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Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

Posted by orchidnick z9Ca (orchidnick@yahoo.com) on
Sat, Aug 9, 14 at 1:25

I have a number of large Bulbos and they are happily growing in moss. I replace the moss on a yearly basis and ti is both bothersome and expensive. I'm now going to try to grow them in a semihydroponic situation along with orchiata bark. The purpose of the moss is to keep the moisture loving plants constantly wt. I'll have to do that now by watering them daily. The advantage to me is that I should not have to change anything for at least 5 years, if the Orchiata is as good as they say it is.

Plants with that much water usually only develop shallow root systems, no need for more so I'll be using shallow trays. Since I don't plant to change anything for 5 years, they are over potted.

This is the shallow 14" tray I'm using for the smaller plants. It has no bottom drainage, 2 holes are drilled 1" off the floor and there is a layer of hygroton up to and just covering the holes. Then there is a layer of Orchiata bark mix. 2 parts medium, 1 part small, 1 part coconut choir, 2 parts medium lava rock is the mix.

Here is an empty tray.

Nick


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

Several plants in the shallow trays.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

I helps to have strong plants, this one has 7 new leads. It is grossly over potted as I think it will stay there for at least 5 years.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

Here is a larger plant growing in the Bulbo pans I have been using. They have bottom drainage so won't work for semi hydroponic.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

When it comes out , this is the status of the moss. Brown and deteriorated.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

After doing about 20 such plants, a garbage can is 1/2 full of moss. This is what I'm trying to avoid on a yearly basis. Hopefully the plants will grow as well in the new method.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

For the larger plants I'm going to use these shallow pans, this one is 18" in diameter. No bottom drainage, 2 holes drilled 1" off the floor/

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

And a smaller one, this one is 16".

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

Bottom gets covered up to and over the 2 drainage holes with hygroton.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

This is the final level of the hygroton, just covering the drainage holes.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

Next a 1" layer of bark, sorry for the lack of focus, it's the same mix as can be seen in the 4th post.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

The plant, which had the old moss removed is dropped onto this layer of bark.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

There is a 3" to 4" empty space around the plant which will now be filled with the bark mixture.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

The finished product.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

Water gushing from the drainage holes as the plant is being watered.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

Another plant. Again over potted on purpose.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

One more.

The purpose of this whole exercise is to not having to look at a garbage can full of grungy moss on a regular basis. The plants do very well in moss, no problem there, but if they also do well in this, I'll consider myself ahead of the game. I just need to keep them wet, the SH part will help with that.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

OR you could do as I do and have been doing for several years.

I use net pots so plenty of air to the roots but the net pot sits in a saucer of water. The roots grow all the way to the bottom of the pot searching out the wet environment.

I did use CHC but now use the Orchiata. Depending on the depth of the pot, I sometimes use p'nuts in the bottom to save me from having to use that much expensive Orchiata. The roots penetrate the p'nuts going straight into the water. If the net pot has large holes I use sphag to line the basket.

If the Bulbo started in a small pot and starts down the side of the pot I use the pot inside a pot method. I only disturb the plant when I want to divide but it is easy to remove by cutting through the plastic.

After a period of time you can see eventually the sides of the pot get covered in free moss. I've even had the dried sphag grow and cover the basket. The myth that you cannot use fertilizer on the moss because it will kill it, is a myth.

Bulb longissimum 'Windy Hill'  JCL_0332

Brooke


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

Looks very neat. It's really the same idea as the plant has a standing pool of water to send roots into and grows in Orchiata. Until now I always used sphagnum moss for Bulbos, this is my first venture into growing them in Orchiata. I mostly addressed larger plants which I cannot find net pots for. Some of them come close to filling an 18" shallow pan/pot. I personally like large plants and have the space for them. As long as they get enough water it probably all works. I have a goodly number of them growing in net pots or wooden/plastic baskets which are all hanging. They don't get the benefit of the standing pool of water, but seem to do alright. There is a B echinolabium with 7 spikes filling the GH with aroma right now. It's in a large wooden basket in moss. I should really change the moss but leave them alone, refuting my own dictum.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

I also like large plants but 18" is several inches to many for me. I probably have more space than you but 12" is as large as i want to deal with on my tables. When the Bulbos grow over the edge of their basket I let them grow down the side. When the growths reach the edge of the water, I hang the basket.

My purpose in responding was to let you know they will do fine in Orchiata, sitting in water.

Brooke


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

Will either of you change your watering habits in the winter? Or do they sit in water year round?

Also, are there other genus you grow this way?

I am a recovering underwatering grower. Unfortunately I am not recovering quickly enough for some of my collection. So I am looking for ways to help them out, particularly my coelogynes, masdevallias, and Encyclia Green Hornet and cochleata.

Thanks


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

There really is no winter as they live in a protected warm greenhouse. There will be no watering changes. The only other plants I have in SH are orphaned Phaelies which I put in that as the prime method. Orphaned meaning they are cast offs after they stop blooming. I've gotten about 10 of them from my doctor's office and a couple of families who buy Phaelies and then instead of discarding them give them to me. Same are in sad shape but others may survive.

I just about have enough and will only take a few more. These plants have nothing to do with the Phaelie experiment I'm running. There I dealt with healthy strong plants, no black roots there.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

Greencurls besides the potted Bulbos I also keep all of my Dendrochilums, Coelogyne, Angraecum family and Catasetum family sitting in water. The Catsetum family is deciduous so I never have to deal with them during the winter.

The potting media is Orchiata seedling bark with large perlite or Growstones as an additive. The baskets are usually lined in sphag to hold the media and many of them have p'nuts in the bottom to eliminate using so much of the Orchiata. Repots consist of either an up pot or if dividing, the plastic is easy to cut and remove so roots aren't disturbed too much - unless I have to use a saw to divide :>)

The Angraecum family are grown in LECA or Growstones in net pots and sitting in water. If it is going below 65, winter or summer, I empty the saucers at night when I shut the g/h up. Yesterday I worked on all of this family because I had moss covering the tops and sides of the baskets. I was happy when I removed the moss to see happy growing roots, many of them sitting in the saucer.

Unlike Nick I do have a winter and around here sun might be missing for days, and days, and days. If I'm in an ugly sunless period I let the saucers dry up for a couple of days and then fill the saucers - about 1" deep.

The g/h never goes below 60 but might also never get above 60 during the day if it is super cold outside. There is nothing more miserable than a g/h with no sun and a temp of 60 - yuck! Basically I try to use common sense and adjust for the various light and heat conditions in the g/h.

I started the saucer/water thing to conserve my rain water supply which is extremely hard for me to collect during the winter.

Hope this helps - Brooke


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

Thanks for the replies, Nick and Brooke. This really helps. I thought I could grow more orchids this way but I was not completely certain. I have improved a lot with watering more frequently but I could do better for some of my plants.

I am more in Brook's situation living in Northeast Ohio where the winters can get really grey and cold. I grow inside in windows and under lights which helps. I recently moved and now have a room I am going to dedicate to my orchids and meditation. YAY! Despite being inside, that area of the house may get pretty cool during the winter nights.

One more question - I am guessing that fertilizer is simply flushed through pots as it would be without the saucers. Then fresh/pure water is added to the saucer. Is this correct?


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

When I fertilize I let it sit in the saucer until it needs more water. Every week or two, or three, I flush the pot to eliminate the salt build up.

I would love to tell you I keep my saucers pristine but alas, they get pretty gunky. Every once in a while I zip my finger around the saucer to get rid of the gunk. I've had no problems with the dirty saucers.

I still have five Phrags, which totally slipped my mind, and they are grown sitting in water too. I fertilize them with a sprayer on the foliage only. I never intentionally add fertilizer to those saucers.

Congrats on the new orchid room - I meditate while I am working with the orchids :>)

Brooke


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

I started this exact thing with my bulbos this past spring. Fine/seedling grade orchiata in trays of water, though I don't have any other additives. It's worked well, they've really responded.


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

I thought of that but was a little afraid to have the bark in continuous water. So I'm using LECA pellets for the water part. I was also afraid to use seedling orchiata and made a mixture of the the 3 smallest grades of orchiata, lava rock and a little coconut. As long as they are wet enough, it will all probably work.

My long term goal is to have a preparation where nothing is needed for 5 to 7 years. If they grow over the edge, either make divisions, hang them up or elevate them on an upside down pot and let them dangle. Because of the long term goal, I used larger bark. Really don't have any long term experience with it. In some of the plants I potted 3 to 4 years ago, the bark is still hard with sharp edges so it does seem to last.

I'm just trying to wean myself from massive use of sphagnum moss. SM is still my media of choice for young plants who are trying to get established. Once established, they do well in orchiata as long as they get watered often enough. I can say this with confidence for the cloud forest plants. A number of Pleuros, Dracula, Masdies, Scaphosepalums etc etc are doing real well in bark. This is my first foray into the Bulbos as for them I've always used SM. No more, let's see what happens.

Some one said that Bulbos like to be crowded. I have not made that experience so have blatantly overpotted them. I hope that was not a mistake. Again, what's true for young plants trying to get established may not hold true for powerful, large plants who will adapt to anything.

Again, switching over to the cold GH, I have a large Pleuro who has been in an 16" shallow basket with orchiata for close to a year now. It moved there from a 8" net pot so has 4" of clear space on all sides. Had about 40 flower spikes this spring and has made over 40 new leaves since then. Going like crazy, no signs of resenting the gross over potting. I'm sure it won't be long before it will fill that basket to the edge. I'm just hoping the Bulbos will respond in a similar way.

All this really goes back to my effort to limit the time spent repotting. I got all the Catts, Onc, Encyclias, Dendrobiums etc in situations where I don't need to repot them but until orchiata came along could not get rid of the SM for the Pleuro alliance and the Bulbos. Pine bark resents being watered daily. Now I hopefully solved that final barrier to a peaceful hobby where watering, fertilizing, dividing, photographing takes priority over months of repotting.

Nick


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

Thanks for the replies, Nick and Brooke. This really helps. I thought I could grow more orchids this way but I was not completely certain. I have improved a lot with watering more frequently but I could do better for some of my plants.

I am more in Brook's situation living in Northeast Ohio where the winters can get really grey and cold. I grow inside in windows and under lights which helps. I recently moved and now have a room I am going to dedicate to my orchids and meditation. YAY! Despite being inside, that area of the house may get pretty cool during the winter nights.

One more question - I am guessing that fertilizer is simply flushed through pots as it would be without the saucers. Then fresh/pure water is added to the saucer. Is this correct?


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

This is odd. The post reposted on its own. Browers gremlins.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and goals. I am going to try some of these setups - with Leca and without the Leca. Maybe I will work on re-potting a couple of things before the summer is out.I have a couple of bulbos and a Coelogyne that would be good candidates.

Brooke - thanks for the congrats on the orchid room. I am really excited about trying to set things up. I have a lot to figure out since this is the first time I will have a completely dedicated space for my plants!


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

I grow in a dedicated spare bedroom and I've included some possible ideas for the lighting of an indoor dedicated room. I have a 3 shelf unit I purchased from here 12 years ago, the fixtures are still working and I really like the unit I have. I only use 1 shelf from May-October, as most of the 'kids are out in the summer. I replaced HID/HPS lighting with this cart, using HID/HPS got the room way to hot.

You could save the money for the cart and put it towards good LED lights, but with the LED's you may be relegated to growing on a single level. (For me the advantage of the cart is that I can grow on 3 levels taking up the same floor space as 1)

Good luck,

Bob (West Central Ohio)

Here is a link that might be useful: Light Carts


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RE: Semihydroponic and orchiata bark for large Bulbophyllum.

Thanks for the lead Bob. I will likely start a post asking for advice with the space in the next few weeks.


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