Phragmipedium kovachii as a houseplant

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You won't believe it but I have found myself in the incredible position of being able to acquire a mythical Ghost Orchid Dendrophylax lindenii also known as Polyrrhiza lindenii.

Stumbled across a Ebay listing for a flask that had ended without a bid 24 hours earlier, and noticed the seller not only was incredibly located in Australia but also lived in the same city as me.

I have been in contact with the seller and I am able to meet up with them this weekend to collect the flask.

But my question is, would you say this plant was too difficult to grow for a first timer? This is an incredible opportunity and to find an orchid that is this rare in cultivation is almost like a dream.

I have read Keith Davis article about growing the ghost orchid so am well informed about it's care. What do you more experienced growers think? Should I purchase it and try to deflask it? It is very hard to source this orchid here in Australia.

Need adivce lol. What do you think I should do? Like the other supplier this one also does not actually grow the plant, only sells them in flask. Apparently the plant I am purchasing is still in the protocorm like stage but is said to be quite large and healthy and I was thinking perhaps if I found someone locally in Brisbane who did tissue culture I could get them to divide it for me and perhaps they could make it available for others to purchase.

Maybe this would be a good opportunity for me to get into selling Ghost Orchid as a small business? I could purchase all the appropriate materials to facilitate tissue culture I guess. What do you think?
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Have you wondered why an orchid as beautiful as the DL is rare in cultivation? It needs very controlled greenhouse conditions, and many experienced growers can't keep it alive and in bloom.

Please, save yourself some money and a lot of stress and get some novelty phals and/or cattleya hybrids. And don't get flasks, get them in at least 5 cm pots. You're at the first stage of learning - you don't know what you don't know. At least get to the second stage before you try a flask - of phals or cattleya hybrids.
I guess I'm a daydreamer, can't help it.

Are those the experiences of growers living in North America and Europe? Here I have conditions much similar to Florida, and I have read most people fail because they don't water it enough, and when they do water it they water too much. I've also heard a lot of failures happen from incorrect light levels, either too much or too less. From reading about this orchid I think I have a good enough idea about it's needs.

But this isn't something you see for sale everyday and I have not been able to find this orchid anywhere else, even with the big tissue culture orchid businesses. The seller told me they are the only person in Australia to offer this plant for sale.

I'd be crazy to ignore this offer while I am also crazy accepting it.

It's hot and humid here, much like Florida, with the mild winters to match, so I am confident if I paid attention to it everyday that it would survive.

Plan on keeping the flask inside until it forms into a proper plant, on a bright window that doesn't get direct sunlight. Then once it is ready to be deflasked I will grow it outside in a miniature shade house in shade at first and then move it to somewhere that gets morning sunlight, although will keep it in the shadehouse and minitor it everyday and water by misting a small amount once or twice a day. I will grow it on Spanish Moss out of the flask until it is lare enough to be mounted onto a piece of wood.

I've been reading about tissue culture and have abandoned any ideas about trying to divide it and do this myself. Too expensive and time consuming. I will just leave the flask develop into a strong and healthy plant and hope I can keep it alive.

Getting exicted about collecting it and will post an update once I have it.
I wouldn't put a flask on any windowsill, no matter how little light you think is there. I killed a flask of phal speciosa because it was 7 feet away from a window and a tongue of sunlight got low enough (in winter) and touched the end of the flask and they all cooked
I just recently read where someone had come up with a very good method for growing ghost orchids but can't remember where I saw it

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Thanks for the ebay link. It's good to see what they look like once ready for deflasking. Hearing that someone who is so experienced as that seller unable to successfully grow this plant has caused me to make up my mind and abandon any attempts at growing orchids. Just too much work.
I think you need an expensive greenhouse with controlled conditions to even attempt growing any orchid properly from what I have been reading about them.
To be honest I think I got caught up in the excitement of it all and think it would be a mistake to purchase such a high maintenance plant. I can easily see myself getting tired of the high maintenance care regime and the thought of losing the money if the plant dies when I could purchase a whole heap of Carnivorous Plants for that same amount of money and know I could easily keep them alive.
Sorry for wasting your time everyone.
The book just arrived lol.

Decided to re-gift it for a family member who is staying with us at this time and who grows a lot of plants themselves.

Afterall I have already read the online article 'The Case of the Purloined Orchid' by Pittman and already pretty much know the story. And now that I am not able to own one their is no point getting caught up in the excitement of it all when I will most probably never see a kovachii bloom.

The book is beautiful though. I see on the back their is a picture of a sighn 'kovachii discobar' which I guess refers to a club or something in Florida?

Anyway all the best.
Head to your grocery store or box store and grab a phal hybrid. Heck, my mother and two older sisters now own them. Cheap and easy....

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So, LostinPeru, you have no other orchids, yet you want to grow two of the most difficult orchids in nature, and grow them from flask? I cannot understand this thinking.
This has been an ongoing pattern. All of us have given you very valid, excellent advice, and you continually go back and forth between wanting plants that even experienced growers can't handle, and deciding to just give up on the idea of growing orchids. This makes no sense. There are SO MANY orchids that are very easy to grow, easier than most houseplants, and all of them have been mentioned to you. Phals sound perfect for your conditions and they are dirt cheap. So many others...even with phrags, there are hybrids that are super easy to both grow and bloom. There is no need for you to dither around like this. Buy a cheap orchid. You'll be out, what...$5-10? (Don't know Australian exchange rate) and worst comes to worst you toss it in the garbage with minimal loss to your wallet. But its far more likely that if you just give it minimal care it will be around for years.
I have personally killed a FORTUNE in orchids. I am learning from the experience. If you want a list of easy to grow orchids let me know.
LOL but don't you think it's overly harsh of the seller to have reacted in such a manner?

I thought by getting away from Carnivorous Plants and Aibo I was moving away from those types of narrow minded opinions but now see they are prevelent in all hobbies and you can't escape them.

Anyway everything is produced by tissue culture, which is not exactly difficult, and you can produce hundreds of the same plant at a time. I don't see how a newbie having a go at growing kovachii is going to have the slightest impact on their status in captivity.

If anything the seller should be grateful they have found a customer who wants to take on the challenge of growing kovachii as it is a big financial risk on the buyers part while the seller sits back charging a premium price for something that most people would see as too great a risk to take on. I understand charging a premium price for a small potted plant but the prices for flasks are just silly and their lucky to even have any customers. It seems their only interested in doing minimal work for maximum gain.

For me people are more important and allowing someone the opportunity to have a go at growing kovachii should be something anyone is allowed to pursue. We only live life once and I think it's very selfish for a supplier to not sell to people like that when their is an endless supply of plants coming out of tissue culture in unlimited quantities.

Sure their might be a lot of other great orchids, but for me the appeal of kovachii with it's bold eye catching blooms just seem like something that would be extremely rewarding to grow. I like how kovachii is bold and large and stands out and just find it amazing how something like that could exist in nature for thousands of years and yet stay secluded and unknown until so recently.

I respect your opinions and will take them on board.
Umm, that would be a valid argument if one could grow Phrags from tissue cultures. They can't be, the flasks you are interested in are grown from seeds. :eek:
Feel a complete idiot right about now. What is it with these crazy plants. They must be the only plants you can't tissue culture. Knowing this I will never own a kovachii now.

Someone needs to update the wikipedia entry so newbies like me know this stuff.

The supplier did say they had a massive failue rate which I guess is why they don't try and grow them. The whole thing is turnig out to be a nightmare lol.

I don't see how their is any hope for wild kovachii or even the survival of the domesticated population as seed is such an inefficient method of reproduction when you consider the demand and how that is only going to grow into the future.

I can see how somebody could completely go cold turkey on wanting to have anything to do with owning orchids. Their not for me I am afraid. Good luck.

I totally agree with you that these orchids are not for beginners. I was so stupid and naive. I just assumed they were produced with TC. Sorry.
Don't say that. You live and learn on what you can and cannot grow.

Like other member here state, start with a simply orchids (like Phalaenopsis or Cattleya) then work yourself up. Hybrids are easier to grow than species. Talk to other orchid people and vendors and see how can you improve your conditions.

If you interested in kovachii, grow the kovachii hybrids and go from there.

Don't give up.
In and of itself, seed growing is the most efficient method for paphs and phrags. You just happened to fixate on one of the most difficult. The seller was doing you a favor. Yes, it is in his best interests to have the most knowledgeable and skillful growers buying his flasks. It is totally against his interests to sell to people who will only kill them. Not only will he turn them off to orchid growing, but he also creates a potential complainer that can hurt his reputation. Please....just listen to us. By the time you get the experience to grow kovachii, it may well be cheaper and far easier to grow. It's been on the (legal) market 10 years at the most. That's not long. It takes people time to learn culture techniques, and even more time to selectively breed easier growers. 10 years after besseae was discovered, it was a very expensive and difficult plant to grow. Now it is very affordable for the ordinary ones (still incredibly beautiful) and one of the easier phrag species to grow.
Jim of rices orchids now deceased had a good friend who was a great researcher and taxonomist of ants, but a perennial over waterer of orchids. Jim would cringe whenever bill would select a rare or unusual plant because it was going to die a wet death. He would do whatever he could to dissuade his friend from buying plants because it pained him to see them die. He also knew that his friend would feel bad when another rare one would die. While you might be able to mentally prepare yourself for the likelihood if killing kovachii seedlings, the vendor may not be able to :) :(

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I don't hesitate to f-bomb Pk or the hybrid Allison Strohm.
btw, the vendor didn't hesitate to sell them to me.
A bit late to the party, but I just thought correct a couple things related to the mentioned seller in this thread. I work with the seller and have replated many of the kovachii in this lab. To say "while the seller sits back charging a premium price for something that most people would see as too great a risk to take on" is just plain ignorant and rude. This species is just as much of a pain to grow in the bottle as it is out of the bottle, and I can assure you that this species is hardly a big money spinner. There has been so much time and effort that has gone into researching the best ways to grow these plants that you could not possibly imagine. Please think before making silly comments.



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