This is what people are being taught?

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I do remember, as Tony mentioned, mid-to mid-late 20th century orchids-for-beginner books, many of which could be quite handy. Paphs and phals were commonly touted as good beginner orchids. Even AOS culture sheets (if I remember correctly), along with a great number of other articles and vendors, used paphs and phals as the poster children for easy-grow orchids. Possibly because as a group they are not demanding of strong light and at that point, much of the "new wave" of orchid hobbyists were growing on windowsills and wanted houseplant ease from an orchid (and still do). I still enjoy a nostalgic visit to Jack Kramer's Growing Orchids At Your Windows, and other such "Orchids as Houseplants" publications. On the other hand, also pleasant and fun is the somewhat earlier, but still hobbyist-oriented Rebecca Northen exhaustive tome which assumed that simply EVERYONE who was interested in growing orchids naturally had a greenhouse! Finally, at that time, "Paphs" were practically synonymous with cheap and easily obtainable Maudiae crosses and such-like. We've come a long way.
As to this silly thing, my pet peeve common among the legions of current-day hoi palloi hacks, it purports to impart cultural guidelines, but in so doing, refers the reader to a vast general body of knowledge rather than troubling with the very specifics the article itself should include. It's like those on-line recipes that wax poetic about a particular dish for a page and a half, and at the very bottom "Oh, by the way, this is how you do it", and generally completely off-base.
 
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I see why it is frustrating also. I don't get too worked up about differences of opinions on "right way of growing" because I find that experimenting and learning (together with your plants) make it joyful in orchid growing. I also never believe another's "advice" as the "golden truth", knowing the culture condition of theirs could be dramatically different from mine. With so many problems with deadly consequences in the world I think orchid growing should bring joy and gratitude, not frustration.
Well said!
 
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My friend Ray said," “Overwatering can kill orchids”. Nope. Insufficient air to the roots does it. "

Darn right, Ray. I think understanding principles is much more important than having "rules," which presumably are based on the principles but may not be understood. And what I'm learning from semi-hydroponics confirms what Ray said, but I take it further. I'd say the principle is that every plant (often based on genus or species, but of course these are "mixed up" by hybridization) has an ideal air/water ratio (which includes the environment it is in, particularly humidity, which is of course a ratio of air and water). These vary quite a bit, particularly by genus. So on one extreme, one has say, Tolumnia, and on the other perhaps Phragmipedium.

So, when I see that a plant is "too wet," it might be just as accurate (perhaps more so) to say "it doesn't have enough air to balance that amount of water for those particular roots." In addition to temperature, humidity, light, etc., one must also consider both medium and container. So, for example, I have a society friend who also grows S/H who can use a denser (wetter) medium in her house than I can in my greenhouse (40% to 90% humidity difference or thereabouts). When I receive a plant from Norman's Orchids, it will be in moss in plastic. I will immediately put it into clay because the clay breathes and the plastic does not. And I can water it twice a week with my S/H, which I could not do in plastic. I have a photo somewhere of a Catt growing in a fairly fine S/H medium but in clay, and the roots are great. In plastic, they would be rotted.

And beyond that, in S/H I have to consider the layering of the leca (medium). It tends to get very dry on top, so some genera (including both Paphs and Phrags) seem to benefit from moss on top of the medium.

Yes, too much water in the ratio can kill roots, particularly if they are not ones newly grown and adapted for that amount of water, but one can say it's too little air for that amount of water. Actually, I'm amazed at how wet some vandas in moss can be if they are in a basket, and same for Phals in clay. One can also get more air to the bottom of pots either by using "orchid pots," leaving the bottom empty as Gold Country does, or even using an inverted plastic net pot down there.

On a related note, I'm also having some success using living (local) moss, which is abundant here in the NW, in a net pot rather than imported sphagnum.
The truest explanation I can think of. Well said.
 

cnycharles

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It's like those on-line recipes that wax poetic about a particular dish for a page and a half, and at the very bottom "Oh, by the way, this is how you do it", and generally completely off-base.
I hate those recipes, where they make it so you can’t just copy and paste the recipe instructions; instead they intersperse the ingredients and instructions between lots of verbiage and pictures (and the inevitable pop up ads…)
 
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