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  #1  
Old 02-25-2021, 06:59 PM
Isabella_Rose_C Isabella_Rose_C is offline
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Default Clear Container?

Hi Orchid Team,

I have been wondering what people’s options on clear planting containers (plastic or glass) are? Should orchid’s roots be exposed to light?

I know that it is a very complicated question and for the most part I have been reading people having success in clear pots, but also obviously having success in non-clear pots.

I am specifically curious of the benefits to the orchids roots being exposed to light. What is fascinating to me right now is how orchid’s roots have chlorophyll, but their main photosynthesis source is their leaves. If anyone could point me to some resources on this, I would also appreciate it greatly.

Thank you!
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  #2  
Old 02-26-2021, 02:04 AM
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Clear pots are great. Orchid roots can photosynthesize. But plenty of award winning plants grow in opaque pots.
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  #3  
Old 02-26-2021, 12:14 PM
Isabella_Rose_C Isabella_Rose_C is offline
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Default RE: estación seca

That’s really interesting. But for clear pots, wouldn’t the medium just prevent the roots from gaining any light anyway? I’ve seen some growers on the forum post their beautiful orchids in complete hydro culture, but I am definitely not ready for that!

I am considering trying LECA for a cool growing orchid so I will use a clear container for that. I have a very warm apartment, so the only chance I have for a cool orchid is by LECA. Which I read could reduce the temperature enough for a cool orchid to grow.

Thank you for this!
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  #4  
Old 02-28-2021, 01:31 PM
Arizona Jeanie Arizona Jeanie is offline
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Hello Isabella,
I am fascinated by the roots on my Phals, they are so different from other plants. They seem to do best with light and air, plus the right amount of water of course. Roots in the center of my bark medium will stay healthy but lose their green color.
I've had one Phal that lost all its leaves from stem rot. As the leaves died, it added a small jungle of aerial roots. It's come back quickly, now has two basal keikis with a total of seven healthy new leaves. I think that all those green roots were able to sustain it and fuel the new growth.
What other plants have roots that photosynthesize?
Be careful with glass containers, they do not allow for the air circulation that a slotted plastic pot does.
I've kept it interesting by trying different containers and media to find what works best for my conditions. Don't be afraid to experiment! Winners for me are: medium bark, slotted plastic pots with rocks in the bottom for counterweight, extra watering when it's hot and dry. Plus, isolate new plants until you're sure they're healthy!
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  #5  
Old 02-28-2021, 01:35 PM
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I grow my Phals in semihydroponics. I use transparent or translucent 1 quart/liter food containers and LECA clay balls for medium. The roots get light through the container and the balls are large enough there is a lot of air at the roots. The majority are in spike now. S/H might not be a good choice for warm-loving Phals in a home kept cool in the winter. I heat my growing area to a minimum of 60 F / 15C at night and winter days are usually a lot warmer in there.
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  #6  
Old 02-28-2021, 02:16 PM
Isabella_Rose_C Isabella_Rose_C is offline
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RE: Arizona Jeanie,

Thank you for this! This is so helpful and fun to talk about

When I repotted my orchid from the sphagnum moss it was in for a year (or longer) from the store it came from, I was worried because the roots were yellow. I read and read about the roots and relaxed when I read that the yellow colour is still healthy, but without chlorophyll b/c they were in the centre of the pot.

I repotted it in a beautiful orchid bark mix, complete with various sizes and types of bark, charcoal and coarse perlite in a solid (non-clear/opaque) slotted nursing pot. I’ve had to readjust my watering schedule vastly from the moss. I am almost daily giving it a ‘rain bath’ where I give a heavy pour of water over its medium to give it a rain. In the moss, I only watered it when I could tell it was dry and let it soak until it was nice and moist again.

I have noticed one of the bottom leaves has lightened from its grass green to a bit yellower. I am worried about its leaves, but it just lost all of its flowers about two weeks ago (then I repotted it). Thank you for sharing your experiences with the leaves, because it gives me hope that the whole orchid will be ok since the aerial roots still look very good. I don’t think its from the stem, since the stems are quite green, firm to touch, and with fleshly looking nodes.

I am not sure what other plants photosynthesize from their roots but I will look into it! Maybe other epiphytic plants?

---------- Post added at 01:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:04 PM ----------

RE: estación seca

I might use S/H for a cool growing orchid in my environment that is fairly warm. I was thinking a Miltoniopsis but I am still not sure if it is possible. My apartment creates a comfortable environment for warm growing orchids, so I am still wondering if LECA could help adjust the culture enough to support a cool (ish) growing orchid.

My environment is very warm for the most part. I dont believe it has ever dropped down to 15 degrees celsius (60 F) since our apartment is heated high and I can’t control it. I live in Toronto Canada and a few weeks back it got down to -17 at night. But even with that, the apartment inside was probably 16-17degrees and brightly lit due to the winter flow sun. In the summer, I remember it probably got to 35-37 degrees although I have a bit more chance of cooling down the apartment in the summer with A/C and drawing the blinds.

So even though I could stimulate the proper light conditions for a cool growing orchid, I don’t know if I could keep it at its comfortable temperature, even if I use LECA.

If that is the case, do you think I would have a good chance of initiating a flower spike for my Phil’s if I use LECA during its growing period, to cool down its culture?


Thanks for your advice on how you use LECA and S/H. I will keep it in mind as I continue to explore it as a possibility.

Sorry if my response doesn’t make a lot of sense, I can clarify in a couple of hours when I have a bit more time. I also apologize for the Celsius, if I had a couple more minutes I would have converted it to F.

Thank you again for your insights!!
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  #7  
Old 02-28-2021, 02:25 PM
Mountaineer370 Mountaineer370 is offline
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I grow my Phals exclusively in clear slotted plastic pots. The roots that are in the center of the pot and surrounded by the medium are a more pale yellowish or whitish color than the roots that are able to photosynthesize at the sides of the pot. I like being able to see some of the roots through the plastic. It helps me to determine whether they need watering. I also find that many roots will grow right through the slots on the sides and holes at the bottom, which means during repotting, I have to sacrifice the plastic pot and carefully cut it away with the least amount of damage to the roots.

If a particular plant has a heavy spike with flowers on it, I will put it into a clay or ceramic outer pot for added stability during blooming. Some people put rocks or clay pellets in the bottoms of their plastic pots for a little extra weight, something I always forget to do when repotting.

The best type of pot, like many other choices orchid growers make, seems to depend heavily on personal preference and on personal care and culture habits. I have certainly seen people grow successfully in pots that are clear, solid, plastic, clay, you name it.
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Old 02-28-2021, 05:44 PM
Diane56Victor Diane56Victor is offline
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In the main, my collection is in clear pots. I like that I can see what the roots are doing. I feel its like having an early warning system if something is going wrong.

The only ones in opaque pots are those recently purchased plants that haven't needed potting since getting them. These plants get some time to aclimate to my environment then when new roots start into clear pot they go.

Each clear pot has a lot of holes up the sides, done outside with a soldering iron.
With the exception of Phals I use an opaque cover pot over the clear one, this stops any algae growing.
The cover pot is a size bigger than the clear one so air flow isn't affected.
There are usually some roots visible.
Yes it does mean there are more pots but I feel the benefits are worth it.
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Old 03-01-2021, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isabella_Rose_C View Post
Should orchid’s roots be exposed to light?
A lot of orchids out in the wild do grow on trees - and so are exposed to some light.

One thing I have heard/read about is possibility of algae growing on the sides - as light plus water etc can mean algae growth. Whether that becomes an issue for some growers or not --- in terms of appearance ----- not sure.

And whether ongoing algae growth can eventually create issues. Also not sure.
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  #10  
Old 03-01-2021, 12:32 PM
Isabella_Rose_C Isabella_Rose_C is offline
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Default RE: Clear Pots

Thank you everyone for your thoughts.

I think I like the idea of clear plastic pots as well. I also like seeing through the pot and checking in on the roots. Since potting in a opaque pot, I am regretting not being able to check in to see the roots, which was always my way of seeing when the orchid needs water.

Thank you again for all of this advice. I think I also agree that based on my watering system, and having the peace of mind seeing the roots as often as I want to, is a real benefit over opaque pots.

I also forgot to put rocks on the bottom of the nursery pot, but the orchid is sitting comfortably in a tuber ware container (not visually appealing but very functional), so the issue of tipping over isnt a big one. And the orchid has plenty of drainage from the orchid bark mix it’s potted in and the big holes at the bottom of the pot.

The algae is very interesting. I have never encountered that before. Maybe because that even though my orchids were in clear nursery pots, they were sitting for the most part in a stoneware-clay decorative pots. So I never had enough sun and stagnant water to form algae.

I love hearing about people’s experiences and opinions. Reading all the theory is helpful, but I what I love most is hearing about how growers put it into practice. The diversity of growing habits and growing cultures is fascinating!
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