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Old 10-01-2009, 05:57 PM
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My deflasking process

hi all,

Today when I was deflasking, I took some pictures, and then figured I would start a thread showing my process. I may do some different things than others, but it seems to work for me.

Pic of flask - it had gotten pretty jumbled during shipping, so I felt I had to do it today, instead of waiting for the weekend.

002wc.jpg

Step 1 - I make a strong bleach solution, and using a clean rag, soak down everything. I wipe the counter top, my hands, the tweezers etc. Then I lay down newspaper on my work surface after it has dried.

Step 2 - I wrap the flask in newspaper, and hit it with a hammer to break it.

003wc.jpg

Step 3 - I pick out most of the babies and soak them for 20 min in my decontaminating solution, gently swirling them to get any remaining agar off.

005wc.jpg

Step 4 - I go through them all, and pick out the ones I think are big enough to pot by themselves, and move them to a superthrive solution for a soak. Here's an example of two. Also I check for any remaining agar, and gently remove it if needed.

022wc.jpg

Step 5 - The medium sized ones then get the superthrive soak,then put 2 - 4 in a small pot.

024wc.jpg

Step 6 - The smallest ones I want to keep are soaked in the superthrive and then potted up together.


Pic of the ones I didn't pot up. They were too small for me, and I had enough of the bigger ones, I decided to not even try with these. (BTW I've never been successful with ones this small)

034wc.jpg

Pic of them all potted up. The containers they are in, do mean something. The container with only 2 little pots are 'experimental', the bigger ones are all together etc.

035wc.jpg

Most people like to put them together in bigger compots, this has never worked for me. The pots I use are plastic cups, 2 inch dia, that I poked holes in the bottom. I used spaghnum moss with styrofoam peanuts in the bottom. The moss is packed pretty loosely. I used the moss this time as it seems to work better for me for Vandaceous types.

I'll leave them inside, low light for a couple of days, and then start slowly getting them acquainted to early morning sun. The little pots will dry out in 2 - 3 days, and then I just water them with lukewarm water over the sink.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:02 PM
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Thanks for the pics. We look forward to watching them grow up.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:08 PM
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Cool, thanks. Very in interesting!
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Old 10-02-2009, 05:52 PM
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congrats on deflasking them, i'd might be a bit scared to handle them as they came quite tangled. I can't wait to see how they'll grow and bloom for you. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-02-2009, 06:02 PM
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Fascinating! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10-03-2009, 12:36 AM
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As an alternative to breaking the flask, have you considered pouring in solution? The agar should soften and dissolve a little after a few minutes, allowing you to hook out the seedlings with a piece of wire.
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Old 10-03-2009, 01:04 AM
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What kind of orchids are they?
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Old 10-03-2009, 02:48 AM
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It looks like you take great care of them when deflasking. I like your process and have learned a few things from it.

Thanks for sharing this with us!
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Old 10-03-2009, 08:09 AM
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boffin, yes I've heard of that. But some of these seedlings were really big, and I'm not talented enough to pull them through the opening without damaging them.

Kevin - sorry lol I didn't write that anywhere - Ascofinitia Cherry Blossom.
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Old 10-03-2009, 08:23 AM
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Wonderful, Renee! My ghostie flask arrived yesterday so I'll be deflasking today. If I may, what is your decontaminating solution?
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Old 10-03-2009, 08:31 AM
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dt - I use a 2% bleach solution. - Yep I do. I used to use Physan, but I really don't like it. In fact, I don't use it for anything anymore. I threw away my bottle.

I switched to the bleach solution with my last deflasking, and my survival rate went up dramatically (not sure if due to the bleach or due to the fact I didn't use Physan).

But, I'd be a hesitant using it on Ghost orchids.


Let me add it is 2% by volume of the household bleach as supplied into tap water. - Not 2% acutal bleach solution. The household bleach is supplied as a 6% solution - so it is 2% of a 6% solution (can't find my calculator)
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Last edited by rcb; 10-03-2009 at 08:34 AM. Reason: define 2%
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Old 10-03-2009, 09:23 AM
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Duly noted! You've got my brain working now...
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Old 10-04-2009, 07:22 AM
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I never disinfect the plants from flask unless the flask is contaminated. If the flask is sterile and your equipment is sterile, what is there to decontaminate?

Any disinfecting solution will do some damage to the sterile plants. I also do not use fungicide as a preventative - again, if you don't have a problem why use it? If you have damping off, a sprinkle of cinnamon will eliminate it but you won't get damping off if you water properly.

I also harden off the seedlings as soon as possible and get them into the proper light within a couple of weeks. I bump up the light as much as possible without burning because seedlings want to grow. The bigger and faster they grow, the healthier they will be.

This was the advice from the breeder of the first flask I purchased and it has served me well with all the various genera I have deflasked. The only problems I have had were two different flasks with fungus in them. I lost about 50% of the seedlings but I used Physan as a disinfectant and may try the bleach solution the next time.

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Old 10-04-2009, 07:27 AM
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Good Luck to all! Someday.....! LOL
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Old 10-04-2009, 12:07 PM
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Thanks for sharing, cant wait to recieve my flask of Den spec. 'Herberton' Gold X Den spec. Yondi Tina 'Goliath' FCC.
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Old 10-05-2009, 08:52 AM
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Brooke or Renee, can you explain 'damping off' for me?
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Old 10-05-2009, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtje2000 View Post
Brooke or Renee, can you explain 'damping off' for me?
Dt - I never actually looked it up before, did a quick search, and here is what I found Damping-off Diseases

I think this explains it pretty well, even if it is not specific to orchids.

It will be obvious if it occurs - believe me!
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Old 10-05-2009, 04:36 PM
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the whole process is facinating, and the pics are great!

I'd love to have a go at this but don't have the space
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Old 10-05-2009, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
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... you won't get damping off if you water properly.
Brooke, you've sparked my curiosity. I like the idea of chemical-free deflasking. Can you elaborate a bit on the proper watering of newly deflasked seedlings?
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Old 10-06-2009, 07:15 AM
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All of my deflasked seedlings but one have gone into rehydrated NZ sphag. When the top is crispy, I water. I also keep my compot size to 4" and under for more uniform drying. The bigger the container, the more uneven the drying time will be. The edges will be dry but the center still wet.

The Pleionilla seedlings were put into a 50/50% coir perlite mix. When the top is dry, I water. This mix is harder for me to determine watering pattern even though I used this for years when I grew tons of garden seedlings.

I strongly believe that getting the seedlings to adjust to their natural environment as soon as possible is the best thing for them. Keeping them in a wet atmosphere is the best way to encourage fungus. Fungus hates moving air and bright light.

I wish now when I received a contaminated flask and popped fungus in the seedlings I had tried cinnamon instead of the Physan. I might have ended up with more viable seedlings.

I hope this helps.

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Old 10-06-2009, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtje2000 View Post
Brooke or Renee, can you explain 'damping off' for me?
Dt - I never actually looked it up before, did a quick search, and here is what I found Damping-off Diseases

I think this explains it pretty well, even if it is not specific to orchids.

It will be obvious if it occurs - believe me!
When it does occur, far to late to save the plants.
It is about the only problem ever faced by most people deflasking.
Even using a good systemic fungicide after the event starts is often far too late.
might save a few plants that have not become infected, buy it spreads like lightning through a batch of seedling.
That is why I use a quality fungicide like Fungarid, better be safe than sorry.
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Old 12-01-2009, 09:34 AM
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update

Well it's been over a month and so far so good.

My experimentals died - as expected.

I had moved some over to LECA as I was curious how they would behave compared to spaghnum moss. Just LECA as a medium, not S/H. I did this within the first week.

So far, most have at least started a new leaf and or new roots, and I've started very lightly with fertilizer. Unfortunately the windows in my house are not very good, so they are not getting as much sunlight as I would like but I work with what I've got. And it's too cold outside for them now.

075.jpg

Oh meant to add, I've used nothing but tap water, a little superthrive twice, and now just one piece of Dynamite in each little pot. No fungicides, and hopefully I won't need any. Keeping fingers crossed.
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Old 12-01-2009, 11:25 AM
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Great thread rcb, thanks!

Was the experiment group the LECA group? and they died?

I've found LECA to be a good deflasking media (for some species) when used the same way as S/H, but never tried it just on its own. If you like an experiment, you should fill up that tub with the LECA plants with half an inch of standing water, and treat it like S/H. And then have comparable plants in LECA that you water like you have been. I have a hunch you'll get much better growh in the S/H plants.

Deflasking in LECA-S/H worked well for Den. speciosum, and just OK for Cymbidium, but for an inert media, perlite works better IME for the small flasklings. Again, used like S/H.
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:09 PM
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undergrounder - no the LECA ones are growing just fine. The experimentals were ones that were really too small for me, and I would normally just dispose of, but I did try to pot them up. I was trying a new chemical to try to prevent dampening off. It didn't work - oh well lesson learned. It probably didn't help that I had them separate from the others, on a windowsill that the cat likes to sit on, and he kept tossing them off. LOL

the S/H idea is a good one, right now I'm not ready to try it, I'm still getting used to using LECA as a medium at all. But next time, I may try a few and compare.

I do really like to experiment, comes from my old days of working in a research lab, I was always trying something just to see what would happen. lol Nowadays the only real experimenting I get to do is with dinner on my kids lol
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:07 PM
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Yeah i can rarely get the baby ones to survive either.. i feel bad putting them straight in the bin, but that's the way it is.. i sometimes chuck them in the garden in the vain hope that one day i'll see a blue Phal. violacea just blooming in between the gardenias..
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Old 12-01-2009, 07:38 PM
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Excellent thread! Keep up the good work rcb and everyone!!! I am in the middle of deflasking 3 flasks of paphs and it's good to be reminded of several of the things in this thread. I am going Brooke's route with an (almost) chemical-free deflasking. I'm using only a bit of fungicide (Mancozeb). I'm trying to keep the humidity higher than normal at first but I have a small fan blosing directly on the seedlings so their leaves dry off fast after watering and to they have good air circulation. When I have finished my last flask I'll post some pics.
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:37 PM
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ok update time

I realize I'm probably updating this too often, but oh well? lol

As of this morning, about 3/4 of the bigger ones have been potted up. I'm moved them into very small net pots - 2in I think -. All except the original smallest are actively still growing, new leafs, new roots. They are getting a light regular fertilizing now as well, in addition to the Dynamite. As for light, they are sitting in the window I have my bigger Vandas in, but they are a little shaded by the bigger plants. They are still getting pretty good light, it's the best I can give them until the weather breaks.

Since the initial deflasking, they still have only received tap water and fertilizer. (and superthrive in the beginning)

Some of the smallest ones, aren't doing much, and I'm probably going to cull them, if they don't start doing something in the next couple months. I'll still have about 15 - 20 strong seedlings left.

Kevin - how are yours doing? did the chemical free way work?
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
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Kevin - how are yours doing? did the chemical free way work?
Thanks for the update! It's always good to discuss various techniques, but the proof is always in the results and I think I learn as much form the updates as I do form the discussions. It's always great to see what works. Congrats on your progress!

My paph seedlings are doing great so far. I didn't go completely chemical free. After deflasking them I did give them all one good heavy spray with Mancozeb (a fungicide) but nothing more after that. I have transitioned them outside so they are now in my orchid house with all of my other paphs. Out of nearly 100 seedlings form 3 flasks I have lost only about 3 of the very tiniest ones, ones which were so small I probably shouldn't have bothered potting them up in the first place. They would have fit on this emoticon ==>

For a long time they sat and did nothing, but I've noticed lately it looks like some of them are starting to slowly grow again.
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Old 02-18-2010, 07:37 AM
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Good growing Renee. How 'bout some pics? Ditto to Kevin.

Brooke
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Old 02-18-2010, 11:39 AM
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Brooke - yes ma'am lol


Pic taken this morning of the ones transferred to net pots


042wc.jpg
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Old 02-19-2010, 04:53 AM
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Good to see you have had some success with the deflasking. I follow similar rules too.

I have never used fungacides on flasks and find I dont need to worry if I do a few things, although I have only deflasked phals and catts.

I need a 24 hour period usually to deflask.

In the morning I simply open the flask to acclimatise the seedlings to the real world. I leave them upstairs where they recieve indirect light.

That afternoon, I remove them from the flask and wash off the agar. I lay them on a tray to dry out.

Before I go to bed I wet the roots with tap water.

The next morning I do the same and wet the roots again. You will see that the root systems have turned white and hardened up overnight.

After wetting them, I go down to the greenhouse and put them on the bench for about half an hour in the sun under the shadecloth. This kills any remaining fungus on the seedlings.

I then pot into 50mm pots with spag wetted with a 1/2 strenght solution of fertilizer and squeezed dry. The spag has healing properties which helps with growth and shock. I give a water after that to help the spag fall in place with the new root system.

Water and fertilize as normal.

Things to point out
-I have not lost a plant since I started this routine, although I have only deflasked 8 flasks using this style, in the last year or so, but it is still at 100%.
-I have naturally high humidity and heat all year round
-I dont use fungacides, because I dont like set backs and dont need them.
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Old 02-19-2010, 07:55 AM
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Plucker it sounds you are having great success. I've heard the let them dry out process by some and then the don't let them dry out. I use the don't let them dry out unflasking and have had great success with it.

I am also one who doesn't use chemicals unless I receive a contaminated flask. My humidity in the g/h is always all over the board and my heat/sun availability in the winter is iffy at best.

Renee your seedlings look super happy!

Brooke
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Old 02-19-2010, 08:05 AM
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Plucker, what orchids do you deflask using this method?
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Old 02-19-2010, 08:26 AM
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I deal with the easy ones - both catts and phals. I would imagine dens would work fine also.
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Old 02-19-2010, 09:15 AM
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Great job!!
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