyway, I made sure (I think) not to over pot it, and found a glass container similar in size to the plastic pot it came in. I did leave some of the roots above the primeagra, and now am wondering if it's alright to have it this way. My reasoning (if you could call it that) is that I go to these greenhouses, and the orchids there all have all these roots up and out of the pots, all over the place, and I think "well, mine aren't like that!" (My phals are much more so but...) So I left some roots up out of the pellets. I know this orchid will have to go through an adjustment period, but have I stressed it out more?
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Unread 05-24-2012, 09:59 PM
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Is there new root growth on your plant?
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  #3  
Unread 05-24-2012, 11:14 PM
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pictures would be nice...when you say 'small amount of roots could be seen on top' ...does it look like new growing roots?
make sure the water is at least 1/4 of the level of the contailer and do not let the roots touch water for at least a couple of months...
its not stressed...
you can also spritz it if you find the topmost clay pellets are dry...sometimes the wicking of the water is not enough to reach the top layer(depends on the height and width of the container in proportion to the plant)
expect a couple of leaves at the bottom to wither and die...also some of the old roots will die that is why you must flush it every other week under the sink with the faucet at full for 5 to 10 min
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Unread 05-25-2012, 06:55 AM
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Depth of the pot and depth in the pot are different.

The wicking ability of the brand of LECA - how quickly it can transfer the liquid upward from the reservoir - is fixed. The rate that the water evaporates from the pot is determined by your conditions, and can vary with the weather.

If the distance from the top of the reservoir to the top of the medium is smaller, the LECA will be wetter at the top. If the distance is greater, it will be drier.

I tend to base my pot profile decision on the plant - phals and bulbos tend to spread their roots wide, so they get squatter pots; catts, paphs, and many others tend to grow their roots more downward, so I go with taller pots. If I grew in a very dry environment, I would likely use squatter pots for everything, so the medium could keep up with the high evaporation loss.

I don't know where Bud got his info, but it's way off the base, in my experience. (And being the guy that invented S/H culture, I have more than anyone.)

The reservoir is typically an inch or so deep. If I have a pot that's 4" tall, that's about 1/4 of the pot, but only by mathematical coincidence. It's about an inch deep in a 8" pot, too. I would never recommend the water standing "at least 1/4 the level of the container".

When potting up the plant, pot it to the correct depth for the plant, and NEVER with the roots submerged in the reservoir - that's part of the pot depth decision. I have no idea what Bud meant by "do not let the roots touch water for at least a couple of months". The plant will eventually grow its roots into the reservoir, but that's nothing we have control over, and I certainly hope he wasn't suggesting repotting later to put them into the reservoir.

Joann's question is key. Was the plant growing new roots when you potted it up? That's key, as the plant does not have a root "transition" period after repotting, it has a "replacement" period - the plant must grow new roots that are tailored to the new environment in order to support the plant. If you do have new roots forming (not new growth on existing ones), then they will carry the plant on as the old ones fail; if you do not, the old ones may fail, and cut off the plant from any uptake of water and nutrition, before it can begin to grow those new roots. Obviously making it more difficult for survival.

Incidentally, the reason you see oncids with roots above the medium is that many tend to grow upward naturally - each pseudobulb a bit above the last - not because they were planted that way.

One last disagreement with Bud's recommendations: if you water properly, that is, fill the pot rapidly to the top and let it drain, there is no need to flush the pot for several minutes every couple of weeks. I only do that about once a year, and that's only for those plants grown in my home, which is drier than my greenhouse, and that's to reduce mineral buildup.
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Unread 05-26-2012, 08:42 AM
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Thanks Ray, and Bud as well. I am relieved to know I don't have to flush for 5 to 10 minutes! I have been flushing once a week by fulling it up with RO water and letting it drain out at that time. I then plug the hole briefly when re-filling the pot with the water with 'Solo' added. I could never afford to do all that flushing with water I have to buy. I do have a gravity fed well, and have been drinking it for 30 years here, but somone told me I should be using distilled RO water due to the build up of minerals that occurs using well water. Anyway, thank you all.
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Unread 05-26-2012, 09:05 AM
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This has been a wonderful forum. Thank you greenpassion for the questions. I have been thinking about switching all Paph, Phal, Masdie, and Pleuro to S/H.

Ray, I truly appreciate your patient explanations. I learn so much from you. Many thanks
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Unread 05-26-2012, 10:34 AM
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I have some that are in s/h in lava rock that really do well. I was having trouble growing reed stemmed epi until I put them in s/h. The reason I use lava rock is that there are no hydroponics stores nearby. I have used the clay pellets before but I like the lava rock better.
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