Paphs in sphagnum....in baskets?

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Paph Paradise

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Hi everyone;

I'm just re-starting my Paph collection after a several-decade-long break and I'm hoping I can get some pointers - or possibly get told off LOL!

I am in South Florida and have a sun room (it's fairly shaded - so maybe it's really a shade room) where I keep my plants. My average humidity is 45 - 80 percent depending upon the weather (the windows are nearly always open), and I am running a ceiling fan at all times.

As far as water and feeding are concerned, my water is alkaline (8.0 - 8.4 ish) and I'm feeding at 200 -250 ppm every couple of weeks with flushes in between. I think the feed rate is pretty high, but so far so good and I haven't noticed any burnt roots or leaf damage.

Anyway, in the past I've had terrible luck growing Paphs in bark mixes - even in the Rand's air cone pots - because I can't see what's going on in the center of the pot, and the plants always seemed to be staying too wet. So I've decided to try planting all of them in NZ sphagnum and hanging them in mesh baskets to allow for maximum airflow. My goal is to have them pretty close to bone dry in 2-5 days depending on pot size - which seems to be happening. The plants appear to be happy and healthy, but I'm still really paranoid because I hear so much bad stuff about planting in 100% sphagnum. Can anyone please tell me nicely if I have lost my mind? I don't want to lose my plants, but I'm pretty confident that I will if I put them in a bark mix. Is anyone else growing Paphs this way?
I have seen someone in Central FL growing everything in moss with decent results. The roots seem to have adapted to the fairly wet media and the plants have enough water to get through extreme heat.
My concern is the high pH of your water. At that high level some nutrients are not available, particularly iron. The moss may buffer the pH down enough but you should check the pH of the runoff water to find out. We target a pH of 5.8 for optimum nutrient availability.

Dave
 

noochka1

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Thanks, Dave! I was counting on my relatively low coastal humidity and good air movement to dry the baskets out in 2-3 days max, but they seemed to be staying too wet for the roots - particularly seedling roots.
You're absolutely right about the water pH - 8.4 at my house - and I was counting on the sphagnum to buffer that down for me a bit. However, I've discovered that water from my distiller is just about perfect (5.8-ish), so I've been using that for the last couple of months.
Anyway, I've moved everything to leca land and we'll see how that works for me. It's definitely going to change how I'm watering....
 
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