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Old 10-11-2015, 04:21 PM
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lava rock instead of clayballs

I want to try s/n with a small D. kingianum cut can't find any of the clay balls will lava rock work in its place
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Old 10-11-2015, 06:26 PM
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I haven't used lava rock alone as a planting medium, but I do know that it will not wick water up the way LECA products do. Have you tried calling the various hydroponics shops in Springfield? That's where I get LECA for s/h.

If you use lava rock alone, you will have to water more often to keep the upper part of your part moist. You will be losing an advantage of s/h. However, orchids will definitely grow in lava rock if they are watered adequately.
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Old 10-12-2015, 01:16 AM
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they only sell big bags I wanted to try plants first before buying a big bag
I had some last spring but used it i a big pot with a brugmansia in it
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Old 10-12-2015, 01:43 PM
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Repotme.com sells smaller bags, but then you have to pay shipping, of course.

Have you joined a local orchid society yet? You might be able to work a trade with another member.
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Old 10-12-2015, 02:40 PM
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Lava rock does wick up water but I think you would need to break it up into smaller pieces to eliminate the gaps in between the rocks. You can mount plants on a large lava rock and it will wick up water to the roots. It is the gaps that prevent the water from traveling from rock to rock.
I use quite a bit of red lava rock and, now, Leca. Both are pretty much the same.
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Old 10-12-2015, 03:00 PM
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Oops, I stand corrected!
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Old 10-12-2015, 03:01 PM
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You might try chips of either red brick or small shards of terracotta pot.

My D. kingianum seems to be doing well in a 50 - 50 mix of bark and charcoal in a 3-inch (~ 8 cm) net pot, set inside a slightly larger plastic pot. Plant is growing well, now if I can just get the thing to bloom!!

BTW, I have several plants (Encyclias, some Dendrobiums and Trichocentrum splendidum) in the black lava rock, it seems to work just fine.
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Old 10-12-2015, 03:34 PM
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One of these days if you are headed up towards Salem let me know and I'll GIVE you some hydroton for FREE!
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Old 10-13-2015, 03:33 PM
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I have not been north of Albany in years
I may try an extra plant in lava rock , or on feather rock
Catt Mandu you may need to put the plat in a refrigerator at night for a few months to get it to bloom , you need temps below 50f from what I have read
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Old 10-14-2015, 08:50 PM
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Mickey, thanks for the tip, I may be able to get the same temperature change by housing it in my carport for the next couple of months!
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:42 PM
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I use lava rock for probably 2/3's of my orchids with some dens being part of that. Menards sells both bags of large chunks and bags which a pretty small. I have not tried using lava rock as a S/H way of watering exclusively, only hydroton. But in my several years of growing in lava rock I have to say overall I like growing my plants in it. First, I don't have to repot unless the plant outgrows the pot a plus when you have hundreds of plants. As for watering, I don't water too much differently than I would growing in bark. People may say hey wait a minute, but I can honestly say that from April Thru say November. Winter months I ease up on watering anyway, so if I water a bit more we're not talking anything major in terms if time in between. As for wicking, yes I agree there is wicking action to lava rock. Is it the same as hydroton? I can't say positively. But for aeration of the root system it' works quite nicely.
If you get lava rock be sure your rinse it very well or you'll get the tiny particles going down drains. I rinse a bag outdoors in the lawn or a garden area and store it in a large container.


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Old 10-20-2015, 01:27 AM
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GOING with no s/h with lava rocks and may try s/h in the future , lava rocks are very cheap here so is pumice both are $2.00 for a 6 gal bucket , or $16 for a cubic yard
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:29 AM
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Yes, don't wash the lava rock in the sink if you are doing large quantities! If you need to do it indoors, rinse it in a bowl then dump the bowl of water outside. The dust can clog up a sink. Washing it outside on the lawn works well, too.

Another tip: the edges of the rock are sharp so if the orchid wiggles in the pot, stake it. For rootless orchids, stake them on top of the rock.
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Old 10-20-2015, 10:51 AM
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I have a big bucket that I do most of the washing in, then give a final rinse of the chunks with a hose &plastic colander. If I want small chunks instead of big, I use a hammer & stone chisel, then rinse again.

All done outdoors, of course. If you do the hammer & chisel thing, wear gloves, use safety glasses.
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Old 10-20-2015, 12:14 PM
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I use a 5 gal bucket outside have been using lava rock in my soil mixes for years to add drainage my local soil has a lot of clay so I need to lighten it up for my brugmansias
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:20 PM
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I have quite a bit of clay here (the good gray stuff!), too. :|
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