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Old 11-27-2008, 07:20 AM
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For the Newbies

This post is for the new "Geeks" out there who are new to sphagnum moss
I have seen a post where a Phal was potted in sphagnum moss and the sphag looked that dry and old I would have put the sphag into the rubbish however the point of this thread is to show you all the difference between sphagnum moss that is almost to dry and sphagnum moss that is Moist
look closely you can clearly see the difference
attachment number one you can see sphagnum moss that was almost to the point of being to dry.
Hence the sphagnum moss was watered today
the second attachment shows moist sphagnum moss

this is where I must also say sphagnum moss is a live plant also
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sphag-almost-to-dry.jpg   moist-sphag.jpg  
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Old 11-27-2008, 12:00 PM
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Thank you for the explanation the pictures are very helpful.

If I purchase brand new spaghnum moss what should it look like at that time? Should it be moist and green and fluffy? Is it in bags or is the dry stuff sold in the cube form going to work once it is moistened? Are there differences in the moss and what should I be looking for?
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Old 11-27-2008, 07:53 PM
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Caliope
one thing we must remember here is I can get fresh sphagnum moss from the here
as the sphag I collect from here is moist green and fluffy and sometimes up to 3 feet long.
Parks & Wildlife Service - Sphagnum Moss
Sphagnum moss harvesting in Australia
The Carnivorous Plant FAQ: About Sphagnum

I have seen on "Geeks" that most sphag is bought in a cube or block in the states
the sphagnum moss that is available in the states comes from New Zealand
New Zealand Sphagnum Moss > Home
Sphagnum Moss products - New Zealand

if one gets the sphag in a block its dry due to shipping costs with care and time you can get the dry sphag to re grow.
if your using the dry sphag try to keep the sphag moist at all times for the sphag to grow
I see even with the links from New Zealand the sphag in the photos is becoming dry being processed for shipping

I have some sphagnum moss that I collected about a week or so ago I will take a pic of the sphag and post that in this post asap
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Old 11-28-2008, 09:20 PM
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WOW! thank you for that.
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Old 11-28-2008, 10:42 PM
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In China moss is very plentiful, it comes in a celophane 12 LT dry brick form, the quality is ok no problems yet. But when it does go dry it turns hard and you must remember it can hold aprox 350 times its own water weight I only use it in pots with lots of holes so it can dry quickly and evenly.
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Old 11-29-2008, 12:20 AM
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here we go as promised I almost forgot
you can see with this sphag its pretty fresh right from the mountains the moss still has not been cleaned with dead leaf matter present
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29.11.08-009.jpg   29.11.08-010.jpg   29.11.08-011.jpg   29.11.08-012.jpg  
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Old 11-29-2008, 01:39 AM
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some advice for those wishing to grow their own sphagnum:

1. start with fresh sphagnum, still in active growth if possible. dried moss may grow, but this becomes less likely the longer it remains dried. if the sphagnum has been dry more than 6 months, it's not likely to grow.

2. use distilled, RO or rain water to keep the moss moist. hard water and chlorinated water will slow its growth, or even kill the sphag.
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Old 11-29-2008, 02:50 AM
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I actually repotted all my phallis in moss and they are powering.Now that its warm a lot are outside new roots and new spikes .I dont think I will ever use anything else again for them.
A question to all fellow Australians.
I live in Sydney and would like to increse humidity in my entertainment are were I grow most of my orchids.I am looking for an ECONOMICAL fogging systems Any pointers????
Cheers Manfred
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Old 11-29-2008, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fred View Post

I have seen on "Geeks" that most sphag is bought in a cube or block in the states
the sphagnum moss that is available in the states comes from New Zealand
New Zealand Sphagnum Moss > Home
Sphagnum Moss products - New Zealand
Some of the sphag available in the US comes from Chile...IMO, the NZ is a far superior product. The NZ is cleaner...no stems and other junk. Also IMO...the NZ stays nice longer than the Chilean sphag. I've used both and much, much, much prefer the NZ. If you see a "block" and it doesn't state New Zealand or NZ sphag then you know you're getting Chilean.
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Old 11-29-2008, 07:59 AM
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I use the Chilean sphag on seedlings that get repotted multiple times a year. I use the NZ sphag for the rest of them. Much, much easier on the pocketbook :>)

I can't imagine being able to go collect it in my backyard.

Brooke
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Old 12-01-2008, 09:33 AM
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Lucky, lucky Fred to be able to go collect his own whenever needed.
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Old 12-12-2008, 02:36 PM
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Sphag.

Fred -

After reading your post about spagh and how to tell good from bad I started paying attention to what I could find near by. I was so excited to find that I had some right in my own backyard - literally. I got an orchid from my bf for my birthday and he'd added some fairly fresh spagh to the "arrangment" but I'd discarded it into a container on my back porch. Here it was growing all green and happy waiting for me to discover it and use it. (he found this at an exotic plant store)

My question, before I actually use it, is whether or not I should be rinsing it or soaking it and squeezing the excess moisture out before adding it to my orchids. How am I to make sure it doesn't contain any diseases etc. I am intending to try first using it to mount a Staghorn Fern and see how it does. Currently I've been misting it and keeping it moist and green. I don't want to risk it on my orchids until I'm sure I have the process down.

Lori
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Old 12-12-2008, 04:20 PM
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I agree that New Zealand moss is worth the extra cost. I find that the good stuff is hard to find so I buy it from repotme.com. Cal West Tropicals has good moss as well and they sell it at a lot of shows. Their shipping is very reasonable, too. The 'bricks' last forever!!!
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caliope View Post
Fred -

After reading your post about spagh and how to tell good from bad I started paying attention to what I could find near by. I was so excited to find that I had some right in my own backyard - literally. I got an orchid from my bf for my birthday and he'd added some fairly fresh spagh to the "arrangment" but I'd discarded it into a container on my back porch. Here it was growing all green and happy waiting for me to discover it and use it. (he found this at an exotic plant store)

My question, before I actually use it, is whether or not I should be rinsing it or soaking it and squeezing the excess moisture out before adding it to my orchids. How am I to make sure it doesn't contain any diseases etc. I am intending to try first using it to mount a Staghorn Fern and see how it does. Currently I've been misting it and keeping it moist and green. I don't want to risk it on my orchids until I'm sure I have the process down.

Lori
Spagh, no matter where it comes from, still needs to be rinsed thoroughly. There are sand, debris and deposits in spagh. Mainly sand. New Zealand (NZ) spagh is the cleanest of all the spaghs, but it still needs cleaned.

You do want to soak the moss before use. (Dried spagh expands when wet, by soaking the moss you can portion the proper amounts needed.)
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Old 12-15-2008, 06:18 PM
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Thank You! I will be sure to rinse it thoroughly before letting it anywhere near my babies.
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:14 AM
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These threads are very helpful. Best site ever
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:00 PM
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Which orchids do you put in spaghnum? I heard it was not good, as roots tend to rot in it? Thanks (newbie)
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:44 PM
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Welcome ladybug551

Speaking for myself, I have a hard time with any orchids in sphag. It's pretty humid in my area and it takes a long time for it to dry out. But, that's just my situation. It's different all over. I do have one phal that is doing well in sphag (it's 50/50 sphag and chopped up bits of styrofoam). It's the last of my phals that were planted in sphagnum. The rest either keeled over from too much moisture or were moved to bark or mounts.

Or maybe it's just because I'm a noob

I do used chopped up sphag in my bark mixtures to help retain a little moisture in the bark. My orchids seem to love that.

You have to find what's right for you.

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Old 03-24-2010, 08:50 AM
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Fred, thanks for this post.
I love sphagnum, and cringe whenever I see a post where people suggest repotting just because the plant was purchased in sphagnum.

I've been growing Phals, some oncidium class, and my catt seedlings in sphag for years and find it a perfect medium for my growing environment.

So once again my matra... use the best quality sphag you can get, and never let it dry.

Last year a friend noted the thick leaves and fat roots of my phals, and asked what it was I did to get the plants to grow so well. I showed her that they were all in sphag. She switched hers over, and last week told me that her phals are growing much better.

If you are one of those that has had problems growing in sphag, I suggest looking at understanding what you need to change in your approach to be successful.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:10 PM
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My first orchid was planted in a six inch orchid pot using bark should I switch to moss? What kind of moss if so? The leaves are drooping a lot more than when I puruchased it. I believe it is a Cymbidium orchid. Some one said to give it 3 ice cubes a week. I'm in humidity country, N.C. will this effect orchids in the indoors alot? Schultz Fertilizer?? How often?? Can I place under a ceiling fan? Help this complete orchid owner newby
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:05 PM
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flowerfool, i think you might have a phalaenopsis if it is one of the 'just add ice' orchids...we will never know for sure till you post a picture of it....you must post 5 times to be allowed to post a picture, so get to jabbering!....and besides, putting ice cubes on a tropical plant is nuts to me......always soak your orchids thoroughly, and let them drain and dry out again....
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dounoharm View Post
....always soak your orchids thoroughly, and let them ... dry out again....
Well this is ok for some orchids, but not all. Different kinds of orchids require different care. Some orchids can be harmed by drying out so it will be important to know what kind of orchid you have.
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Old 04-05-2010, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flowerfool View Post
My first orchid was planted in a six inch orchid pot using bark should I switch to moss? What kind of moss if so? The leaves are drooping a lot more than when I puruchased it. I believe it is a Cymbidium orchid. Some one said to give it 3 ice cubes a week. I'm in humidity country, N.C. will this effect orchids in the indoors alot? Schultz Fertilizer?? How often?? Can I place under a ceiling fan? Help this complete orchid owner newby
Stick with the bark. Sphag will be too risky for you to use as you are new to orchids (and repotting as well).

For most newbies a demonstration of love for their orchids = watering the orchids.

It is quite difficult to overwater bark as it is to overwater sphag, so stick with bark for now.

When you water, remember to give a complete soak of the material, and try to post your pics soon so that our fellow members can prescribe appropriate watering/feeding intervals for you.
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Old 04-05-2010, 05:22 PM
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Hi, I am a newbie too, having recieved an orchid yesterday. It is a Cymbidium, has 3 gorgeous flowering stalks. It also has several yellowing leaves. It is in a plastic pot with brown spagnum on top, but dirt underneath. I am in Washington DC, in an apartment. Hubby surprised me with the plant-I did have an orchid several years ago that my daughter killed when she tried to transplant before she gave to me. I won't be able to get to nursery/garden shop till weekend at earliest. So far I have kept plant in sunny area but out of direct sunlight, west window gets quite hot. Some of the leaves are drooping which I think is water issue, but I don't want to take plant out of planter. Help
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:00 AM
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thank-you for your helpful advice fred, yokur and dounoharm. the orchids I have is a phalaenopsis It sounds like I should keep it in bark. I would like to keep it in a room with northern exposure not direct light but bright most of the day. i guess under a low ceiling fan might be too much of a breeze? I am still nervous about the watering what about using a water meter i can't tell be filling bark if is dry enough already the leaves are drooping Help!!!
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flowerfool View Post
thank-you for your helpful advice fred, yokur and dounoharm. the orchids I have is a phalaenopsis It sounds like I should keep it in bark. I would like to keep it in a room with northern exposure not direct light but bright most of the day. i guess under a low ceiling fan might be too much of a breeze? I am still nervous about the watering what about using a water meter i can't tell be filling bark if is dry enough already the leaves are drooping Help!!!
flowerfool
like i said, water thoroughly when you do. put it in the kitchen sink and soak the pot for 10-15minutes, taking care not to let water sit in the crown. And dont do this at night!! do it in the morning so that any water splashed on the foliage gets a chance to dry up.

Then let it drain. Your plant should be good as long as the bark is moist/damp. Not wet.

Watering intervals depend on your climate. In live at the equator and i find bark too much of a hassle as it requires me to water every other day or every 2 days, thus i pot my Phals in sphag, and they only require water every week. I had to train myself to refrain from watering my orchids! lol!
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Old 04-06-2010, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
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here we go as promised I almost forgot
you can see with this sphag its pretty fresh right from the mountains the moss still has not been cleaned with dead leaf matter present
UTTER ENVY FRED!! utter envy.. I just bought a 100gm block of NZ sphag for $6!! SIX BUCKS!! Damn! =(

of course there was the china sphag as well.. non compressed 100gm block of sphg which looked suspiciously recycled as it had dark splotches all over.. Going for $4

Last edited by yokurt; 04-06-2010 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 06-10-2010, 04:40 AM
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Is sphagnum better than fir bark cuz i live in puerto rico and it gets really hot outdoors and indoors
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Old 07-03-2010, 11:23 PM
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Oh how I've tried the sphagnum...I've been growing orchids for some 15 years, first in Tennessee (where my Cattleyas thrived) and now in coastal Oregon (where my Cymbidiums outperform the rest. My oncidium alliance plants don't seem to care where they are, they grow like crazy always). The sphagnum just does not work for me, every plant I've tried in sphagnum has died. Given most of those plants were phals, and in 15 years I have not once been able to keep a phal alive for more than six months. Go figure that one... I hear people raving about sphagnum, and I love it for my Nepenthes, but hate it for my orchids.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:21 PM
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I'll try it..! Thanx!
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Old 01-05-2011, 12:56 PM
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Today at the plant shop/garden center I inquired about the sphag. and the owner told me that because of the conditions we live in this type of moss would keep my orchids too wet and would encourage fungus.
Bearing in mind what I've read here,and in the books I just asked a few more questions, but by that time I was getting more confused,and didn't want to buy anything to harm my plants.

I'm wondering, if there's another type of moss that work well for the tropics or if I should something different totality.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:37 PM
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The comparison photos are great! Thanks so much. And I am learning that sphag is not necessarily a bad thing!
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:30 PM
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I've been blindly tossing the sphag since it gets so hot and humid here in Houston. I use a prepared mix from a local nursery that is out of business - coco husks, fir bark, sponge rock and bit of charcoal. They had two mixes, one light one heavier. My phals grow well, with my blooming almost continuously, and several sending up keikis. I'm going to try the sphag and see what difference it will make.
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:47 PM
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I'm outside Portland, OR. My new Phal came in saturated moss. Had to pour out the water before getting in the car! Anyway, took the outer moss off when I got home, put it in an orchid pot without disturbing the roots and put a bit of Black Gold Orchid mix in around just to support it. This is my first orchid. I'm not sure if I should have looked at the roots a little better.
I'm kind of afraid to use the moss, but if the orchid is in an office in front of a southern window with blinds, should I? Is the Black Gold Mix ok?
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Old 03-26-2011, 02:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Puddy1 View Post
...should I? Is the Black Gold Mix ok?
The most important question is "What does my plant need?" Does it need to dry out between waterings? Does it need to be constantly moist? The problem people have with sphagnum moss is not the moss, it's that people often do not change their watering habits when they use it and the roots are kept too wet.

As an example, let's say your orchid needs to be kept evenly moist but never soggy. If you use a dry bark mix and have a low-humidity room the mix might dry out in a day or two and you might need to water every 3-5 days or so to keep the mix moist. But if you use sphag moss and water every 3-5 days the mix would be soggy, far too wet. You'd have to cut way back on your watering frequency, watering maybe only once a week. Using a different mix usually means you have to change your watering habits.

Ultimately it does not matter what you grow your orchids in, a bark mix or moss, just as long as you get the watering adjusted.
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Old 03-26-2011, 11:32 AM
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Moss and/or bark, any ideas for good bark mix sources?

I've had orchids for a couple 3 years or so now and consider myself a complete newbie compared to the outstanding growers on this site. When I lived in humid western N.C I found that moss allowed me to recover my plants from root rot because I was watering as little as once a month!


My plants began to actually thrive with what I consider an extreme care regimen. However, now I'm in the dry Midwest and I may have to switch some of my orchids to bark because I can't seem to keep the moss damp enough...(sounds backwards I know it)...or they are not adapting to the climate (I've been here 4 months). I feel like I'm starting all over again trying to figure out how to make my orchids happy I've come to really like growing in moss but I'm not sure it's the right thing right now.

I can't find Schultz orchid mix anywhere and I have had bad luck with Miracle Grow orchid mix and Better Gro (lowes or home depot brand) just didn't cut it.

Can someone point me in a direction as to good orchid bark sources? I see a lot of options online but I would like to go with something that's recommended by OrchidGeeks.

Right now I mostly have phals, paphs, as well as a single cymbidium, cattleya and an aerangis species.

Thanx fellow Geeks!
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:47 PM
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Very Helpful!
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Old 03-24-2012, 09:28 PM
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Very helpful. Thanks!
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:57 AM
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I used to use repotme species specific potting mixes, but they dry up in 3-4 days, even in humidity trays. I'm only able to water in the morning on weekends. That's why I switched to Sphag moss so I can dedicate my weekend mornings for watering.

My question is, for apartment windowsill growing with fairly constant temperature and humidity level on the drier side. How long is too long for the sphag moss to remain moist for growing Oncidiums? and Phals?

thanks
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Old 07-17-2012, 10:23 AM
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I live in the UK and I bought some sphagnum moss from B & Q today (it is a major DIY chain here if you are not familiar with it!). It was 3.98 for a kg of it and it is fresh, with bits of tree debris etc in it, nice and green and when I rinsed it there was hardly and sand, grit etc in it. I have just potted up my little one and there is still tonnes left for my next purchases to be repotted!! (over here everything seems to be potted in too much soil and not enough bark, sphag, packing nuts etc). I am well-impressed, usually stuff that is "fresh"' natural etc costs an arm and a leg!!! Don't know where it was harvested from though, doesn't say on the packaging unfortunately.
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Old 11-22-2015, 12:05 PM
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Southwest Florida newbie here, so my questions may seem really amateur. But that's how you learn, right??

I buy orchids all the time because I LOVE them, and every orchid that I have bought that has spaghnum moss ANYWHERE near it has died. Is it because of the humidity/moisture here? Bugs? Just not sure what to do.

I also have a Cattelya on my lanai that I rescued from a friends garbage. The main stalks are brown and dead, but there are new green roots and shoots all over the bottom. I am trying to nurse it back to health. My question is this - I am using orchid bark that has little pebbles, etc mixed in and when I move the plant, little gnat-like bugs fly out. What type of pesticide can I use on this plant? It's my mission to save it!!!

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-22-2015, 03:55 PM
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Brooke's Homemade Pesticide

I mix

10 drops dishsoap
1.8 ml cinnamon extract (about 1/2 tsp.)
2 cups tepid water

adjust ingredients as needed.

This is great for cleaning leaves, bacteria and fungal infections, bug teterrant, and now bug and slug killer !

this is actually from another post by articuno75, she has not been around for a while now.

I still use this stuff on Soil gnats which is what you might have.

Warning, don't bring that Catt by your other houseplants. These gnats spread like wildfire.

You need to spray or pour this mixture on the plant and do it again in 7 days. That is time enough for those eggs to hatch and start the mess all over again.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:17 AM
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Cinnamon extract? The powdered spice??
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:38 AM
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Not the powder...the actual extract that you can find in some groceries. Like Vanilla extract...but cinnamon.

If you have fungus gnats then the product "dunks" (for mosquitos) will take care of them easily. You can plop some bits in water and let it leach for a day or two and then water the plant w/the solution. You'll need to do it more than once (maybe for a few weeks) because the adults will continue to lay eggs for awhile but it works like a charm. Once you see no more flying around then you're safe to stop watering w/the solution. Well, until you have more that fly in and start the process up all over again.

My worst outbreaks have actually been the result of my non-orchid plants that have peat in the mix. For some reason those little buggers are highly attracted to peat. I got rid of most of the peat mixes and have seen a dramatic drop in populations but I still battle them for a time each fall. I get Dunk Bits on Amazon. You can use the bigger dunks and break them up if you can't find the Bits.

This is what I ordered... a small container lasts for quite awhile. http://www.summitchemical.com/mosquito/mosquito-bits/ But, I get mine on Amazon (it's a bit cheaper on AMZ)...the small container.
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Old 11-25-2015, 10:38 PM
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I get fungus gnats because I have quite a few plants that need to stay damp and, hey, they are in peat mixes (since much of what I grow is low pH, I use peat as a base). My family was about to haul all my plants to the curb at one point because the gnats were so bad. At that point, I discovered Butterworts and my plant collection was saved. I get a few now and then but the population stays very small. An advantage is the pretty flowers! Here is a picture taken this week of two of my divisions.
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Old 11-26-2015, 09:07 AM
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I love butterworts but I always end up killing them. They do well for awhile...even bloom...but they always end up dying. I had some really cool sundews and the same thing...died. I'm sure it's the tap water.

The dunks stuff is just Bt-israelensis and safe even for birds and fish so I just use that now.
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Old 11-27-2015, 06:46 PM
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Yes, you need to use rain or distilled water with them. I keep distilled water on hand for them and some of my other plants that are sensitive to water quality.
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