How to Bring out the Best Colors on Variegated Neofinetia?

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Happypaphy7

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I'm mainly concerned about tiger and yellow shima.

The simple way I understand is that tiger leaves need more light, and so do the yellow striped varieties, while white tiger or white striped varieties need less light.

Now, for those who successfully grow these varieties, how do you control light level?? and what other factors affect colors on the leaves??
I understand genetics play a great role also.

I'm posting this now after seeing one of my tiger leaf (Kinroukaku) looks like it's ruined. :confused:
I have two of them, and each show different amount of yellow on the leaves, which I would regard as genetic in origin because I picked these among a bunch that were grown the same way and all had different amount of yellow. I picked two with the most yellow.

Now, I have had these two guys a little over one year by the south window with sheer curtains. At times, I had them under T8 light, but no longer than three months at a time.
One plant, yellower of the two, still looks the same, while the other one was losing yellow and turning green. I wanted it to have more yellow, so I thought I would try giving it more light and moved this one to the window with sheer curtain. but right up against the glass.
This one yellowed up in just two weeks (the past two weeks recently) but not in the way it should. The entire plant looks as if it is sick. not pretty, then lead tips and edges show strong purple.
I wonder this has anything to do with fertilization (lack of magnesium under cold period on some plants can show purple colors on the leaves I've read)??
The other plant of the same variety is also right up against the window in the south window with sheer curtain with no such reaction. :confused:

I have Kogane nishiki that was overall green with very slight yellow cast on only one leaf, and in just two weeks or so by the window (about one foot away from the glass), many leaves are showing yellow cast in a pretty way.

I also have added shima variety (yellow stripes) and not sure how to handle this one. Time will tell, but I would like some feedback and advice as to how to best take care of these variegated neo plants.

I will post pictures of my "funny" looking, rather worrisome Kinroukaku, which I just moved to under T8. I hope the color returns normal. :(
 

Marco

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This would be a golden answer if it ever came around. Unfortunately, I don't think there is one golden answer.

Purpling of leaves may be from hot lamps during winter?? Not really sure??

Below are two photos of my higashi :

higashidemiyako (東出都) - 01 - 03.20.16 by Marco, on Flickr

higashidemiyako (東出都) 01 - 03.11.17 by Marco, on Flickr

On the 03.20.16 photo, you'll notice that there slight purpling on the leaves on the front. You'll also notice that there are some burn marks on the leaves. The burn marks are from acrylic skewers that was conducting heat from the lamp because the skewers were too close to the lamp. I've since taken out the acrylic skewers and moved this particular neo a few inches further away from the lamp. You'll see from the 03.11.17 photo that the purpling has gone away.

Below are photos of my getsuden :

Getsuden 01 - 09.06.15 by Marco, on Flickr

getsuden (月殿) - 02 - 03.20.16 by Marco, on Flickr

getsuden (月殿) 01 - 03.25.16 by Marco, on Flickr

getsuden (月殿) 01 - 01.11.17 by Marco, on Flickr

I purchased this neo around 09.15. Similar to my higashi, this particular neo was relatively close to the t5s. However, the getsuden probably received more of a winter breeze then the higashi. It was much closer to the small opening in the window. During the winter of 2015 this getsuden developed a beautiful purpling on the leaves. It was great because new leaves would be shima variegated turn green as they aged then turned purple. I pulled it away from the lamps by serveral inches and during the spring of 2016 the purpling on the getsuden disappeared.

You'll notice on the January 2017 photos there is some purpling on the leaves but not as significant as 2016. Likely because the neo was further away from the lamp this year. I suspect that the purpling will disappear come spring 2017.

This purpling of the leaves also happened to my hokage during the winter of 2015 (see photo below). You'll notice that the top leaves are stunted because this plant was also too close to the light. This hokage has also been pulled away from the lamp and didnt develop the purpling this year.

hokage (火影) 01 - 01.09.16 by Marco, on Flickr

This purpling never occurred on any of my other neos.

My akebono that has lost almost all of its variegation. However, I have some hope because there is a new growth that has the inverted shima stripes. Why it lost its variegation...i don't know..It pretty much received the same treatment as the three above.

Unfortunately, I cannot speak to much to tiger varieties. I have two and I haven't seen much change since I purchased them.
 

Happypaphy7

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Thank you, Marco. Wonderful clear close ups.

So, purpling definitely has to do with strong light.
Both my Kinroukaku have dark center on the plant (where all the leaves meet, the main shaft so to speak) and ruby root tips, so they have plenty of ability to produce anthocyanin, I guess.

Looking at your photos makes me questions one thing.
I see some of the varieties with strong purple (dark) pigmentation and they seem to fetch a lot of money. Now, if strong light easily induce such purpling, how on earth can one tell the difference between "sun stressed" plants and others (I wonder they are always wearing purpling regardless of the light level given??).

also, that last photo, it looks like the plant is burnt!
Is it ok??

You grow by the window with supplemental light as T5?

During the winter, I place my neos by the window where it is the coolest in the apartment.
 

Happypaphy7

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By the way, do you "train" them, or "shape" them with those sticks as shown in the last photos?
I've read about this, but only understands the basic function.

I just let mine grow in all crazy directions. I need to learn how to shape my neos to make them look neat while growing up to a larger plant.
 

h_mossy

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When you folks that grow neo's put all that moss around the roots, is there something underneath to make it hollow, or is it solid moss all the way through?
 

Happypaphy7

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Hollow.
A sake or wine bottle are often used when potting neos.
Neo pots have a large drainge hole.
Once you put the moss and plant in the pot, you put your finger through that hole and reinforce the hollow center of the mound.

Or some people sell ( or just find objects that work) a plastic or styrofoam stick that can be used as a center insert.
 

Lanmark

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Mine are all hollow under the moss. I mostly use standard Japan-sourced black plastic domes which are designed specifically for growing these plants. The roots go over the dome and a layer of super long strands of moss is wrapped over the roots to hold the plant in place. The finished product is then inserted into a standard-sized, footed Neo pot which has a very large drainage hole in the bottom. This allows air to freely circulate under the pot and into the center of the dome. The moss dries evenly inside and out and doesn't stay wet forever. Constantly wet moss quickly brings on root rot. I don't use a lot of moss, and I am able to give my plants frequent wet/dry cycles in this manner. I've had great success with this method over a long period of time.

dome_zpszwa8tpq9.jpg
 

PaphLover

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Mine are all hollow under the moss. I mostly use standard Japan-sourced black plastic domes which are designed specifically for growing these plants. The roots go over the dome and a layer of super long strands of moss is wrapped over the roots to hold the plant in place. The finished product is then inserted into a standard-sized, footed Neo pot which has a very large drainage hole in the bottom. This allows air to freely circulate under the pot and into the center of the dome. The moss dries evenly inside and out and doesn't stay wet forever. Constantly wet moss quickly brings on root rot. I don't use a lot of moss, and I am able to give my plants frequent wet/dry cycles in this manner. I've had great success with this method over a long period of time.

dome_zpszwa8tpq9.jpg


Thank you for the photo. I believe you posted about these domes in another thread and I went searching online for them, but couldn't find any. Is there a specific name for these that I should be using? As a new neo grower, not only would these domes be useful for providing airflow, but they look like they'd help me make a proper mossy base for my plants. Properly wrapping the moss into a beautiful round ball looks like a learned skill.
 

Happypaphy7

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That is very smart!!
Can you buy those in the U.S.?
I assume they come in different sizes?

I gotta get those! :)

I'm not a big fan of moss mound ( too lazy lol) but I realize it is provably easier to maintain healthy plants this way and easy to repot with moss mound than other methods.

My Amami needs to get out of old bark.
I was thinking of moss mound or clay balls with semi hydro culture.

Then all other smaller neos are in need of repotting also, and the moss mound on most of them lost the hollow center and suffering to varying degree I believe.
My Hisui is not looking good at all. Should have taken it out of the pot sooner when the leaves were dropping one by one, but took the poor thing out yesterday and saw three main roots were all long gone!
It is pushing three new roots fortunately and I have it in a shall pot with little moss around the base. It might be a long way back to health.
Keeping my fingers crossed.
Id better do something on other ones before something this disastrous happen.
 

Lanmark

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As far as I know these domes only come in one size, and they work pretty well with both the small 3.0 and medium 3.5 standard black Neo pots. I got my domes from Satomi Kasahara of Seed Engei. I simply sent her an email asking about them and she quoted me a price. She sent them very quickly. You can find her on Facebook at Seed Engei to send her a message or PM me and I can give you her email address. I have purchased them from other vendors in the past as well but can't recall who. I don't know what they are called other than domes for growing Neos.

You can also use inverted small plastic net pots/slit pots/baskets/orchid baskets. Amazon sells various styles and sizes of them for use in hydroponic plant growing systems and for growing orchids. A small basic handheld set of wire clippers can be used to remove some of the plastic to make the holes bigger if you want, but it's not absolutely necessary. Another option for smaller Neos is white plastic golf practice wiffle balls. You can drill additional holes if desired if you use a clamp to hold the ball and you are careful, or you can use a wood burning tool outdoors on a windy day to add more holes if you wish. The fumes are too noxious to do it any other way unless you have a workshop exhaust hood. I suppose you could use even larger wiffle balls for really big Neo plants.

A lot of people use white polystyrene styrofoam packing peanuts in the center of their mounds instead of a plastic dome or net pot.

Now I have started experimenting with Red Heart Scrubby Yarn in Almond color as a substitute for the NZ long fiber sphagnum moss. It doesn't hold nearly as much water as moss does, so your plants would need to be watered more frequently than with moss. There's much less chance of root rot, though, so that is a good thing. It looks very nice too.

I have had mixed results with semi-hydro and clay balls. It rotted the roots of some of my Neo plants. Other Neo plants liked it. It seems the roots which grow after placing the plant in semi hydro do much better than those which are already on the plant when you first put it into semi hydro. I would suggest never transferring a plant from some other media into semi-hydro unless it is just entering an active root growth phase in the Spring. Still, some Neos just don't seem to like it though. It's been hit or miss for me.

I have had much better luck with just growing them in open baskets with clay balls (LECA) and then dousing them with water or weak nutrient solution every few days. I have three Phals I am currently growing in this manner with great success. Two are Jiaho's Pink Girl and one is Nuuanu Tono 'KF #1'

I've also grown Neos in pots or baskets filled with 1 inch chunks of pink landscaping granite. Caution is required, though, because the weight of the rocks can snap or crush the roots if the pot gets bumped or shifted too much. I've also used 1 inch chunks of horticultural charcoal. I've also grown them mounted on rocks and on wood. Some people grow them in baskets or pots filled with wine corks. I tried this but developed a problem with moldy corks. Maybe I was watering too often. I don't know.

I think a sphagnum moss mound combined in use concurrently with semi-hydro culture -- with or without clay balls -- would prove to be utterly disastrous! It would stay much too wet!
 

Happypaphy7

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Thanks for the input, Mark.
I'll have to contact Satomi, then.
I like this better than net pot because of the smaller surface area of the top if the dome competed to the flat surface of the bottom of the net pot.

Sorry, I meant clay balls with watering, not strictly semi hydro.
From what I've read and seen and heard, s/h is a hit or miss and this, I will never test plants that I love on such setting. Plus, I don't like bringing sick plants back to health. Too painful and im not patient enough. lol

I'm also considering half & half of moss and clay balls or grow stone chips.

I would love to hear about how things go with your trials of thread instead of moss.

I have seen some neos at Korean show that were presented with what appeared to be like cotton thread, but just to wrap around the very outer layer of the moss mound for the show purpose.
 

Lanmark

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Growstone is quite alkaline in nature. I don't recommend it.

I think a 50/50 moss/LECA combo in an open basket would still keep the roots too wet. I would suggest using less than 50% moss if you are going to try it.

The finishing string you are talking about is a nice product. It is manufactured to mimic moss. It is not generally available in USA. You would need to order it from a Neo supplier in Korea or Japan. I don't think it would work well exclusively in place of moss as the sole mounding material, but it does work very nicely to put an attractive finishing touch on your moss mounds.
 

Happypaphy7

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Moss is acidic enough to counteract, I think?
I will most likely use clay balls as I just picked up a large bag of it at IKEA the other day for only $5!
If it wasn't for all the heavy pots I had to carry, I would have bought more, but another trip. Much cheaper than anywhere I've seen.
The only thing is that the particle size was rather big, although there are smaller ones, overall larger than I like.
Should work well for my use regardless.

Yes, I'll have to try less moss as you point out.
Even straight clay balls seem to stay moist for quite long, longer than I thought when the pot is about 4 in diameter.

The thread they use for show is just that I belive?
I would think I will try a few thread to keep the moss in place.
They come off here and there when I water.
My poor job with the mound maybe. lol
 

Lanmark

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I honestly don't know if the sphagnum moss would effectively counteract the alkalinity of the Growstone product. Maybe it would. I'm more afraid that the Growstone in combination with the moss would prove to be too wet overall. I believe Growstone holds more water than LECA. It sounds like a recipe for root rot.

As you say, even straight clay balls can stay quite moist in the center of the pot and certainly for longer periods than might be expected. This is why I always grow my Neos or Phals in open baskets when using LECA and never in closed-wall pots.

I prefer the larger particles of LECA over the smaller ones. Over the years I have never had a problem with dehydrating any of my Neos no matter how I grew them. Almost inevitably any problems I have ever had were with the roots staying too moist and rotting. Smaller particles compact together more. Larger particles = more open spaces.
 

Happypaphy7

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True. Larger particles are better.
I was also just referring to my general use. Sorry for the confusion.
I started using clay balls mainly for drainage and placed a thin layer or thick depending on the need, then I also used them as both part and sole ingredient for potting.

Other than my Hisui, so far, I've been alright with neo roots, but I think they can certainly do better. Now, with the quick drying is great but when I travel, it becomes a big issue for me.

The worst problem I've had with neo was to spray for bugs in the past.
I basically killed two plants quickly following spraying. I talked about this before.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do if I ever receive infested neo in the future.
So far, those two were the only incidents and bugs seem to be non issue for neos with me thus far.

Back to lighting, do you use natural light for growing neos?
How does shima compare to tiger?
Less light? I know shima variety especially white margin can get "dirty" with purple under too much light.
There are even varieties priced high for having dark lines and such, but not my taste.
 

Lanmark

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Currently I use artificial lighting, but I have grown under natural light previously and probably will again in the future.

I have found that each plant responds differently. It requires keeping a close eye on the plant until you can be sure of how it will respond to your given light situations. Too much light could bleach a plant or possibly stimulate production of too much anthocyanin. Too little light could allow one with tiger variegation to fade. Each variety is different in its requirements, and even different plants of the same variety can respond differently.

Shima with white stripes are definitely sensitive to too much light. Other than that I can't say with any certainty as I have only grown a handful of variegated Neos over the years - maybe 20 in all, and it's been a few years since I've had any of them other than the two I have now.

Currently I am growing Otaka no Yuki and Hana-Kin. The first has occasional thin yellow striping on the edge of some of its leaves, and the latter is a tiger or tora plant. Both are growing under artificial light and doing well. I have had these two for about a year.
 

Marco

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This netted dome does work but it dries out the media way to quick for me. Matt W. pointed me out the small hydronic pots he uses and they work perfectly for me. I simply invert the pot in the media.
Following is a link.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00M...ic+net+pot&dpPl=1&dpID=41WAr4-LbSL&ref=plSrch

Neil I have extras if you want to give them a shot before buying. They work well with the smaller plastic neo pots. Sometimes they slip through the drainage hole for the bigger plastic neo pots.

I don't train the leaves anymore. To lazy. However I will try train the occasional growth growing at awkward angless.
 

myxodex

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An alternative to inverted net pots is this type of gutter mesh.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/6M-Gutter...rains-Blocking-Moss-Roof-UK-PRO-/252780998740

This is what I use. It's cheap and can be easily cut to size with a pair of scissors. Just roll it into a tube so that the abutting ends just overlap and the diameter is just a bit wider than the hole in your pot, place it in the pot to measure height needed, cut to height, wrap moss around to hold it in place and put a pad of moss over the hole at the top. Roots can grow through this as with any netted structure and occassionally can get entangled, but this is rare and anyway it is soft enough to be easily cut away. When I use this I have the hole going right up to a bit less than an inch (approx 2 cm) below the base of the plant. I like the flexibility it gives me in getting the size of the hole to match the pot and plant; so for bigger plants with a heavy root mass I can make the hole narrower and shorter as they dry the moss quicker after watering. I like to let the moss go quite dry but not crispy before watering, and aim to have a watering cycle of three to four days.
 

Lanmark

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That's right...I had forgotten about myxodex's awesome method. Thanks for reminding us!
 

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This netted dome does work but it dries out the media way to quick for me. Matt W. pointed me out the small hydronic pots he uses and they work perfectly for me. I simply invert the pot in the media.
Following is a link.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00M...ic+net+pot&dpPl=1&dpID=41WAr4-LbSL&ref=plSrch

Neil I have extras if you want to give them a shot before buying. They work well with the smaller plastic neo pots. Sometimes they slip through the drainage hole for the bigger plastic neo pots

I have lots of these from aquarium plants. Get to know someone in your freshwater aquarium society and you can get lots for free.
 
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