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Old 09-19-2012, 07:39 AM
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Talking Water Beads - the best medium I've ever use for my Phals!

Hi there,

A while back I decided to do an experiment with my phal orchids - I have about six plants.

I had read that it is beneficial for the roots to get light as there are symbiotic bacteria that provide food for the orchid - and these bacteria rely on light to photosynthesise.

This made sense out of the practice of selling and keeping orchids in clear plastic pots.

Then about five months ago, I came across water beads (sometimes called aqua beads / pearls etc). If you've ever added water gel to compost when potting houseplants up, then water beads are made from the same stuff. They retain a huge amount of moisture, and release it very, very slowly over time. The other thing about these beads is that they also come in a huge variety of colours, and also you can find them in different shapes, other than just spherical. When they arrive in the post, they come in tiny little plastic baggies, and are probably about 2 - 3 milimetres in diametre. In other words, TINY! You add a litre of water per 5g of beads (the packs usually contain 5g each), and leave them to hydrate overnight. Next morning, you pour out the excess water (cunningly retaining what's left for any more you need to hydrate, or simply use it to water other plants) and you have a vase of shining, transparent beads. The great thing is these beads last for up to two years, and when they start breaking down into a light mush, you can just sling them out into your flowerbeds, or mix them with potting compost, and use them for other plants. You'll notice you don't need to water that much as the beads retain about 50 times their own weight in water. They are completely non-toxic, and environmentally friendly.

The point in telling you this? Well, I hit on the idea of growing my orchids in water beads entirely. That's right - no bark, no moss, no soil of any kind. I wasn't sure if it would work, but I risked it, and it is the best method I've found for growing phals. I don't have any other orchid species though, so don't know how dendrobiums etc would respond.

Not only does it look amazing in a clear glass vase (or a good perspex one), the phals LOVE it! And the cleverest trick - if you add liquid orchid feed at the correct concentration when hydrating the water beads, they gently release this to the orchid once it has been potted. You don't have to worry about going away and getting your plants watered by someone, nor do you have to worry about feeding them either. And when the beads dehydrate over time and shrink back to their original tiny size, you take out your orchid, wash the beads in warm water, and rehydrate them overnight. This also provides you with the opportunity to examine your orchid's roots and to give them a bit of a dry airing overnight.

Of course, from time to time, you do get algae, but you can treat the beads with products designed to avoid this (can't remember the name of the products), or simply slip a quarter teaspoon of bleach into the water when hydrating and rinse off thoroughly when the beads are back to their fattened state.

I make a point of having my orchid's roots halfway into the beads, so that the crown of the plant doesn't get moist, and I must say that five months later, my orchids have beautiful lush leaves, fat roots that are storing nutrients, flowers and new root growth. I've also had one orchid grow two little keikis, which I'll lop off once they are established with their own root systems.

In all, it has been a fascinating experiment, and I can recommend this as a great, attractive and scientific potting medium to anyone with phalenopsis orchids.

If anyone has similar methods to mine, or uses the same stuff with different orchid species, I'd really like to hear about it.

Best wishes,

Jessica
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:11 AM
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Interesting idea - can you share some photos of this?
How long have you been growing in this medium?

Thanks!
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:50 AM
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I have a lot of this stuff, purchased a few years ago for my wife's flower vases. Pretty nice looking in a clear vase. Never thought of it as a medium for orchids. Seems this is or would be very close to S/H culture, only crystal clear.
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:40 PM
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Very interesting. Post a few more times here or in other threads to get 5 posts, then you can post pictures of them to illustrate

Also, welcome to the forum!
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Old 09-19-2012, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supersoprano View Post
I had read that it is beneficial for the roots to get light as there are symbiotic bacteria that provide food for the orchid - and these bacteria rely on light to photosynthesise.

This made sense out of the practice of selling and keeping orchids in clear plastic pots.
Jessica
Hi Jessica, in nature, most orchids do associate with symbiotic fungi (mycorrhiza), but many orchids don't associate with symbiotic bacteria (some kinds of rhizobia?), do they? Also, mycorrhiza do not photosynthesize since they are fungi. There are some orchids with photosynthetic roots, including some deciduous Phalaenopsis species. However, I don't think these deciduous phals are frequently used for hybridization. The main reason why people use clear pots is that they can see the growth of roots, and moisture level.

With regard to the water beads, aren't there some health risk associated with it? I think you are talking about Polyacrylamide gels. When polyacrylamide breaks down, it produces acrylamide (deadly neutrotoxin and carcinogen). When we used to use acrylamide for DNA sequencing in our lab, we used to be extremely careful. Since it's widely sold, it's probably safe. But does anyone know any scientific studies about this? Maybe the exposure to it is not great enough to consider as a health hazard. We've used it for outdoor garden, so I have been curious about this for a while. I do see this, but it doesn't have any reference etc.
http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%2.../hydrogels.pdf
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:18 PM
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Very interesting! I used this stuff years ago to add to potting mix for other house plants, but never considered using it alone. Please make a few random posts to get to a total of 5 so you can post pictures; we'd love to see your plants and how you are using it.
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:50 PM
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To me it sounds like too much disturbance at the root zone. Orchid roots tend to cling to the medium it's planted in or on and w/the beads dehydrating and then you having to soak them in warm water to rehydrate...it's a lot of messing w/the roots. I have to believe that over the long haul it's not that great for the orchid. Certainly not if one wishes to grow a beautiful specimen sized plant.

While yes it does sound interesting and it's likely very artistic looking as well as decorative for anyone using the plants as a decorator item (so to speak) but I'm not sure it would be a good long term way to grow orchids.

Just my 2 cents there.
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Old 09-19-2012, 05:01 PM
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I looked for a thread that was posted a couple of months ago I think, someone (sorry but can't remember your name if you know who you are) had joined Geeks and was in Malaysia or that way over and was using these water beads in their Phal pots.

In the thread someone said about these beads being dangerous and bad for the Phals...........I really wish I could have found the thread or even remembered who it was but the general consensus was a no no. If it is working for you then that's great, not trying to say its wrong, just that it has been discussed before somewhere on here!!!!

Now I feel useless I'm going to bed!!!!
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:31 PM
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That is indeed a very interesting experiment Jessica. I have only done something similar with other houseplants like pothos, using just the gels..I have used the gels with hydroton rocks though with my amaryllis and to one of my struggling cymbidium.
I hope you post photos soon...really interesting to attempt that..I got lots of gel beads here
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smurfette View Post
I looked for a thread that was posted a couple of months ago I think, someone (sorry but can't remember your name if you know who you are) had joined Geeks and was in Malaysia or that way over and was using these water beads in their Phal pots.

In the thread someone said about these beads being dangerous and bad for the Phals...........I really wish I could have found the thread or even remembered who it was but the general consensus was a no no. If it is working for you then that's great, not trying to say its wrong, just that it has been discussed before somewhere on here!!!!

Now I feel useless I'm going to bed!!!!
Well, I've had my orchids in their water bead medium for well over six months, and no problems at all. I don't know about the beads being dangerous; if anything, I've found that there are good things said about them. Perhaps the department for Agriculture has some information about this - farmers use them widely to conserve water. That's not a great advertisement of course: farmers also routinely use pesticides and weed killers that cause toxic run-off in our rivers, streams and ponds, and this is all perfectly legal at the moment... If I find that this product is harmful to the environment, I'll stop using it. But then peat moss is also damaging, and how many Orchid growers must use that the world over... What do people think is the most friendly growing medium out there?
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:08 PM
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Talking

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To me it sounds like too much disturbance at the root zone. Orchid roots tend to cling to the medium it's planted in or on and w/the beads dehydrating and then you having to soak them in warm water to rehydrate...it's a lot of messing w/the roots. I have to believe that over the long haul it's not that great for the orchid. Certainly not if one wishes to grow a beautiful specimen sized plant.

While yes it does sound interesting and it's likely very artistic looking as well as decorative for anyone using the plants as a decorator item (so to speak) but I'm not sure it would be a good long term way to grow orchids.

Just my 2 cents there.
Hi Katrina,

Actually, I've found that my orchids don't mind at all being moved; you have to be very gentle with them of course, and I always stake my plants properly so they are supported. I have a six year old phal that was rather wrinkly and haggard looking six months ago, but now after the same time in water beads, it has grown two new leaves, and is looking luscious and light grass green. It's got a flower spike coming too. Another one is a baby orchid that was hideously neglected by my sister. It had one dried up root on it, and the leaves were like leather. Now it has several roots, with healthy green tips, and several new leaves. The trick is to pot them so that the roots that would normally be in peat moss etc are only half potted in the water beads. This stops root rot, and ensures that the roots can get some air. The beads themselves leave a very fine trail of moisture on your skin if you roll them across your hand, and this is only released where needed.

Another cunning plan is that I bought a simple cheap siphon, which I use to drain the liquid from rehydrating beads every now and then. I have one orchid that has a large root system, and so I avoid moving it. I just fill up the pot with food diluted with water overnight, roots and all, and let the beads soak up the liquid. This happens quite quickly, and usually, apart from a little that is left at the bottom of the vase, there is no excess water soaking the roots by morning. I stick the siphon into the vase and pump out the excess water. I don't tend to use excess to rehydrate other pots, just in case I'm transmitting disease or pests, and I regularly milton the siphon and its tubes to get rid of any nasties.

I would argue that although I'm going to look into the environmental effect of water beads more, in terms of growing success, I really can't see any reason why, if it is safe, you wouldn't want to grow orchids like this...

Jessica
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bearded orchid View Post
Very interesting. Post a few more times here or in other threads to get 5 posts, then you can post pictures of them to illustrate

Also, welcome to the forum!
Hi and thanks for the welcome. Being obsessive in nature, I really have to supress the urge to buy orchids all the time (and other plants), so it is nice to meet you guys and be able to post and ask questions about things that I've experienced so far on my orchid journey. Like loads of you, I started with a beautiful white phal (which I still have)... And I've not looked back since. want to buy me a present that I'll love - buy me an orchid! They have faces like beautiful aliens - that's got to be cool!

Will post pics tomorrow or so!

X
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by trev View Post
That is indeed a very interesting experiment Jessica. I have only done something similar with other houseplants like pothos, using just the gels..I have used the gels with hydroton rocks though with my amaryllis and to one of my struggling cymbidium.
I hope you post photos soon...really interesting to attempt that..I got lots of gel beads here
Hi there,

The other medium I thought of was glass pebbles. You could in theory use those, but I was worried about the weight of them on the roots. I think might consider combining those with moss, which would look really nice. But I'd worry about the build up of algae etc. I think one thing about using the water beads is that they also provide some evaporation that the orchid finds useful on their leaves. I tend to spray mine several times a day anyway, but I am wondering whether doing a nice wipe of the leaves would be sufficient....

Pics coming in the morning - are any of you on instagram questionm

X
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catt Mandu View Post
Interesting idea - can you share some photos of this?
How long have you been growing in this medium?

Thanks!
Photos coming in the morning, but I'm also going to look into what the environmental effects of these water beads are. They are referred to in the industry as hydrogels, hydropolymers etc. I'm not sure about the level of toxicity they have, but I think that the Department of Agriculture here in the UK might have some facts and figures.

The nice thing is that these water beads come in so many different colours. I only use one supplier, and they guarantee that their product doesn't leach colour like cheap stained ones do. however, I've only ever used clear, green and purple beads, and light green ones with a bit of fine glitter in them.

You'll see in the morning... I'm going to be a bit more arty with the beads soon, perhaps adding some shells, pebbles, crystals etc...

X
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Catt Mandu View Post
Interesting idea - can you share some photos of this?
How long have you been growing in this medium?

Thanks!

Photos on their way - I've been growing them in water beads for six months - maybe a bit longer, how time flies!

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Old 09-20-2012, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearded orchid View Post
Very interesting. Post a few more times here or in other threads to get 5 posts, then you can post pictures of them to illustrate

Also, welcome to the forum!
Will do... X
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:35 PM
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We need to see your pictures, please. That means more than 1000 wards. And thanks for the post
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:44 PM
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Pics please I am dying to see how they look. I am using all kinds of will power to keep from running out to get some water beads.
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supersoprano View Post
Well, I've had my orchids in their water bead medium for well over six months, and no problems at all. I don't know about the beads being dangerous; if anything, I've found that there are good things said about them. Perhaps the department for Agriculture has some information about this - farmers use them widely to conserve water. That's not a great advertisement of course: farmers also routinely use pesticides and weed killers that cause toxic run-off in our rivers, streams and ponds, and this is all perfectly legal at the moment... If I find that this product is harmful to the environment, I'll stop using it. But then peat moss is also damaging, and how many Orchid growers must use that the world over... What do people think is the most friendly growing medium out there?
Glad you aren't having problems and orchids doing well, I don't have an opinion on these as I've never used them. I was only pointing out that this has been discussed before and what was said.

With regard to the glass beads idea, I suppose these would be like Leca but wouldn't wick up at all, more like vase growing than s/h
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supersoprano View Post
I really can't see any reason why, if it is safe, you wouldn't want to grow orchids like this...

I see that you're mostly growing phals, right? If that's the case then yes, phals are not as picky or fussy about their roots being disturbed. However, there are other orchids that if you're removing them from their pots and moving them around every six months or so...there's a strong chance you may never see blooms. It's not across the board but there are many orchids that I can guarantee you would not appreciate this method.

Now, with that said...if you're enjoying it and your orchids are doing great then by all means have fun with it. Like I said, it's probably very artistic looking and very pretty and I too would really like to see pics. But, no, personally, it would not be a method that I would choose for growing my orchids. But, I do wish you the best w/it.

Please do post those pics and I hope you'll also keep us posted on the progress. While I would not grow in the medium...I still find it interesting.
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Old 09-25-2012, 03:43 AM
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Wink Pics as promised...

Right - here's one of mine; the one with keikis on it. It was upstairs and my Mum had forgotten about it, so the beads had dehydrated a lot, and the lower leaves are a bit leathery. But that is after two months, and us being on holiday. The lower leaves used to be just like the top - lush and shiny! I'm sure they will be again, so it's just a wait and see now. I washed and hydrated the beads in the vase overnight and just put the orchid in a glass with a little water at the bottom to evaporate. This morning I just filled the vase up with the hydrated beads, put the orchid in at the right depth, and then put the remaining beads in over the top of the roots, leaving enough for them to breath without being submerged... I'll keep going with this and check back every now and again to report!

2012-09-25-08.01.41.jpg

2012-09-25-08.02.39.jpg
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:59 AM
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The plants look fantastic, and pretty. Well done
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:29 AM
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Very pretty....you have convinced me I have going to give it a try
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:30 AM
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I see keikis, did they started once in beads, of were they around here before?

I'm not sure it's a good idea in the mid/long term, but if no one tries, who will know?

Very nice btw
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:51 AM
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Thanks for sharing the photos! Looks very interesting indeed.

I like water gel beads..they do not stink, and easy to rehydrate.

Now I am encouraged to try it too with an orchid..got the beads here. Hmm which one would I use as my test orchid...

As I have said earlier, I also use the beads, sometimes with hydroton rocks or sometimes alone...just to share how I use mine. With an amaryllis bulb and golden pothos
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Old 09-25-2012, 02:31 PM
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Just bought clear needs. I love this idea! I hope I see similar results. Thanks so much for sharing your success with us!
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:37 PM
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Just for the record, once your leaves become wrinkly and dehydrated, they will not go back to their original smooth and shiny selves. I have to agree with Katrina, looks pretty, but not sure I would use it as a medium to grow my orchids in. There are too many orchids that need to dry out between waterings, or require a winters rest from watering, not to mention the orchids who don't like to have their roots disturbed; such as a Promenaea. Just tossing in my two cents worth.
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Old 09-25-2012, 04:54 PM
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Bottom and middle leaves look kind of dehydrated to me too - were those that way when you started? With good culture I would to expect phal leaves to exhibit this phenomena....
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Old 09-25-2012, 05:08 PM
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Those leaves are VERY dehydrated, I hope they improve a bit but they won't pick up that much.................I think I will be giving this one a miss. Nice blooms though!!!!
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Old 09-25-2012, 08:02 PM
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Well I got the beads today from Jo Anns, an a inexpensive phal from Trader Joes and this is the end result. The bowl is left over from a Beta fish that went fish heaven last year.

This is a fun project I don't expect to use water beads on any other orchid again I just wanted to have fun with the concept of using the water beads. Thanks Super soprano for brightening up my day.
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Old 09-26-2012, 01:10 AM
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I agree with Syndywindy. Too much water, especially in your fall and winter. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 11-15-2012, 10:58 PM
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OK I am gonna say it....this is the same beads that the "lucky bamboo" comes in and I know from experience that it fine for them BUT they love water & this is only a temp. way to leave these because all plants need soil or a type of medium there use to. I have in time took a 6 ft bamboo and put it in potting soil it needs nuturtion to live. All plants roots will, I am not saying you can't add them in the soil to help with water in some plants but to leave a phal or any orchid in the eads its whole life I can't see it. please soft rocks at me.
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Old 11-18-2012, 05:43 PM
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Sounds like a great idea and it is a pretty way to add a little decor as well. I grow my phals in moss only and have never has issues with the dampness. I will try it with one and see how this works.
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:28 AM
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I am also using water beads for my plants and they are really cute. I love how they can make good centerpieces at home. They say it can also lessen the time we water our plants. I bought my water beads for less than a dollar from this site. You better try it.
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:45 PM
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hmm, thanks for posting this - a while back I tried semi-hydroponic method and I used expanded clay as the medium but my oncidium didn't take to it - I think the medium wasn't holding enough water? anyway will try again but mix 50/50 clay balls and these water beads and see how it goes.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:19 PM
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I'd be interested in reading a follow up to this experiment, see how its going..
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Old 03-23-2013, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
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hmm, thanks for posting this - a while back I tried semi-hydroponic method and I used expanded clay as the medium but my oncidium didn't take to it - I think the medium wasn't holding enough water? anyway will try again but mix 50/50 clay balls and these water beads and see how it goes.
I still stand by my previous comments (with regards to Phals which don't like lots of wet) but I think I may be under watering my Milt so when I saw your comments about water retention I figured it may help my (possible) under watering problem? I am so used to under watering because of an obsessive panic of root rot setting in that I may be killing one of my more favoured orchids!!!???

I may have to get some and have a try (given I am probably killing her anyway???)
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:00 PM
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I tried the water beads with a Noid Phal last year. Although it looked very pretty it was a disaster for the orchid. The roots rotted and the smell was horrid....needless to say the orchid didn't make it.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:19 PM
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Thanks for letting us know your experience with it too Ginger, I was really wondering how yours worked out.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:53 PM
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I tried the water beads with a Noid Phal last year. Although it looked very pretty it was a disaster for the orchid. The roots rotted and the smell was horrid....needless to say the orchid didn't make it.
How long did it last in the beads before dying?
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbees View Post
OK I am gonna say it....this is the same beads that the "lucky bamboo" comes in and I know from experience that it fine for them BUT they love water & this is only a temp. way to leave these because all plants need soil or a type of medium there use to. I have in time took a 6 ft bamboo and put it in potting soil it needs nuturtion to live. All plants roots will, I am not saying you can't add them in the soil to help with water in some plants but to leave a phal or any orchid in the eads its whole life I can't see it. please soft rocks at me.
Actually, the "Lucky Bamboo" is not a bamboo at all. It's a Draceana. (Palm family) They do well in water for a very long time, if you can deal with tons of roots. I'm sure they would love S/H culture as well.
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Old 10-19-2014, 10:30 AM
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Are any of you still using water-beads as orchid medium?

New to forum and also new to growing Orchid.
I always heard Orchids are expensive and very hard to grow. Well, I have many plants in my house and I thought it is time that I try to grow Orchids. Starting at late season, I bought 3 Orchids on sale and re-pot these Orchids with moss that came with it at the moment.

Now, I am trying to buy medium that I want to grow Orchids and found this forum talking about water beads, but it seem this thread is not active.
Can anyone advise me what medium is the best for Orchids? or Threads in this forum that talks about it? I search the forum by 'medium' and so many topics coming up, but I don't know which thread will help me without going through all of it. (too many threads and I want to read all, but for now, I would like someone to point me to most useful thread that talks about medium)

Thanks!
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Old 10-19-2014, 01:59 PM
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It depends on your conditions. I grow indoors in a cooler house during the cold months and outside with whatever weather comes my way during the summer. I have chosen to grow all my orchids in Aliflor (expanded clay balls) or red lava rock with basket/net pots or Vanda baskets. In this way, I never need to worry about rotting the roots or disturbing the roots to re-pot. The open basket-type pots allow you to see the roots and allows the medium to dry evenly and quickly.
In the past I grew in the window but this set up works very well under lights, too.
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Old 10-19-2014, 02:03 PM
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By the way, hello and welcome! Feel free to start a thread, giving your growing conditions. We are all here to help!
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Old 10-20-2014, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
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It depends on your conditions. I grow indoors in a cooler house during the cold months and outside with whatever weather comes my way during the summer. I have chosen to grow all my orchids in Aliflor (expanded clay balls) or red lava rock with basket/net pots or Vanda baskets. In this way, I never need to worry about rotting the roots or disturbing the roots to re-pot. The open basket-type pots allow you to see the roots and allows the medium to dry evenly and quickly.
In the past I grew in the window but this set up works very well under lights, too.

I have been researching some information and like you, many of Orchid growers use Clay Balls as medium. I am going to order a few packages for my Orchids and try them.
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Old 10-20-2014, 08:30 PM
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Good luck! My orchids seem really happy in them. I did not feel like buying another huge bag of red lava rock so I bought a box of the clay balls this spring instead for my new orchids. I really like the results. The orchids did not have any root loss after being moved from bark or moss to the clay balls and they are really thriving. This is definitely my new favorite medium.
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Old 10-21-2014, 07:57 AM
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The simple fact is that any orchid can be grown in any medium. The not-so-simple part is determining how you, as the grower, must adjust the rest of your culture to compensate.

I have grown phalaenopsis plants in glass marbles. No absorption, no water retention, no wicking to speak of. The plants did great as long as I watered them daily. I now have many phals in 100% sphagnum, and I dare not water them that frequently!

Comments I read above about the water beads providing too much water, some plants need to dry out, or a winter rest, etc. are ignoring some key information:
  • There is no such thing as "too much water" as long as the roots grew in that environment and you still allow plenty of airflow to them. The primary problem with wet and winter is evaporative cooling of the root systems of plants that dislike that in dry winter air when they are grown too cool - phals, for example. Those growing in my greenhouse, where the %RH is high, have no problems.
  • No orchid "needs" to dry out. I had always considered tolumnias to be an exception to that, but I have seen them grown very well in S/H culture, so I must now reconsider that.
  • A "winter rest" in an orchid is a restriction in nutrition, not water. Don't forget that for many such plants, the "dry" season is merely "not monsoonal".
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Old 02-25-2015, 07:55 PM
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Science & logic

I have been impressed with your analytical approach to this hobby and always appreciate your input.
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Old 07-09-2015, 06:20 AM
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I changed to Water Beads last month

Italian heat wave and eager housekeeper to water and I lost most of my blooms over a 2 week holiday. so I re-potted to water beads. had some root rot from the 2 weeks of sitting in water. clipped it off and within 2 weeks of being in water beads all my orchids are now sprouting MANY new roots that are huge. I was told every other refresh to put a bit of root stimulator and fertilizer in the beads as they absorbed the water. beautiful color in my glass pots. and easy to see the roots in my traditional orchid pots. with the Italy heat I refresh the beads ever 2 weeks or so but overall things are going well. the beads were recommended by the garden store here, she has been using them for many years with no problems. she found it odd that I was concerned that it would not work. it appears from research that in the USA this is uncommon?! I will post pics next month by then it will be 6 weeks in beads.
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Old 07-11-2015, 01:02 AM
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Quote:
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Italian heat wave and eager housekeeper to water and I lost most of my blooms over a 2 week holiday. so I re-potted to water beads. had some root rot from the 2 weeks of sitting in water. clipped it off and within 2 weeks of being in water beads all my orchids are now sprouting MANY new roots that are huge. I was told every other refresh to put a bit of root stimulator and fertilizer in the beads as they absorbed the water. beautiful color in my glass pots. and easy to see the roots in my traditional orchid pots. with the Italy heat I refresh the beads ever 2 weeks or so but overall things are going well. the beads were recommended by the garden store here, she has been using them for many years with no problems. she found it odd that I was concerned that it would not work. it appears from research that in the USA this is uncommon?! I will post pics next month by then it will be 6 weeks in beads.
We will be anxious to follow your results and will look forward to some pictures.
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