Orchiata bark

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tomkalina

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Lance,

None, other than the Orchiata turning a darker brown color than the fir bark as it aged. I made sure the bark particles were close to the same size for both bark types (approx. 1/4" ) when we deflasked, and added both perlite and #3 size charcoal to each mix. Essentially, all three mix components were close to the same size for the fir bark mix as well as the Orchiata mix. I did not do a "bark-alone" comparison because it's not the way we compot seedlings. Unfortunately, I didn't do a pour-through to identify whether there may have a been a pH change in the Orchiata over time. The part that mystified me most was the lack of rooting of seedlings in the Orchiata mix a year after deflasking.
 
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gonewild

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The part that mystified me most was the lack of rooting of seedlings in the Orchiata mix a year after deflasking.

That is the same observation that Gilda has.
I've been reading a few things about bacteria that have been found to populate orchid roots and produce IAA. Perhaps for some reason under certain conditions the Orchiata suppresses bacterial growth. And perhaps these bacteria are actually common but undetected in well growing orchid plants.

I dont have any experience with Orchiata but I do have experience with Pinus radiata. Having grown up where the pine is native I know that plants dont grow well under the trees and the chipped tree trimmings work very well as a weed preventing mulch.

There may be some issues with consistency in the production of Orchiata bark to have such dramatic good/bad results by experienced growers.
 

Gilda

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It doesn't work for us either, Gilda, so you're not alone. Tried various fertilizers, both nitrate based and urea based, and had problems similar to yours i.e. roots did not migrate into the bark. We had eight different Paph. species/hybrid compots and a year after deflasking and potting into community pots, there were no roots except for the roots present when deflasked. Similar issue with Phrag. besseae fma flavum and fischeri. Not sure why it seems to work for some growers and not others, but under our growing conditions, a fir bark based mix resulted in better root growth.

Tom & Lance ,
Thank you for your input ! It is good knowledge to know these things don't always work for everyone ! The mystery may never be solved ,but at least growers can be aware if their plants aren't growing properly before it would be too late .

Tom,
Did your plants respond to their new mix ? I'm now wondering if the roots are damaged some how ,even though they looked great except no new root tips !
 

gego

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I was going to ask the same question yesterday when I was about to repot my big SS. I saw this thread and decided to just take out what i can by flushing all around with water and leave the rest that are stuck in the roots. I dont think i can actually do anything but damage the roots. I just placed the plant on a bigger pot and add orchiata mix on the bottom and around the gap between roots and side of the pot. The original media was orchiata with perlite, lots of perlite. I had it for two years and probably also a year from the original grower. So about three years. A year ago this plant was showing some sign of nutrient defiency, mostly micro, i think. I started experimenting with organic fert with humic and food for microbes and noticed the plant reacted positively. I saw new roots coming out and dive back in to the media even though the media already looks dark and old. I was gonna repot it last Jan but it bloomed so i waited until yesterday I was really surprised to see this. The roots were so packed that i have to slowly break the plastic pot to get the ball out.
Here is the pic



It could be that this plant is just an easy grower.

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk
 

tomkalina

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Unfortunately, none of the re-compotted seedlings survived. I think they were in a static condition for too long and repotting them into the fir bark mix in their weakened state finally did them in.
 

Bob in Albany N.Y.

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Tom, on your compots that didn't work in Orchiata, did the seedlings seem to being growing on top? In other words where the seedlings getting larger, and getting new leaves? The reason that I ask is that I have a couple of compots growing in a mix of half orchiata, and half rexus bark with charcoal and perlight. The seedlings seem to be growing larger leaves but I haven't bothered to repot them, nor will I until I have a reason to do so. They didn't do much over the winter, but now that spring and summer are here they are looking good. Only time will tell.
 

emydura

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I only have positive things to say about Orchiata bark. It is miles better than anything that has previously been available in Australia. I get fantastic root growth with it. The bark doesn’t break down quickly so I can go longer without repotting. I also find that bark attaches strongly to the bark. Surely that’s a good sign not a bad one. If the bark was toxic I would expect the reverse.

The criticism that roots won’t grow through the middle is harsh. As Ray commented I don’t think it matters what medium you use, the roots will concentrate around the perimeters of the pot. I think that is completely normal. In their natural environment most Paphs roots spread horizontally throughout the leaf litter. They don’t grow deep into the soil. I’ve noticed with my plants that most roots grow horizontal in the potting mix, hit the sides of the pot and then head down. There would also be more oxygen at the perimeters of the pot then in the middle, so it would be more conducive to root growth. Having said all that, I’ve noticed I do get some root growth through the middle, more than I was getting with other mixes where the roots were much more likely to rot.

I’m responsible for keeping the bark for our orchid society. We have had varying brands over the years. Everyone is saying how much better there orchids are growing since we have switched to Orchiata.

Gilda – so are your experiences based on a single plant that was potted in Orchiata by somebody else? Do you know how long the plant has been in that mix? I’m not sure that is a large enough sample size to be able to confidently determine that the problem is with the bark. It may well be but it would have been nice if you had the same problem with a few more plants. Clearly though there are some that are struggling with it which is interesting. I can only assume it is something to do with some element of their culture that is conflicting with the Orchiata bark.
 

Stone

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I was going to ask the same question yesterday when I was about to repot my big SS. I saw this thread and decided to just take out what i can by flushing all around with water and leave the rest that are stuck in the roots. I dont think i can actually do anything but damage the roots. I just placed the plant on a bigger pot and add orchiata mix on the bottom and around the gap between roots and side of the pot. The original media was orchiata with perlite, lots of perlite. I had it for two years and probably also a year from the original grower. So about three years. A year ago this plant was showing some sign of nutrient defiency, mostly micro, i think. I started experimenting with organic fert with humic and food for microbes and noticed the plant reacted positively. I saw new roots coming out and dive back in to the media even though the media already looks dark and old. I was gonna repot it last Jan but it bloomed so i waited until yesterday I was really surprised to see this. The roots were so packed that i have to slowly break the plastic pot to get the ball out.
Here is the pic



It could be that this plant is just an easy grower.

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

Yeah but that's a hybrid isn't it? Show roots like that on a hangianum or emersonii and you will be my new God. :D
 

Gilda

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Yes David ,a single plant that was already in straight Orchiata when I bought it. It was blooming, and could have been in Orchiata a while. The perks of Orchiata, it lasts longer ???
I merely stated what I had observed over the year the paph was in Orchiata. Never seeing a paph put out new roots or a new growth in a year was new to me. Also, I've never encountered moist bark I couldn't remove from roots.
Like any orchid culture, what works for some , may not work for others. The joy of orchid growing
 

abax

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All the responses are quite interesting. My experience has been very similar to emydura without the perlite additive.
I use straight Orchiata in an appropriate size for the size
of the plant and only use K-Lite fertilizer. My water is
only very slightly acid and the rain water I use for Phrags. is neutral ph and low in salts. I wonder if the
problem is water related or fertilizer related. I use only
unglazed clay pots with lots of holes around the sides and
air flow is excellent. There seems to be a lot of variables
that are difficult to determine. Intriguing, isn't it?
 

tomkalina

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Albany Bob,

There was little if any top growth beyond what we had coming out of flask. As time went by, the leaves became a lighter green in color, but the seedlings did not seem to be in distress. This was also the time when we were using K-Lite as a fertilizer at very low N levels (<10 ppm) and that may have accounted for the lighter green seedling leaves. It's possible we might have had a better experience if we had used a urea based fertilizer with Orchiata as Xavier has suggested in a previous post.
 

C. Rothschild

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There are a million combinations of mixes with moss, perlite, leca, whatever to try to mix in with Orchiata. I found some bonsai vendors sell great orchid growing materials- fine lava-rock, even fine forest bark that's not bad. A bit buggy for indoors though.
 

gego

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Yeah but that's a hybrid isn't it? Show roots like that on a hangianum or emersonii and you will be my new God. :D

It's an SS but it could be just this plant. But I was not preaching the use of orchiata, it was the question of what to do in repotting plants that have a ball of roots sticking to the old media. But I did say that the health of this plant was starting to go down with my previous fert. Hard to say if it's orchiata related.

I'm sorry, you will have to be content with your present God.:):):)
 

Ozpaph

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I only have positive things to say about Orchiata bark. It is miles better than anything that has previously been available in Australia. I get fantastic root growth with it. The bark doesn’t break down quickly so I can go longer without repotting. I also find that bark attaches strongly to the bark. Surely that’s a good sign not a bad one. If the bark was toxic I would expect the reverse.

The criticism that roots won’t grow through the middle is harsh. As Ray commented I don’t think it matters what medium you use, the roots will concentrate around the perimeters of the pot. I think that is completely normal. In their natural environment most Paphs roots spread horizontally throughout the leaf litter. They don’t grow deep into the soil. I’ve noticed with my plants that most roots grow horizontal in the potting mix, hit the sides of the pot and then head down. There would also be more oxygen at the perimeters of the pot then in the middle, so it would be more conducive to root growth. Having said all that, I’ve noticed I do get some root growth through the middle, more than I was getting with other mixes where the roots were much more likely to rot.

I’m responsible for keeping the bark for our orchid society. We have had varying brands over the years. Everyone is saying how much better there orchids are growing since we have switched to Orchiata.

Gilda – so are your experiences based on a single plant that was potted in Orchiata by somebody else? Do you know how long the plant has been in that mix? I’m not sure that is a large enough sample size to be able to confidently determine that the problem is with the bark. It may well be but it would have been nice if you had the same problem with a few more plants. Clearly though there are some that are struggling with it which is interesting. I can only assume it is something to do with some element of their culture that is conflicting with the Orchiata bark.

My experience is like David's; best bark I've ever used. Of course there are 'horses for courses' so use what works for you.
 

Carper

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I have only positive results with the orchiata. I have been using the stuff many years on all my paphs. I "pot on" and the roots just find their way around and through the medium. Some of my plants have been potted on a few times and have had no problems producing new roots. I have also had several flasks over the last 12 months and used only small grade orchiata with a little perlite. sanderianum, fairreanum, kolopakingii, hybrids etc. There have been well over 150 seedlings and I've lost only 2!!! They are all producing roots and growing well. Can it be down to the conditions and feed only or does the orchiata help. It certainly hasn't showed me anything negative where other mediums have.

Gary
UK
 

troy

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no hatred!!
I have a paph bruno now for 2 years in small orchiata repotted 2 times still no roots aaarrgghh
 

RodN

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There will always be plants that stop growing, grow poorly, refuse to flower, grow poor roots, etc. etc.

To blame the media, fertiliser, water, or anything else on a sample size of one plant will more often than not lead to erroneous conclusions.

If you are going to change any part of your culture do it on a significant number of plants for a significant period of time before drawing conclusions.

It is important to experiment with different cultures, but it is more important that your draw the correct conclusions.

To blame anything, either positive or negative on the results of one plant is ridiculous.
 
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