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Old 04-08-2010, 03:58 AM
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Disa Adventure part 2

I never cease to be amazed by how fast time flies by. Believe it or not, it has been a year since I started posting on my New Adventure: Disa and 4 months since I last posted on them when two of them flowered. I have had so much fun learning and growing these orchids.

Today I repotted them in preparation for the next growing season and learned a great deal more about them. It's great fun to read or be told something but then to grow a plant yourself long enough to see it happen for yourself is such a leaning confirmation. And so with that in mind, on to the second chapter in the adventure....

Disa Mix
The first picture is the mix I have chosen this year. It is about 3/4 chopped sphagnum and 1/4 small perelite. Last year I tried 4 different mixes: 1) sphag; 2) chopped sphag w/ perelite; 3) sphag, perelite, and coir peat; and 4) sphag, perelite, coir peat, and a bit of bark. Much of the literature I read said you could grow them in almost anything. Fellow Aussie geek Andrew said the same thing. I've chosen chopped sphag and perelite this time because of all the mixes, this one seemed to stay the fluffiest.


Unpotting the Young Plants
After a Disa flowers, that plant starts to die off and eventually dies completely away. You'll see in the second picture that the large flowering plants are now completely gone. I think I may have waited too long to repot my Disa's. Some of the articles I've read say you should repot them before the old growth completely dies off because the decaying growth can rot some of the new growths. I think I got a bit lucky because I only found a couple of rotted-looking areas on new growths. Disas don't have a dormant period like other terrestrials. By the time the old growth is dead, the new growths are well underway.


So I pulled the first Disa out of its pot and started to peel away the old mix. Some of the new "runners" are very thin and delicate. I broke probably 3 or 4 off in the course of taking the old mix off. Fortunately, judging by the way the plants performed last year, they are quick to send out new little runners.

Once I got the old mix off I could see the little "potato." You can see this little tuber at the base of the unpotted plant. If I correctly understand what I have read and have been told about Disas, a plant must have one of these tubers in order to flower, that a small plant will grow for a year developing the tuber then will flower the next year. If that's the case, I could have as many as 4 flowering plants this year. I took some close-up pics of the little tubers with my partner's (superior) camera and will post them later.



I had several smaller plantlets all of which also had tiny little tubers started. One of them was really tine, only about the size of the head of a pin. You'll see these in the three small pots as the end of the post. I expect these will grow this year and flower next year.

Potting Them Up
I then potted up the plants just like i do my paphs. I pot them as deep as possible, as Andrew, recommended so that the rosette forms at the surface of the mix. This helps to make the plant stable as it grows and especially as the orchid spikes. In the first of the two pics below you can see the first of the ones I potted up. It seems too high in the pot to me but it will have to do until I can get a deeper pot. I also suspect that the area I was growing them in was too shady causing the young plants to reach up instead of growing into a flat rosette. Note to self: as soon as they finish flowering, put them in brighter light.



The rest of the pics show all of the Disas, including the tiny little plantlets all potted up.



Full Circle
So now we've come full circle, having taken them through one full growing and flowering cycle and now we're back where we started. Hopefully I've learned a few things about Disas and their culture and hopefully this time around I'll be able to do a bit better growing and flowering them. I'll post my progress every month or 2 like I did before.

Maybe you'll even get one and try growing along with me!
Attached Thumbnails
1-disa-mix.jpg   2-before-repotting.jpg   3-young-disa-unpotted.jpg   4-potted.jpg   5-the-rest.jpg   6-potted.jpg   10-benchmark-1.jpg   11-benchmark-2.jpg  

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Old 04-08-2010, 08:15 AM
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This has all been so interesting,thank you for sharing this and allowing us to experience growing them with you. I have an interest in Disa now that I didn't have before.
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:57 AM
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I had no clue about Disa's and still don't fully understand it's growing culture. Thanks for showing how it's done. I look forward to seeing how things progress.
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syndywindy View Post
I had no clue about Disa's and still don't fully understand it's growing culture.
Here's a few helpful references:
Check out post #25 in this thread: http://www.orchidgeeks.com/forum/orc...ture-disa.html It tells the conditions under which I grew them.

http://culturesheet.org/orchidaceae:disa:uniflora
Culture | www.disas.com
Orchids in southern Africaisa
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:56 AM
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Kevin, this is great. I've been following your first post on these, and really appreciate this one as well.

I've always loved these, but never had the nerve (or conditions) to give these a try.

Maybe someday......
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Old 04-08-2010, 08:47 PM
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Kevin,
Great to see they grew well for you. I suspect next year you may be learning the lesson I learnt a few years ago when I first started growing them: the down side of not killing Disa uniflora is figuring out what to do with all the daughter plants.
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Old 04-08-2010, 10:03 PM
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Thanks Andrew! I welcome that "downside" as I get better at growing them. I have a couple of questions for you:
1) They look a little spindly to me; should I be concerned by this? I have put them in a brighter location. Maybe I should have repotted earlier in the year?
2) How are yours doing this year? Are you selling any off?
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:13 AM
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I don't know how I missed your original thread Kevin, but found it fascinating! What a very interesting plant and process.
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Old 04-10-2010, 03:49 AM
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Disa Tubers

Here are the pics of the disa tubers that I promised in my original post. They're quite interesting little structures.


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Old 04-10-2010, 09:26 AM
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Now when you pot up these plantlets, will they bloom within the year before they die off?
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:04 AM
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If I understand their cycles correctly these little plantlets will grow this year and their tubers will develop. They all had tiny little tubers started already. Then next year, with fully developed tubers the plants will flower. The 4 larger plants, which already have fully formed tubers should bloom this year (I'm hoping).
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Old 04-11-2010, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmarch View Post
1) They look a little spindly to me; should I be concerned by this? I have put them in a brighter location. Maybe I should have repotted earlier in the year?
Put them in brighter light and they'll "flatten out". On the bright side the shade and the cool temperatures that obviously resulted from it have made your leaves vitually spotless. Mine were under about 60% shade over summer and some have a bit of black spotting on the leaves to show for it.


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2) How are yours doing this year? Are you selling any off?
I'm still waiting for a ot of them to die down and I'm about 1/3 way through repotting mine. I should have a some available in a couple of months time.
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Old 07-03-2010, 11:36 PM
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3-month update

Andrew's recent post on his early-flowering disa reminded me that I hadn't updated my disa adventure thread for quite some time. I had planned to give 2-month updated on my disa progress again this year just like I did last year but June...June? It went by so fast I hardly even noticed it. Maybe one of you were luck enough to have noticed it fly by? Anyway, so I'm giving a 3-month update this time. Some interesting things to report this time around:
1) We've had an incredibly cold (for us) winter. Almost every night it has been somewhere 3-5C (37-40F). Growth has been slower this year than last. You'll notice this in the pics.
2) Some of my repotted disas haven't done so well. You'll notice in the one pot there were two plants but now only one. One of them died off. Some of the older leaves have died off on the small daughter plants as well but,
3) I'm happy to report that all of the survivors are showing healthy looking growth. Some of the plants, as you'll see, are still tall and spindly looking but the newly growing leaves are shorter and wider, just as Andrew predicted.
4) And finally.....ADDITIONS!!!! But before we get to those:

Here's what they looked like 3 months ago newly repotted:



And here's what they look like today:


They are currently receiving full Winter sunlight, cold temperatures (3-5C [37-40F] at night, 13-15C [55-60F] during the day), mostly rain water, and no fertilizer (that may change, I'm thinking of adding a weak liquid fert like fish emulsion but need to study a bit more on that before doing it).

Emboldened by my experience last year, even though my flowers did suffer a bit from the heat and didn't look very good, I was keen to go a step further and get a few more this year. So, here they are:
  • Disa Happy Valley (same cross Andrew posted about)
  • Disa tripetaloides
  • Disa uniflora (red)
  • Disa uniflora 'Xmas Gold' (yellow)


And here's the whole happy Disa family together:
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Old 07-04-2010, 12:12 AM
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Looks like things are moving along nicely!
Kinda cool all of em growing up together, going to be one sweet display when they mature! Keep the updates coming!
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