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Old 08-21-2012, 10:14 AM
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Question There are no Flasks in Nature

Call me naive, but I don't understand the need for flasking. In Nature, flowers get pollinated, they produce seeds which get scattered hither and yon and some eventually germinate and carry on the Species. So, why do I need to flask? Why can't I just plant seeds the more natural way? I look forward to hearing from my fellow geeks. Lisa
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:34 AM
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In a nutshell, flasking greatly improves the chances for germination and survival (very rare in nature with orchid seeds).
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Old 08-21-2012, 10:41 AM
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yup. plant produces a half million seeds. maybe 1% of them will hit the right combination of moisture and medium and fungus and germinate. then even fewer will grow to bloom and reproduce.

flasking greatly improves the odds of getting mature plants.

that said... i know a commercial grower that had a peristeria elata dehisc all over his GH. 18 mos later he had baby orchids sprouting out of every nook and cranny and pot and mount and even out of the gravel floor.
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Old 08-21-2012, 07:12 PM
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Quiet simple in modern times, need for numbers, cost and reliability of getting the seeds to germinate. In the old days and in the wild often survival of seeds were 1 in a couple 100,000. Now days if required maybe 95% can be germinated in the lab.

If you like you can spread the seeds around the base of the plant the seeds come from and be happy that you get some to germinated and hopefully flower one day.

Flasks has speed up the process, higher & quicker germination, more people need/want orchids and the flasking process has brought the price down so all can enjoy this wonderful hobby not just the rich.

I suppose you could compare it to ladys having children, in the old days often 1 out of 4 babys died in childbirth, often mothers also.
Now they have humicribs, intensives care units etc. and without all this my wife would have died in childbirth and I would have lost my first born son as well.
Again all about numbers
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Last edited by Ron; 08-21-2012 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:01 PM
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And in the old days orchids were rare to have in your home because they weren't available to us and if they did get them usually illegally and at a very high high price to get one.
Also flasking has kept some species around that no longer grow and are extinct in their natural habitats. I have a few varieties of these in my collection, not so much as they are rare but to keep this species alive because they are rare and cycle seed when blloming size back in to flasking to keep them around and available for others to enjoy also.
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:24 AM
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Some people used to sprinkle the seeds around the base of a mature orchid where the fungus lives that seeds need to germinate (or whatever they do). This can work but as pointed out above the success rate is no where near the same.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:10 PM
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Why flask? For natural germination most orchid seed must come into contact with the right symbiotic fungus to supply it with energy and nutrients. No fungus, no germination. With the right fungus, a few seeds out of 100,000 might have a chance. And it isn't necessarily easy to even maintain the fungus in an artificial environment without using sterile culture, like in a flask. And it has to be the right fungus for that orchid, not just any fungus will do.

In a flask the sugar and nutrients in the media take the place of the fungus, and thousands of seeds can germinate reliably. And the abundant supply of nutrients allows the seedlings to grow much faster too.

If you want to just get a couple seedlings and you happen to have a plant with the right fungus in the media, go ahead and try. That just won't make it commercially.

Last edited by PaphMadMan; 08-22-2012 at 09:16 PM.
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