cardboard propagation of Dactylorhiza purpurella

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naoki

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In Japan, people have been successfully germinating some terrestrial orchids with cardboard for a long time. There are semi-scientific study about this, but none knows why the cardboard works. Actually, I started to put cardboard strips into the side wall of epiphytic orchids, too. I tried this method of propagation with my Dactylorhiza purpurella. I posted the photo of this plant in another thread. The parent came from Great Lakes Orchids. I didn't do hand pollination of this parent (which I'm calling 'NT3'), and I think that some insects did the work for me (they were growing outside). About 5 of them were flowering at the same time.

Sept 29, 2014:
The seeds were harvested when the three capsules naturally dehisced (or almost splitting) around Sept 29.

Oct 17, 2014: Cardboard sowing

potting soil from garden, coarse perlite, some small bark, sheet moss from backyard. Then placed in garage, which could go down to 40F. Around Jan, it was brought into the bedroom around 60-70/50-55F in the dark grow tent. Feb 26, lots of germination, about 0.5-2mm. some seems to have starrted root.

I made holes to the bottom of a salad container (about 30x20cm with 10cm height). Then cut up strips from a cardboard box.


Arranged the cardboard strips, and fill it with about 1.5" of dirt. I forgot the exact composition. I mixed potting soil (peat based) used for other plants previously and added a bit of coarse perlite (sponge rock). Maybe 2:1? Then I dug up some soil (organic layer, topsoil) from my backyard which is mixed Spruce, Poplar, Birch forest (as source of fungi) and mixed in (probably 1/10 of the total volume).



Then I sprinkled a little bit of live "sheet moss" which I found in my backyard.



Then I sprinkled orchid seeds with help of my 3 year old son.



Then I covered it with a lid, and set it in a tray of water. My helper's foot with a polar bear sock is in the photo, too!


I left it in the garage which is about 40F for about 2 months. Then I moved it indoor (55F) around the end of Jan. I noticed that mold was starting to grow at this time. I kept it completely dark indoor, and I have forgotten about it.

Feb 26. 2015:
After 1 month of darkness, this is what you get:









The protocomb is between 0.5-2.5mm. It appears that the root is starting to form (the first photo top right). I've heard that other people tried this with Dactylorhiza, and they also got the protocombs, but the growth after that was slow. So I still don't know if it will continue to grow, but I'll try to keep editing this original message to document the failure or success.

I was going to post it when the story is more complete, but I need some help from people with more experiences with European terrestrials. My question is that when is a good time to bring them out from the darkness. Any advise?
 

NYEric

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No idea, I've never tried terrestrials from seed. I saw your post about raising Ponerorchis this way, it just says to transplant them. If you have extra corms... :)
 

naoki

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Than you, Berthold. I was hoping that you'll give me the answer!

Eric, yes, this method was used for Poneorchis graminifolia at first (around 1983, and introduced to public by a magazine around 1988). Then people started to try it with others. I've heard successes with Amitostigma keiskei, A. gracile, A. lepidum, Bletilla striata, Neottianthe cucullata, Microtis unipolar, Orchis chidori, Pecteilis radiata, Spiranthes sinensis var. sinensis. I have lots of seeds from last year, so if you want to try it, I can send them to you.
 

naoki

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Sorry, I meant the seeds of Dactylorhiza purpurella. If you are interested in them, you can send me your mailing address or something via PM. I think that growing them after gemination may be the difficult part with this lazy sowing method, though.
 

Rick

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That's really cool:clap:

I wonder if the cardboard is an easy source of degradable cellulose?

I saw a non sterile method in Orchids a few years ago that made little gelatin balls out of orchid seed and purified mycorhyzae inoculant. The balls (maybe a few mm across) were placed on petri dishes of damp peat moss. Germination and growth was great.

(I think some type of oncidium).
 

naoki

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I wonder if the cardboard is an easy source of degradable cellulose?

I saw a non sterile method in Orchids a few years ago that made little gelatin balls out of orchid seed and purified mycorhyzae inoculant. The balls (maybe a few mm across) were placed on petri dishes of damp peat moss. Germination and growth was great.

(I think some type of oncidium).

Good to see you back, Rick! You must have been busy recently.

The cardboard has extremely high C:N ratio, and it is because of cellulose (and maybe lignin?) as you mentioned. Some people think the cellulose degrading fungi help orchid germination. From reading a little bit, orchids seem to have a wider range of fungi for gemination than for mycorrhizal relationship at the adult stage. At this gemination stage, they are basically "eating" fungi, and they can deal with some "pathogenic" fungi.

I've heard that one person tried cardboard method with Dendrobium moniliform and reported success, but it is not confirmed (no photo etc). Most people assume that it doesn't work with epiphytes. One person has successfully germinated Cyp. reginae, but she couldn't get it keep growing.

It would be interesting to see if some nutritional/hormonal supplement after germination (maybe with sugar, oats, or fruit juice). I know P isn't good for fungal association.

Symbiotic germination is pretty interesting stuff. I wonder what mycorrhizae was used for epiphyte. I think that there is a new NSF funded project to study mycorrhizal diversity of tropical epiphytic orchids. My friend is in the team, but I haven't gotten the details about the project yet.

Eric, sounds good.
 

gonewild

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It would be interesting to see if some nutritional/hormonal supplement after germination (maybe with sugar, oats, or fruit juice). I know P isn't good for fungal association.

I think using sugars or fruit juices would cause a bloom of undesirable molds and yeasts to grow which likely would overtake the seedlings and consume them.
I had a bunch of Epidendrum seeds germinate in one of our growing beds and germination was good and a lot of seedlings made it to the root stage. But at that point there was an algae/fungal sheet bloom that quickly covered the media surface and all the germinated seed and seedlings quickly vanished.
 

naoki

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Thanks, Lance. I think you are probably right that other fungi could take over. When it was in dark, algae (cyanobacteria) weren't the problem, but I should watch out for them.
 

cnycharles

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I think using sugars or fruit juices would cause a bloom of undesirable molds and yeasts to grow which likely would overtake the seedlings and consume them.

a few years back I tried using mountain dew drench (for caffeine) to kill snails and all i got was some nasty slime growing on the media! 'guess i should have used the 'sugar free'
 

naoki

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In a Japanese book (Have fun with reproduction of wild orchids by Tokyo Alpine Garden Society), which describes card-board method, they mention an example where someone successfully obtained seedlings of P. micranthum x P. delenatii from the cardboard method. But there was no detail. I've seen a blog where the person tried it with P. delenatii, but the results weren't reported (so I assume that it failed). So I don't know if it is possible or not with Paphs. I also think that it is unlikely, but it is interesting to try (and it's probably super inefficient).

Charles, controlling sugar is probably pretty difficult. I was reading about D. moniliform cultivation in Japan, and some people are trying to use sugar supplement to enhance the growth and "features" of the varieties. They said that it is tough to get the right concentration and combination of ingredients (the person didn't reveal the secret additive). Most of the time, it ends up killing the plants by causing some infection. I need to read more about it. I think John M uses sugar water for acclimation of dehydrated plants?

For snail control, caffeine powder (not pill) from eBay seems to be the cheapest way to get it. DavidCampen and I talked about this (and he probably mentioned it here on in another forum), but the concentration of caffeine used for the Bush snail experiment was pretty high. So I'm not sure Mountain dew has enough caffeine. Additionally, there are several experiments testing for phytotoxicity of caffeine. The bush snail dosage is around the level where plants' root growth is suppressed. I think Ray had success with caffeine getting rid of slug or snail. So it may be ok for occasional use. DavidCampen suggested Phyton 20 for bush snails. When I sprayed it, it did kill a bush snail. When I get a chance, I'll probably breed some more bush snails and experiment more.
 

John M

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In a Japanese book (Have fun with reproduction of wild orchids by Tokyo Alpine Garden Society), which describes card-board method, they mention an example where someone successfully obtained seedlings of P. micranthum x P. delenatii from the cardboard method. But there was no detail. I've seen a blog where the person tried it with P. delenatii, but the results weren't reported (so I assume that it failed). So I don't know if it is possible or not with Paphs. I also think that it is unlikely, but it is interesting to try (and it's probably super inefficient). Hmmm. Thanks. Maybe I'll give it a try and play around a bit with this method.

I think John M uses sugar water for acclimation of dehydrated plants?
Nope. Not me. Dehydrated plants get plunged and soaked overnight in plain, fresh water.

..
 

cnycharles

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It is suggested that plant cuttings that have had a hard trip through the mail or stored in cooler a bit long get a soak in sugar water (unrooted annual/perennial cuttings). Don't know general rate, but it is an accepted horticultural practice
 

KyushuCalanthe

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Interesting. Reminds me of the tree bark method: http://www.orchideenvermehrung.at/cgi-local/framebreaker/reload.pl?english/seed germination/bark/ The big issue is to get the little guys to grow up to maturity.

As an aside, I've had volunteer seedlings of Dendrobium moniliforme and Ponerorchis graminifolia show up in my garden - the former on tree fern mounts and the latter in moss covered pots. Of course every year dozens of Spiranthes make an appearance, usually in pots of "old soil".
 
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