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Roth

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I was wondering if cocochips could be toxic to paphs. I had chlorosis when I tried a couple months ago.

AnTec adductum

I can not understand why AnTec is now back to other mixes. Anybody has an idea ? How can I use cocochips for my plants ?
 

adiaphane

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On the AnTec site, there should be a whole thing on how to treat CHC. Some CHC, because they float on salty water on the way to the processing plant, soak up the salt content. I primarily use CHC in my mixes, and I have noticed more vigorous growth and more and stronger roots. I prepare mine according to antec's site.
http://www.ladyslipper.com/cocofaq.htm

For preparation, go here:
http://www.ladyslipper.com/coco3.htm

Before I use it, I *taste* it to make sure all the salt is gone. Also, I don't use it alone. I mix it with perlite, charcoal and good quality (the lesser quality won't dry out and just cause rot and so I would avoid it) sphagnum.

Oh, and welcome!
 

Jon in SW Ohio

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Just about every paph or phrag I've lost has been directly or indirectly related to bark or chc. When woody materials stay wet for a couple months, they produce things that orchid roots don't like. Now I've sworn off both.

Jon
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Marco

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Jon in SW Ohio said:
Just about every paph or phrag I've lost has been directly or indirectly related to bark or chc. When woody materials stay wet for a couple months, they produce things that orchid roots don't like. Now I've sworn off both.

Jon
So what do you use now Jon?
 

Paphman910

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I treat my coconut husk by soaking them for a long time until they all sink. Reason for this is so the excess salts can be leached out. I treat the coconut husk with calcium nitrate and epson salt. I would soak it for a couple of days and drain the water and fill with clean water. We have tap water with a 29 PPM and Paphs grow really well.

Paphman910
 

Jon in SW Ohio

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I use semi-hydro medias like prime agra and hydroton, but not doing the semi-hydro setup, just aircone pots watered normally.

I also use my peat based metromix with lots of perlite and charcoal...but most of these will be moved to prime agra at their next repotting.

I still use sphag for my Neos, mostly because I like the look of the traditional method, but I have to repot at least twice if not three times a year.

Jon
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Heather

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I never had trouble with the salts in CHC, though I was always terribly paranoid about the possibility of it becomming a problem. I didn't go to all the trouble Antec suggests either. But I did soak it several times, or leave it out in the rain water (in a colander so it would drain) for a while. I grew in a predominantly CHC/Diatomite mix for a couple years and just recently switched most of my plants out of it, into Prime Agra to ease watering in my new house (I also have a new hour long commute 2x a day).

I too *taste* my chc for salts! Never tasted any.
yum yum!

(How funny, I thought I was the only one who did that, Tien!)

Sanderianum - welcome!! :)
 
E

Eric Muehlbauer

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I soak my CHC according the Antec formula, using calcium nitrate and epsom salts for the second soak...I give it a minimum of 3 soakings, usually more. I have never tasted it..but I have tested the soaking water with my refractometer (which I normally use to test salinity in my saltwater tanks), and its always been 0. While epiphytic orchids can go into straight CHC (I use a larger grade for those) paphs MUST be put in a blend of CHC, and some inert particle that can aerate, preferably of the same size as the CHC chips. Spongerock (although it is getting increasingly hard to find real #4 spongerock), Diatomite, lava rock, or any of the LECA types are good...and in large quantities. The yellow leaves could be due to a pH problem..what are you using? I use First Rays version of MSU (other versions seem to have higher phosphorus, which is unnecessary, and lowers the pH too much) to which I add 1/4 tspn Protekt/gallon/200ppm fertilizer (only that strength for the multiflorals...half the strength in all respects for other paphs) to adjust the pH. MSU in this formula is the least acidic fertilizer I have seen...Dynagro required double the ProTekt...and as I said before, the more phosphorus, the more acidic the fertilizer. Most paphs prefer a pH of about 6.8 or so...on the other hand, what is your water like? I would guess that a very basic pH would have similar effects...Take care, Eric
 

Ray

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Just as a quick note, since it came up in the discussion, the so-called "First Rays version of MSU" is the original stuff used in the MSU study. I merely buy it and repackage it.
 
E

Eric Muehlbauer

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I grow my phrags in bark instead of CHC (which phrags tolerate at best, hate at worst),sponge rock, and with NZ sphagnum added to the mix. I have one in SH as an experiment...if it does well, I'll try others that way. I use straight MSU, no additives, but at half the dose that I use for other high light plants...100ppm/gal. I also fertilize no more than once a week, although they are watered almost every day. Phrags are tough as nails...other than a tendency to brown leaf tips in some clones, and a disgusting yellowish leaf rot in the caudatum types, they are usually nearly impossible to kill (although I have accomplished the impossible....). They even seem to prefer disgustingly rotted mix...unless they grow too big (always a possibility as phrags are speedy growers), I usually leave them in the mix for at least 2 years. As I said in another post, the awful Rexius bark that devastated my paph collection was well loved by my phrags. Take care, Eric
 

SlipperFan

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Ray said:
Just as a quick note, since it came up in the discussion, the so-called "First Rays version of MSU" is the original stuff used in the MSU study. I merely buy it and repackage it.
Which brings up another issue: There are two versions of the MSU Formula: one for rain/RO/distilled water and the other for tap/well water. When you buy it, be sure you get the proper one for your type of water. Some vendors tell you theirs is for everything; but if it is, it's not the real MSU formula, or they are misleading you. Ray is authentic.
 
J

Jim Toomey

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Hi,
Bill Argo of the Blackmore company said:
"We do have another formulation called the South Florida special (15-4-17) that would also work.  In that formula matches up fine with your alkalinity concentration, and the magnesium level is higher than the calcium level."
He was referring to the results of the water analaysis of my water and which version would match up best.
Bill also mentioned that the Well Water formula would work great as long as I added magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) due to the low magnesium content of my water.
I would highly recommend that you get your water tested by a lab at least once. That is a great objective way to see what fertilizer will work best for your water.
JT
 

Rick

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I agree. This is the direction I've been going in with my plants.

I have a "crusty" well water that is very heavy in Ca compared to Mg, and even less K.

MSU fert (for RO) already has more Ca than Mg, so even with thinned down well water, I'm still lopsiding Ca and K with very little Mg.

I'd like to find a fertilizer with less K than MSU.

I think a plain old Blood meal /bone meal combo would do that.

I looked up the mineral content of sphagnum moss, and it has the potential on breakdown to supply everything in the right proportions. Just not in large quantities.
 

PaulS

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In New Zealand I grew everything in CHC, all my Paphs, Masd, Draculas, Cymbidiums, the works. I didn't lose anything due to the CHC, but lost a few things due to bark decomposing and losing its air to water ratio.

The trick I found with the CHC was to only add fertiliser every 3-4 waterings. If you feed every time you will get a build-up of fert ions in the chunks that make the medium too strong. Be generous with the water, as well, it will flush out any excess. Also when potting don't pack the chunks in too much, you can have plenty of air spaces, as well as lots of water in the mix.

I am using Hydroton, now, but have a block of CHC handy if I ever want to swap some things over. Anything is better than bark, IMO.
 

NYEric

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I am starting to add a little fine CHC back into my mixes because the shape has angular edges which make air spaces and because some roots seem to like it. I soak it in R.O. water a couple of times (only for a few minutes) in a vain effort to remove salts. :p
 
B

Bolero

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I know some people have success but I think also that not all paphs like it.

I stopped using it and reverted to small pine bark for my paphs and I won't be going back to chc. Having said that.......I do know people have had some success with it.
 

PaulS

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I am starting to add a little fine CHC back into my mixes because the shape has angular edges which make air spaces and because some roots seem to like it. I soak it in R.O. water a couple of times (only for a few minutes) in a vain effort to remove salts. :p
Adding magnesium sulphate or calcium nitrate to the soaking water makes all the difference. It replaces the sodium and potassium on the fibres. It's all to do with the high cation exchange capacity of CHC. The sites on the CHC fibres are very unlikely to be left empty by soaking, they need to have an ion attached, so replacing with one that you want is the best method. Eventually drenching with fertiliser solutions when watering will do it, but the roots may sulk a bit until the levels come down.
 

Ray

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Hi,
Bill Argo of the Blackmore company said:
"We do have another formulation called the South Florida special (15-4-17) that would also work.* In that formula matches up fine with your alkalinity concentration, and the magnesium level is higher than the calcium level."
He was referring to the results of the water analaysis of my water and which version would match up best.
Bill also mentioned that the Well Water formula would work great as long as I added magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) due to the low magnesium content of my water.
I would highly recommend that you get your water tested by a lab at least once. That is a great objective way to see what fertilizer will work best for your water.
JT
A very good point, Jim.

Ground water chemistry does vary, though, so if you're looking for chemical perfection in your plants' diet, you're going to have to do a lot of testing and adjusting.

The original "Well Water" formula is simply the RO formula adjusted for what's already in the Michigan State well water. That's why I prefer to use RO and the appropriate formula, as I "know" what I'm giving my plants. However, considering the success folks have in growing plants using every formula under the sun, it reinforces the thought that nutrition is way down the priority list of cultural parameters.
 
J

Jim Toomey

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Hi Ray,
Thank you Ray!
I'm not looking for perfection...
For me it is/was an objective starting point.
The ground water chemistry does vary with the seasons/rainfall for example. But it generally varies within a range of parameters, and as long as the fertilizer matches up with most of the needs I'm fine.

Though there are other cultural parameters more important than fertilizer I felt since the fertilizer is relatively cheap ($45 or so a bag) compared to what we have spent for our plants, it is very much worth the time and effort to get the values in the right ballpark.

RO would be the very best since everyone would be starting with a blank slate.
 
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