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Corbin

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Hi all,

My name is Ed and I have been growing a mixed group of Phals. And Phaps. for a couple years now so I am a real new to this. I have been reading books and all the information on the web I could find.

I live in a small apartment in Atlanta, Ga. I had been growing the orchids on my small balcony but the combination of not enough light (to many trees) and the cold spring we had this year forced me to build a light stand. The stand is 20 inches wide and 48 inches long. It has two shelves and four 48 inch florescent lights suspended above each shelf. The lights are on pulleys and have a range from zero to about twenty four inches of clearance above the shelf below.

I grow my Phals. In straight sphagnum moss and my Phaps. in a bark mix. After reading the Wellenstein‘s article about coconut chip mix I acquired the ingredients to make the mix. I potted one of my Maudiae orchids in the mix to see how it would work for me. The next thing I know the leaves on the new growth were growing out a very pale creamy color. Even though I had purchased pre washed and had washed them myself three times I thought the coconut mix was the problem. I repotted the plant in the bark mix but the problem persisted. I started rereading the Wellenstein‘s articles again and found a paragraph that led me to believe the plant was getting to much light. I found this odd as several books and numerous articles on the web make the statement that you can not give orchids to much light with fluorescents. I moved the plant down to the bottom shelf where I had the light higher above the growing shelf and the leaves have started turning darker green and now almost look completely like the leaves of the old growth.

The point is that I have found a lot of contradictory “instructions” for growing orchids so I really need this forum to help me sort through some of these issues. Also I see lots of information about this orchid needs this many foot candles and this one only needs this much but little specific information on how to space florescent lights above specific orchids. Right now I have two Maudiae orchids, a gratrixianum that is slowly opening a bloom on its first growth, and a multigrowth spicerianum that hopefully will bloom next spring.

I am looking forward to participating in this discussion board and to learning from everybody’s experience.
 

Candace

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Corbin, welcome. You aren't going to necessarily find the exact 'how to's' that you're looking for because everyone has different growing conditions. What light, medium and temps. work for some aren't going to work for you. Plus, as far as lights are concerned, the age of the bulb will effect the output. And again, there are many brands of lighting and types of lighting on the market. This may mean slight differences of how far to space your plants from the lighting. There are so many species and hybrids out there you simply aren't going to find directions on the net for each individual plant.

Hopefully, some light growers here will give you some guidance, but you will have to experiment a bit to find out what is successful for you.

I would encourage you to do a search using the search feature at the top of the page to read through the topics covering indoor growing or lighting, if you haven't done so already.
 

Rick

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Hey Ed
You have a wealth of resources in your area, with a couple of societies, and and orchid judging center that meets at the Botanical Gardens once a month. Not to mention Blake lives nearby too.

You mentioned living in an apartment. So I would suspect that unless you like to cook, you have the AC going almost all the time, which will dry out your growing area without some pretty serious humidity intervention. My big epiphany to growing paphs (an most other orchids) was to get a couple of hygrometers and try to maintain the air humidity around the plants in the 70 to 80 percent range. That stopped allot of the symptoms your seeing. Lighting, temps, potting mix and fertilizers all seemed to take a back seat to getting humidity and airflow correct.
 

Heather

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Corbin, another hearty welcome to you!

I will add to Rick's epiphany. Clear pots have been invaluable to me as a new grower (I'm at about 3 going on 4 years also). Being able to see the water content in condensation and the roots actively (hopefully!) growing is very important!
 
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Corbin

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Thanks all,

I quickly discovered I liked the clear pots and that is all I use. I too find that seeing the root zone and the mosture there helps me with my watering.

I have both shelves covered with humidity trays and average around 70 to 78% humidity on the top shelf. It runs a bit warmer than the bottom shelf and has more plants. The bottom shelf runs 40 to 55%. I think it needs more plants.:D
 

SlipperFan

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Welcome, Corbin!
Yes, you need more plants!!!
It sounds like you have plenty of light and humidity. The truth will be in the flowers. Are you able to drop the night-time temperatures a bit?
 

tocarmar

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Hi Corbin! From upstate NY.
I do alot of growing with lights also. But I also try as much sunlight in the room as possible. With the Maudiae, I have found that less is better, in sunlight very little (blocking most of it).
 
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Corbin

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My daytime temps run 84 - 86 degrees on the top shelf with 73 degrees at night. the bottom shelf runs 81 - 82 in the day and 71 at night. Is this enough of a temp difference? I run a small fan on each shelf 24/7. I have been following a light program that lasted 16 hrs in the middle of the summer and i have been decreasing it each mount with a target of 12 hrs for the end of the year. The cycle will then start back up in January. Sound about right?

Well I tried to submit a couple pictures but it kept saying they were to big and by the time I resized they were so fuzzy you could not really see them so help in this department also?:(
 
C

Corbin

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Thanks to the instructions on anothner thread I got the photos to post.:rollhappy:

The first is of a grax that is O so slowly starting to open. I'll post another picture when it opens fully, probably on the photo thread. ???

The second picture is of the light stand I built. It is wrapped in clear vinal showercurtin and has a removable piece in the front.

are the pictures resized small enough?
 

SlipperFan

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Pictures are fine, Corbin.
The temperature drop might be better when the nights become a little cooler so your house will cool down a bit more, also.
 
E

Ernie

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Corbin,

Welcome!
I tried CHC (coconut husk chips) on a couple plants a long while back too. I have a hunch that your plant experienced some dehydration which caused the odd leaf discoloration. CHC can work, but you really need to drench it well each watering. As in take it to the sink and let a ton of water run through the pot. Every time you try out a new mix, there will be a period of relearning. To get a real idea of how the new mix is working, leave your plant in it for at least a year (unless it really takes a turn for the worst).
BTW, I like your light garden.

-Ernie
 

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