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Cypripedium acaule info

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JB_Orchidguy

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Hello everyone. I just made arangements for a trade with a gentleman on another board. I will be recieving 5 mature and big Cyp acaules ( light color form), from what he told me. His family owns some land in the mountains of Ga and they are growing on his property. These will be my first Cyps and was wondering if I could get some culture advise, and a recomended potting mix for here in Augusta area Ga. I live in Grovetown that is only a few miles away from Aug. The gentleman will be sending some of the dirt from the area they were growing for safe measures, but he said they shouldnt need it since these are mature flowering plants and not seedlings. Thanks for any and all advice.
 
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Eric Muehlbauer

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OK....first of all, check your area....if there are any acaule's growing around you, you should have no problem. If not, get your soil tested...for success with acaule, you should have a sandy soil with a pH no higher than 5, preferably below that...the soil where I grow my acaules is 3.9...nutrients should be very low...they basically need acidic sand. If the soil doesn't match, take the soil he sends you...hopefully he will send you a lot...use it to fill the largest pot you can find, plant them, then sink it into the ground. The issue with acaule is that it needs very specific conditions...low pH, low nutrients, when established, low water is fine....when it has the right conditions, it is the easiest of all cyps to grow. If the conditions aren't exactly what it wants, it will be the fastest cyp to die....Take care, Eric
 
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JB_Orchidguy

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Well, I am not sure how much soil he will be sending with the plants. I haven't seen any acaule in my area, but then again I haven't looked for them either. I really need to know how much light they need, and a soil mix too. I doubt he will ship enough soil with the plants to fill a large pot. So knowing what I should do to ammend my soil will help alot. My soil has a high sand content, but also clay. I would prefure pot culture first and a soil mix I can put together. I have ample peat since I use it with my carnivorous plants, and I can gather anything else I may need for a good mix. Thanks Eric for your help.
 

kentuckiense

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Ok, I apologize in advance if I sound like a jerk.

First off, I'm going to have to give my standard "don't get wild dug Cyps" speech. Cypripedium acaule is notoriously hard to maintain in a garden setting. They may flower for a season or two, but they quickly regress. I'd have to guess that it's even harder to maintain in a pot. Second, since these were wild, they are going to have a harder time adjusting and getting situated. Roots will be broken when the plant is dug. Possible fungal relationships will likely cease. It's just much easier to grow Cyps that have been lab propogated. They may be more expensive, but it shows good stewardship and you'll likely have healthier plants.

I've seen hundred(if not thousands) of C. acaule this spring and summer, and they've all had one thing in common: they were nestled in a thick bed of pine needles. Sometimes they were the only plant life aside from the pines. I'd recomend planting in decomposing pine needles, but I've never tried growing Cypripediums, so I'll wait for someone to answer that part. Also, their substrate must be acidic, as mentioned above. As for light, most of the plants I saw got light filtered by the pine canopy above.

Also, nobody on eBay currently offers lab propogated C. acaule. I know of several sellers that claim they do, but they definitely don't. I can attempt to answer any other questions you may have.
 
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JB_Orchidguy

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Thanks for the info. If they were from land other than his I wouldn't accept them, but they were grown on his property. Granted I am not there, and therefor do not know 100% for sure, but I trust him not to take something that is not on his land. I will have to see how long they survive, but I have seen others do ok. I duno about longer than 2 or 3 years out though so that might be the kicker there. I can get pine needles, and that will make things acidic. Thanks for the info. I was told on another forum that they are harder in pot culture, but then I see them in pot culture on websites so I duno. I guess some experimentation will be in order. He is sending some dirt from the area they were growing. Although on vermont slipper orchids they said the adult cyps do not need or use the fungal microryza(sp). I am not in the natural range of acaule. I am further east about i the middle og the diagonal border of Ga. I am basicly on the GA/SC border too. Thanks again everyone.
 

kentuckiense

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JB_Orchidguy said:
Although on vermont slipper orchids they said the adult cyps do not need or use the fungal microryza(sp).
Tell that to Cypripedium irapeanum! However, C. acaule can do fine without, I think. It's just good to avoid all-encompassing statements.

It's be interesting to see if those pot culture photos are of 1 or 2 year-since-wild-removal plants.

I do realize that the plants come from private property, but I still encourage you to purchase lab propogated Cypripediums in the future. Here are several links:
http://www.uslink.net/~scl/
http://www.vtladyslipper.com/
http://www.phytesia.com/browse.php?rub=1&sub=3

Anyway, good luck with your plants!
 
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JB_Orchidguy

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Thanks I will need it these are my first Cyps. There is just one problem with atleast two of the site posted. There stock is sold out. When do they normaly have seedlings available?
 

kentuckiense

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JB_Orchidguy said:
Thanks I will need it these are my first Cyps. There is just one problem with atleast two of the site posted. There stock is sold out. When do they normaly have seedlings available?
Most places ship in the fall and/or spring.
 
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Eric Muehlbauer

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C.acaule does fine from collected plants as long as the soil is the right type. I have had good success from acaule's salvaged from the Atlanta area...Again, the key is the soil...if it is to their liking, acaule is the easiest of all cyps to grow. If not, it dies the fastest..forget a season or two...it will never come back after the first season. As for light, dappled woodland light is the best. I have mine in open oak woods...when the plants first emerge in late April, they have essentially full sun. By bloom, the oaks have leafed out. But keep in mind that oaks offer open shade...lots of patches of sun for varying times during the course of the day. I have heard that for pot culture, a mix of 50:50 sand and milled sphagnum works well...but I have always grown them in my LI soil, even when trying them in pots....Take care, Eric
 
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JB_Orchidguy

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Thanks again Eric. I asked this same question on another site I was on, and that happens to be the same site the gentleman I am trading with is on. After reading the thread and others saying that there is a high mortality rate for wild collected Cyps he said he is sending some smaller Cyps also and including about a gallon of dirt they were growing in. We both want this transplant to be successfull. Sorry to those folks that don't like people collecting wild plants. It was already done before he told me he was doing it.

I plan on building a raised bed area for them and using pine needles and redwood mulch if I can find it. I also might want to add some sand too. So what kind of sand would be recomended to use? I also will build a frame over the bed and put some lattice to dample out some of the sun, but still give bright light. How does this sound to you guys? I have success using a simmilar setup for my Cattleyas I have outside. Do you believe this will be too bright for the Cyps? Thanks everyone for the help.
 
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Eric Muehlbauer

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Use ordinary builders sand...not playsand. It must be silica sand...much of the Playsand sold is actually oolitic aragonite, a Ca carbonate compound...certain, probably instant death for acaule. (Although for the reefkeepers on the list...much oolitic playsand, like Southdown, is excellent in a reef tank, and dirt cheap.) Your setup should be fine for acaule...they will survive with less light, but bloom better with more...just don't let them get full sun during the summer for any length of time. Take care, Eric
 

Rick

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kentuckiense said:
Also, nobody on eBay currently offers lab propogated C. acaule. I know of several sellers that claim they do, but they definitely don't. I can attempt to answer any other questions you may have.

Vermont Ladyslippers has been propogating them for several years now, along with a few other species.

There are quite a few hobby cyp growers that are flasking, but I don't know if they are doing acule. Ron Birch was flasking a bunch of different Cyp species.

There are also allot of salvage plants out there too.

Also try Orchidmix.com to see what cyps he's been propogating.

I agree its generally poor stewardship to dig these out of undeveloped areas, but there are allot more that are getting bulldozed by developers before getting a chance to grow in someones back yard.

Try getting John Tullock's book Growing Hardy Orchids. There are allot of soil (and comprehensive culture) reccomendations for many species including acule in there.
 

kentuckiense

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Rick said:
I agree its generally poor stewardship to dig these out of undeveloped areas, but there are allot more that are getting bulldozed by developers before getting a chance to grow in someones back yard.
Oh, I agree. But you can bet that if I ever own a house of my own and there is Cypripedium acaule on my property, I sure as hell won't be selling or trading them for personal profit. I know the seller/trader has every right to do so, but that's my personal opinion.
 
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JB_Orchidguy

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Well I believe when there is a big stand of them on your property and your not disturbing the entire stand why not trade them for something else. Now robbing the entire stand is one thing, but as long as there are others there to grow, and produce seed then why not? That way if something happens to his stand I now have plants from that reagon I can send back to him to reintroduce if the need arises. Never keep all your eggs in one basket.
 

kentuckiense

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JB_Orchidguy said:
Well I believe when there is a big stand of them on your property and your not disturbing the entire stand why not trade them for something else. Now robbing the entire stand is one thing, but as long as there are others there to grow, and produce seed then why not? That way if something happens to his stand I now have plants from that reagon I can send back to him to reintroduce if the need arises. Never keep all your eggs in one basket.
Are you being serious? You're grasping at air at this point. So this whole trade was simply so that you would be able to maintain some of his 'stock' should some catastraphe destroy the individuals on his property? Let's be honest here. He wanted a profit and you wanted fast and easy Cypripedium acaule. Sure, that's perfectly legal and everything. However, it's pretty clear that you made no prior effort to attempt to find artificially propogated plants. That's the mindset that puts many of our native orchids at risk. Honestly, I'm not trying to be a jerk, but you were laying down a pretty thick line of BS with your last post.

Seriously, I wish you and your plants the best when they arrive. May they bloom for many more seasons to come. In the future, I just urge you to look into more ethical means of acquiring native orchids.
 
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JB_Orchidguy

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kentuckiense You are correct I wanted a cheap and quick way to get some cyps, but with every acquisition from friends you act as a backup plan should something happen. Regardless of what was the motive in the beginning there is always that backup plan for the future. Now I am sorry that some folks do not like the fact that these were wild collected plants. The fact is though that every orchid you or anyone else owns once had to be gathered from the wild at one point in time. Prior to the knowledge of how to lab propagate.

The market still keeps the prices of these guys high and so that resulting high prices requires that I go through some other means to acquire plants. Now had they been wild collected from land other than the owners land or the collection had wiped out a stand then I wouldn't have done it.

Also I do not believe there is anything unethical about the aquasition I just made. Had they been on governemt property or someone elses land with out permision to gather or wiping out an entire stand thats different, but none of those were the case. Different views and ways of thinking I guess.
 

Heather

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JB_Orchidguy said:
The market still keeps the prices of these guys high and so that requires that I go through some other means to acquire plants.
Hmm...that's an interesting statement...Vermont Ladyslipper's prices are only about $35 for mature plants. I'd hate to see what you'd do for a kovachii.
 
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Eric Muehlbauer

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In all fairness, C. acaule was probably the last cyp to be successfully grown from seed under lab conditions....for years, growers were finding them easy to germinate and grow through the first flasking, but that was the end of the line. Only recently have growers had success in raisng them to marketable size, and they are expensive. ....I'm not even sure if they can be successfully grown in the long run, in an outdoor, in ground environment (not pot culture)...they haven't been around long enough.At the same time, acaule is the most common cyp in the US, occurring in larger quantities over a wider area than parviflorum or reginae. And again, as I said before, all they need is the right soil to thrive. I have found healthy acaules growing right by the Long Island Expressway....and can withstand responsible collecting.The main objection to collecting acaule is when irresponsible dealers claim that they are "easy" plants, like that guy on Ebay....most dealers who sell acaule stress that these plants are very demanding and are not for average growers. I guarantee that acaule will never become a hot in demand garden plant...and that is, in many respects, its best guarantee of protection from overcollecting.Take care, Eric
 

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