first ever flask, Paphiopedilum fairrieanum question

Discussion in 'Slipper Orchid Culture' started by BrucherT, May 18, 2019.

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  1. May 18, 2019 #1

    BrucherT

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    Took a plunge on a flask of P. fairrieanum, Orchid Zone refugees. Wondering how I did with separating them? The pile of broken roots makes me cringe but I did my best, spent two hours untangling. They’re potted in small fir mix. 15 total plants. Advice most welcome.
     

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  2. May 18, 2019 #2

    kiwi

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    Good luck. My experience with fairrieanum is that I have had the best survival rates when I compot the whole lot without teasing them apart. Some look quite etiolated. I would bury those a bit deeper. IMHO
     
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  3. May 18, 2019 #3

    BrucherT

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    Aw darn. Well, too late now. Sigh. Fingers crossed.
     
  4. May 18, 2019 #4

    spujr

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    Someone posted this on this site a while back that I copied and save for reference when I deflask, I find it very helpful:
    "
    I started potting up newly deflasked seedlings completely undisturbed, a number of years ago and it works really well. Plus, deflasking and potting up a flask using this method takes only about a minute, rather than hours (if you have OCD about removing all the agar and separating all the seedlings. What a lot of work!).First of all, open the flask a day or two before you deflask. Leave the top off to allow the fresh air inside and start the hardening off process before they are disturbed at all. After a maximum of about 48 hours, there will still not be any mould or other "fuzzy" stuff growing; but, the seedlings will be much happier because of having the gentle introduction to the outside world. Then, half fill a 5" pot with drainage material (whole styrofoam peanuts) and then put about an inch of moistened seedling grade potting mix on top of the peanuts. Place the flask on top of the layer of mix, centred in the pot. Then, fill in around the flask with more mix, raising the mix up just a bit more than the thickness of the agar in the flask. Carefully remove the flask, leaving a perfectly flask-shaped "pot-hole" in the mix. Next, remove the seedlings, along with their agar, left completely intact and carefully settle the agar "disk" into the "pot-hole" in the 5" pot. Gently adjust the medium around the agar disk; but, do not press down. If the agar disk is a bit high, carefully add a little more mix all around it until the mix is just barely above the level of the agar. Then, sprinkle a bit more mix in amongst the seedlings and use an artist's paintbrush to gently "flick" it and make it settle through the leaves and sit on the agar surface. It's not important to cover every bit of agar so that you cannot see it. Just get most of the agar surface that is exposed to the air, under some potting mix. Gently; but, thoroughly water the seedlings with a fine mist and place in your seedling growing area. This way, the seedlings have been deflasked and potted; but, with zero stress and damage being done to them. The agar may grow some grey fuzzy mould; but, so what. Just care for the seedlings as you would seedlings that were potted without their agar. The agar will disolve away if it's very soft, or it may dry a bit and stiffen. Again, so what. The seedlings will begin growing new roots, as they continue to be supported by their undamaged, agar roots. As time passes (3 to 6 months), the seedlings will increase in size and grow roots out of the agar disk and into the potting mix. Once the seedlings have added some size, you can unpot them all, separate them, grade them and pot them up......the largest ones into their own pots and put the rest in 3" community pots of 3 or 4 seedlings each. Seedling roots can be impossible to separate when they are freshly deflasked and more often than not, lots of unnecessary damage is done by people who insist on removing all the agar and separating all the seedlings. It's NOT necessary. After the seedlings have grown this way for a few months, as described above, they come apart from each other much more easily at repotting time. Much less damage is done and you end up WAY ahead because you didn't cause them severe trauma on deflasking day. I can deflask and pot up 20 flasks an hour using this method. Here are a couple photos of a bunch of Cattleya seedlings that I deflasked using this easy and much better method
    "
    If you search the forum using keywords above you can find the author and thread.
     
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  5. May 19, 2019 #5

    BrucherT

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    Wow, what an amazing reply. Wish I had asked before I did this flask but oh well, live and learn. This flask came to me already technically deflasked, rinsed of agar, wrapped in a paper towel, in a ziploc baggie. They were so crowded that I just figured I had to pull them apart. Hoping I get some decent results, even a couple plants surviving I’ll be happy. These are Orchid Zone line-bred plants. I am printing out your message for future reference. Thank you very much. Love your profile photo too! What’s the story behind that armeniacum? I had one for years that made growth after growth, amazing clump, but no flowers. I gave it away. Have another one now.

     
  6. May 19, 2019 #6

    Ozpaph

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    I wash out the agar and divide into 2 or 3 clumps and pot up as compots. I divide into 2-3 so if one pot gets the rot I have spares.
     
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  7. May 19, 2019 #7

    Ozpaph

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    I put the compots on a heat mat. Lots of humidity and air movement.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. May 19, 2019 #8

    BrucherT

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    Wow. Your grow is incredible. I could put them on a heat mat...you say it really helps? I’ll do it. You leave them there 24/7 or turn off at night? Thank you! Staring at your grow with serious admiration. Wow.
     
  9. May 19, 2019 #9

    Ozpaph

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    Its Autumn in Brisbane - temps 15-25C. I have all the seedlings on heat mats 24/7 now. I dont in Summer when temps always above 25C. I think they slow/stop growing when temps drop much below 20C.
     
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  10. May 19, 2019 #10

    Paph Paradise

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    I tried leaving the agar on like in this post with limited success. The agar can get too dry along the way in the compot and essentially suffocate the roots. Anyone who has gotten agar on a countertop or other surface and let it dry knows that you practically need a chisel to get rid of it. Now imagine roots surrounded by a thick layer of this. After a year in compot we had plants with limited development. Perhaps if you keep the compot perpetually wet this could be avoided, but then you risk rotting the seedlings.

    We rinse off the agar and keep the clump of seedlings intact, then drop them into a 4" pot. Like spujr said, trying to tease apart the individual seedlings does too much damage to the roots. Best to keep them together.

    I hope your fairrieanum seedlings do well for you...be sure to never let them dry out. That is one species that cannot tolerate dry conditions.
     
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  11. May 19, 2019 #11

    spujr

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    i try to wash as much agar off but doing so that doesn't disturb the roots. Just my experience, I see even the hard agar eventually fade away and haven't experienced plants suffocating from it. Perhaps the difference is the agar type used in culture?

    I think bottom heat is a great idea for seedlings especially if the environment is below 20C. However, be very careful when starting this. Keep a close eye on the plants and make sure they don't dry out or get too hot, all it takes is a short amount of time of bone-dry soil or excessive heat to kill seedlings. Most heat mats come with a temp regulator, try with low temps first and work your way up.
     
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  12. May 19, 2019 #12

    spujr

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    [QUOTE="BrucherT, post: 670940, member: 70017"Love your profile photo too! What’s the story behind that armeniacum? I had one for years that made growth after growth, amazing clump, but no flowers. I gave it away. Have another one now.[/QUOTE]
    Thank you, that's a picture of P. armeniacum 'Nova' FCC. It was one of my favorite clones of my favorite species, I just love the bright intense yellow color. Regretably, it died while moving around place to place with dramatically different environments . Now that my living arrangements are stable and I honed in the right growing conditions I am hoping to grow an armeniacum of equal merit of this clone. Relating to this topic, I actually will be deflasking an armeniacum this week.

    Best of luck with yours, like Ozpaph said, keep good airflow and humidity around them, they should recover ok.
     
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  13. May 19, 2019 #13

    Happypaphy7

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    It really depends on the flask. When I get a flask with tiny seedlings, they inevitably fall apart on their own and I have no options other than pot them up separately. I used a toothpick to finetune the finishing touch around such tiny (the size of a pinky nail, yeah, I was not happy at the time but they grew up nicely now with minimal deaths. Phew~) seedling. Then, I had it bagged with mouth open at the top to let air in. I eventually moved them out of this bag.
    When I get a flask like the one you had here, it is really a tough job. The size of the seedlings are big and nice, but the downside is the tangled up roots. It is basically an overgrown flask left around for far too long. Majority of those healthy roots are stuck together and it's impossible to untangle them without doing some serious damage. I lost a few while carefully trying to separate them. Some seedlings were pulled off completely from the root. I was so upset when this happened to larger seedlings among the bunch. Eventually and hopefully, they will grow new roots and become established. It may take time (a few months isn't uncommon) depending on the damage done and the vigor of the seedlings.
    Now, leaving the entire seedlings as a compot is not the best option for such a overgrown flask, although I'd say it is a perfect choice for something between tiny seedlings and overgrown seedlings.
    I have tried potting up the entire thing out of the flask. and this was a overgrown flask with roots all tangled up and the seedlings were quite big.
    The problems I faced a few months down. The roots were not any easier to separate and those seedlings that were shaded by larger siblings didn't perform as well. Actually, I had a case where I unpotted such a compot a few months after deflasking only to find that it was impossible to separate the plants without destroying and losing some. So I still have them with me. They are blooming in the same pot as a one big crowded family. haha
    I honestly don't know what to do with something like this.
    By the way, these are luckily very compact growing types. With larger paphs, it would have been a major disaster.

    You have already potted them up. I think they will be fine. Time will tell. Even if they seem like they aren't doing much for a while, continue to take care of them well and you will see them go boom one day! I've had seedlings that grew on steadily, but more often, it has been my experience that they do nothing for a while or very slow so that they seem like they aren't doing anything. Then, one year past, they will begin to grow better. and each year after that, they will get noticeably bigger. To me, seedlings make a really big jump on their third year and a couple seedlings begin to flower. By this time, some of the smallest ones in the flask either catch up to larger seedlings or stay small, which then I usually discard unless otherwise useful to me.

    Again, good luck! Hopefully you will see one or two in bloom in three years. more or less. :)
     
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  14. May 19, 2019 #14

    Happypaphy7

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    This was my weshanense compot in 2016. I was not happy to have received a flask of a rare species in such a small status because I was afraid that might be too fragile and I may end up losing many of them.
    In fact, I lost one about two or three. All the rest grew on nicely.

    For the first few months, I had to be very careful with watering since these would so easily pop out of the potting mix otherwise. I think I just misted on them heavily on the regular basis and then bottom watering every so often. These had only one to three short roots per seedling at the time.

    The second photo is what one of these two compots look like. Both look about the same but I'm just posting one as an example. Last one year, they really made a big jump. For two years, I was quite frustrated at the slow growing speed. They have not been disturbed. No repotting the whole time. Now there is a nice green layer of moss growing on top of the potting mix where their roots are. :)

    wenshanense_zpsxnnyzz6w.jpeg (3).jpg

    wensha compot.jpg
     
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  15. May 19, 2019 #15

    Phred

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    Years ago when I first started to breed, mostly Paphiopedilum, I bought flasks from all kinds of breeders. I wanted to get some experience on their plants in hopes of figuring what worked for me and what didn’t before I started getting my own crosses back from the lab. I bought ‘flasks’ that we’re already deflasked like yours. I bought flasks that needed to be deflasked. In the beginning I teased everything apart and potted them separately. I had mixed results.it is very hard to tease apart Paphiopedilum seedlings unless they are very small. The small ones come apart on their own but they’re harder to get going. The following is how I do just about everything:
    - some breeders always ship you your flask with the agar rinsed off. This works for them shipping because the shipping is cheaper, they don’t have to replace as many flasks and there’s less risk of damage in shipping which means less complaints from the customer. Unless there are very very large seedlings that don’t need to be teased apart I always pot them up together in a shallow pot.
    - most breeders ship you your flask intact. I remove the contents in one piece. I spray as much of the agar of that will come off easily and leave the rest. I then pot the whole thing up together just like a couple previous posters have described. If your flask arrives all jumbled up rinse everything off the leaves and what will easily rinse off the roots and pot up as above.
    - if I have a lot of compots I place them in totes with the lid on for a few days and over the next week or so transition them to no lid. If I only have a couple I’ll use a gallon zip bag for each one as described by a previous poster.
    - I always water new compots/seedlings with a half cup of hydrogen peroxide to a couple gallons of fertigation water every time I water for the first couple months. This greatly reduces losses... especially if your flask arrives all jumbled up.
    I’m sure there are members on this list that have deflasked many more Flask than I have but I’ve done at least a few hundred and this works for me. 823B3ABB-F95E-4EDA-B3DA-8E7E795F70EE.jpeg 9E4AFF6E-CE26-4548-9715-0C91CFD1693C.jpeg 3F48E992-6F28-43E0-9E9E-FAF7A9BA6286.jpeg AEA9B87F-61A3-4630-9843-58BB8B1A056E.jpeg 82892F58-24F6-42C9-99EA-08EB98493952.jpeg 774AE223-FA24-43F4-A03B-A4AE804EB84C.jpeg 85D6D14E-96F9-4E9F-BBFB-17B9360F5CF0.jpeg 2FF2EE30-DFB6-41C0-AD82-E93C66CF05DC.jpeg 7DD106D4-3D84-4E12-9A9A-EE927C96190C.jpeg 7A34D023-82D6-4441-B4F5-21992184F91F.jpeg
     
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  16. May 19, 2019 #16

    spujr

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    Great post Phred, lots of good pointers, I didn't think of the h2o2 idea, will give it a shot next time.

    Although deflasking all the plants together envientably means breaking them apart at a later stage when they get bigger, the advantage is the plants will be more tolerant of broken roots than they would be coming right out of a flask.
     
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  17. May 19, 2019 #17

    spujr

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    BTW, your setup looks great! How many plants do you got growing there? All under lights it looks like? Do you hand water them all or have a auto system?
     
  18. May 19, 2019 #18

    Ozpaph

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    Im loving this thread - great ideas!
    (you cant see my Paph Paradise flasks of faireanum just off to the leftside - will deflask once they acclimatize from there trip to Down Under!)
     
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  19. May 20, 2019 #19

    kiwi

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    I always wash the agar off before I plant as a compot. Here is one I got from Sam.
    IMG_2406.JPG
     
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  20. May 20, 2019 #20

    Ozpaph

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    Kiwi, is that in a basket? What mix?
     
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