New Zealand Tree Fern Fiber

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kman

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There are many threads in this forum discussing potting media for Paphiopedilum. A great deal of passion surrounds this subject. Absolutely everyone has an opinion and a favorite.

I’m starting this one to focus on New Zealand Tree Fern fiber (NZTFF). Hopefully we can collect the experiences of many in one place.

Background: This shows my age, but when I started growing orchids one of my principal choices was Osmunda. I loved that it broke down slowly and when properly used more or less eliminated the chances of sour, waterlogged media. In those days this was ubiquitous in many orchid growing operations.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and aside from a small stash of old material which I hoard, I started looking for something similar, hopefully better and available. I really dislike bark for many reasons, and only use it in rare situations. For example, I use a Coir and perlite mix for Cymbidiums, which has worked well for decades. But when I started to focus on Paphs, I wanted something more like Osmunda.

So, I started to use the NZTFF that is discussed in the October 2020 issue of the AOS magazine. Not mixed with any other material. I use terra cotta pots exclusively, and with this medium have a difficult time overwatering and never have seen a soggy mix. This could be a real negative for some as frequent watering can be a chore, but for me it works well as so many of the other genera I grow are water loving. It is easy to see from the color change if the material is dry. Easy is good for me.

I love it. Root growth has been substantial and repotting a breeze.

What is your experience with this material?
 
While I certainly love such discussions, I want to make a general comment here:

Any discussion of plants + potting media or growing technique really needs to include the individual’s growing parameters, as what “works great” for one person for a particular plant, might be a “death sentence” to another.
 
Good point, Ray. So here are some of my parameters:

Being very close to the Pacific, our nature temps are low and the humidity high. In the orchid greenhouse we try for a max of 75F and a winter low in the mid 40s, always shooting for 75% or above humidity. I do use heat mats in the winter for seedlings and warmth loving species. In the winter we can have extended periods of dark sky and rain, bringing the RH close to 100%. Various benches have from 1500 to 4500 FC. Air circulation is robust.

Water tests out at 40 PPM to start. Fertilizer regime is too complex to outline right now, but I am a continuous feed adherent.

Without clay pots and both good humidity and air circulation I don't think the NZTFF would work as well.
 
Now i just switched to rockwool. Absolutely neutral, there is no uncontrollable degression process changing pH, all what plants get depends only on fertilizer regime. Most problematic things about all organic media are acidification and salt retention. Both are hardly to controll so I stoped with organic media for slippers.
Excuse me for hijacking....
 
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Now i just switched to rockwool. Absolutely neutral, there is no uncontrollable degression process changing pH, all what plants get depends only on fertilizer regime. Most problematic things about all organic media are acidification and salt retention. Both are hardly to controll so I stoped with organic media for slippers.
Excuse me for hijacking....
Do you pre-treat the rockwool? I read that it has out-of-the-box a fairly high pH value (8.0) and should therefore be pretreated. How do you go about this?
 
Do you pre-treat the rockwool? I read that it has out-of-the-box a fairly high pH value (8.0) and should therefore be pretreated. How do you go about this?
Advised to soak with rain or Ro water and some fungicide ( effective againts phytium, eg. Previcur Energy, 2 ml/10 l. ) You should give full spectral fertilizer and check pH before waterting everytime, set the pH among 5,5-6,0.IMG_20240330_194122.jpg
 
Advised to soak with rain or Ro water and some fungicide ( effective againts phytium, eg. Previcur Energy, 2 ml/10 l. ) You should give full spectral fertilizer and check pH before waterting everytime, set the pH among 5,5-6,0.
Thank you for the advice. You use a systemic fungicide for prevention? 🤔 Once again I have the misfortune that this is only available here in Germany in liter bottles from 80 € and is only sold to people with a 'certificate of competence'. :rolleyes:

Few years ago you planted some plants in Gravel and were enthusiastic about it. Why are you now switching to Rockwool - apart from the fact that 'Roth' uses it?
 
Advised to soak with rain or Ro water and some fungicide ( effective againts phytium, eg. Previcur Energy, 2 ml/10 l. ) You should give full spectral fertilizer and check pH before waterting everytime, set the pH among 5,5-6,0.View attachment 46564
Do you find that you need to lower your pH after putting in your fertilizer? If so, what do you use?
 
Do you find that you need to lower your pH after putting in your fertilizer? If so, what do you use?
I'm not dodidoki but I can say when I'm using Peters 10-52-10 (with RO water) the pH is right out of the box adjusted to 5.8. I suspect its the same with 20-20-20 what dodidoki use. I have ordered it also but have not yet been able to test it. In contrast when I use the fertilizer from Schwerter (from a german nursery), which has a pH 6.77.

Though it could be different if you are using tap water.
 
I'm using 20-20-20, with tap water. My water is pretty clean, only registering ~30 ųmol (going by memory on the UoM) with the TDS meter.

My pH meter reads 6.3 after I add fertilizer. I read that over time, pH meters over estimates (produces more alkaline values than reality) even shortly after calibration. So not sure if that is a factor with my measurements.
 
I answer but don t like to hijack the topic... so i use urea based fertilizer, 20-20-20 formula and add some ca and mg. It decreases pH with 0,8 promptly , after 24 hours increases with 0,4 and stays stable at 400 uS cc. I use rain water, pH is between 5,2-6,2, depending on rain, so i have to increase pH or do nothing. Eg. if water pH is 6,2, after making solution it will be 5,8 one day later. For increasing pH i use tap water. For decreasing pH the best is the HNO3 or HCl. ( 2 % HCl is the most simple way). Citric acid is not appropriate, Ca citrate will precipitate from the solution.
Yes, i used gravel for canhiis and rungs, they suffered in bark. I think it is because of the low pH of the bark. Gravel is neutral , same as rockwool, but rockwool can store water better and paphis are love it.
 
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