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Old 08-18-2012, 12:33 AM
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semi hydro pictures

I'm new to the forum and I am thinking about growing some orchids using the semi hydroponic method. For those of you who have been growing using this method can you please post some pictures of your most recent successes! I'd like to see how your plants are doing. Thanks
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Old 08-18-2012, 01:34 AM
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Its really easy. You need some clean and soaked hydroton/leca, plant, and water.
Its late now so I can't get any good pictures but I have an avocado in S/H as well as most of my orchids.
Hopefully somebody else will post their awesome pictures! So that you don't have to wait too long for mine.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:00 AM
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This is my attempt at hydro (not much but I'm new too!!!), follow the link, it's photo four or five (little Catt. Seedling in a jelly pot!!!)

http://www.orchidgeeks.com/forum/orc...ight=My+babies

It is my very first attempt but, within a few days I had a new root digging down and now (a couple of days later) I have two roots digging down!!! Because it's a seedling it can take a bit extra watering, I mist every day and it seems to like it - the plant has grown an extra leaf too!!!

I have a Milt. That I have put in hydro also, in a terracotta pot, and that seems to like it too (the roots have started to anchor now as the plant is much more sturdy in the pot so it is growing!!!) but I am on my iPad and the photos are on my home computer so I'll post one later when I get chance.

The one thing I found with s/h is that the plants have nothing to hold them steady until the roots get going so until they decide to grow you have to make sure you have plenty of support. Plus you do have to get used to watering a little more often because the Leca doesn't always wick up that well (depending on what type you have). Best thing to do is check how porous it is by soaking it for 24 hours before you use it.......the more of it that sinks the more porous it is so it will wick up better and hold more water so you won't need to water as much. However, if it is a deep pot be careful, it may not wick up high enough to reach the roots - shallower pots are better if you can use them.

Well, that turned out to be more than one thing I found from doing s/h but hope it helps (and makes sense!!!!)
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:31 AM
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I just started some vanda coeruleas with what i've just realised is semi-hydroponic, but instead of clay balls i used perlite which wicks up he water very efficiently. Lots of root growth so far. Got the idea seeing vandas grown in malaysia with the roots buried in coir. Never thought of it as semi-hydroponic though before today.
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:38 AM
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I tend to veer away from perlite as it is very damaging if you breathe the dust in - apparently it is a known carcinogen (like asbestos etc) so I keep away because of the kids!!!! Would sand work a similar way??
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:01 AM
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Perlite is not carcinogenic as far a i know (and i just checked the safet sheets), if you beathe lots of dust in it could theoretically cause silicosis and other breathing problems, all you have to do is wet it before using, i usually drain of the water and fine dust.

Sand is too dense and wont allow enough air in or probably act as much of a wick, coir would be another option.
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:22 AM
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I tried semi-hydro back a few years ago, and I know many people swear by it, but it just never worked for me. My suggestion would be to try it out with a few plants you aren't particularly invested in so that it's not a huge tragedy if it doesn't work out.

Again, I know it works very well for many people, but everybody is different, and growing conditions vary widely from one grower to the next, and what works for some may not work for others. I've never been successful with semi-hydro. Maybe I'm not doing it right, but the point is that I suggest you experiment with plants you consider expendable first before you go all out with it, just to make sure it is the right choice for you.
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Old 08-19-2012, 05:10 AM
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There is lots of information around the web (start with the source: FirstRays) on semihydro so take some time to research.

It can work really well but it isn't a fix all and the approach will differ from grower to grower. For some it is perfect straight up and others never get it to work (and everything in between).

I had patchy results until I automated watering and fertilising and realised that my water source was lacking in calcium and got the right fertiliser (I would never have guessed!). First tip is you can't do it by halves - you need to water plenty consistently so they don't dry out ever. All orchids love consistency - part-time semi-hydro and they can't adapt.

Second tip if you are trying is to get some abundant orchids that you are confident in growing in your area and try them first. My first two pics are some of such 'tests' I tried - a dove orchid and Den. discolor - both grown from free keikis (the dove orchid was a single small keiki on a stem, the den.discolor two small growth keiki). They are about a year on - the dove orchid struggled to begin with but has powered away recently and looks far better than its sister keiki on a mount now.

Third photo shows how wet they can be - that is dark green/black algae even on the base of the half grown new growth. This algae wouldn't survive if the media and plant wasn't saturated always. Doesn't seem to bother the plants. The hybrid is Den. speciosum x falcorostrum.

Den. Genting Lipstick is about a year in, 3 new growths in semi-hydro and strong flowering. This is a hybrid most would nominate as hard to grow like this (half Den. canaliculatum).

The Den. speciosum seedling is about 6 months out of flask (i deflask into leca but not semi-hydro - it goes in semi-hydro after the first new growth) - all of those leaves bar the two narrow ones are post flask. It is growing in 50% shade (very bright cattleya light).

The last is a Den.canaliculatum in leca (but not S/H). They can be grown in S/H but hard to convert and this particular clone is a good one with consistent 50+ flowers on the spikes - so I don't dare risk the conversion (I might try a backbulb in the future however).

In the end though - just because it works for me or others it may not suit you, or what works for you may be different again. Try some sacrificial plants and see if you can develop a technique that works for you. Hopefully, the attached photos give some confidence to give it a try.
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d.crumenatum.jpg   d.discolor.jpg   d.andrew-person.jpg   d.genting-lipstick.jpg   s.hartmannii.jpg   phal.jpg   d.speciosum-seedling.jpg   d.canaliculatum.jpg  


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Old 08-19-2012, 05:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smurfette View Post
I tend to veer away from perlite as it is very damaging if you breathe the dust in - apparently it is a known carcinogen (like asbestos etc) so I keep away because of the kids!!!! Would sand work a similar way??
You may be thinking of vermiculite, Asbestos-Contaminated Vermiculite Insulation, is being addressed by the EPA.
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:24 AM
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Also - this picture shows the classic pattern (for me at least) from transitioning. This healthy Den.Superbiens went in S/H and the first growth was poorer than the previous (non-S/H) growths. But the next two (final two growths in the picture) have powered away - the plant transitioned/ grew new roots on that first growth.

Sometimes they just take off though - the Den. Berry was a two cane division 9 months ago and just took off from day one in S/H.
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Old 08-19-2012, 11:14 AM
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Hi Joyce - maybe, I know it was when I was reading about potting media so could've got muddled up!!!
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Old 10-20-2012, 07:32 PM
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Photos of orchids growing in semi-hydro

Hi,

I have several photos of my orchids growing in semi-hydro on ( Edited )

A fast way to see many of my S/H orchid photos is to do a Google Image search of crjsci1, orchids.

Cheers,

Chris
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1joyceh View Post
You may be thinking of vermiculite, Asbestos-Contaminated Vermiculite Insulation, is being addressed by the EPA.
Unfortunately, perlite dust, being almost pure silica, causes silicosis. I always stay upwind when repackaging the stuff for sale.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by empress View Post
Its really easy. You need some clean and soaked hydroton/leca, plant, and water.
Its late now so I can't get any good pictures but I have an avocado in S/H as well as most of my orchids.
Hopefully somebody else will post their awesome pictures! So that you don't have to wait too long for mine.
Hi Empress,
Can you tell me how you can tell when its time to water the container again? Is it when the reservoir is dry or some time after?

Thank you!!
Monica
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:53 PM
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Hi Monica, not Empress here, but I do grow several plants in s/h and I try never to let them get completely dry. Water as often as you like, it won't matter as the excess will drain out, leaving the reservoir in the bottom of the container full of water. The goal is to maintain an airy (spaces between the LECA pieces), moist (wicking effect of the LECA) environment for the roots at all times.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
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Hi Monica, not Empress here, but I do grow several plants in s/h and I try never to let them get completely dry. Water as often as you like, it won't matter as the excess will drain out, leaving the reservoir in the bottom of the container full of water. The goal is to maintain an airy (spaces between the LECA pieces), moist (wicking effect of the LECA) environment for the roots at all times.
Hellloooo Fishmom
Thanks so much for the response. This part is different than the 'handle semi-hydro'. With those pots you have to wait a day or two after the pot empties out. Seems like this method is very goof-proof...sounds really easy to manage.
I like it!!


Monica
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrchidLoverMD View Post
Hellloooo Fishmom
Thanks so much for the response. This part is different than the 'handle semi-hydro'. With those pots you have to wait a day or two after the pot empties out. Seems like this method is very goof-proof...sounds really easy to manage.
I like it!!


Monica
You're gonna love it. Empress got me started with S/H with some plants she so graciously gave me last year. All of them are growing like crazy and one is beginning to spike. Now, I'm constantly trying to find LECA at a good price without having to buy a 50 Liter Bag. I don't have room with all the other "stuff" I have.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:14 PM
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Photos of orchids in semi-hydro

Hi,

I grow all my orchids in semi-hydro (except for the orchids I have on mounts).

If you look at the orchids with username crjsci1 in the Orchid Gallery on this website, you will see orchids in semi-hydro.

Also, if you look at the Photo section of Ray Barkalow's Semi-Hydro Forum website, you'll send many examples of my (and others) orchids grown in semi-hydro.

Cheers,

Chris
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Old 02-09-2013, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OrchidLoverMD View Post
Hellloooo Fishmom
Thanks so much for the response. This part is different than the 'handle semi-hydro'. With those pots you have to wait a day or two after the pot empties out. Seems like this method is very goof-proof...sounds really easy to manage.
I like it!!


Monica
Sorry I missed this! Been off OG for a while. Life happenings and such. Anyways, Fishmom is right. I wouldn't let the reservoir empty (and I did this before) because once the LECA/hydroton dries out the wicking action doesn't occur as well. So keep the reservoir full at all times. Don't worry about over watering - it is nearly impossible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulB View Post
You're gonna love it. Empress got me started with S/H with some plants she so graciously gave me last year. All of them are growing like crazy and one is beginning to spike. Now, I'm constantly trying to find LECA at a good price without having to buy a 50 Liter Bag. I don't have room with all the other "stuff" I have.
You can help yourself to my 50-liter bag anytime! I still have more than half of it. ><;; But I'd buy it again. It is such a better buy. It's like shopping at Costco! Ha ha~

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Old 02-11-2013, 11:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by empress View Post
Sorry I missed this! Been off OG for a while. Life happenings and such. Anyways, Fishmom is right. I wouldn't let the reservoir empty (and I did this before) because once the LECA/hydroton dries out the wicking action doesn't occur as well. So keep the reservoir full at all times. Don't worry about over watering - it is nearly impossible.



You can help yourself to my 50-liter bag anytime! I still have more than half of it. ><;; But I'd buy it again. It is such a better buy. It's like shopping at Costco! Ha ha~

You got it! Buckets for LECA! Strange trade, especially to those who don't have a clue as to what this is about. I can just imagine, a 50 Liter bag of Hydroton falling over... I'd be picking up little "red marbles" for a month! I don't need a railroad car full of it, cuz I don't have enough room, with all the other "stuff" I have.
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Old 02-11-2013, 04:12 PM
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You got it! Buckets for LECA! Strange trade, especially to those who don't have a clue as to what this is about. I can just imagine, a 50 Liter bag of Hydroton falling over... I'd be picking up little "red marbles" for a month! I don't need a railroad car full of it, cuz I don't have enough room, with all the other "stuff" I have.
Ha ha~ So true. So true. But I have knocked over a pot full of hydroton... I was picking up balls for weeks!
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:13 PM
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Silicosis

I'm a silica chemist. Perlite, diatomacious earth and general dust from most of the US soil contains very fine particles of silica. Don't be afraid of using these potting materials, silicosis is a problem if you are breathing it for years.

It is always prudent to wear a dust mask regardless of the type of dust you are generating. Your lungs will thank you.
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Old 01-08-2014, 01:05 AM
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can you mix leca with moss?
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:18 AM
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If you are doing semi-hydroponics, with a water reservoir that maintains moisture in the container, you do not need moss, and it will deteriorate quickly in the constant wet conditions. If you are using LECA as a planting medium, adding moss will hold a bit more moisture than the LECA alone, which will dry pretty quickly. It depends on what you are trying to achieve.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:33 AM
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Thanks fismom, I'm new here and just started with the orchid "romance". I love how everybody here helps the newbies like me, thanks for accept me!
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:01 PM
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You are very welcome, Elaine. If you are new to semi-hydro, I suggest you visit the "Firstrays Orchids" website. Ray, who posts here occasionally, is a guru on the semi-hydro method and has a huge amount of information available free on his site.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:49 PM
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Hi Fishmom, thanks again. The First Ray is amazing! So much to learn from it.
I got some orchids from a friend, who moved to another country, but they are in net pots (only the inner pot for hydroponics) with moss and leca. I would love to try the hydroponics, since it looks more easy to care for the plants. I'm no sure if I can do that now, because iss winter and very cold here! Any suggestion???
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:45 AM
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I'm not sure that the cold weather makes a difference, since the orchids are (presumably) in the house with you. However, the transition to S/H will probably go more smoothly if the plants have roots that are actively growing when you re-pot. The new roots will adapt to the new conditions, and it is common for older roots to die off after a period of time. If your plants are not actively growing, you might want to make the change gradually, one plant at a time, and see how it goes.

What kinds of orchids do you have? Can you put some pictures up? We love pictures in this group!
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:37 AM
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I'll do that gradually then! I inherited them from a friend, I think they are phal and oncidium. I'll post some photos when I get home. Thanks again !
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:04 PM
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With a hydroponic system, do I still need to have a humidity tray for the orchids?
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
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With a hydroponic system, do I still need to have a humidity tray for the orchids?
No. That's the idea. The roots acclimate down into the reservoir. Even if they haven't yet, they are still moisturized by the LECA. Provided you keep the reservoir filled with water.

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Old 01-09-2014, 10:14 PM
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My girls

photo-5.jpg

photo-4.jpg

hi fishmom, here's the photos.
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:30 AM
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Fishmom or anyone, please help me? Thanks
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ELAINEMADEIRA View Post
Fishmom or anyone, please help me? Thanks
Are you asking how to grow orchids in semi-hydro? I grow 90% of my orchids this way.

From the picture you posted, it seems more of the traditional way of growing orchids. The LECA balls mixed in with the sphag just makes it more airy.
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:38 PM
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Yes ninidazzle, I want to switch to hydroponic system. This miss kind of stinks every time I water them!!!
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:48 PM
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For orchids, we use a modified form of hydroponics, hence the name semi-hydro (S/H).

You'll need a container, a deli container is good. One inch up from the bottom, drill two holes for the water to flow out. When you plant your orchid, make sure the roots are at least 1/2 an inch above the drilled holes. You want your orchids to grow it's roots into the water. If you submerge the roots, it WILL rot.

I believe in watering my orchids with a weak solution of fertilizer every time. It's important that you fill the container full of water and let the excess flow out of the holes every time.

I just posted up this link: http://www.orchidgeeks.com/forum/orc...inensis-31351/
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:53 PM
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Here's a good example of a S/H loving orchid.


Phal. (Tzu-Chiang Chrisna x speciosa ‘C#1’)

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Old 01-10-2014, 01:21 PM
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What a beauty!!! Thanks for the info, I'll check it out. Just one more question , can I still use this Leda and the same net pot, maybe use a glass vase to be the water reservoir?
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:30 PM
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I would remove the sphag moss if you want to do S/H. The sphag will rot sitting in water all the time. This method should always have water in the reservoir at all times. I am a chronic over-waterer, which is why I started using S/H. I can water everyday and it won't kill my plants.

Using a net pot will dry out the LECA too fast and the wicking action will be nullified.

A glass vase can be used, but it will still need to have two holes drilled about an inch from the bottom. You want the water to flush out every time you water. I don't really know how to explain it, but the orchids will release "stuff" and if it is not flushed out, will build up and eventually harm/kill your plant. Also, the fertilizer salts need to flushed out so that it doesn't build up and burn/harm/kill your plants.

I really like this method because once it is in S/H you never have to repot unless the plant gets too large for the container.
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:47 PM
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Great info! Thanks ninidazzle , I'll try the deli container e see if works for me! Thanks a bunch!
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Old 01-11-2014, 07:01 PM
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I've move all my orchids to S/H last year (second year that I got hooked on orchids) as I hate the guesswork of watering bark/sphag. Scratch that, it is EASIER to tell my husband how much to water while I'm away on travel! So far only 10% of my orchids don't make it within the first 6 months of the transition to S/H and that is generally orchids that were in bad shape when I bought them so it was an uphill battle anyway.

S/H is working well with my onc and my phals. They all have spikes now and are looking healthy. I have a cym that was potbound when I bought it (deep discount of course) and I divided it into 6 bulb groups of four each. Only one of those is not doing well and I think it is because I was not able to get all the spag detangled from the roots so it is constantly wet and that is what is killing it as the lica is wicking water to it constantly.

This won't work for the hanging baskets but I treat them different anyway but I really prefer S/H orchid growing as once the new roots establish the plant is happy in its new environment. It just takes them a bit to think about their new environment but I'm so amazed how hardy and adaptable orchids are.
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Old 03-13-2014, 01:41 PM
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After six long years all I needed was s/h!

Six years ago I purchased this phal Jungle Cat Bloody Mary, one of my very first orchids. The gardener said "flood it with water every time you water it". Well, that just about killed it.

After tons of trial and error and several "I'm going to bin it today" threats, it started to recover. Then I learned about s/h from this forum. Within the first year of being in s/h she spiked!

After six years she bloomed! It's a small flower but I'll take it!
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:52 PM
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I'm happy for you

What a beauty
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