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Old 02-22-2007, 05:24 PM
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Treating phals & dens the same?

Greetings from Tampa and congrats on a killer forum. I have 4 orchids - 2 which I believe are phals (could just as easily be vandas or even tulips) and 2 which could be dens (really no idea, used to be 1 plant which I divided when I repotted a couple of years ago, was a "cutting" from a friends plant). They all look great. The phals were purchased while in bloom last year. Blooms lasted about 3 months and each is spiking again - one has a spike about 6" long and the other a spike about 1" long. The "dens" have much new growth, haven't bloomed in 6-7 years. 2 Questions: (1) Should I continue to fertilize while the "phals" are spiking/blooming? I have seen diametrically opposed answers on different sites. (2) I treat all of these plants the same since I don't know what they are. They're kept outside year round on a covered balcony, lots of bright indirect light and a little direct late afternoon sun. I water once a week by soaking in a bucket for about an hour. I noticed Jerry indicated in a recent post that he waters his every day. Uh-oh. Do I need to step it up? I appreciate any advice, even ignorance would be an improvement now. E-Jag
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Old 02-22-2007, 09:18 PM
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Welcome E-jag!
Yep! Lots of opinions here about how to do things - remember a lot of care techniques will work great in some areas and not in others - maybe seem to be completely different - because of all the diffferent environmental factors from which we all come from - humidity, rainfall, temperature, greenhouses vs. home growing vs. outdoor growing, etc. So the challenge is to find people who grow similar to your conditions and then you will have less to adapt to your particular conditions. You mentioned Jerry saying he waters every day - if I even water my phals every week during the winter months in the media I use - I will rot their roots. On the other hand, certain facts remain constant throughout most conditions - for example, dens need LOTS of light. If you are growing these in conditions your phals like - this is why they are not blooming. Slowly aclimate these to the sunshine - lots of it! They can take all but the hottest mid day sun. Yes, I would fertilize your phals constantly year round - blooming or not. If you are only watering from the bottom up in a bucket you might want to consider every couple months running a lot of water through the media from the top to flush out excess minerals. Well I just gave you the ignorance! Now hopefully you can get some good advice. mike
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Old 02-23-2007, 05:25 PM
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Mike, thanks for the reasoned reply. Will start acclimating the "dens" to more direct sun and will continue to fertilize. The dens actually have several "leaf spikes" coming up - don't know what to call them but they're round at the bottom with a leaf at the top. I assume this is new growth. I haven't yet descended into orchidcide!

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Old 02-24-2007, 03:51 PM
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Have you read the skewer post? http://www.orchidgeeks.com/forum/new...f-orchids.html Dens can use more water than Phals while growing and blooming, and prefer less water when not growing or blooming.
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Old 02-24-2007, 05:41 PM
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Dens have pseudulbs that grow tall and slender with leaves up and down the bulb, or "cane." These leaves can be deciduous on some dens. Right now we're approaching the best growing season for dendrobiums, so they'll need lots of sun, water and fertilizer to get those canes to grow tall and mature. When fall approaches, you can back off of the water and fertilizer, but still keep the dens in as strong a light as they can take without burning.
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Old 02-25-2007, 03:28 PM
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Thanks much for the replies, this really is an impressive forum. From what y'all are saying, I need to water the den more often than once a week. Not a problem. I was concerned about overwatering/root rot. For a den with a fair amount of new growth, at this time of year, would you suggest 2 or 3 times a week? I usually soak them for an hour or so. Again, your advice is really appreciated.

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Old 02-25-2007, 04:49 PM
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E-Jag

This is a good time to remind everyone that I always say to understand WHY someone is making the recommendation. i water every day because I grow under higher than recommended light conditions and am growing for maximum growth.

When I make a mistake and burn a plant it is only money. This is a business for me.

If the faster growth exceeds the losses in dollars than I will always do it. The amount of water you need to give a plant depends on the Sun, the Heat, especially the Wind, and a dozen others factors, but these are the three most important. Together they can dry out a plant in hours not days.

Your sheltered covered balcony will lose a lot less water to evaporation than mine.

Move the Dens slowly to the brightest part of the balcony and you should get flowers every year.

Stop by and say hello. I will be at the Marie Shelby Botanical Gardens for their show and sale in three weeks March 17-18, and admission to the gardens is half price that weekend.

Six weeks later (April 28-29) I will be at the St Petersburg Green Thumb festival even closer to you. There is no admission charge for this one.

Both events have lots of orchids and many other types of plants.
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Old 02-25-2007, 06:14 PM
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Jerry, thanks for your knowledge. Apparently I'll be okay with 2-3 waterings a week and I'm gradually exposing the dens to more direct sun. And thanks for the invitation - I'll see you in St Pete.

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Old 02-25-2007, 09:17 PM
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When people talk about watering and fertilizing exactly what are they talking about. I usually water one time and fertilize the next and alternate the two. I water by using a watering can with a long spout and water only enough to fill the humidity trays. This doesn't seem like enough. Then after a couple of times of watering and fertilizing I run tap water through the medium to moisten it completly. I've also let the plants soak in a bucket of water to be sure they're completly wet then start my normal watering procedure. I overheard a orchid greenhouse person tell someone that when they water be sure and use plenty of water. I just need to know what plenty means.

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Old 02-26-2007, 12:06 AM
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To some extent watering plenty depends upon what media you are using. You want the media to pick up as much water as it can pick up - for some medias this will be just until the water comes out the bottom (sphag) and for others it might require a soak for a bit (dried bark). Of course you have also pointed out the good idea of running plenty of water through periodically to clear out excess minerals.
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