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Deflasking, compotting and growing-on

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lienluu

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Hi all,

This topic was raised in J. Matthew Gore's sanderianum flask post and someone suggested we start a new thread about this.

What are people's experience and observations on deflasking, compotting and growing-on?

Do you compot by removing all the agar and seperating the seedlings? Do you remove the agar but leave as a clump or do you leave everything alone, agar and all?

Do you re-compot or leave until the plants are at a size where they can be individually repotted?

Or do you individually pot from the start? I know of one person who does this. He takes his seedlings direct from flask into individual 3" pots. His plants have always been amazingly healthy and large, but i don't know what the in-between stages are like and how long it takes for him to reach blooming size.

Lien
 

paphreek

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For me, it depends on the plants in the flask. If the roots and plants are quite small and I need to deflask, I will leave the plants as a group, but wash off most of the agar, and then plant them in a 5x5 inch container. I tried the agar on method, but did not have good results. I suspect that my watering habits allowed the agar to dry into this impermeable film which neither water nor root could penetrate. Here's an example:

Apologies for the photo quality, these were taken with my cheap digital with the sun very low in the sky.


If some of the plants in a flask are larger and have good root systems, I'll separate all the plants in the flask. I then plant the larger ones with healthy roots into individual pots (2 1/4") with the less developed seedlings grouped into small compots of 5-7 plants.
 
L

lienluu

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Here's another question I just thought of one and that i've always had trouble with.

When you seperate the flasklings into individual plants but compot, how do you get the flasklings into the compot without making a huge mess of everything?

I've tried to fill the compot up with bark and submerge the compot into a bowl of water up to the level of teh bark and then wiggle the flasklings into it, that has worked okay, but very hard to do with flasklings with large roots.
 

paphreek

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I struggle with that one, too. I usually put a layer of mix in the pot and then stand the seedlings on top of the mix, leaning against the side of the pot, if necessary.I then sprinkle more mix over the roots, leaning the plants away from the side of the pot as I go.
 

Rick

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So far my experience is with de-flasked seedlings from Troy Meyers.

They come in a plastic bag with almost all the agar removed. I've been compotting everything that's come my way in shallow trays (clear berry containers from the grocery store).

I've had a couple of things come in a little cooked and mushed, and probably lost about 1/2 of the seedlings from these two lots, but other wise success is pretty good.

I've been planting the seedlings in a mix of CHC, sphagnum, perlite, and charcoal. All chopped up smaller than for older plants.

I think the key to my success is that I start the compots in my indoor pleurothalid case for a month or two, with more subdued light, and more consitent temps and humidity than the greenhouse. Once I see some new leaves and roots, I move them to the greenhouse.
 
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charlie c

Guest
I have, in the past, used the plunk the whole mass, agar and all, system that Bob & Lynn Welllenstein speak of in a tutorial here:
http://ladyslipper.com/compot2.html

And now a method of compotting and hardening off in sphagnum moss from Troy Meyers here:
http://lab.troymeyers.com/flasking/...mat=subjects.htm&-lay=cgi041&-recid=15&-find=

Both work well. As mentioning in the sanderianum flask post, the most important thing is providing high humidity. Especially at the start of the transition of coming from the 100% humidity and sterile world of the flask to the cold, cruel world. It seems almost counter-intuitive but it's high humidity without an EXCESS of water at the roots.

My first SUCCESSFUL deflasking was done very inexpensively using a couple of shelves in a laundry room. A 4 foot fluororescent "shop light" attached to the upper shelf. Plants on the shelf below. As I recall, plus/minus 12 in away. Area enclosed with clear plastic. A small moveable flaps of cardboard at either end to control air flow.

I moisten the medium with a very mild (1/10 strength) fertilizer mixed with 4 drops of Superthrive per gal mixture. Have had better results without fungicides than with. I prefer to "sterilize" the medium with a quick blast in the microwave. And, if reusing old pots, a good washing. And then it's just plain water in SMALL amounts untill the plantlets are off and running. Depends on the cross, but months not days.

Someone, Heather I think, in another post, humorously, mentioned that orchid growers are all "A" personality types. And I think we all have more than a little of the perfectionist in us. It can work against us here. Micro-managing is definitely not the way to go.

Here are some pix of a media test for seedlings done with Enc parviflora donated to the experiment by Troy Meyers:
http://www.sewingpalette.com/orchids/mediatest.html

These are 2.5 in square by 3 in deep pots. The plants are all from the same flask. The Media are: CS-Chilean sphnagum, NZS-New Zealand Sphagum, the two to the left are in a homemade soilless mix of: 3 parts peat, 2 parts perlite, 1 part vermiculite, 1/8 part oyster shell. The pot to the far right maked 'W" is in Pro-Mix 'BX' with a biofungicide (Bacillus subtilis). I'll dig the camera out and try to update these later today. And hopefully will get some acceptable shots of the Paph compots. Anyone who'd like to continue to look over our shoulder is welcome to. Pix are updated on an irregular basis of about 4-6 weeks.

charlie c
 
G

gore42

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I've done a fair amount of deflasking and compotting recently, and I've found some things that work pretty well for me, but everyone's conditions are different, and results may vary :)

First of all, I generally compot with the agar on. I don't do this if this flask was so crowded that they are already packed together coming out of the flask, and sometimes I'll separate them if they are already big enough that I'm not too worried about them.

Even if they are crowded, I'll sometimes divide the flask into pieces with the agar intact, and spread them out in the compot. This is especially helpful if the plantlets are still quite small.

These two Phrag compots were de-flasked about 5-6 months ago. The first is Acker's Superstar 4N x MDC 4N, and the second is Jason Fischer 4N.





These compots were grown warm, humid, and pretty bright. The potting mix is a pretty standard seedling mix of fine bark, perlite, and shredded moss.

I did the same basic thing for these two Paph compots.



This is a delenatii that I deflasked about 3 months ago. It came from Chuck Acker, so they were big to begin with, but you can see all of the light colored new leaves (I grow these a bit too bright).



This is a Paph stonei compot, 'Marriot Quintescence' x self. Hadley Cash hand delivered this one when he gave a talk at the DOS last winter, and the seedlings were still pretty small. I'd have liked to keep them in the flask longer, but some of the leaves were starting to brown, so I deflasked them a few months ago. They're growing nicely (and a little too bright again).

I water them with RO water most of the time, but occasionally will give them 1/4 strength fertilizer with a couple drops of superthrive, with the pH adjusted with Protekt as needed (superthrive is pretty acidic).


The best way that I've found to de-flask plants in a 500 ml glass flask is with a sharp implement from the inside. Instead of trying to pick out the plants, which damages some, and always makes it impossible to compot them with the agar intact, I use a long screwdriver (or a long tent stake, in the case of the stonei flask above) and gently push it down through the agar in the center of the flask. Then, I place the flask on a hard surface (my basement has a linoleum floor that works well) and give the screwdriver a couple of good raps with a hammer. For me, one of two things will happen: the flask will split in half (or something like it) allowing you to just slide the agar out, or the bottom of the flask will shatter off, allowing the same thing.

- Matthew Gore
 
G

gore42

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Thanks Heather :)

Needless to say, the Phrags are ready to come out of their compots, and I have a couple others that look about the same. I'll be listing them sometime next week. I wish I could say the same thing about those stonei....

I have a couple of other photos to post later, if I can think of some sort of justification for it :D

Matthew Gore
 
G

Greenpaph

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I have sold over 100 compots (after deflasking in the past year). I have also kept about 50 for myself. Everything that was stated above is pretty much what I have done. I tried the agar on method as stated by the Wellensteins with some success. I tried the agar off method with 100% success. I do like to harden them off in long fibered sphagnum for about 5-6 months. I will separate the large seedlings into individual pots.
A lot has to do with your growing conditions. The seedlings like warmth, high humidity (70%) and good air movement.
 

Sangii

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wow Matthew those seedlings look great ! I think I have a lot of progress to make as far as deflsking paph flasks goes ...I'm pretty good at phals , dends, vandas, etc but I have a harder time with paphs.... I think I do not keep the mix moist enough...
 

Paphman910

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I deflask Paph sanderianum and Paph rothschildianum by soaking the agar in the flask with room temperature water for a few hours.

After a few hours the agar soaks up water and softens. Then I wrap the flask with duct tape around the flask and I do not tape the bottom of the flask. I use a hammer and smash the flask and the agar and seedlings fall out into the sink. I then run water over the seedlings and agar to remove the glass shards.

Then I carefully pickup the agar and seedling and use a bottle sprayer to spray the agar off the roots. It is very easy to spray off the agar since it was soften earlier by soaking for a few hours. What you are left is a rootball of tangled roots and seedlings. I would gently separate each seedling and pot them straight into a mixture of coconut husk fiber, perlite, and sphagnum moss mixture that was prepared ahead for time. They go into a 6 inch plastic pot and it has anywhere from 8-16 seedlings per compot.

I do not even spray the seedlings with fungicide. I water them after compotting them and leave the seedlings to dry overnight to prevent water from leaf axil and crown. Then I put them in a ziploc bag partially open and keep them above 70 F and have a fan nearby circulating the air.

I have not lost a single Paph sanderianum or Paph rothschildianum yet. They are grown 3 feet away from the 400 Watt Metal Halide bulb. The light is on 12 hours a day and it very important for seedlings to grow at a constant rate. After a year they can be potted into single pots but due to space limitation I just repot the compot with half the seedling in it after a year in the compot.

Paphman910
 
M

Mark

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This is a timely discussion for me as last week I potted up my first compot of Paph seedlings. There are only a few of them. Some are very small. And some were kind of clumped together. When I potted them I left the clumped ones together because I wanted to traumatize the roots as little as possible. This morning as I was looking at them it occurred to me that they are most likely different clones, right? So in the future when they have grown and are ready to go into their own pots I'll need to separate them then. Would I be better off now separating them so it's clear they're different clones and not wee plants with multiple growths?
 

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