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  #1  
Old 03-28-2019, 06:11 PM
Asca Asca is offline
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So there have been a few things that I've been trying to understand.

1st. I continuously read about only watering from below, don't let the leaves get wet, etc.. Now I understand the reasoning behind not letting the crown collect water that just sits, in the wild the plant is situated so that the water cannot sit in the crown. However I'm very sure that it rains and that the plants get completely soaked with water in the wild. So why the disconnect, which is it? I wouldn't think water would damage the leaves, but....

Two I keep reading about how orchids like to be pot bound. However, again in the wild orchids don't live in pots and are free to grow every which way same too on mounts. What is the reasoning behind the orchid being pot bound?

3rd I've been looking for a good book on orchids, something dealing with biology, growth cycles, root structure, etc. Don't mind dry science books.
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Old 03-28-2019, 07:41 PM
MrHappyRotter MrHappyRotter is offline
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If you want spotted, diseased leaves just like many wild plants have, then feel free to splash water over the foliage and provide ideal conditions for pathogens to spread and proliferate.

The thing about healthy wild plants is they have a lot going for them in nature. They've got a constant breeze of fresh air. They've got a complex microbiome that helps to deter pathogens, and many of those beneficial microorganisms don't exist and won't thrive in average cultivated conditions. You've got things like ultraviolet light that tends to be well-filtered in home growing conditions, but which I suspect would help keep pathogens at a minimum in the wild. There's constant rain washing it all away. I'm guessing that these aren't the only factors that benefit wild plants, but these are all things that don't generally come into play in cultivation.

Also keep in mind that cultivated plants are usually several generations removed from wild plants. The selective pressure is less about disease resistance and a strong immune system, it's more about the qualities that make them attractive to breeders and buyers. So, we get plants with bigger flowers, more flowers, brighter colors, and so on, but traits that would be more heavily selected for in the wild are neglected.


Some orchids do better when pot bound. Others do not. Sometimes it's dependent on growing conditions. Even in the wild, plants are "pot bound" by their growing environment. Some of it has to do with helping to ensure that the roots get a rapid wet-dry cycle for those plants that need it, which is easier to achieve in a potted plant if it is pot bound. Other plants simply bloom better when pot bound. If you give them room to grow, they grow. If you keep them cooped up, they bloom.

As for books, Amazon, as much as I dislike them, is a good option. They've also got lots of reviews to help give you an idea of the quality of the book. For slippers, anything of the books by Koopowitz or Cribb are nice.
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  #3  
Old 03-28-2019, 10:56 PM
aliceinwl aliceinwl is offline
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In the home, they’re also often growing under very challenging conditions in terms of temperature and humidity. In addition, they’re far from their native environment and the pathogens they encounter with us are not the ones they evolved to deal with. Any little thing that further tips the scales against the orchid can be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
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Old 03-28-2019, 11:19 PM
King_of_orchid_growing:) King_of_orchid_growing:) is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asca View Post
So there have been a few things that I've been trying to understand.

1st. I continuously read about only watering from below, don't let the leaves get wet, etc.. Now I understand the reasoning behind not letting the crown collect water that just sits, in the wild the plant is situated so that the water cannot sit in the crown. However I'm very sure that it rains and that the plants get completely soaked with water in the wild. So why the disconnect, which is it? I wouldn't think water would damage the leaves, but....
In the wild, the orchids are not positioned the way they are in cultivation. For example, Phals do not really grow upright in the wild. They grow perpendicularly from their perches. The crown is not pointing up, it is pointing to the side. The leaves are also drooping in the wild, which allows the water that collects on the leaves to dribble downwards to the ground.

The same goes for orchids in the genus Cochleanthes, Huntleya, Chondrorhyncha, Bollea, Pescatorea, Kefersteinia, Stenia, Warcewiczella, Chondroschaphe, Stenotyla, Benzingia, etc. These orchids do not typically grow upright in the wild. They also grow perpendicularly off their perches so that the water does not collect and stay in the crown. The leaves point downwards so that the water can dribble down to the ground.

If you've ever wondered why the orchids I mentioned so far "lean" to one side of the pot over time, now you know why. That's the way they naturally grow. This is a strong testament to how unnaturally we grow our orchids when we position them in pots that are attractive to us but do not fall in line with the way the orchid actually orients itself.

Also, as was mentioned, there's wind and air circulation involved. There's sun/ultraviolet rays involved. There're microbes involved. Evaporation rates outdoors are higher than they are indoors.

The survival rate of orchids in the wild is also low compared to those in cultivation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asca View Post
2) I keep reading about how orchids like to be pot bound. However, again in the wild orchids don't live in pots and are free to grow every which way same too on mounts. What is the reasoning behind the orchid being pot bound?
It is not about being potbound or not potbound. It is about moisture control and air exchange in the roots. The more roots that are in the pot, the more likely the roots will absorb more moisture that makes its way into the potting medium.

There are definitely some orchids that will never produce enough roots to become potbound, (for example Telipogon spp). So in essence, this is not the most accurate train of thought to be having regarding growing orchids in pots. Once you understand that orchid roots thrive under conditions where the moisture and air exchange are in the kind of balance the orchid enjoys, then you will understand how to grow the orchid. Since this balance is difficult to quantify, it becomes an art to figure out just how much water or air is too much or too little.

Quote:
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3rd I've been looking for a good book on orchids, something dealing with biology, growth cycles, root structure, etc. Don't mind dry science books.
Scientific journals are good if you have access to them and if you can learn to understand the jargon.

You could also take a botany class at the junior college level. If you're in a university, you can take one just for kicks.

Last edited by King_of_orchid_growing:); 03-29-2019 at 07:42 AM..
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Old 03-29-2019, 03:15 AM
ArronOB ArronOB is offline
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Books are good but nothing allows you to understand what orchids require better then seeing them growing in the wild. Are you able to travel to somewhere there is a good range of epiphytic orchids growing naturally?
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Old 03-29-2019, 08:33 AM
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Others have covered the water business pretty thoroughly, but I'll add to the "pot bound" subject: I think it has more to do with mechanical stability than anything.

A plant that is not well-anchored to a tree in the wild is likely to fall or be blown off and end up on the ground, where its usual pollinators will not be looking for it - a terrible situation when your purpose is to carry on the gene pool. Place a plant in a pot, and it will be a lot more "comfortable" once it has a firm anchor on the immovable container.
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Old 03-30-2019, 04:07 AM
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Understanding Orchids by William Cullina is a good reference for beginners as well as those of us who think we know what we're doing.

Bill
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  #8  
Old 03-30-2019, 02:15 PM
Asca Asca is offline
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Thank you everyone for your replies and the info.
One last question. Do humidity trays work to increase the humidity?
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  #9  
Old 03-30-2019, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asca View Post
Thank you everyone for your replies and the info.
One last question. Do humidity trays work to increase the humidity?
Not particularly... if the humidity is low and the plants are drying out quickly (which is good) just water more often. What the medium provides is surface area to hold water in the presence of air (humidity is the result). As long as there is air around the roots, you really can't over-water.

For a reference... if you can be patient, the American Orchid Society is coming out with a new book, a Guide to Orchids and Their Culture, authored by Mary Gerritsen and Ron Parsons. I have their book on orchid culture in the San Francisco Bay area and it's superbly written. Mary is very thorough, and Ron's photographs are wonderful. (I haven't see this new book yet since it hasn't been released, but I have read other references that they have co-authored and expect this one to also be an excellent source of information) Expected availability is a couple of months, watch the AOS website.
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  #10  
Old 03-30-2019, 04:38 PM
Asca Asca is offline
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Quote:
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Not particularly... if the humidity is low and the plants are drying out quickly (which is good) just water more often. What the medium provides is surface area to hold water in the presence of air (humidity is the result). As long as there is air around the roots, you really can't over-water.

For a reference... if you can be patient, the American Orchid Society is coming out with a new book, a Guide to Orchids and Their Culture, authored by Mary Gerritsen and Ron Parsons. I have their book on orchid culture in the San Francisco Bay area and it's superbly written. Mary is very thorough, and Ron's photographs are wonderful. (I haven't see this new book yet since it hasn't been released, but I have read other references that they have co-authored and expect this one to also be an excellent source of information) Expected availability is a couple of months, watch the AOS website.
Good to know, I didn't really think they did much. Thanks for the info.

Will look out for the book
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