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  #1  
Old 05-19-2010, 01:50 PM
NBCGLX NBCGLX is offline
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Phalaenopsis in moss...questions Male
Default Phalaenopsis in moss...questions

Please be gentle, I'm a newbie

A woman in my office grows orchids successfully and she convinced me to try so, on a whim, I picked up two Phalaenopsis orchids a couple months ago at a local hardware store. The only concern I had was that they were both in moss, which I was cautioned against.

Anyway, fast forward a couple months (going on three months, actually!) and they orchids are not only still blooming, but they have thrown up additional shoots of flowers that are full of blooms/buds. Also, at the same time, they are growing new roots and leaves. Call me crazy, but I think this means they like me, they really like me

So here's the question, I see lots of advice against moss but mine seem very happy in moss, so should I repot when (if ) they ever stop blooming?

Finally, at the same hardware store about two weeks ago I found a lonely orchid called Epicattleya Rene Marques that has a tag on it with a gorgeous flower. So, despite only being leaves, I decided to rescue it. It too is now growing and has a new shoot growing and new roots forming as well. This orchid is in orchid bark and I'm finding it difficult to know when to water it. It seems like the few roots that are on the surface go from green when watered to white in a matter of a few days and at that point I have been giving it a small drink of water to make sure the bark is still somewhat moist, etc.

Any advice is MUCH appreciated!!!
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2010, 02:00 PM
Call_Me_Bob Call_Me_Bob is offline
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First of all. Phals can be grown in moss but you have to be careful to not over water. It seems like you are doing just fine with the phal and the moss. I would say, just keep on doing what your doing with the phal. I personally have never cared for epicattleya. But a good way to monitor the water is by putting a bamboo scewer for shishcabobs inti the medium. And just keep it in there all the time. When you want to see how wet the medium is just take it out and feel it. That's a good way to monitor water. Goodluck. As for the roots on top. They grew ontop and they are tailored to drying up faster so I would just put little bits of water on just to keep the top roots wet. But as I said, I have never cared for epicattleya so maybe someone with more experience wih them will chime in. also welcome to ob
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  #3  
Old 05-19-2010, 02:43 PM
shadytrake shadytrake is offline
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Actually growing Phals in moss is perfectly fine if you follow a few simple guidelines. I posted this in another thread, but I can't find it to link but I saved the conversation for my Journal.

Tom at Stones River Orchids / Nashville, TN was at our last OS meeting just back from Taiwan and he had lots of good information regarding Phals and media.

He's been growing and breeding Phals for about 30 years. One of the biggest "hello" moments he had in discussing media issues with the TWN breeders is that if you have a plant that has been happily growing in one kind of media and you switch, it can set the orchid back for several years and sometimes permanently if the orchid does not "like" the media you choose.

With that said, a lot of his presentation was based around him changing over from a bark mix to straight moss. I know...you probably think he is crazy but he gave specifics. You know how a lot of people say "do this" without giving you the full picture? Well here goes...directly from my mental notes from his presentation.

First of all, he said a lot of folks fail with moss because they over water, over pot, and do not prepare the moss correctly for use.

Moss must be soaked in a sterile like solution (some people pressure cook it to fully sterilize it) but he soaks for 24 hours in Consan Triple Action 20 (I use dish soap mixed with some Physan to soak my moss) then rinses the moss and soaks again (i didn't catch if the 2nd soak was in the sterile soln again or in water).

2nd (and this came straight from a TWN breeder)...Phals need the security of being tightly packed in a pot...(I KNOW...it sounds crazy). He carefully chooses a pot slightly bigger than the root system - you can trim off dead roots. He takes the orchid and carefully curls the roots (if necessary) and takes a handfull moss which has been carefully squeezed out and fluffed up and then squeezed again and puts a section around one side of the roots and another section around the other side.

He takes a little moss and puts it in the bottom of the pot (he uses plastic) and carefully shoves...yes he shoved it in the pot.

Now the trick...He packs the moss tightly around the Phal carefully keeping it about 3/4" to 1" below the top of the pot. The moss never comes above 3/4" from the top. This is VERY important.

Once completed, he does NOT water...no water for about a week. He said it is very important for the plant to be secure in the pot to recover from the potting process and watering it is not necessary. There is enough moisture in the moss.

Now he said the next part is critical to the success. When you water, you only fill the pot from the top of the moss to the top of the pot. You DON'T saturate the pot through. Then you LEAVE it ALONE until the next watering...which for him in Middle TN can be 2 or 3 weeks. Also, with the moss he fertilizes much less too (maybe once ever other month only during active growth).

I didn't have a chance to ask him how he monitors the moisture content of the moss, but I imagine that he used to test them (probably with a bamboo stick) and then once he got a system down, he stuck to it.

Anyway, the point of all my rambling is that when you change from one media to another it is important that you consider how far back you will set the orchid.

For example, he said that he is in the process of switching from the bark to the moss and has been for over a year and he definitely noticed that some will need longer to adapt to the new media.

I found the presentation extremely interesting and even though my phals are growing happily in s/h, it makes me want to experiment.

Also as FYI, this does not work if you have an automatic misting system. You absolutely cannot mist the phals in the moss because it messes up the watering schedule. The moss must be allowed to slowly dry out (of course not bone dry) before the next watering.

Anyway..Just thought I would share. Experimenting can be really fun.

As to your Epicatt, high light and water as needed during growing season. I have mine in semi-hydro and they like lots of water. I'm hoping for blooms this year. We'll see.
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  #4  
Old 05-19-2010, 03:19 PM
Nic100 Nic100 is offline
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It's good to hear when someone has success, no matter what the medium! Most of us have a preference for one thing or another. I used to think moss was the devil but now understand more about it and realise that it's mostly down to the environment that I live in that I don't have any joy with it. It's also down to other people's positive experiences here that I tried something other than bark. Either way, you seem to be having success, so have clearly found something that works for you. Keep it up - and if you get flowers
We like
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  #5  
Old 05-19-2010, 04:00 PM
Catfur Catfur is offline
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My mom breaks all the rules, she has Vandas packed so tightly with moss, they look like peat bogs (which bloom multiple times a year), a Cattleya that hasn't been re-potted since Ronald Regan was president (which also blooms constantly), a regular orchid horticulturists nightmare hanging on her FL fence...

The moral of which is, if it's stupid, but it works, it's not stupid.
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  #6  
Old 05-19-2010, 10:12 PM
NBCGLX NBCGLX is offline
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This is the only pic I have, and it was taken with my cell phone so the quality isn't the best. You can see the abundance of blooms and the newest buds that are at the bottom. You can also barely see one of the other flower spikes in the background with buds that are opening. What you can't see are the new run of buds that are developing off the middle of the other stalk and the middle of the one pictured.

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  #7  
Old 05-20-2010, 12:50 AM
WhiteRabbit WhiteRabbit is offline
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It's lovely! And I agree with others that if you are doing fine growing in moss there is no reason to change!
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  #8  
Old 05-20-2010, 12:55 AM
WhiteRabbit WhiteRabbit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NBCGLX View Post
Please be gentle, I'm a newbie
hehe - this board is not like many others where new people get attacked! We're very happy you are here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NBCGLX View Post

Finally, at the same hardware store about two weeks ago I found a lonely orchid called Epicattleya Rene Marques that has a tag on it with a gorgeous flower. So, despite only being leaves, I decided to rescue it. It too is now growing and has a new shoot growing and new roots forming as well. This orchid is in orchid bark and I'm finding it difficult to know when to water it. It seems like the few roots that are on the surface go from green when watered to white in a matter of a few days and at that point I have been giving it a small drink of water to make sure the bark is still somewhat moist, etc.

Any advice is MUCH appreciated!!!
ditto the advice about a bamboo kabob skewer in the pot - I have them in all my orchid pots - it's very helpful in determining when to water.
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  #9  
Old 05-20-2010, 01:48 AM
Nic100 Nic100 is offline
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It's lovely - I have one that is similar and it has never stopped blooming, and has grown new leaves at the same time. I think I've had it a year now and it has kept re-flowering that entire time. I did repot once while it was blooming, but that's because I don't do well with moss. It didn't seem to mind!

Good luck!
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  #10  
Old 05-20-2010, 05:10 AM
Zoi2 Zoi2 is offline
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Hello and welcome to the OB, your phal is lovely.
Joann
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