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patrix

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I just order some coconut chips and have big bag of rock wool cubes and one of aliflor, I also have a giant bag of bark and some perlite. what are your ideas on ratios and would it be the same for both paphs and phrags. I look at the pictures posted on this site and try to determine what people are using-usually I am distracted by the remarkable flowers. I also splurged on some air cone pots per SOF suggestions

Your recent thread on growing areas prompted me to clean my up and I will try to post a picture or two- I printed the instructions. Lastly, whoever made the suggestion about not getting H20 in paph crowns-I am greatefful. I have orchids hanging above the paphs and had let the water just drip-but I cut a trash bag on the seams and spread it over them like a raincoat-they appear much happier.

Thanks for any ideas on the mix- I want good roots and have trouble with them
 
M

Mahon

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patrix said:
I just order some coconut chips and have big bag of rock wool cubes and one of aliflor, I also have a giant bag of bark and some perlite. what are your ideas on ratios and would it be the same for both paphs and phrags. I look at the pictures posted on this site and try to determine what people are using-usually I am distracted by the remarkable flowers. I also splurged on some air cone pots per SOF suggestions

Your recent thread on growing areas prompted me to clean my up and I will try to post a picture or two- I printed the instructions. Lastly, whoever made the suggestion about not getting H20 in paph crowns-I am greatefful. I have orchids hanging above the paphs and had let the water just drip-but I cut a trash bag on the seams and spread it over them like a raincoat-they appear much happier.

Thanks for any ideas on the mix- I want good roots and have trouble with them
Patrix,

I would not reccomend CHC (Coconut Husk Chips) for any of your orchids. Xavier Garreau de Loubresse did the initial research upon CHC (with analysis), and came up with many findings. Xavier found that if you wash the CHC with Calcium Nitrate and Magnesium Sulfate, and use RO water to remove the salts, the CHC will be good from a few weeks to a few months. I won't go into great detail about how CHC is not good for orchids without the consent of Xavier.

-PM
 

Stephan

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I have a funny feeling that the quality of CHC depends higly on the supplier and the area it came from.

Last year there was a fair amount of chatter back and forth about CHC and how plants were responding so positively to it. Then a post detailing, in very scientifitic terms, how dangerous it "could" be was posted which scared the $^#* out of me. But not entirely.

I have an insigne that's been in raw, (then) untreated CHC now for a little over 16 months - it's saturated, looks unhealthy but the roots have grown to the bottom and out of the pot. When I first got the insigne it was part of a multi growth pot which I broke up. There are only three survivors from the five plants I got. Guess which media they were in. :)

Cheers
Stephan
 
M

Mahon

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Stephan said:
I have a funny feeling that the quality of CHC depends higly on the supplier and the area it came from.

Last year there was a fair amount of chatter back and forth about CHC and how plants were responding so positively to it. Then a post detailing, in very scientifitic terms, how dangerous it "could" be was posted which scared the $^#* out of me. But not entirely.

I have an insigne that's been in raw, (then) untreated CHC now for a little over 16 months - it's saturated, looks unhealthy but the roots have grown to the bottom and out of the pot. When I first got the insigne it was part of a multi growth pot which I broke up. There are only three survivors from the five plants I got. Guess which media they were in. :)

Cheers
Stephan
Stephan,

Xavier mentioned something about this too... CHC is sometimes contaminated with Fusarium, which produces hormones that promotes strong root growth. As soon as the hormones run out, the plant will die.

As for the leaves, that is expected when growing in CHC... Not to be rude or anything, but I would suggest transfering your plant into some other sort of medium other than CHC...

And as for "could" be dangerous, I believe there is enough research done by Xavier to prove that CHC is nothing but deadly, treated or not. It takes time, and not always will it have the same effects as others.

-Pat
 

TADD

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Actually my findings have been roughly the opposite. I had a very hard time with bark material. I switched all of my small collection over to a CHC about (3 years ago), spongerock, aliflor mix. My plants have done pretty darn well for growing inside under lights in my house. The only exception I have had a bit of trouble with was brachy species. The hybrids do well, but I have lost a few concolor, bellatulums, etc... I think it is more of a culture issue on my part, not enought research etc...
My collection is only about 200 plants, but I feel that it has been more successful because of the CHC. My small pot combo is about 50 1/2 CHC (small), 1/4 Aliflor/ diatomite(small chunks), and 1/8 spongerock, and 1/8 small charcoal. I think my math is right.... My big pot combo is the same ratio, I just use the bigger CHC, diatomite, and charcoal pieces.

I do adjust my mix for certain plants more aliflor, etc...
 

Marco

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Patrix this might be more info than you asked for but here goes.

I recently moved all my paphs into this mix from an s/h setup. It was a hit or miss. Some of my paphs loved s/h some didn't and had massive root loss the results were a little to variable for me.

My mix now is approximately 1 chc (medium but if theyre to big i break them up into smaller pieces) .25 alifor, .25 diatomite (small-medium), .25 charcoal(small-medium) in aircones. As I put the mix in the pot I layer it up in fine perlite mixed with chopped sphag about every half an inch of mix that I put in. In the pot towards the center I put a bamboo skewer that I use to check the moisture and water. I water when its almost dry but not bone dry. I test the skewer on my wrist to see if its moist.

On the CHC I agree Stephan. I would ask the vendor you recieved the chc from whether or not it was prewashed. None the less even if it was prewashed I usually soak the CHC in water for several days with regular water changes. Also here's a link on some info on how to clean CHC http://ladyslipper.com/coco3.htm (antec as lots of great info in the reading room)

I grow warm with temp fluctuations from day to night of 85f-75f and my humidity ranges from 50%-65%. My plants are on an east facing window supplemented with lights for about 12-14 hours a day. I usually water every 2-3 days. Here's a photo of a Paph. stonei, on the left, that I recieved a month or two back from Gore Orchids and a Paph. Vera Pellechia (didn't put perlite and chopped sphag in this one) from Ratcliff right before they closed.



After 2 weeks of having the stonei in a CHC mix the roots (one circled in blue grew at least 5-6 inches cause it wrapped around from the other side of the pot) just kept on growing and growing. It was actually what prompted me to go bug Matt on the mix he used and I did my best mirror it and my paphs so far seem to like to it. One key thing that many people seem to stress on any type of organic medium is to repot in fresh mix at least yearly.

Sorry for the long post. I hope your eyes don't hurt to much.
 
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patrix

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Thanks, I got it from Machilea orchids. It was listed as prewashed though he recommends soaking and rinse with water changes at least twice. I had only heard very good things about this "pop" medium whichis why I ordered some. The people in our local orchid club, one is a professional grower, rave about it whichis why I bought some-you know we want only the best for our orchid babies, but not I am not so sure. I would rather not sacrifice a plant, even one that is doing poorly would not necessarily be an indication of mix intergrity. I have already repotted (9-1-06) about 1/2 of my paphs into a combo of rock wool cubes (2 parts), aliflor (2 parts) and perlite (1 part) as I am seeking a mixture I do not need to redo annually (laziness) It was then that I noticed many had few if any roots but the tops were doing good. I changed my watering techniques and they are looking terrific, spiking and appear very robust-I am too chicken sh*t to pull them out of the pot to root check but it seems that they would have been dead with no roots since early September-sorry for the ramble on on this post but the medicine gives me energy today.

Please consider these questions

1. I have well water, does that make a difference (aside from MSU) and would it hurt to do my final soaking in a dilute rooting hormone?

2. Is it better to use less of it in the ratio you will suggest with the other ingrediants I listed in the inital post?

3. If I feed it to the mischievious children who stuff my mailbox full of leaves and they; a) live, b) wither or C) grow like the people in the old Wonderbread ads- can I transfer the iinfomation of this scientific study to the orchids

Thanks for all of the helpful responses from good members
 
M

Mahon

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Here's a little more input:

Xavier was the one who did the research on CHC and discovered the need for the washing. The washing will only make the CHC "good" for a certain period of time, from a few weeks to a few months. I am almost sure there are exceptions. So actually, pre-washed CHC would make no matter, unless you have a fettish for repotting. I feel as if the research Xavier did is absolutely correct. I also feel you are juggling chainsaws if you want to grow in CHC...

...and if your plants are doing bad in CHC, why would you keep growing? This isn't a answer to sound rude, it is just a question. Out of curiosity, how long have some of you grown in CHC? What are the other components in the medium?

And Antec, I believe, does not use CHC anymore... I found Bob's reply, but I forget...

-Pat
 
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patrix

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Mahon you did not read my post, I do not have anything in CHC at this time, which is why I made the post.

I do not consider you an expert on anything but find you very annoying so please do not respond to any more of my posts ever. Your consistently irritating behavior to the members of this forum have strongly suggested that you have a some sort of emotional maturity problem, your juvenile responses to their posts and questions clearly confirms it.Again please do not respond to any more of my posts as you not credible in any sense of the word. I really wonder if it is worth keep you as a member with all of the CHAOS you create, however it is not my decision.
 
M

Mahon

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patrix said:
Mahon you did not read my post, I do not have anything in CHC at this time, which is why I made the post.

I do not consider you an expert on anything but find you very annoying so please do not respond to any more of my posts ever. Your consistently irritating behavior to the members of this forum have strongly suggested that you have a some sort of emotional maturity problem, your juvenile responses to their posts and questions clearly confirms it.Again please do not respond to any more of my posts as you not credible in any sense of the word. I really wonder if it is worth keep you as a member with all of the CHAOS you create, however it is not my decision.
Patrix,

I have not claimed to be an expert on anything. Please read through the posts, and you will see you are quite incorrect. Also, read your FIRST post on your thread. You clearly say you have CHC, perhaps I might in fact be an expert.

As for CHC, I thought it would be nice to post some information about it. People like yourself is why the person who I am quoting will not post here.

Your ignorance is more than I can handle! Remember; rule #5, or does that rule loose it's effect when harrassing or accusing people that are not well liked for unknown reasons?

Besides, I believe I was posting as a response to someone else, and wanted to know experience with it, as I am NOT an expert on CHC at all. I can direct you to the actual expert, if you are interested.

-PM

EDIT: I thought I would change this after being harrassed. I have no personal problem with you, except what you just posted. Please explain how I make "chaos", it seems as if the overly-exaggerated drama on other's parts is the "chaos".
 

Tony

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I use a bark/perlite/charcoal/diatomite mix with a touch of sphagnum. Results have been good so far, but I've only had them for two months at the most. I know Stephen (silence882) uses a CHC mix, and all the plants he has sent me have incredibe roots.
 

gonewild

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In Peru I have plants growing in CHC for 6 years without problems. Some grow in straight fiber and some are mixed with carbon. Straight fiber has a tendency to water log if the container is large.

I might add the material I use in Peru is hand cut by our gardener from local coconuts. The coconuts we have are not associated with salt water and so may not have the sodium content of Asian CHC. Any accumulated salts should leach out with a good soaking. If you are concerned about salt content it would be very simple to test the salt content of the CHC with an inexpensive EC (ppm) meter.

As far as soaking the fiber in well water or RO water.... This depends on the salt content of your well water. RO water will leach more salt faster than well water but if well water is easier to come by just use it.

CHC is a spin off of coir fiber production. Coir fiber is made by soaking the husk in water (perhaps salty water). The husk will pick up salt during this process but I don't see any reason chopped husk would need the soaking process so maybe there is some confusion between the two products about toxicity.

And finally to lay to rest any claim of coconut Husk being toxic... I was contacted by a rep from Speedling Inc who happens to be a friend in California. He told me Speedling was switching from peat moss in their mix to coir after doing extensive trials. They found coir to be superior in results and cheaper and more environmentally friendly. His advice to me was to plant coconuts for the future use of horticulture. It case you don't know, Speedling Inc is a huge producer of plug seedlings, their product is far more sensitive to salts than are orchids.

So use your CHC without fear, just learn how to water any mix you create.
 

gonewild

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patrix said:
I just order some coconut chips and have big bag of rock wool cubes and one of aliflor, I also have a giant bag of bark and some perlite. what are your ideas on ratios and would it be the same for both paphs and phrags.
Thanks for any ideas on the mix- I want good roots and have trouble with them
Mix everything you have together and it will make a good mix regardless of the ratios. You can grow good roots in any one of your ingredients alone if you water and fertilize accordingly. The ratio content of ingredients in a mix is really of little importance. What is important is the moisture, air and nutrient content (ratio). Whatever ratio of ingredients you use, you just need to adjust your growing habits to fit.
 

Heather

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Mahon (or Xavier, since you're a member here as well...),

Has Xavier published his findings anywhere? I, for one, would certainly be interested in reading them.

I did not have my Paphs and Phrags in CHC long enough to comment but while they were in it, I had no issues, and excellent root growth.
 

likespaphs

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patrix said:
...Please consider these questions

1. I have well water, does that make a difference (aside from MSU) and would it hurt to do my final soaking in a dilute rooting hormone?

2. Is it better to use less of it in the ratio you will suggest with the other ingrediants I listed in the inital post?

3. If I feed it to the mischievious children who stuff my mailbox full of leaves and they; a) live, b) wither or C) grow like the people in the old Wonderbread ads- can I transfer the iinfomation of this scientific study to the orchids...
1. water, depending on the mineral content (and possibly salt content) could make a difference. i've heard of people who are having problems with the new form of chlorine-type being used in municipal water systems... the mineral content of the water could greatly effect the type and amount of fertilizer used. also, depending upon the pH of the water, other additives might be needed to adjust the pH.

2. the best mix, in my opinion, is one with which i am familiar and will be able to easily determine when to water, fertilize, repot, etc...

3. i think this is a silly question. i don't answer silly questions... i just pose them.:crazy:
 
M

Mahon

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gonewild said:
And finally to lay to rest any claim of coconut Husk being toxic... I was contacted by a rep from Speedling Inc who happens to be a friend in California. He told me Speedling was switching from peat moss in their mix to coir after doing extensive trials. They found coir to be superior in results and cheaper and more environmentally friendly. His advice to me was to plant coconuts for the future use of horticulture. It case you don't know, Speedling Inc is a huge producer of plug seedlings, their product is far more sensitive to salts than are orchids.

So use your CHC without fear, just learn how to water any mix you create.
Out of curiousity, how can you lay to rest that coconut husk is not toxic with the analysis and research done? It is possible that CHC will not affect orchids in the short run, and possibly, if repotted frequently, there will be no effects. Good root growth is initiated by hormones. When the hormones are gone, so is the plant.

The salts in CHC are not the issue, it's the hormones in it. The salts in CHC can be leeched easily with RO water, yet the CHC still hasn't been treated with Calcium Nitrate and Magnesium Sulfate.

And I would put down any false claims in order to sell my products. I find in orchids that there marketing, and then there is research. The cheap plants of Paph. rothschildianum we have in the US are "awarded", so they fetch higher prices, when in fact, they originated from very cheap stock, not selected plants.

-Pat

EDIT: What the ____? This post was edited? I didn't write this: "And I would put down any false claims in order to sell my products." I don't have any products to sell...
 
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M

Mahon

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Heather said:
Mahon (or Xavier, since you're a member here as well...),

Has Xavier published his findings anywhere? I, for one, would certainly be interested in reading them.

I did not have my Paphs and Phrags in CHC long enough to comment but while they were in it, I had no issues, and excellent root growth.
Heather,

Lance Birk and I are encouraging Xavier to publish his research. Xavier told me that a book can be written on CHC...:) The CHC is good up until a certain point, and then is dangerous (and deadly) for the plant. According to Xavier, the hormones in CHC promote excessive root growth, yet when the hormones are gone, the plant wil die. This is why people are fooled by CHC, becuase of the short term effects. He also mentioned that the source of coconut husk and the time of year it was harvested is another factor for CHC.

-Pat
 

Jon in SW Ohio

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I will start off saying that I have never read the works of Xavier or any potting mix experts. That said there may be some truth in it and it may be worth reading and throwing on the balancing scale of advice. This is not for me to say, as I have my own opinions which have been shaped by my doings and those of people around me.

The simple answer is, experiment. No one has the same conditions and a potting mix that does well in some conditions may be a bad idea in others. I have seen orchids grown well in so many different things I can honestly say there is no "perfect mix". I can say one thing about them though, and that is that each mix, no matter how off the wall, allowed the factors for healthy root growth inside those growing conditions. These factors are simply moisture, air, and minimal "pollutants". The ratio of these things will determine if you have healthy growing roots or mush.

Slipper roots as a whole need air. If your roots are constantly wet and get no air you will get an incredible case of rot, though there are some phrags that break this rule. If your roots get minimal moisture and lots of air, they will dehydrate on the other extreme, again with a couple exceptions. Your conditons outside the pot will further influence your conditions inside the pot, so they must be considered as well.

So what is a good mix? A good mix is one that allows both moisture and air around the roots without one element overwhelming the other. Think of the feeling a paper towel has after it has been soaked and completely rung out. It is neither wet nor dry, as it has an airy damp feel to it. To me, this feeling is what slipper roots want to be surrounded by. In your conditions, this will take some fine tuning of components to determine what gives you this feel and how long it will last. Obviously after watering, the mix is soaked, but over the time period between that initial soaking and the time it takes to dry out you get this condition. It is also important that the whole pot have these conditions, as it is common to have perfect conditions in the middle two inches but be too dry on top and too wet on the bottom leading to a plant with dehydrated roots that don't penetrate the mix on top and rotted roots at the bottom of the pot. Many growers will counteract this by using styrofoam peanuts on the bottom and moss/rockwool on top making a potting mix sandwich of sorts to keep conditions even throughout the pot.

Onto your initial question, with the above considered, I think you do indeed have some great components to make a great mix out of. I will have to guess your growing conditions and base my advice on what I would use if growing in your shoes. First off, I have seen so many people who's culture I bow down to use CHC for many years that I will not dare bash it as a component. I do bash bark down a little out of resentment from my early years, but again some of the best growers out there who we think may have a magical spring they water from use bark. My personal mix is fastly becoming half expanded clay(hydroton, aliflor, prime agra, etc) and half small rockwool cubes. I would however not recommend this mix if your humidity is not consistently over 75% as it dries out very quickly even in high humidity. A guess at a good mix for you would be 2 parts CHC, 3 parts aliflor, and 1 part rockwool cubes. Once you have a ratio you want to try, test it! Fill a pot with it, sit it with your plants, water it, and see how it responds over the next week. If it dries too quickly, add more rockwool cubes and/or CHC to the mix. If it stays too wet add more aliflor or don't use the rockwool cubes. Experiment, experiment, experiment! No one in this hobby has all the answers, and if they say they do they are spending too much time spouting other's experiments as gospel rather than doing their own.

I hope that somewhat answered your questions, even if in more of a "catch a man to fish..." kind of way.

Jon
 
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