paph armeniacum experiment

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cnycharles

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I read some of the posts that described and pictured some armeniacums and maybe some micranthums in baskets with live sphagnum, and I decided to try an experiment. one other post or article I read talked about someone who had placed chunks of limestone I think in the bottom of a wire basket, then some other material along with chopped leaf material and then topped with live sphagnum. I had been at a binghamton, ny orchid society meeting where the speaker was talking about using sheet moss from downed trees and rocks out in the forest and was growing masdies and such on rocks covered with live sheet moss and placing in some shallow water. I figured I could make up something pretty close to what was described in the article.

I have some 4" or so square clay unglazed quarry tiles that I use to line my oven for making pizza and other things, put one of them in the bottom of a square basket I'd made from mesh fencing wire. On top I put some small chunks of granite from ditches near the adirondack park border (can't take anything out of the park....), put a bunch of mesic forest leaves that I chopped up with some scissors and topped with some sheet moss. all the leaves and moss came from my Uncle's farm (after scraping away the snow covering the stuff...).

I've only used seaweed fertilizer and humic acid additives from organic farming stores, and the plants have responded! (one other plant I put in a smaller plastic mesh container with a larger chunk of flat rock in the bottom) I had noticed a small growth out of the main growth in the bigger pot then a new one on the top of the media, then last week noticed two shoots out of the side of the 'pot'. the smaller container there are two shoots coming directly from the side of the flowering growth. in the past, I would have problems with new armeniacum growths turning black a little while after they had emerged from the top of the media. I was worried that both of these plants would eventually die if no new growths survived so felt I had to try something different. both need some new chopped leaves and a better covering of sheet moss (found a huge supply very close to here in the wet along the old erie canal trail on old, fallen trees *also where tasty shelf mushrooms pop out on the fallen trees...) but I have plenty of that.
they may not look overly great, but new growth is a heck of a lot better than black ones! :D


plant that flowered and posted here last winter/spring from main street orchids


plant from jim rice orchids that also flowered same time as above

I did the same thing with a paph micranthum that was placed in a different, warmer growing area, but I haven't kept it as moist as the armeniacums and I need to change the media or add more to let it to hold moisture a little longer. it hasn't really moved since the change, and looks a little dry
 

SlipperFan

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This is very interesting. It seems to go along the lines of what I've been thinking about lately -- i.e., if Paphs and Phrags, for the most part, grow in leaf litter and moss on a rocky substrate, why do they need to be repotted every year or two? Unless they grow out of their pot, of course. But in nature, no one repots them -- mother nature just furnishes new layers of leaf litter. So if they are potted in a material that doesn't break down and turn to mush, wouldn't that be better for them?
 

Rick

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When they get new leaf litter they also get a fresh supply of nutrients. Both directly and indirectly as fungal and bacterial species breakdown the fresh material. I visited several talks on the fungal communities in leaf litters at a recent ESA conference.

The composition of these communities changes pretty drastically with depth (and age) of the leaf litter.

Its pretty complex, but needless to say, an old mix of recalcitrant materials will not behave anywhere near a leaf litter and live moss mix. And the nutrient flow into orchids will also be different.

It may be that the nutrients that paphs extract from the soil may be more dependent on the nature of the micro community rather than the nature of hte fertilizer we give them.
 

SlipperKing

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Charles,
I have done something similar to what you have going on with all of my armeniacums. I will have to post a few pics here but basically after seeing on another slipper forum an armeniacum in a wire basket, that's what I did. The two mature plants are doing fantastic. The three seedlings haven't been in this new setup long enough to say.I bought the fancy coconut lined wire baskets you can get from your local Home Depot and I put my basic mix plus limestone chips and lots of chicken grit in to it. Now a second basket I got from a friend was rusty and had no coconut liner so, I used sphagmun as a liner with the same mix. The second one runs drier then the coconut lined one does but both are doing great.
 

NYEric

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I don't have luck w/ armeniacum so maybe I'll try something diff w/ the ones I have.
I added some leaf litter to my Paph [difficult to obtain] and they seem to be doing better. Leaf litter and chicken grit aren't that easy to get around here but I'll try! :D
 
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john mickel

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Hi - Ok great articles - but if you talk to Glen at Piping Rock Or Sam at Orchid Inn or Hausermanns - they produce hundreds of AOS winners in plain bark mixtures - H2o and light and root growth far excede all these exoct mixtures - john
 
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This is true... But, people who love these and don't have the conditions that the aforementioned master growers do are always looking for a way to make their picky parvis a little happier so they might bloom them better, or at all.
 

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Hi - Ok great articles - but if you talk to Glen at Piping Rock Or Sam at Orchid Inn or Hausermanns - they produce hundreds of AOS winners in plain bark mixtures - H2o and light and root growth far excede all these exoct mixtures - john
I don't have orchid wiz in front of me, but I bet none of them have an award on armeniacum.

Kyle
 

cnycharles

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Hi - Ok great articles - but if you talk to Glen at Piping Rock Or Sam at Orchid Inn or Hausermanns - they produce hundreds of AOS winners in plain bark mixtures - H2o and light and root growth far excede all these exoct mixtures - john
true, if you have a greenhouse :) under lights or windowsills you often have to get creative if you have a diversity of plant types. also, that is what they do all the time, not their hobby after work. if I could take my plants to where I work and could keep people away from them I could probably do the same (or at least better than what I have,...)
 

Rick

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I don't have luck w/ armeniacum so maybe I'll try something diff w/ the ones I have.
I added some leaf litter to my Paph [difficult to obtain] and they seem to be doing better. Leaf litter and chicken grit aren't that easy to get around here but I'll try! :D
What was the condition of your leaf litter?

If it was kind of mulchy, its like adding a good source of mycorrhizae, and other beneficial bacteria.

Same for adding live moss. The rhizosphere of mosses is usually loaded with beneficial organisms.

The combination of adding limestone and mulch changes nutrient balances. ph is regulated and can really free up P.

I remember Sanderianums (or is it Sangii's) post on Armeniacum in the wild, and how the pH would drop very low by old growths, and was higher around the new growths. This would tend to suggest a nutrient depletion around the old growths. If you know which nutrient the plant is chasing after it may not make that much difference on potting mix if you know what to supplement with. My guess is that it is P driven.
 
E

Eric Muehlbauer

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I used to add crushed oak leaves to my paph mix....I'd bake it in the oven to sterilize it. I gave up on it...I thought maybe it allowed the mix to break down faster...I forget why...maybe just to lazy. It seemed my paphs used to grow quite well when I added it. Take care, Eric
 

Scooby5757

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This year I hung plant underneath a Honey locust in the back yard. All those tiny little leaves came down a bit early and many pots had tons in them. I just let them stay, I was wondering if it would help or hinder. Nice to hear of satisfied results.
 

SlipperKing

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Hi - Ok great articles - but if you talk to Glen at Piping Rock Or Sam at Orchid Inn or Hausermanns - they produce hundreds of AOS winners in plain bark mixtures - H2o and light and root growth far excede all these exoct mixtures - john
That's nice for them
 

SlipperKing

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This is true... But, people who love these and don't have the conditions that the aforementioned master growers do are always looking for a way to make their picky parvis a little happier so they might bloom them better, or at all.
You GO Girl!
 

Brabantia

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I used to add crushed oak leaves to my paph mix....I'd bake it in the oven to sterilize it. I gave up on it...I thought maybe it allowed the mix to break down faster...I forget why...maybe just to lazy. It seemed my paphs used to grow quite well when I added it. Take care, Eric
Here in Belgium I heard that it was good to add chopped leaves of ash trees (Fraxinus excellsior) because this is a good source of humic acids. I don't know if it also grows in the United States.
 

Rick

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Here in Belgium I heard that it was good to add chopped leaves of ash trees (Fraxinus excellsior) because this is a good source of humic acids. I don't know if it also grows in the United States.
There is an Ash tree (fairly common) in the US, but not sure if its the same species.

I just googled ash, and apparently there are a bunch of ash tree species in North America. All are genus Fraxinus, but different species.

humic acid is high in allot of deciduous tree leaves. You can generate allot of humics from oak leaves too.

Sphagnum moss is also a great source of humic acids. If you want to by refined humic acid from a chemical supply it will be from peat/moss sources.
 

Brabantia

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There is an Ash tree (fairly common) in the US, but not sure if its the same species.

I just googled ash, and apparently there are a bunch of ash tree species in North America. All are genus Fraxinus, but different species.

humic acid is high in allot of deciduous tree leaves. You can generate allot of humics from oak leaves too.

Sphagnum moss is also a great source of humic acids. If you want to by refined humic acid from a chemical supply it will be from peat/moss sources.
This is the reason why I am growing Paph vietnamense and Ho Chi Minh in a substrate prepared from bark, CHC and a few coarse peat.
 

cnycharles

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I too, am trying this with my armeniacums and micranthums. I am seeing much better growth and already have a stolon coming out the side through the sphagnum moss ! Now if they will just bloom !
try really cold and bright in the winter..
 

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