Growth Habit

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Ray

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On another forum, Arne brought up the tendency of Phrag besseae to climb upward as it grows. It occurred to me that growth habit is something that is rarely addressed among growers.

Some plants have a natural affinity to climb, whether that’s a tree branch or hillside, while others tend to stay in a relatively tight “clump”, and still others have a more horizontal spreading mode.

Knowing or observing what a particular plant does and trying to accommodate that might be another part of the “fine tuning” for the best culture. For example, we’ve seen several examples of “tray culture” here and the grower noted how much better the plants seemed to do.

Is this something we need to consider more?
 
Here is a concept- picture a mini-muffin pan with the pockets filled with medium, with a layer of sphagnum over the top. Then put it on a stand that holds it at a slope. Basically, a hillside full of “pockets of humus”.
 
On another forum, Arne brought up the tendency of Phrag besseae to climb upward as it grows. It occurred to me that growth habit is something that is rarely addressed among growers.

Some plants have a natural affinity to climb, whether that’s a tree branch or hillside, while others tend to stay in a relatively tight “clump”, and still others have a more horizontal spreading mode.

Knowing or observing what a particular plant does and trying to accommodate that might be another part of the “fine tuning” for the best culture. For example, we’ve seen several examples of “tray culture” here and the grower noted how much better the plants seemed to do.

Is this something we need to consider more?
This is a great point Ray. Evaluating a plant's mature growth size/habit and growing direction should be more on a beginner's mind before purchasing a plant.

1. The plant itself won't be in flower all year; having an attractive habit is a major plus

2. If the plant outgrows your space it can: bump into lights above getting burned and stunted, take away light from other plants deterioratimg their health, restrict air circulation leading to more fungal/bacterial issues, and finally make it easier for pests to walk from one plant to another.

3. If the plant has a tendency to climb like a Phrag besseae or spread out like a Bulbophyllum then you might want to just admire the plant at a show rather than dealing with the extra effort to accommodate it's needs.
 
For besseae and some of its hybrids, climb is the proper term as Ray and Russ say.
I can deal with horizontal spread much easier than vertical. I just got rid of anything besseae long ago. lol
Sometimes, Brassavola nodosa and similar plants tend to climb up too. I don't know why some tend to move along the horizontal line while others keep moving upward. really puzzles me.
 
Here is a concept- picture a mini-muffin pan with the pockets filled with medium, with a layer of sphagnum over the top. Then put it on a stand that holds it at a slope. Basically, a hillside full of “pockets of humus”.
Tokyo orchid nursery grows its besseae in a tray this way... inclined and leaning back to keep the rhizome in the media... when i am managing in a tray, i put a wire onto the rhizome and pull it back down into the media and let the new growth get itself back to vertical (if it wants to ;-) ) i have a fischeri i'm about to do that to... possibly this weekend i'll post some photos...
 
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