first ever flask, Paphiopedilum fairrieanum question

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BrucherT

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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.
Thank you very kindly. I wish I had asked here before I broke up the clump. I had watched several deflasking YouTube vids and consulted my orchid books and all said break apart. But live and learn and so far they look ok. I have them in makeshift terraria and I did soak them in RO water overnight after potting. The medium is mostly fine bark and pumice. No diers yet! I know yes early. I’m a window grower. But am keeping them in low light for now. Planning to feed with some dilute KelpMax in two weeks. Seeing insane, immediate results on my other stuff with it. Thank you for the tip on keeping them wet. I tend to err on the dry side with Paphs but I’ve gotten on a once-a-week watering schedule and it’s working with other seedlings (purchased, singly, not deflasked, oh my GOD hangianum is SLOW!) and matures. Awhile back I posted “everybody blooms” and that’s not quite true, I have some that are too young to know if I’m hitting their needs or not. Really love this forum. Thank you kindly for the help.
 

BrucherT

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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.
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.[/QUOTE]
Thank you so much! I’m so sorry to hear about your beautiful armeniacum but look forward to your future success! I love the species but I had one for ten years with no blooms, about 20 growths and never a flower. I couldn’t keep it cold enough and I’m in Chicago! But I have a new one now that’s growing well so we will see. Best wishes on your flask!
 

BrucherT

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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. :)
Another incredibly helpful response! You all are making me want another flask...hmm...this was very much an impulse buy because I wanted the species and am fascinated by the Orchid Zone mystique. My goal is to raise them up enough to part with some. Though knowing myself, I’ll be unable to let them go after watching them struggle. Oh well. Looking forward to the adventure and really can’t thank you enough.
 

BrucherT

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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!)
Likewise! Blown away by all the experience, kindness and generosity. Wow. Quite a community here.
 

BrucherT

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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.
Wow. I will get some peroxide! Thank you a million times.
 

BrucherT

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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.View attachment 15513View attachment 15514View attachment 15515View attachment 15516View attachment 15517View attachment 15518View attachment 15519View attachment 15520View attachment 15521View attachment 15522
Blown away by this post with all the helpful photos. I am going to get another flask of something and follow these methods. Your grow makes me dizzy. So perfect and beautiful. Those wenshawnense seedlings, I would have freaked out with them being so tiny but obviously you succeeded. Amazing. The one I am dying for is P. rungsuriyanum. Someday. I’m sure I’m not alone there. Thank you for all this inspiration. Feeling so lucky to have found this forum with generous growers sharing experience. I don’t have any orchid-growing friends here and I’m just sucking up all this amazing knowledge.
 

BrucherT

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Yes, I use baskets as much as possible now. The mix is the pretty good mix by Birk with the difference being that I use pumice rather than perlite
Pumice is so expensive and hard for me to come by but perlite and I just don’t get along. Perlite always rises to the top and even though I cut my RO water 50/50, it seems to get a weird browning reaction simultaneously with plants taking a dive. Any ideas for reasonable pumice sources? Thank you for sharing that awesome photo. I don’t use nets because I just can’t keep up with that much watering. But maybe someday.
 

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4F6406F7-9A47-403D-BEA5-DF556F1CCAA6.jpeg 7D8783DA-EB44-4F59-844D-F92FD0F4D947.jpeg
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?
I have about 1000 seedlings at home which includes about 40 compots. I have to water by hand. My plants are on trays and I take one tray at a time to the sink and water each plant by hand one at a time. With all of my breeders I end up watering a couple hours almost every night... it is what it is, Lol. You also made a statement that deflasking all the plants together inevitably means breaking them apart at a latter stage when they get bigger. In my experience the original roots from flask are replaced with new roots which do not need much teasing apart. Also some species Paphs are less likely to have long roots that are tangled and matted together... as an example see the picture of Paph vietnamense seedlings out of flask.
 

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CE76A7C1-A3DF-4B22-90CA-90A89D51D708.jpeg My apologies... the pictures I posted of Paph vietnamense are Paph jackii. The attached photo is of the vietnamense after potting in compots. They were identical to the jackii coming out of flask. The roots are shorter and less matted together so there’s no need to tease them apart.
 

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F1893C81-21A6-490A-A31B-47D30DB8DBC7.jpeg Incidentally, when I do have to tease seedlings apart I use a floss/toothpick with a sharp tip. Get the pick with the very pointy tip. I use the brand ‘Plackers’ the point will go between two roots and because it’s smooth you can work it between the roots so it causes a lot less damage to the roots.
 

BrucherT

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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.View attachment 15513View attachment 15514View attachment 15515View attachment 15516View attachment 15517View attachment 15518View attachment 15519View attachment 15520View attachment 15521View attachment 15522
Just now noticing the variegated seedling in your photos!
 

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I deflask about 50 flasks a year, and I do pretty well... I rinse off most of the agar, but I don't get crazy about it. Usually I will divide each flask in half (sometimes in thirds), and plant those halves as clumps into a 3.5" round pot with my usual seedling mix. Every pot goes into a ziplock bag with the lower corners cut off. Water well, seal the ziplock, and ignore them for 3+ months. After that I'll open the bags at the top, and leave them for another 3 or so months, watering about once a week. If I have time (I never do...), at that point I'll repot everything, with the biggest plants going into individual 2.25" pots, and the rest going as 4-5 plants each into 'mini-compots'. I have some compots that have been in bags for almost a year now, they really need to come out and maybe I'll get to it next week... It isn't an exact science.

My success rate went from ~70% to 95+% when I started using Innocucor (from First Rays). Everything gets soaked in that for about 5 minutes when I deflask (I just fill the flask with it and let them soak), and I usually put some in a spray bottle and give each compot a good spray as well. That stuff is amazing. Highly recommended. It isn't cheap, but it is a lot cheaper than losing a $250 flask. Any extra solution gets sprayed on my other seedlings.
 

BrucherT

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Here’s the result so far. Just over 3 weeks potted up. Kept them under a cloche until two days ago, with increasing air flow. It’s very humid now and I am misting them in the morning. Original count was 15 seedlings and they are all still alive. I realize it’s early. Some suggested repotting deeper, I decided I just couldn’t bother them again. Loving the process of learning as I go. Might do another flask soon! Thanks to all.
 

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Phred

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Looks good too me. I don’t remember if you said you put a couple styrofoam peanuts in the bottom? If you didn’t be mindful of how often you water. In the beginning your pots will dry out faster. Later, they will start to hold more water and in deeper pots the top can look dry when the bottom is not. In that case It’s best to mist, if you need to, in between heavier waterings that are less often.
 

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