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New idea for staking paph leaves, for real

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johnndc

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Either on this board or another board, someone linked to some photos of some roths in Japan or China, and the pots had chicken wire or something sticking out them - the way you stake tomatoes, for example, with the round wire that goes around the plant, and the plant grows up through the center, leaves sticking out and being held up by the wire going around the plant. In this case, the roths and other orchids were in the middle of this wire, and the leaves were being held UP by the wire, so they were pointing to the sky rather than drooping down.

Anyway, I'm not sure anyone was able to figure out why they were growing them this way, but it did give me a thought about a few paphs of mine whose leaves are SO large and which lay so flat and droop So down that the leaves don't get light, are getting stepped on by other pots, and are even poking through into my drip tray and getting soggy (hirsutissimum).

So, I set up my own frame for two plants whose leaves are too long and floppy. I used bamboo and clear packing tap, doubled over on itself to get rid of the stick, and then just tied it around the bamboo. It actually looks much less ugly in person, you can't even really see it, thus the clear tape - but it makes the leaves perk up, and they not only don't poke into the drip tray, but they now get far more light because they're being held up (they're closer to the light, but also, since they're being held up in the air the leaves are no longer being covered by other plants.

Thoughts?

Paph hirsutissimum



Paph Charles Sladden
 

gonewild

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How would you like to spend the rest of your life with your arms tied over your head?

:confused:

Gravity effects the efficiency of plant metabolism too.
 
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johnndc

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Well, how would you like to spend the rest of your life being forced to stand at a 90 degree angle, or so, from how you normal stand? :) Let's face it, these things aren't exactly in their natural environment to start with - starting with the fact that lots of them - perhaps not paphs as much, I don't know - but lots of orchids don't exactly grow standing straight up either ;-)
 

gonewild

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johnndc said:
Well, how would you like to spend the rest of your life being forced to stand at a 90 degree angle, or so, from how you normal stand? :) Let's face it, these things aren't exactly in their natural environment to start with - starting with the fact that lots of them - perhaps not paphs as much, I don't know - but lots of orchids don't exactly grow standing straight up either ;-)
I would not like it at all, I want to stand in a normal position. You are right most slippers don't grow standing straight up. Perhaps most (?) slippers grow on slopes and their foliage naturally hangs down.

I'm not criticizing the raised leaf idea at all. It might be a great idea and I'm interested in your results and observations.

You asked for thoughts here are some.....

Raising the foliage to an elevation greatly higher than it normally hangs may have some effect on the future plant growth. Gravity is a limiting factor that effects how high a plant can grow. Somehow, with an expenditure of energy the plant must move fluids from the roots to the leaf tips. If a plant specie has evolved to have it's leaf tips lower than it's roots the act of raising the leaves higher above the roots may have some effect on the plants growth.

The effect may not necessarily be bad. Sometimes when a plants foliage is compromised and becomes less than efficient the plant will begin to abort the malfunctioning part. As it does this the plant will likely begin to grow a replacement part in the correct (naturally evolved) position. So one possible result of raising the foliage could be that the plant begins a flush of new growth from the crown or base to replace the old "compromised" foliage. That could be a good way to force the plant to grow more leaves or growths faster. That would be a good result. :clap:

One bad result could be that the plant uses a lot of extra energy to push the fluids higher and as a result does not have enough energy to grow strong new leaves. The plant may just sit there and not grow. That would be a bad result. :sob:

Another possible "positive" result might be that the increased pressure on the roots might trigger a growth response that increases the production of the auxin that causes flowers to form. It might be that is why the Taiwan grower ties the leaves up? A way to initiate flower buds? :evil:
 
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johnndc

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Okay, found the original post - it's here.

They're pics of sanderianums in I think China. This page, about halfway down, begins the pics of the wire cages that paphs are in.

And here's a sanderianum that doesn't look unhappy :)

 

gonewild

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Thanks for finding the original post, I could not remember how it was titled.

The sanderianums look like wild collected plants and perhaps the foliage was tied up to give support until the root system develops.

The wire supports look like they are designed for hanging the pots.
 

NYEric

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I've often wondered about this as some of my plants have 14"-18" leaves. I dont think naturally the leaves would grow up, but how natural are 4th generation besseae hybrids? My problem, as later photos will show hopefully, is that in my small space the drooping leaves from one plant may be covering 3 or 4 other plants. The stake and tape thing doesn't look bad, especially since the tape is clear.
 
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johnndc

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Right, that's the problem I was having. With these two plants at least, the leaves were so long and floppy that they basically just trained along on the ground and were covered by the shade from other plants and pots (and also, they ended up taking up more room). Only time will tell if this helps, but it's an interesting experiment nonetheless. And for a fact, those two plants are getting light they did not get before.
 
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Bob Wellenstein

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Just realize that you are going to make the leaves even weaker by supporting them like that. Some plants will have naturally droopy leaves, but those with at least somewhat upright leaves will be stronger if exposed to good air flow (without protection), assuming they are being fed properly. Ask an experienced small plot corn farmer, the outer rows are very resistant to wind damage, but cut them away and expose the inner rows that have been protected, and they will blow over much more easily.
 
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johnndc

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This is an interesting discussion. Then why don't people have problems with cattleyas (or do they?), since people are always wiring up catts to keep them standing, or using those metal wire circles you clip on to ceramic pots in order to keep the plant pseudobulbs in some semblance of order. Isn't this the same thing?
 

gonewild

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johnndc said:
This is an interesting discussion. Then why don't people have problems with cattleyas (or do they?), since people are always wiring up catts to keep them standing, or using those metal wire circles you clip on to ceramic pots in order to keep the plant pseudobulbs in some semblance of order. Isn't this the same thing?
Keeping a pseudobulb wired that generally stands upright anyway is not the same as raising and supporting a strap leaf. The pseudobulb is like a woody stem with some structure for upright support. The leaves on slippers naturally want to hang and have no real internal stem for support. So it is not really the same thing.

Notice on the plants in the original post in Taiwan they use several tiers of support, You might want to follow their example because with only one spot (tape) supporting the leaf in the middle the leaf may bend in half at that point because of gravity.

As Bob said when a plant has support it does not grow it's own support. When a plant has a crutch it may never develop it's own support. I doubt you can teach a 15" long slipper leaf to stand upright just because you give it support. It may stay up for a short time but eventually it will come down again.

Look at apples. Many orchardists grow their trees with trellis support now. It works great and they can get more trees per acre than with free standing trees. But they can never take the trellis away or the trees will bend to the ground.

I think the support you designed is a great idea to solve your bench space concerns and to keep the leaves from being squished. But you may want to add even a little more?

You're right this is an interesting discussion.
 
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johnndc

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Okay that's interesting, you mean have a second level of support the leaves actually stand straight up and don't bend in half - out of fear that they may break in half because of the bend?
 

gonewild

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johnndc said:
Okay that's interesting, you mean have a second level of support the leaves actually stand straight up and don't bend in half - out of fear that they may break in half because of the bend?
Yes, basically that is what I mean. But you do not want the leaves to stand straight up. That would dis-orient them to the light.

Like you have the support is good but add another tier, but wider. So your supports would need to angle outward like a V.

The idea would be to decrease the distance from the support to the tip of the leaf. Decreasing this distance will decrease the leverage and weight the leaf must support from it's mid rib outward.

The supports in the Taiwan nursery are more upright, but the plants are in a greenhouse with natural light. So their light moves and the leaf angle to light becomes less important.
 

Heather

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Very interesting discussion - glad I posted those photos!

Personally, I grow some of the largest, floppiest leaved plants, and I try my best to let them do what they want. I think I'd rather them grow naturally than try to manipulate them. For a while I grew larger ones up on overturneed pots and that gave me a lot more room for seedlings. Then I sort of got out of seedlings so, mute point.

Just my humble opinion of course! :)
 

NYEric

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Bob Wellenstein said:
Ask an experienced small plot corn farmer, the outer rows are very resistant to wind damage, but cut them away and expose the inner rows that have been protected, and they will blow over much more easily.
Oh there you country folks go again! :rollhappy:
 

gonewild

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Originally Posted by Bob Wellenstein
Ask an experienced small plot corn farmer, the outer rows are very resistant to wind damage, but cut them away and expose the inner rows that have been protected, and they will blow over much more easily.
NYEric said:
Oh there you country folks go again! :rollhappy:
OK, For you NYC folk try this modified explanation:

Ask an experienced small gang leader, the street guys are very resistant to knives, but cut them away and expose the inner bosses that have been protected, and they will blow away much more easily.

:rollhappy: :rollhappy: :rollhappy:
 

gonewild

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NYEric said:
I wonder, did the nursery in Taiwan grow them w/ wire supports for a long time?
The plants have pretty tattered and ragged older leaves and they really look like they were collected from the wild or maybe out of a garden. I think they used the wire supports to anchor the plants while new roots grow. If you look at the new growths starting they are coming out of the base at low angles that will not be contained in the wire supports. Only a few of the plants in the background have the supports.

Of course I don't read Chinese so I'm only guessing from what shows in the photos.
 

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