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Old 04-06-2011, 10:11 PM
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SH and fertilizng

The information I have been reading on the culture of SH growing is fascinating. I have re-potted almost all my orchids in LECA, regular pots, no SH. I did have a problem in my greenhouse with root rot (I love to water). With the LECA no rot and the plants are doing well. I originally put spag. as a top dressing until I read on this site don't do it. So I have removed it. Eventhough I have a misting system I am worried about going away on a vacation and leaving the plants for more than a few days when the temps rise and they will not get a good soaking. So, after reading about the benefits of SH I am considering placing all the plants I have in the LECA in some sort of a individual water holding bowl. That said, what happens when I fertilize? I do follier spraying and give the medium a good spray too. Does the fertilizer get captured in the water that sits in the bowl? If so, should you fertilize less or weaker? I have about 120 chids in LECA and it will be a pain to put them all in a bowl, but I am more concerned about the drying out of the LECA (drying out of the roots) if I have to be gone for an extended period of time. All the info. I have read is great and I can't wait to get some advice.
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Nancy
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Old 04-07-2011, 06:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NancyH View Post
The information I have been reading on the culture of SH growing is fascinating. I have re-potted almost all my orchids in LECA, regular pots, no SH. I did have a problem in my greenhouse with root rot (I love to water). With the LECA no rot and the plants are doing well. I originally put spag. as a top dressing until I read on this site don't do it. So I have removed it. Eventhough I have a misting system I am worried about going away on a vacation and leaving the plants for more than a few days when the temps rise and they will not get a good soaking. So, after reading about the benefits of SH I am considering placing all the plants I have in the LECA in some sort of a individual water holding bowl. That said, what happens when I fertilize? I do follier spraying and give the medium a good spray too. Does the fertilizer get captured in the water that sits in the bowl? If so, should you fertilize less or weaker? I have about 120 chids in LECA and it will be a pain to put them all in a bowl, but I am more concerned about the drying out of the LECA (drying out of the roots) if I have to be gone for an extended period of time. All the info. I have read is great and I can't wait to get some advice.
Thanks,
Nancy
I have several orchids in s/h. Mine are in plastics pots with the holes in the bottom in sit in a plastic bowl filled with water. What I do is mix my fertilizer just like normal and water to the resevoir gets the amount of water I want it to have. I have had some of the resevoirs go dry for a few days and it didn't seem to stress the plant too much. If I'm going away I fill my resevoirs about 1/2 full and they will last about a week. I grow inside in front of my windows.

I think if you do the resevoirs and with the misting system you will be all right.

I would think this would work ok for the ones who are lushes and love their water. And if you didn't want to get individual resevoirs you could get some of those plastic trays like you start your garden seeds in. Keep us posted.
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:51 AM
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Nancy,

It is not a good idea to simply plop non-s/h plants into trays for a "quick conversion".

In non-S/H use, LECA dries out fairly quickly, so I assume your pots dry more-or-less completely between waterings. In that case, your plants have likely developed roots that "expect" that to be the norm. If you suddenly start keeping them constantly wet, the root systems will not be suited for that and may suffer.

If, on the other hand, you water frequently enough that the LECA never dries out, then trays are probably OK. I will disagree with sunshine, though: DO NOT share reservoirs. That is the ideal way to share plant pathogens.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:23 PM
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Hi Ray and Sunshine,
Thanks for all the good encouragement and advice. I potted the chids in the fall when most were in a growth stage. Here in California we have had an extra wet and dark winter.With that said, there has not been the normal root growth. When we had some sun and heat about a week ago I thought Oh-O, I would never be able to keep these plants watered enough if I go away. So, I am going to purchase individual saucers and put them under all my plants. Forgot to mention, I have some most of the plants in plastic pots, holes on the bottom and then these plastic pots are in a clay pot. My thinking was the water would not evaporate as fast with the LECA and the clay pots help to stabilize the tippy plants. Maybe I should only do the SH on the plants that are not in the clay pots....Now I am confusing myself! I will not worry about the fertilizer and I will keep you all posted. Thanks again,
Nancy
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:16 PM
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Ray,
One quick question...what do you think is better. Put the rest of my plants that are also in clay pots, with no SH plastic tray, or leave the plants in the existing pot and put a shallow dish on the bottom filled with water? What I have is about 3/4 of my plants in LECA a regular plastic pot with good drainage sitting inside a clay pot and the rest also in LECA in just the plastic pot. Still worried about the drying out factor. Thanks Ray...
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:12 AM
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Personally, I'd water them extremely thoroughly just before you leave, and make sure your misting system keeps the humidity high in your absence, and not worry about the trays. Certainly individual trays will provide some moisture, but probably not a significant amount unless you make them deep, which can lead to other, more severe problems, such as drowning roots.

Back to your fertilizing question for a moment, I recommend flooding the pot with dilute fertilizer solution, and never just filling up the tray.
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:07 PM
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Thanks Ray fro getting back to me on this. I did go to Home Deopt today and purchased those shallow plastic liners and have put them under the pots. They are not deep, so I think I will not a problem with the root rot. Purchasing cly pots were just to expensive. Anyway, I will keep you posted on the mock SH I have going on. I have a feeling I have hit a good formula for my growing conditions. Already the plants I have re-potted into LECA are so much happier and I see so many nice white plump roots. Time will tell. Again, thanks Ray!
Nancy
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Old 04-14-2011, 11:19 PM
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And speaking of--

There's a big article on s/h in the new issue of orchid digest.
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