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  #1  
Old 12-03-2022, 01:46 AM
MateoinLosAngeles MateoinLosAngeles is offline
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Default LECA for Oncidium & Vuylstekeara

Has anyone successfully grown thinly rooted orchids in LECA?

I currently have an Oncidium and a Vuylstekeara potted in a mix of bark and Sphagnum moss. I don't want to disturb them more than necessary so next spring I'd like to repot them in inert media: LECA mixed with Rock Wool 50/50.

S/H works well in my climate for Phals but the evaporation is faster than the wicking so I want to find an alternative for these moisture loving plants.

My plan is to try a couple of things:

– For the Oncidiums plant them in terracotta pots that I can place on water-filled saucers to keep the moisture up between full waterings.

– For the Vuyl my plan is to test out a Europen style self-watering pot. Basically a net pot inside a normal pot with a water reservoir and a wicking thread at the bottom. The idea is that the evaporative cooling of the reservoir will keep the plant cooler.
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  #2  
Old 12-03-2022, 08:42 AM
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S/H works well for Oncidiums in my dry climate. I need to move them to S/H at the appropriate time, when making new roots. I water frequently. The roots soon reach the moist zone.
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  #3  
Old 12-03-2022, 09:54 AM
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I am convinced that there are no orchids that cannot be grown in S/H culture, IF you time the transplant correctly and all of your other conditions work with the technique to provide what the plant needs.

I also think that the bottom of the LECA column being submerged in the reservoir will wick better than using a wick to transfer the liquid to the pellets.
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  #4  
Old 12-03-2022, 11:19 AM
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I grow all kinds of thin rooted plants in semi-hydro. Almost all in traditional SH with a self-contained reservoir à la Ray-style. I don't find the wicking system to be necessary, and don't find the thickness or thinness of roots to be an issue.

As Ray says... one can grow just about anything in semi-hydro as long as one can control the environment and culture to suit the plant's other needs.
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Old 12-03-2022, 10:21 PM
MateoinLosAngeles MateoinLosAngeles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray View Post
I am convinced that there are no orchids that cannot be grown in S/H culture, IF you time the transplant correctly and all of your other conditions work with the technique to provide what the plant needs.
Ray for moisture loving plants (and dry climates) have you ever tested mixing 50/50 LECA and Rockwool in a traditional S/H setting... namely a deli cup with two .25 inch holes drilled about an inch up to a third of the length of the cup?

I haven't tried rockwool and I intend to place an order from you, but coming from Sphagnum for some reason the idea of something constantly wet freaks me out. I imagine since it's an inorganic compound it really shouldn't matter, the LECA is technically constantly wet in S/H.

---------- Post added at 06:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:04 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by estación seca View Post
S/H works well for Oncidiums in my dry climate. I need to move them to S/H at the appropriate time, when making new roots. I water frequently. The roots soon reach the moist zone.
Now in winter I water my S/H phals twice a week except for a Bellina that I water and feed daily at 5ppm N. They're all doing great, the Bellina has been doing really well, it's about 2 years away from maturity and it's in a smaller container. I keep them all on heat mats. I grow them in my kitchen, the hygrometer tells me the room stays between 68ºF and 80ºF, RH can go lower to 30% and spike when we boil pasta or something to 80%. It usually stays around 40-55% though.

I would love to avoid having to water another plant daily though.

---------- Post added at 06:21 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:16 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by WaterWitchin View Post
I grow all kinds of thin rooted plants in semi-hydro. Almost all in traditional SH with a self-contained reservoir à la Ray-style.
I may pull the trigger to S/H then. Especially if thin roots don't seem to be an issue. I've read misleading stuff on the internet (never put thin roots near LECA it will damage them!!) – That's why now I don't ever do anything without coming to this forum first

I do like keeping some "aesthetic" diversity in my collection keeping some plants in terracotta pots, some in baskets, some in S/H... I now have 90% in S/H and the sacrifice of diversity did lead to much more comfortable and consistent watering across the board... for my own sanity.
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  #6  
Old 12-04-2022, 01:28 AM
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You don't need a heat mat for Oncs if low temperature is 68 F /20C. Save it for Phals.
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  #7  
Old 12-04-2022, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MateoinLosAngeles View Post
Ray for moisture loving plants (and dry climates) have you ever tested mixing 50/50 LECA and Rockwool in a traditional S/H setting... namely a deli cup with two .25 inch holes drilled about an inch up to a third of the length of the cup?
Semi-hydroponics, under my growing conditions, doesn't need the pockets of moisture scattered amongst the LECA. The plants I grow that way - paphs and phrags - don't have issues with evaporative cooling in my indoor, winter environment.

That said, my setup includes large trays (with drains) on shelves, and there may be a small amount of standing water in them after I irrigate them, so the phals in traditional culture using LECA and rock wool cubes do stand in an external reservoir, at least for several days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MateoinLosAngeles View Post
I haven't tried rockwool and I intend to place an order from you, but coming from Sphagnum for some reason the idea of something constantly wet freaks me out. I imagine since it's an inorganic compound it really shouldn't matter, the LECA is technically constantly wet in S/H.
Water, itself, is not the issue. When water is held between particles in too dense of a potting medium, the issue is suffocation.
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  #8  
Old 12-04-2022, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MateoinLosAngeles View Post
Ray for moisture loving plants (and dry climates) have you ever tested mixing 50/50 LECA and Rockwool in a traditional S/H setting... namely a deli cup with two .25 inch holes drilled about an inch up to a third of the length of the cup?

I haven't tried rockwool and I intend to place an order from you, but coming from Sphagnum for some reason the idea of something constantly wet freaks me out. I imagine since it's an inorganic compound it really shouldn't matter, the LECA is technically constantly wet in S/H.

---------- Post added at 06:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:04 PM ----------



Now in winter I water my S/H phals twice a week except for a Bellina that I water and feed daily at 5ppm N. They're all doing great, the Bellina has been doing really well, it's about 2 years away from maturity and it's in a smaller container. I keep them all on heat mats. I grow them in my kitchen, the hygrometer tells me the room stays between 68ºF and 80ºF, RH can go lower to 30% and spike when we boil pasta or something to 80%. It usually stays around 40-55% though.

I would love to avoid having to water another plant daily though.

---------- Post added at 06:21 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:16 PM ----------



I may pull the trigger to S/H then. Especially if thin roots don't seem to be an issue. I've read misleading stuff on the internet (never put thin roots near LECA it will damage them!!) – That's why now I don't ever do anything without coming to this forum first

I do like keeping some "aesthetic" diversity in my collection keeping some plants in terracotta pots, some in baskets, some in S/H... I now have 90% in S/H and the sacrifice of diversity did lead to much more comfortable and consistent watering across the board... for my own sanity.
I'm not Ray, but I started using the rockwool when he first started experimenting with it. I do it in layers and think it works well. It is a mess to separate if one wants to reuse LECA (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't). The rockwool actually does dry out after awhile, especially toward the top inch or so. If it's drying too fast I put a layer of glass pebbles on top, or sometimes sphagnum depending on the plant.

I do mostly SH for exactly the reason of less frequency in watering and having everything on a similar schedule. And that aesthetic pot thing... mine are all in the same grow space, and when I bring a blooming one out for display I just use a cache pot unless it's already in glass. Of course that won't work if they're all growing in a common area of the house (kitchen, dining room, etc.)
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