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  #1  
Old 11-30-2021, 08:19 PM
itzi itzi is online now
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Help with a young Ascocenda Kulwadee with few roots! Female
Exclamation Help with a young Ascocenda Kulwadee with few roots!

I've gotten this little Ascocenda Kulwadee Fragrance No. 17 from Lowes because the prospect of raising it seemed like a fun challenge. When I got home with it, I noticed most of its roots were dead, and after pruning only a few short roots remained. I grow it in a western facing window, and the temperature and humidity near it are usually around 35-40% and 75-80°. I have a small fan near it to provide airflow.

I've looked into the various ways to grow Vandaceous orchids, and I've settled on something similar to the vase method. I have my orchid in the little pot it came with, which I cut more holes into, and placed into the mouth of a mason jar with rocks and water at the bottom. When I notice it seeming dehydrated, I soak it, still in the pot, in a smaller container that I fill with water up until the base of the first leaf.

I am noticing that by the end of each day it seems pretty dehydrated, and it seems I'll have to be soaking it every day. Is this the best way for me to ensure it survives and grows new roots ?



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  #2  
Old 12-01-2021, 12:07 AM
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First, Welcome!
With those little nubbins of roots, the daily soaking may be necessary for awhile until it grows some more. But there may be some other options... the dehydration comes because it is losing more water from its leaves than it can take in from the roots. So one option is to increase humidity in its environment (which will slow the water loss) A plastic bag placed over its little "home" may raise the humidity enough to slow down the dehydration (a sort of "mini-greenhouse". Another trick is to soak the roots for 1-3 hours in a solution of 2 teaspoons of sugar per gallon of water (scale it down for the small plant). I don't know the mechanism (possibly the sugar increases the osmotic pressure to make the water uptake more efficient) Then rinse off the roots with plain water.

There are some additional possibilities, but the cost is going to be more than the plant - you might consider spending the money on a bigger, stronger plant instead. But if you want to pursue the challenge, just for the record here are a couple of options. To reduce the water loss, check out an anti-transpirant spray (like Wilt-Stop or Wilt-Pruf). Apply to the leaves (being very careful to keep it off the roots) Problem is that as far as I could find, it's impossible to buy a small quantity. To stimulate root growth, KelpMax works really well. Again, you can't buy a small quantity, but it is great for the rest of your orchids and other plants too, so at least there is a use for the quantity that you could buy.

For your situation, maybe start with the sugar water and mini-greenhouse approach. Cost-effective, might just work. Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 12-01-2021, 12:29 AM
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Greetings, and thank you for the in depth reply! :D

Actually, the mini greenhouse was what I first did when I got it, but after learning of the necessity of good airflow, I got scared of fungus and mold so I decided to pull it out. I even had it set up with a little arduino temp/humidity monitor!

Ill try it again, this time with the sugar bath. Is there any special kind of sugar I should use? Also, I was considering some 20-20-20 fertilizer for it (and my other plants too). I spend most of my day near it, the window is right next to my desk, so I don't mind putting in some extra TLC for the lil thing!

Thanks again, and also, your website is so cool.. Did you make it yourself? :O
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Old 12-01-2021, 12:36 AM
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Plain old table sugar. You can open up the mini-greenhouse each day to refresh the air in it. At this point I wouldn't worry much about fertilizer. Maybe a dilute "bath" once a week or so.

Glad you enjoyed my website. I did do it myself. I have no background in web design, so it's really simple and basic. But a place to show what I grow... the goal was to particularly be a resource for outdoor growing for temperate locations like mine, there's just not a lot of information out there.
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Old 12-01-2021, 09:16 AM
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Old 12-01-2021, 11:00 AM
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A regular low dose of fertilizer containing all the essential elements an orchid needs to grow is imo more important than other additives.
So to me the 20-20-20 should be the most important and is also the cheapest.

Nutrition and the fact they need so little is partly what makes seedlings challenging. People think because they need so little they can do without completely.

Kelpmax won't do anything without the plant having received all essential nutrients it needs first. If it did kelpmax gives great additional results.

So how much 20-20-20 to add for a seedling? This is where it gets a bit subjective and how often you water and fertilize. Someone who fertilzes twice as often as someone else needs to use exactly half the amount and vice versa.

But if it helps I think a safe good amount of 20-20-20 would be 0.2g of dry fertilizer or 0.2ml of liquid fertilizer per gallon for every watering. You would need a syringe to measure such a small amount or some jewelers scales with the dry fertilizer which is a hassle so you might think, well it's only a few drops to a gallon, it won't make any difference.

That is each to their own.

Just don't use too much, that is arguably worse than useing none at all as that harms the seedlings
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Old 12-01-2021, 11:22 AM
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I would put it in a much smaller jar that can accommodate the roots (I would use a candle votive for that size). With no stones in the bottom.

I would give it a soak twice a week and spritz the roots a couple of times a week too.

I reckon in South texas you are 3 or 4 years wait until blooming.

By keeping it in a small container, the roots should "quickly" fill it and provide the plant stability.
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Old 12-01-2021, 11:14 PM
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So I've got the mini greenhouse going great! It held at 90% humidity and 80-85 * F overnight. Great to the point that the roots still had water condensed on them in the morning. Then I noticed that while leaving it in there throughout, the lil roots hardly got dry, having that layer of water on them pretty much the whole time.

Is this healthy? From what I've read about vandaceous roots, they don't really tolerate constant wetness, so I think its good for me to leave the bag open halfway to let the drier air wick that condensed water off the roots.

Also, I know they need high light, but I've heard lower light levels stimulate root growth. Would that be advised in my situation?

My setup:



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Old 12-02-2021, 12:19 AM
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Yes, I think you have to let things dry out a little... Vandadeous plants are dominant epiphytes, so roots need to dry out somewhat. Here, you have a balancing act... with too few roots, the plant tends to dehydrate, but you don't want them to stay so wet that they rot. The high humidity will help reduce the dessiccation because the leaves won't transpire so much. That being the case, you can allow the roots to dry out more without the plant using too much water. I think reasonable to not be too bright at this point, again because that would tend to be drying. A healthy plant can tolerate more light but right now, you need to push the equilibrium toward preserving hydration first.
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Old 12-02-2021, 12:27 AM
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Just what I was thinking about today, finding a balance between protecting the roots and maintaining hydration. I'm going to try leaving the bag half open overnight and see how that goes.

The light may be a bit harder as here in STX we have very little cloud coverage, even now in the wintertime, so direct sun can be harsh. Should I try moving it to a room where I have a northern facing window? No direct sun, but theres a nice amount of reflected sunlight throughout the day.
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