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Old 10-16-2015, 08:15 PM
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First Phragmipedium, no ID

During one of my latest orders, I noticed the option for a free orchid, orchids the vendor wishes to unload because they do not meet their high standards and/or the tag is missing. I decided to give it a try. The orchids I ordered were all very nice but the free orchid turned out to be something that I did not recognize. Fortunately, a hand written tag labeled it as a Phrag.
The problem is...I have never grown a Phrag before and we just had the OS meeting so there is not another one until next month. Any ideas on what general type of Phrag this is and how I should grow it?
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Old 10-16-2015, 11:15 PM
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Looks like a micropetalum hybrid (pink, red, white, or purple flowers), but it may have parents from other groups. The long petalled species usually like to grow a bit drier, but they also tend to have more upright and thicker leaves, so I doubt that's what you've got.

I'd grow it wet. For its size, and in my conditions, a net pot with LECA media of that size would not be a good choice. At the very least, I'd get it into sphag if I were going to keep it in a net pot, but honestly, I'd avoid net pots as they're hard to get the plant out of without harming the roots when it comes time to repot.

This would definitely be grown wet, sitting in water at all times, in moderate-medium light, and warmish temps were it in my collection.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:10 AM
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I put this in the mini greenhouse with the Phal. bellina (on a heating pad). The bellina is very happy so hopefully this will help the Phrag. I can water it twice a day.

If it had a tag, I would take it to the November OS meeting to find a new home. :|
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Old 10-17-2015, 11:39 AM
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I agree with the ID. And it will need very frequent watering potted like that. Phrags can be sensitive to hard water or high fertilizer rates. Good water quality is essential.
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Old 10-18-2015, 12:10 AM
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Thank you! It is really helpful to know that this one likes plenty of water. Some of the ones the vendor offers like to nearly dry out so I wasn't certain I could keep this one wet. The roots reach the bottom of the pot and it is sitting in a saucer of water. It is kept warm on the bottom with a heating mat. The greenhouse helps keep the air around it warmer than the cold home. The LECA is wicking the water halfway up the pot and I watered again. When it starts a new fan, I will probably set it up for semi-hydroponics. I am using distilled water with just a hint of MSU fertilizer added. I don't mind watering often; I just didn't want to kill it with kindness. :|
I think that if it ever blooms, I might be able to identify it from the vendor's website. They seem to leave the information on their site, just noting that it has been sold-out. Of course, that might take some time....
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Old 10-18-2015, 06:25 AM
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Phrags need more light than a bellina. This time of the year in your area the Phrag could take full sun or it would love to live under your lights. Warm and bright would make it happy.

Brooke
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Old 10-18-2015, 11:43 AM
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How warm, exactly? What would you say the min. night temperatures should be? Our home gets pretty cold at night and it is around sixty-five during the day, a bit warmer under the lights. Would it be best if this gets a little less light so that it can remain on the heating pad/greenhouse set-up or would it tolerate cooler temperatures (as some of the other orchids do) to be directly under the lights?
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leafmite View Post
How warm, exactly? What would you say the min. night temperatures should be? Our home gets pretty cold at night and it is around sixty-five during the day, a bit warmer under the lights.

How cold is "pretty cold"? People have radically different ideas about the term cold. Our friends in FL are bundled up in winter coats and layers when we are still in t/shirts and shorts.

In my house the furnace is set at 58 degrees and I have zero problems w/anything I'm growing. I'm sure a few of the warm/hot growers might prefer temps a tad warmer but I'm not seeing any ill-effects from my lows. Besides...I sleep better when it's cool and I do enough for these guys...I'm not giving up my sleep comfort. If a plant needs it warmer then it can go live elsewhere.
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:19 AM
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Well, too cold for Phal bellina (that is why the new one is getting the royal treatment this year) and the Phal violacea, rest their green souls. Angraecum sesquipedale depends...if it came from a vendor who lives in cooler climes, it will survive. My mini trees get the warmest part of the house.
This order was from Seattle Orchid which I think imports from Ecuagenera then grows the orchids until they are established. They had a twenty% off sale and free shipping so I decided to try them. The ones for which I paid are really nice. This orchid was a free option as it is something they feel isn't fit to be sold but it appears to be healthy.

I hope that if this little orchid ever blooms someday, I will like the blooms. I really tried to like Paphs but that experiment went awry when they bloomed. I am trying again with a tiny delenatii seedling. Some of the Phrags are actually very pretty and some, in my opinion, are hideous. Hopefully, if this lives, it will be something I like.
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Old 10-20-2015, 08:06 AM
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I hear ya on the "too cold" for the bellina. Mine seems to be doing fine though...albeit a very slow grower but I believe it's a slower grower anyway. Sure, it might grow faster at 65 but I'm not heating my whole house to grow a few that might need warmer and I'm not doing a heat mat. Too many are perfectly happy w/my growing conditions so if a few don't like it...well...I just won't grow those.

My vio does wonderfully w/my temps so unless you are keeping your house cooler than 58...you probably don't need to worry about it.

BTW - I used to grow a number of phrags but my use of tap water and their disdain for tap water didn't go together very well. I agree w/Brooke and I believe your little guy would be very happy under the lights as all the ones I've ever grown did better under catt level light than phal level.

Good luck with it!
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:59 AM
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I have lost three bellinas and a violacea and I was done with them. But, then, I got a free bellina seedling with an order and I decided that this one would live. I bought a miniature greenhouse and heating mat for the thing. This is the first time I have ever pampered any orchid. I am chalking it up to being an empty-nester and no longer having the kids to pamper because, last year, I thought buying the light set up was bad enough! In the past, I just shoved everything in front of a window and have always done everything as cheaply as possible (red lava rock, anyone?).
The heating mat is coming in handy for some of the miniature orchids I am growing anyway. I am finding that there are warm to hot growing members of the Pleuro family (cold-growing ones would be goners in the summer) and they are taking advantage of the mat. I have a few jars of those and another mini greenhouse with one and a Bulbo. So, the mat is letting me grow a few things I wouldn't normally be able to grow. It was really cheap on Amazon, too.
I think I will keep the Phrag in the little heated greenhouse while it gets established. It might be a seedling as it isn't very large and doesn't have too many roots. That is one of the problems with not knowing anything about it.
The phrag is getting distilled water. I have a few other orchids and some CP's that need it so it isn't a big deal. I pour it through the Phrag's pot a few times and then pour off the excess in a jar since it needs to be watered so frequently. I leave a little water in the bottom.
This is not something I would ever have purchased but since it is here, I might as well accept the challenge of trying to grow it and make it happy (until it blooms someday and I discover it is something I find ugly, right?)
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Old 10-25-2015, 12:51 PM
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If you have roots to the bottom of the pot it needs to have an inch or so of water sitting in the saucer. This Phrag could be one of the smaller growing ones and should enjoy the heat of your lights, not the lower light requirements needed for a Phal.

How is the temp managed on your heating mat? My mat has a thermostat and another cord running into a pot using the same media as your other plants have. You can set the temp wherever you want, but that extra cord has to be confined to a pot. If not, then the mat could be too hot or too cold.

The g/h is heated to 60 but the Phal area goes to 58 because the Phal table sits close to the wall. I have had no problem growing bellina, violacea, gigantea or primary hybrids out of them. Would they be happier if they never went below 70, yes but it is my wallet stopping that temp.

This past summer my highest overnight temp was 70 for one night. The rest of the time the temps ran into the mid to high 60's. They all bloomed and are now busy growing new roots and leaves. Global warming has not been in my area for the last two years. When I have to run the heater for a couple of nights in June, July and Aug. it missed my house.

Brooke
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Old 10-25-2015, 01:39 PM
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Do you think using a little liquid seaweed would be a good idea? I keep reading that these need such pure water and very little fertilizer so I thought I had better ask.

I don't actually have room for it directly under the lights but it is still getting strong light. The reason I have it on the heating mat is because it doesn't seem like a strong plant and I think it could use a boost until it grows a bit.

I don't know if you can see, but the picture I first posted of the Phrag shows the leaves as being quite yellow-green (which I thought might be normal). The most bottom leaf had an issue with fungus or bacteria so I removed it and the other most bottom leaf has remained the same color but the upper leaves have become a nice apple-green. I think this is good? Through the mesh I can see roots and they still look healthy. The newest leaf is growing steadily.

Brooke, you have the magic touch with orchids. I always admire those pictures of the beautiful orchids that you post. Unfortunately, while I can grow some orchids and most other plants very well, species Phals (and the Dendrobium Latouria group) have proven most frustrating. I have come to accept that if I am going to be successful with them, I need to do something different. The tabletop greenhouse with a heating mat is my latest experiment. So far, I like what I am seeing.
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Old 12-11-2015, 02:15 PM
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Update: The Phrag is doing quite well. It has been growing a new root and another new leaf. Now that it seems recovered, I moved it out of the miniature greenhouse (and heat mat) and directly under the lights. It took the move without any issues.
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