Watering long petal vs color Phrags

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Drewm

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So is the general rule of thumb to leave water in a tray with the colorful Phrags and do not with the long petaled species/hybrids?

I have both and I'm just watering once a week with all them, indoors. Seem to be doing ok? But maybe they could be doing better w what I'm referring to in this question
 

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From what I understand is that the smaller growing ones with besseae, schlimii, manzurii, pearcei, etc. in their background require more water. There might be others I am missing.
The Phrags. That are larger, longer petaled like caudatum, kovachii, and sargentianum amongst others require a bit more drying out before watering again. It has little to do with more colorful.
Again, let me give you this advice. Orchid growing no matter if it is Phrags., Paphs., Cattleyas, Angraecum, Vandas, Pleurothallis, whatever, requires experience. There is NO SIMPLE plan or solution. You can’t go to a menu and read that if I do A, B and C, I am guaranteed success. It doesn’t work that way! No matter how bad you want it.
So much of orchid growing is to research the plant, see where it comes from, gather information, try this, if that doesn’t work to try this, etc. It becomes See And React!

There are no shortcuts. I have been at this for 51 years now, AND I AM STILL LEARNING. Why? Because what works for me might not work for you, or for her, or for that guy over there. Why? Because everyone does not have the exact same conditions!
 
It's one of those things where what works for my plants in my conditions may not work for your plants in your conditions. And it really all comes down to finding what works best for your plants in your conditions.

For intrasectional long petaled hybrids and species, that means caudatum, humboldtii, warscewiczii, lindenii, etc. With this group, I find that they do better long term when I do not leave them to sit in water at all times. They can handle it and won't necessarily die immediately, but what I find is that they end up with poor root systems and end up developing bacterial rot.

For intersectional long petaled hybrids, that means when species from that former group are hybridized with things not in that group. These are hit and miss for me. Mostly, they do just fine sitting in water at all times. However, it's a case by case basis and some clones/cultivars just randomly seem to have issues with it long term. I grow most of these sitting in water, but when I notice that a plant develops rot or when I repot and see the roots are in poor health, I take that as a sign to grow the plant on the drier side.

For pretty much all other species and hybrids, colorful or not, long petaled or not, I've found that they do best for me when grown sitting in water at all times. When I've experimented with drier conditions (not dry, just not sitting in water), they just don't grow as well and end up having issues for me.

Overall, my impression is that most people successfully grow their Phrags sitting in water all/most of the time, except for Phrag. caudatum and kin, which are usually kept a bit drier. But, there are growers don't let Phrags sit in water because it leads to problems. There are some that grow all their Phrags sitting in water, with no exceptions. And those folks have found what's most successful for them. Sometimes you have to experiment a bit and/or learn from the mistakes.

Also, I'd add that unless your growing conditions are consistent year round (same amount of light, number of hours of light, same temperatures, humidity, etc), the needs of your plants may vary from one season to the next. In fall and winter, you might have to cut back on watering or avoid letting water sit in the saucer, but in the height of summer, you may find that "wet feet" helps keep the plants happy and healthy.
 
From what I understand is that the smaller growing ones with besseae, schlimii, manzurii, pearcei, etc. in their background require more water. There might be others I am missing.
The Phrags. That are larger, longer petaled like caudatum, kovachii, and sargentianum amongst others require a bit more drying out before watering again. It has little to do with more colorful.
Again, let me give you this advice. Orchid growing no matter if it is Phrags., Paphs., Cattleyas, Angraecum, Vandas, Pleurothallis, whatever, requires experience. There is NO SIMPLE plan or solution. You can’t go to a menu and read that if I do A, B and C, I am guaranteed success. It doesn’t work that way! No matter how bad you want it.
So much of orchid growing is to research the plant, see where it comes from, gather information, try this, if that doesn’t work to try this, etc. It becomes See And React!

There are no shortcuts. I have been at this for 51 years now, AND I AM STILL LEARNING. Why? Because what works for me might not work for you, or for her, or for that guy over there. Why? Because everyone does not have the exact same conditions!
Cool yeah, thanks for the tips! I'm new to Phrags for sure. Tried bout a year ago but roots all got rot so now I'm nervous about the water tray thing. Maybe leave the long pedaled ones out and see how well the smaller colorful ones do w water in their tray. So fertilize, flush - then fill w water?
 
It's one of those things where what works for my plants in my conditions may not work for your plants in your conditions. And it really all comes down to finding what works best for your plants in your conditions.

For intrasectional long petaled hybrids and species, that means caudatum, humboldtii, warscewiczii, lindenii, etc. With this group, I find that they do better long term when I do not leave them to sit in water at all times. They can handle it and won't necessarily die immediately, but what I find is that they end up with poor root systems and end up developing bacterial rot.

For intersectional long petaled hybrids, that means when species from that former group are hybridized with things not in that group. These are hit and miss for me. Mostly, they do just fine sitting in water at all times. However, it's a case by case basis and some clones/cultivars just randomly seem to have issues with it long term. I grow most of these sitting in water, but when I notice that a plant develops rot or when I repot and see the roots are in poor health, I take that as a sign to grow the plant on the drier side.

For pretty much all other species and hybrids, colorful or not, long petaled or not, I've found that they do best for me when grown sitting in water at all times. When I've experimented with drier conditions (not dry, just not sitting in water), they just don't grow as well and end up having issues for me.

Overall, my impression is that most people successfully grow their Phrags sitting in water all/most of the time, except for Phrag. caudatum and kin, which are usually kept a bit drier. But, there are growers don't let Phrags sit in water because it leads to problems. There are some that grow all their Phrags sitting in water, with no exceptions. And those folks have found what's most successful for them. Sometimes you have to experiment a bit and/or learn from the mistakes.

Also, I'd add that unless your growing conditions are consistent year round (same amount of light, number of hours of light, same temperatures, humidity, etc), the needs of your plants may vary from one season to the next. In fall and winter, you might have to cut back on watering or avoid letting water sit in the saucer, but in the height of summer, you may find that "wet feet" helps keep the plants happy and healthy.
Hey thanks so much appreciate it. So maybe I'll try like half in water half not? I have Leslie Garay, de la virgen, humboltii fortuna, professor bream, sedenii, and 1 or 2 smaller bright ones.

I asked above to someone else's reply going to ask the same here, so fertilize, rinse, then fill tray with clean water? But don't leave fertilizer in the water tray right?

Yea I dealt w root rot last time and abandoned my experiment. But it was mostly the greener species
 
Hey thanks so much appreciate it. So maybe I'll try like half in water half not? I have Leslie Garay, de la virgen, humboltii fortuna, professor bream, sedenii, and 1 or 2 smaller bright ones.

I asked above to someone else's reply going to ask the same here, so fertilize, rinse, then fill tray with clean water? But don't leave fertilizer in the water tray right?

Yea I dealt w root rot last time and abandoned my experiment. But it was mostly the greener species

Phrag. Zapatilla de la Virgen and Phrag. humboldtii 'Fortuna' are the two I would grow in consistently moist conditions, but no sitting water. The rest I would grow with water in the saucer at all times.

In terms of fertilizer, if you feed weakly and leave it sitting in the saucer, then the main downside (for me) is that it will grow copious amounts of algae. Some people find it unsightly. It doesn't bother me for the most part. And when it does get to that point, I scrub the tubs/saucers and that's enough to handle it for a bit.

Personally, I feed weakly. I allow the weak fertilizer solution to remain in the saucers, but I also make sure to do a flush with pure water about once or twice a month. There's some risk to this approach, of course, but I've not had any issues with it. I just avoid making strong or full strength fertilizer solutions.
 
Phrag. Zapatilla de la Virgen and Phrag. humboldtii 'Fortuna' are the two I would grow in consistently moist conditions, but no sitting water. The rest I would grow with water in the saucer at all times.

In terms of fertilizer, if you feed weakly and leave it sitting in the saucer, then the main downside (for me) is that it will grow copious amounts of algae. Some people find it unsightly. It doesn't bother me for the most part. And when it does get to that point, I scrub the tubs/saucers and that's enough to handle it for a bit.

Personally, I feed weakly. I allow the weak fertilizer solution to remain in the saucers, but I also make sure to do a flush with pure water about once or twice a month. There's some risk to this approach, of course, but I've not had any issues with it. I just avoid making strong or full strength fertilizer solutions.
Ah ok thanks again, v helpful. How weak do you do your fertilizer? And how much water do you leave in the saucer?
 
As was said above, the same thing that works for one, may not work for another. I grow my phrags on my bathroom windowsills with a E/SE exposure. They could use more light, but right now, the best I can do. Could not grow besseae for the life of me a couple of years ago. I had them in my grow room, good light with a high in summer of 84 degrees. They would grow wonderfully until the temps started rising in the late spring, then literally wither and die! I suspected temp might be an issue, but thought I also might be overwatering. Moved them upstairs to room temp high of about 78 and they loved it, until I underwatered! Killed more!! So I asked David (monocotman) who was growing on windowsills, no extra light at the time and had lovely phrags, what he did. He had his besseae in about a 1/2 " of water and when the water dried up, he watered again and repeated.
I read that they need air and water as they grow on limestone cliffs with streams/water flowing down. So I put a hole in the pot with a soldering iron about 3/4" up from the bottom on all sides. I water thoroughly with 1/4 teas/gal MSU R/O solution, let drain somewhat then put R/O water in the individual saucers (not a community saucer or tray which could spread viruses/disease) about 1/2". When that dries (about every 2-3 days) I repeat. Only pure besseae is treated that way currently, all hybrids are watered (same solution) and drained about every 4-6 days depending on size of pot. They are growing well and blooming.
Having said all of this, of course there are the experts and their books are excellent--Guido Bream on The Genus Phragmipedium, for instance. Although a true treatise, it was way over my head at my stage of experience. The most knowledgeable Phrag person I know personally on all species and their habitats, having studied them extensively in their natural habitats, is Frank Cervera. He has been published in many orchid journals, however, his presentation on all Phrag Species (Phragmipediums: What can Mother Nature Teach Us?) grouped by their in-situ conditions into 4 groups is the most concise, extensive info in one place I've seen that I could digest. It is in two parts. The first part is in the Spring, 2022 edition of the Slipper Orchid Journal and the second part in the Summer, 2022 edition. Excellent presentation! He presented this at the Paph Forum in DC that year with in-situ slides (which is broadcast virtually for those not near enough to attend). He said during the presentation, not to sit them in water. Not necessary. So, it's the conundrum of growing orchids. Your conditions will be unique (which he also says in the presentation). You'll find your stride. You may be able to find these articles online, but I would think definitely at www.slipperorchid.org
 
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As was said above, the same thing that works for one, may not work for another. I grow my phrags on my bathroom windowsills with a E/SE exposure. They could use more light, but right now, the best I can do. Could not grow besseae for the life of me a couple of years ago. I had them in my grow room, good light with a high in summer of 84 degrees. They would grow wonderfully until the temps started rising in the late spring, then literally wither and die! I suspected temp might be an issue, but thought I also might be overwatering. Moved them upstairs to room temp high of about 78 and they loved it, until I underwatered! Killed more!! So I asked David (monocotman) who was growing on windowsills, no extra light at the time and had lovely phrags, what he did. He had his besseae in about a 1/2 " of water and when the water dried up, he watered again and repeated.
I read that they need air and water as they grow on limestone cliffs with streams/water flowing down. So I put a hole in the pot with a soldering iron about 3/4" up from the bottom on all sides. I water thoroughly with 1/4 teas/gal MSU R/O solution, let drain somewhat then put R/O water in the individual saucers (not a community saucer or tray which could spread viruses/disease) about 1/2". When that dries (about every 2-3 days) I repeat. Only pure besseae is treated that way currently, all hybrids are watered (same solution) and drained about every 4-6 days depending on size of pot. They are growing well and blooming.
Having said all of this, of course there are the experts and their books are excellent--Guido Bream on The Genus Phragmipedium, for instance. Although a true treatise, it was way over my head at my stage of experience. The most knowledgeable Phrag person I know personally on all species and their habitats, having studied them extensively in their natural habitats, is Frank Cervera. He has been published in many orchid journals, however, his presentation on all Phrag Species (Phragmipediums: What can Mother Nature Teach Us?) grouped by their in-situ conditions into 4 groups is the most concise, extensive info in one place I've seen that I could digest. It is in two parts. The first part is in the Spring, 2022 edition of the Slipper Orchid Journal and the second part in the Summer, 2022 edition. Excellent presentation! He presented this at the Paph Forum in DC that year with in-situ slides (which is broadcast virtually for those not near enough to attend). He said during the presentation, not to sit them in water. Not necessary. So, it's the conundrum of growing orchids. Your conditions will be unique (which he also says in the presentation). You'll find your stride. You may be able to find these articles online, but I would think definitely at www.slipperorchid.org
thanks so much I'll look at that .org. Damned Phrags- Lol, I grow vandas and other epiphytes where I can see the roots, so to me it's a lot easier

I bought all these pretty much from ecuagenera, they use a pretty water retentive mix by the looks of it, but they water every other day. I just looked at some of my roots and they had a good bit of rot at the surface so I'm like how are they watering every other day if I'm watering 1x per week and there still is rot?? That was one sedenii I believe.
As was said above, the same thing that works for one, may not work for another. I grow my phrags on my bathroom windowsills with a E/SE exposure. They could use more light, but right now, the best I can do. Could not grow besseae for the life of me a couple of years ago. I had them in my grow room, good light with a high in summer of 84 degrees. They would grow wonderfully until the temps started rising in the late spring, then literally wither and die! I suspected temp might be an issue, but thought I also might be overwatering. Moved them upstairs to room temp high of about 78 and they loved it, until I underwatered! Killed more!! So I asked David (monocotman) who was growing on windowsills, no extra light at the time and had lovely phrags, what he did. He had his besseae in about a 1/2 " of water and when the water dried up, he watered again and repeated.
I read that they need air and water as they grow on limestone cliffs with streams/water flowing down. So I put a hole in the pot with a soldering iron about 3/4" up from the bottom on all sides. I water thoroughly with 1/4 teas/gal MSU R/O solution, let drain somewhat then put R/O water in the individual saucers (not a community saucer or tray which could spread viruses/disease) about 1/2". When that dries (about every 2-3 days) I repeat. Only pure besseae is treated that way currently, all hybrids are watered (same solution) and drained about every 4-6 days depending on size of pot. They are growing well and blooming.
Having said all of this, of course there are the experts and their books are excellent--Guido Bream on The Genus Phragmipedium, for instance. Although a true treatise, it was way over my head at my stage of experience. The most knowledgeable Phrag person I know personally on all species and their habitats, having studied them extensively in their natural habitats, is Frank Cervera. He has been published in many orchid journals, however, his presentation on all Phrag Species (Phragmipediums: What can Mother Nature Teach Us?) grouped by their in-situ conditions into 4 groups is the most concise, extensive info in one place I've seen that I could digest. It is in two parts. The first part is in the Spring, 2022 edition of the Slipper Orchid Journal and the second part in the Summer, 2022 edition. Excellent presentation! He presented this at the Paph Forum in DC that year with in-situ slides (which is broadcast virtually for those not near enough to attend). He said during the presentation, not to sit them in water. Not necessary. So, it's the conundrum of growing orchids. Your conditions will be unique (which he also says in the presentation). You'll find your stride. You may be able to find these articles online, but I would think definitely at www.slipperorchid.org
hey thanks so much for the pointers, I will for sure check out that .org site. So all of mine are from Ecuagenera pretty much, I just fertilized and looked at the roots and they ain't good. Most are brown w rot. Not sure if they were like that before or not? I'm going to attach some pics. This was on P sedenii and one other smaller red hybrid forgetting which
 

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Hey thanks so much appreciate it. So maybe I'll try like half in water half not? I have Leslie Garay, de la virgen, humboltii fortuna, professor bream, sedenii, and 1 or 2 smaller bright ones.

I asked above to someone else's reply going to ask the same here, so fertilize, rinse, then fill tray with clean water? But don't leave fertilizer in the water tray right?

Yea I dealt w root rot last time and abandoned my experiment. But it was mostly the greener species
So this is 2x week, plants from Ecuagenera (not blaming them lol).
 

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As far as I know kovachii never like their roots to dry out. Many of their hybrids are the same. All of mine sit in a shallow pan of water.
George
 
Hey thanks so much appreciate it. So maybe I'll try like half in water half not? I have Leslie Garay, de la virgen, humboltii fortuna, professor bream, sedenii, and 1 or 2 smaller bright ones.

I asked above to someone else's reply going to ask the same here, so fertilize, rinse, then fill tray with clean water? But don't leave fertilizer in the water tray right?

Yea I dealt w root rot last time and abandoned my experiment. But it was mostly the greener species
And it turns out I'm dealing w root rot again lol, I don't get it, Ecuagenera said they water every other day. If I'm watering 1x per week how is that possible lol
 
And it turns out I'm dealing w root rot again lol, I don't get it, Ecuagenera said they water every other day. If I'm watering 1x per week how is that possible lol
Have you said what your substrate consist of, I've not read the whole thread? If you're watering only once per week and roots are rotting then your media is probably retaining too much water. Use coarser components to create more air around the roots.
The open spaces will have humid saturated air that the roots like and rot doesn't.
If you want to use tray water never submerge roots that have developed not in water. Rather position the old roots slightly above the waterline. As the roots grow and contact the water surface the plant will alter the structure of the new roots to adapt to the aquatic situation.
 
Have you said what your substrate consist of, I've not read the whole thread? If you're watering only once per week and roots are rotting then your media is probably retaining too much water. Use coarser components to create more air around the roots.
The open spaces will have humid saturated air that the roots like and rot doesn't.
If you want to use tray water never submerge roots that have developed not in water. Rather position the old roots slightly above the waterline. As the roots grow and contact the water surface the plant will alter the structure of the new roots to adapt to the aquatic situation.
Well- it's the same media that Ecuagenera uses? I'll attach a pic. It's hotter temps for them so maybe my indoor setup doesn't evaporate as fast?
 

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The mix looks way to dense and moist. Consider reporting into leca stone. Use semi-hydro style pots with side drainage holes keeping all roots above the drainage holes in the pot. You could water these every day and never over water.
 
Did you add the osmocote fertilizer or did it come with it? It could be creating a salts problem in the media with your infrequent once a week waterings compared to the nursery's frequent heavier watering.
I did not add the osmocote, came that way from Ecuagenera. Dunno what they use for fertilizer otherwise. Yea I have a mix of medium fir bark charcoal and hydroton that might work better. But maybe if those plants are staying that wet I could just drop back watering to like 1x every week and half or something? Doesnt seem like that's what most people are doing tho
 
It's possible the roots are dieing from the salt/pH problem with the eucagenera mix. The osmocote could be releasing too much fertilizer on the moist media without sufficient leaching. Often people assume roots are dieng from rot when in reality the roots are simply decaying after dieing from non pathogen environmental conditions.
Phrags need their media to be flushed frequently with water to keep the root zone environment fresh. Kind of like flushing the toilet after each use or ever other day. 😵‍💫
 
Consider checking your pH. Fir bark is very acidic. Possibly low enough to kill phrag roots. For bark is listed as having a pH of 4.0-5.0. A solution at pH 4.6 is cable of preserving food for human consumption (pickled). Phrag roots contacting low pH bark can't be good. Thus the need to flush the rootzone often.
 
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