All Around Medium for Paphs?

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Cklinger

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Weighing doesn't take that long. I have my notebook open anyway so I can log other stuff for that plant. And you know, I do all this first thing in the morning, usually before coffee. Theres nothing worse than picking up a plant, putting it down, picking it up, shoving in a skewer yadda yadda when you're just trying to get done. I do some of that other stuff anyway, until I'm sure my baseline is good. I'll definitely try your tag idea, too. Nah, different pots, some clay some plastic, different shapes and sizes all around, different mediums, different light. I have a grow room, which also happens to be where I sleep (notice how I put that!) that luckily has a large picture window with a pretty nice, long ledge, by design. It faces NW, but it lets in a lot of light, supplemented with LED spots. Humidifier keeps that up all the time. Constant gentle fan. Have a second grow room planned so I can make one higher and one lower light without trying to make everybody happy in the same space. The lower light space won't have any natural light and will be mostly a paph garden. If I still want more room, first I'll have my sanity checked, and then I could put a greenhouse 10x16 or something on a stone patio next to the house. I'd probably have to supplement light in there a little bit too, but that could be fun. More control. Probably way too much info. Thanks for asking. It helps me think through things.
I like the idea of having a grow room, especially where you sleep haha. I have a grow "nook" where I currently just have a long wooden bench with my paphs and phrags on it with lighting. It's on the east side of my place, but the window that is there is blocked by a building which is a bummer. I also keep my terrarium of other orchids in the grow nook. I would eventually like to get shelving with lighting on each tier, but as a student I do not want to break the bank haha it will just have to be something I'll be saving up for pretty slowly. My place has good air flow so I mist my plants several times a day and check their moisture about every other day. I like the idea of getting a green house, mostly because my grandfather had a green house where he kept mainly miniature orchids and his green house was packed to the ceiling with them. I love reading about different ways people keep orchids, it helps expand my horizons on how to take better care of mine.
 

Junglejewel

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Interesting! Do you find that the sphagnum may keep to much water at times? in other words, what's the indication that they need to be watered?
Not at all. I used to be worried about too much moisture and water like most others and my paph's didn't do a whole lot because of that... I started using a lot more sphagnum and watering them a lot more, and they exploded in growths and flowering!! I use the Rand's air cone pots because they hold a lot of extra water in the corners of the bottom and they also deliver more air to the core which helps me with the extra moisture I provide them, and being clear, I water when the top half of the media is pretty dry and the bottom half is slightly moist.
 

Junglejewel

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That makes sense. Sounds great, too. I'm making a permanent note of it. I haven't gotten into orchiata yet, but I did just order some cone pots. By the way, I was reading a random on-line commentary on paph culture. I think it was an Asian vendor. He said he believed that paphs like to be "tight" in their pots, so pot in the smallest pot that everything fits into. Comment?
I highly recommend orchiata and Rand's pots for Paph's. I don't find potting them "tight" to be critical. I don't put a seedling in a 4" pot, but don't cram it in a 1" pot either. When I pot, I put the roots in and if there's alittle room to grow, that's the size I use.
 

Cklinger

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Not at all. I used to be worried about too much moisture and water like most others and my paph's didn't do a whole lot because of that... I started using a lot more sphagnum and watering them a lot more, and they exploded in growths and flowering!! I use the Rand's air cone pots because they hold a lot of extra water in the corners of the bottom and they also deliver more air to the core which helps me with the extra moisture I provide them, and being clear, I water when the top half of the media is pretty dry and the bottom half is slightly moist.
I will definitely be giving this mixture a try when I have to repot. I have an ample amount of sphagnum and bark, all I would need to purchase is the perlite! I do get worried about my paphs drying out sometimes, especially now that summer is coming up and my place unfortunately has no AC so I will have to think ahead and prepare.
 

Junglejewel

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I will definitely be giving this mixture a try when I have to repot. I have an ample amount of sphagnum and bark, all I would need to purchase is the perlite! I do get worried about my paphs drying out sometimes, especially now that summer is coming up and my place unfortunately has no AC so I will have to think ahead and prepare.
Try it and let me know how it goes. I wouldnt pot all of yours my way though. I'd do a couple my way and see how it works with your environment. See if they grow better or not for you. And make sure you have a fan to provide air movement.
 

masaccio

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I like the idea of having a grow room, especially where you sleep haha. I have a grow "nook" where I currently just have a long wooden bench with my paphs and phrags on it with lighting. It's on the east side of my place, but the window that is there is blocked by a building which is a bummer. I also keep my terrarium of other orchids in the grow nook. I would eventually like to get shelving with lighting on each tier, but as a student I do not want to break the bank haha it will just have to be something I'll be saving up for pretty slowly. My place has good air flow so I mist my plants several times a day and check their moisture about every other day. I like the idea of getting a green house, mostly because my grandfather had a green house where he kept mainly miniature orchids and his green house was packed to the ceiling with them. I love reading about different ways people keep orchids, it helps expand my horizons on how to take better care of mine.
You've got great plans. Paphs, phrags and a terrarium. Sounds like you really love the botanicals. So you discovered orchids in your grandfather's greenhouse?
 

masaccio

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Cklinger, I tried your tag moisture test this morning. It's pretty cool. My concern is that it would be testing the medium at the edge, instead of more in the center. I guess, though, if it's just becoming dry at the edge, probably time to water a paph. I'm still hoping that the new mix that incorporates sphag will be more of a tell-tale because of the weight that sphag gives up as it's drying out. Gonna keep on with the tag test though.
 

NYEric

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We water or mist every day. We have over 1000 orchids (see our 'Miscellaneous Stuff' thread). The diatomite holds water but is currently unavailable; in the battle leading to their divorce one of the couple, who own only source in the world, sold off the mining equipment! Our problem is that we were overwatering the Paphs so that's why the mix has to breathe.
 

Cklinger

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You've got great plans. Paphs, phrags and a terrarium. Sounds like you really love the botanicals. So you discovered orchids in your grandfather's greenhouse?
I do have a great interest in botanicals, I'm in my third year of University studying biology and planning on going to graduate school for botany. I see your point about the tag only being at the edge of the pot and not measuring the moisture in the center, that is something I haven't really thought about until you brought it up haha so I will probably try your measuring method as well as using your same mixture. It is frustrating though that none of the nurseries around me have medium sized perlite because all I have, and all they keep in stock is small perlite, about the size of a grain of rice or so. I will be making what I can of the mixture and I'll incorporate the perlite when I get it. I am curious though how small you chop up the sphagnum, I was thinking about cutting them a half inch big or so.
 

Cklinger

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We water or mist every day. We have over 1000 orchids (see our 'Miscellaneous Stuff' thread). The diatomite holds water but is currently unavailable; in the battle leading to their divorce one of the couple, who own only source in the world, sold off the mining equipment! Our problem is that we were overwatering the Paphs so that's why the mix has to breathe.
Sounds like you have quite the greenhouse! my grandfather kept around 500 or so orchids, I thought his greenhouse was pretty impressive but I couldn't imagine what it would look like in yours! Do you happen to sell/trade orchids at all?

I could see how being in a greenhouse would make it a little difficult to keep paphs unless the mix has a lot of breathe-ability, especially if you have bulbophyllums and other water loving plants.
 

Cklinger

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Try it and let me know how it goes. I wouldnt pot all of yours my way though. I'd do a couple my way and see how it works with your environment. See if they grow better or not for you. And make sure you have a fan to provide air movement.
I only have 1 or 2 paphs that need repotting sometime soon, so I'll start out with those. I got mixed up and asked the wrong member about this, but how small do you cut your sphagnum moss for your mixture? As I have mentioned in the post above replying to Masaccio, I was thinking about cutting the sphagnum at around a half inch. I will have to order the perlite since for some reason no nurseries around me sell medium perlite.
 

masaccio

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I do have a great interest in botanicals, I'm in my third year of University studying biology and planning on going to graduate school for botany. I see your point about the tag only being at the edge of the pot and not measuring the moisture in the center, that is something I haven't really thought about until you brought it up haha so I will probably try your measuring method as well as using your same mixture. It is frustrating though that none of the nurseries around me have medium sized perlite because all I have, and all they keep in stock is small perlite, about the size of a grain of rice or so. I will be making what I can of the mixture and I'll incorporate the perlite when I get it. I am curious though how small you chop up the sphagnum, I was thinking about cutting them a half inch big or so.
I've never incorporated sphagnum into a mix before so we're in the same boat. In the past I've either used sphagnum alone, or not at all. Maybe the photo of the mix I ordered with the quarter for perspective will help. Personally I'm tolerating a medium grade mix for my two new paphs at the moment because don't want to change the structure of their mix at this point. I suspect strongly that growing in a home with less than ideal humidity, a smaller grade paph mix would be better. It has been pointed out in another thread that it is important if not essential that paph roots immediately contact moist medium as they emerge. I think keeping a medium grade mix moist on the surface in a home at this critical point might be challenging. Indeed, the complex paph that I just bought (in a medium mix) and which presumably was grown in a vendor greenhouse, shows stunted roots from the last growth that didn't make it into the medium). Of course you could top dress to help this along if you really want to use a medium grade mix. One of the other thread participants describes the top dressing he employs.
 

masaccio

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We water or mist every day. We have over 1000 orchids (see our 'Miscellaneous Stuff' thread). The diatomite holds water but is currently unavailable; in the battle leading to their divorce one of the couple, who own only source in the world, sold off the mining equipment! Our problem is that we were overwatering the Paphs so that's why the mix has to breathe.
Eric, I happen to have a hobby bag of medium diatomite (which I've had for years). I don't have much clue how to use it. Any suggestions? I don't know how it holds water, how plants react to it, how long it holds water, how it affects a mix, any of that stuff. Thanks for any guidance.
 

Cklinger

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I've never incorporated sphagnum into a mix before so we're in the same boat. In the past I've either used sphagnum alone, or not at all. Maybe the photo of the mix I ordered with the quarter for perspective will help. Personally I'm tolerating a medium grade mix for my two new paphs at the moment because don't want to change the structure of their mix at this point. I suspect strongly that growing in a home with less than ideal humidity, a smaller grade paph mix would be better. It has been pointed out in another thread that it is important if not essential that paph roots immediately contact moist medium as they emerge. I think keeping a medium grade mix moist on the surface in a home at this critical point might be challenging. Indeed, the complex paph that I just bought (in a medium mix) and which presumably was grown in a vendor greenhouse, shows stunted roots from the last growth that didn't make it into the medium). Of course you could top dress to help this along if you really want to use a medium grade mix. One of the other thread participants describes the top dressing he employs.
I agree that a smaller paph mix would be better for growing indoors. I would not be able to get the area humid enough to use a medium grade mixture without using a humidifier. For now they have been doing well with several misting sessions throughout the day.

If you don't mind me asking, what kind of paph did you just get?
 

Junglejewel

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I only have 1 or 2 paphs that need repotting sometime soon, so I'll start out with those. I got mixed up and asked the wrong member about this, but how small do you cut your sphagnum moss for your mixture? As I have mentioned in the post above replying to Masaccio, I was thinking about cutting the sphagnum at around a half inch. I will have to order the perlite since for some reason no nurseries around me sell medium perlite.
Nothing precise. I just grab a handful and scissor it up, but I'd say about 1"-2". I'm really interested about growing Orchid's in a terrarium. I'd like to try some more challenging species that way. Any tips to growing in a terrarium?? And do you have any pictures of your setup?
 

Cklinger

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Nothing precise. I just grab a handful and scissor it up, but I'd say about 1"-2". I'm really interested about growing Orchid's in a terrarium. I'd like to try some more challenging species that way. Any tips to growing in a terrarium?? And do you have any pictures of your setup?
This is my first terrarium and it's nothing fancy. I use a 25 gallon aquarium and I am mainly interested in miniature/compact orchids. Basically I have a drainage layer with egg crate lining the bottom and back wall for mounted orchids. Underneath I have 2 heating pads that are originally used for heating aquariums/reptile enclosures and it keeps the enclosure at 70 degrees. With the water in the drainage layer and the heaters under the tank, it stays between 65-70% humidity. Everything is on a timer so that at night the temperature drops and the humidity drops a little bit also. It is important to keep airflow in mind also. I have a fan that blows air into the enclosure, and a fan that blows air out of the enclosure as well. The fan that blows air outside the enclosure is on all the time so that the tank does not get too humid over night. I have one light over the terrarium but it gets sunlight throughout the day as well. You can see in the picture that I have a cheap hygrometer and thermometer, but I also check it with an electronic one every once in a while to make sure they are staying accurate.

It is a little difficult when selecting what orchids to keep in the terrarium because some orchids need it warmer or cooler and so on, so you would have to keep in mind what temperature and how humid your terrarium gets and then kind of choose accordingly.

My terrarium was a rushed project since my grandfather wanted to give me orchids before he passed away, and luckily they are doing great in the terrarium! My terrarium is currently on the ground since I still have to get some furniture for my place. There is also a little bark scattered from when we moved, one of the plants tipped over.
IMG_1672 (1).jpg
 

masaccio

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I agree that a smaller paph mix would be better for growing indoors. I would not be able to get the area humid enough to use a medium grade mixture without using a humidifier. For now they have been doing well with several misting sessions throughout the day.

If you don't mind me asking, what kind of paph did you just get?
I bought two at the recent Deep Cut Show in New Jersey, a Paph. venustum var. album (which wasn't in bloom) and a complex paph in bud, which turned out very nicely. I didn't go looking for a venustum, but Marlow had some nice plants so I picked one up. I also have a haynaldianum, a micranthum and a Mem. Larry Heuer (mailpoense x emersonii), all fairly new acquisitions. That's it for paphs for now; out of space until the new growing area has been done. I've been growing off and on for most of my life and have always had a few paphs, although previous collections were generally cattleya=heavy. I still want space for a few unifoliate cattleyas and some bifoliates too, but at this point in my growing "career," I've gone a little paph crazy.
 

Cklinger

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I bought two at the recent Deep Cut Show in New Jersey, a Paph. venustum var. album (which wasn't in bloom) and a complex paph in bud, which turned out very nicely. I didn't go looking for a venustum, but Marlow had some nice plants so I picked one up. I also have a haynaldianum, a micranthum and a Mem. Larry Heuer (mailpoense x emersonii), all fairly new acquisitions. That's it for paphs for now; out of space until the new growing area has been done. I've been growing off and on for most of my life and have always had a few paphs, although previous collections were generally cattleya=heavy. I still want space for a few unifoliate cattleyas and some bifoliates too, but at this point in my growing "career," I've gone a little paph crazy.
wow, sounds like quite the haul! Also sounds like you will need that other grow room! I have space in my area, but it just needs to be organized to fit plants more efficiently, I should probably look at shelving sometime soon haha
 

NYEric

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Hahahha! Cklinger, we don't have a greenhouse. I give and trade orchids all the time. If you do the aquarium thing make sure it doesn't stay too moist.
masaccio, dolomite holds water, put a handful in water and you can hear the absorption. Put it next to sphagnum or rock-wool grow cubes and it will keep them wet. If sphagnum gets dry it can be worse than dry bark.
 

Junglejewel

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This is my first terrarium and it's nothing fancy. I use a 25 gallon aquarium and I am mainly interested in miniature/compact orchids. Basically I have a drainage layer with egg crate lining the bottom and back wall for mounted orchids. Underneath I have 2 heating pads that are originally used for heating aquariums/reptile enclosures and it keeps the enclosure at 70 degrees. With the water in the drainage layer and the heaters under the tank, it stays between 65-70% humidity. Everything is on a timer so that at night the temperature drops and the humidity drops a little bit also. It is important to keep airflow in mind also. I have a fan that blows air into the enclosure, and a fan that blows air out of the enclosure as well. The fan that blows air outside the enclosure is on all the time so that the tank does not get too humid over night. I have one light over the terrarium but it gets sunlight throughout the day as well. You can see in the picture that I have a cheap hygrometer and thermometer, but I also check it with an electronic one every once in a while to make sure they are staying accurate.

It is a little difficult when selecting what orchids to keep in the terrarium because some orchids need it warmer or cooler and so on, so you would have to keep in mind what temperature and how humid your terrarium gets and then kind of choose accordingly.

My terrarium was a rushed project since my grandfather wanted to give me orchids before he passed away, and luckily they are doing great in the terrarium! My terrarium is currently on the ground since I still have to get some furniture for my place. There is also a little bark scattered from when we moved, one of the plants tipped over.
View attachment 14753
That's so neat!! Thank you for the thorough explanation! I might have to try that out.
 
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