De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

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SusieH
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De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by SusieH » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:15 pm

I just removed seedlings I received a couple of days ago from Peter Lin, and thought I'd share the experience. There were about 30 good plants with healthy roots. I followed Peter's instructions and put them on a bed of NZ Spaghnum in 4-inch plastic pots over a bed of styrafoam. For humidity, I'm using a cake box with a clear plastic lid. I put many holes into the top and bottom of this container. I'm placing the plants at the end of a T12 fluorescent light, about 16 inches below the light. It took about 1 hour to complete the process, including 30 minutes drying time for the seedlings to air on newspapers.
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JimL
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Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by JimL » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:56 pm

I love your system and it should work very well.

When you get more seedlings, you can put them in plastic containers like this with the cover on. These are also some of Peter's seedlings.

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SusieH
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Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by SusieH » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:44 pm

Your plants look wonderfully healthy. But I fear fungus! What about air movement? I put many holes into the plastic lids of my humidity domes. And now I've added Alifor to the bottom of the humidity containers and spray them to keep the humidity high. Do you have your clear boxes ventilated? How long will you grow them in these boxes? Have you had any problem with fungus?

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JimL
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Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by JimL » Fri Aug 19, 2011 7:27 pm

SusieH wrote:Your plants look wonderfully healthy. But I fear fungus! What about air movement? I put many holes into the plastic lids of my humidity domes. And now I've added Alifor to the bottom of the humidity containers and spray them to keep the humidity high. Do you have your clear boxes ventilated? How long will you grow them in these boxes? Have you had any problem with fungus?

Susie

Thanks Susie, these have been "cooking" for a while.

I worried about fungus too and that's why it took me so long to try this but to my surprise, the oposite turned out to be true. Fungus on new moss has always been a problem indoors but keeping the cover on with no air holes seems to stop it... probably by limiting new spores from continiously being introduced to the moss. Also, the lack of air movement isn't a problem either and keeps the moss evenly moist for a long time and keeps the roots warmer by reducing evaporation. No need to mist either because the humidity will stay very high naturally.

I'll keep these seedlings in the containers as long as possible or until they don't fit anymore in the containers. I'm still experimenting. All I know is that they grow much faster in the containers than out:-)

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rangiku
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Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by rangiku » Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:31 pm

Jim, your setup is something similar to what Carri Raven-Riemann does with her deflasked seedlings, except she puts in one of those fogger/misters. She had an article on this in a recent past issue of the IPA Journal.

Please keep us posted on how this is working for you. I could use some help!

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Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by JimL » Sat Aug 20, 2011 12:34 am

rangiku wrote:Jim, your setup is something similar to what Carri Raven-Riemann does with her deflasked seedlings, except she puts in one of those fogger/misters. She had an article on this in a recent past issue of the IPA Journal.

Please keep us posted on how this is working for you. I could use some help!

First of all, I wasn't claiming that I invented this system...People have been growing seedlings in containers long before I was born...probably for hundreds of years. When I was a kid, my uncle would start his tomato seedlings in small flats with a clear plastic dome from his local garden center and I bloomed my first orchid cross in a similar domed seedling container. BenB grows some seedlings in a fish tank and Carri's article was one of my inspirations to start growing my seedlings in containers again. For some reason I got away from this system...I guess I thought my seedlings would grow fine with my adult phals but they don't. Seedlings can be very difficult to grow especially indoors and many different systems will work well as long as you keep the RH high, the potting medium evenly moist and the roots warm.

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Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by peterlin » Sat Aug 20, 2011 7:29 am

A number of folks here are not members of ipa yet.

I like the use of fogger because it totally saturated the container with mist - so watering is not required but once a month per Carri's article. This winter I should try a setup indoor to see how well it works for me.
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Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by zxyqu » Mon Sep 05, 2011 8:42 pm

Jim, with regards to you're fully enclosed system, I'm still surprised you dont get more mold/rot without any air movement. Do you use a product that limits this to a minimum (Physan, etc.)?
I ask because I'm looking into this method as well, but at near 100% humidity, my entire case fogs, and I'm worried light could now be a problem as well. Do you have this problem? Anyway, it's interesting, but with the rot/fog/light problems I'm more hesistant. Also, I'm looking into using a seedling heat mat as well, and that could make the above worse. Thanks to any others who have some commentary as well.
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Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by JimL » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:30 pm

zxyqu wrote:Jim, with regards to you're fully enclosed system, I'm still surprised you dont get more mold/rot without any air movement. Do you use a product that limits this to a minimum (Physan, etc.)?
I ask because I'm looking into this method as well, but at near 100% humidity, my entire case fogs, and I'm worried light could now be a problem as well. Do you have this problem? Anyway, it's interesting, but with the rot/fog/light problems I'm more hesistant. Also, I'm looking into using a seedling heat mat as well, and that could make the above worse. Thanks to any others who have some commentary as well.

I was skeptical too so before I put a bunch of expensive seedlings at risk I did a simple experiment. I took 2 mini compots, each with 2 freshly potted, identical sized seedlings. One I put in a screw-top flask (mason jar will work the same) and loosely set the cap on. The second I set beside it in the open air. After a couple months, the seedlings in the jar were popping the lid off and the seedlings in the open air were barely starting a new leaf. The really interesting part was that the moss in the open air was loaded with stinky mold and bacteria and the moss in the jar had no visible sign of microbial growth and had no foul smell at all. So that was the proof for me and I've had zero problems with any kind of rot. Algae is still an issue but re-potting solves that which has to be done anyway.

Air movement: I believe that the idea that orchids need constant air movement for any reason is largely a myth and in some cases can do more harm than good. Even in extreme heat, air movement really can't cool down leaves without frequent misting for evaporative cooling. It can also increase the rate of evaporation of moisture out of the medium that can dehydrate plants quickly...especially seedlings. Constant air movement in an indoor growing area just blows around bacteria, fungi and their spores as well as drying out the medium too fast.

Heat: As I mentioned before, an enclosed system keeps the roots warmer by keeping the humidity high and air movement low which greatly reduces evaporative cooling in the moss. It takes a disproportionate amount of heat to cause a liquid to change to a gas: ie water to water vapor. This change in state removes a great deal of heat from the moss and makes the roots cold. So, air movement and lower humidity causes more rapid evaporation that significantly cools the roots and drys out the moss too fast. The enclosed system can solve these problems. So, unless your growing area gets down into the 50F's or lower 60F's you probably don't need a seedling heat mat either. I also don't see the point of a fogger...humidity stays sufficiently high without it and just seems like extra work.

Fungicides: I do soak my moss in A Physan solution overnight. I then squeeze out the moss and re-soak in clear water to squeeze out some of the Physan. I do this beacause Physan has a surfactant effect that can keep the moss too wet for too long. I don't know if surfactant is added to Physan or if the anti-microbial agents have a surfactant-like effect. Maybe someone out there knows more about the Physan formula and can clarify. All I know is that moss stays more wet longer with Physan than without and you don't want the moss too wet either.

Light: A clear lid doesn't stop too much light. Seedlings can do well in lower light anyway.

Conclusion: Try it you'll like it :-)

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Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by zxyqu » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:25 am

Jim, that's gotta be one of the best replies I've ever read.

A couple further comments though. My question regarding light was due to the fog/humidity in my cake container. Because the humidity is nearly 100%, I'm getting quite a layer of fog, and hence I'm worried about light being scattered and much dimmer than planned. Granted, I ahven't seen yet whether the light will "burn" off some of the fog, I was wondering if you have this problem.
Regarding the Physan, I'm assuming you use it once initially then not again until a repot. Did I read you on that quickly. Also, which do you use, 27 or 20, or other?
Again, great post! Thanks!
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Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by Hera » Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:56 pm

Great conversation. Some of my seedlings have been very slow to grow and new roots are tricky until they dive into the moss, then they grow well. I've just been growing them with the other orchids while trying to keep track of careful watering. I will give this a try next order.

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Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by JimL » Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:39 pm

zxyqu wrote:Jim, that's gotta be one of the best replies I've ever read.

A couple further comments though. My question regarding light was due to the fog/humidity in my cake container. Because the humidity is nearly 100%, I'm getting quite a layer of fog, and hence I'm worried about light being scattered and much dimmer than planned. Granted, I ahven't seen yet whether the light will "burn" off some of the fog, I was wondering if you have this problem.
Regarding the Physan, I'm assuming you use it once initially then not again until a repot. Did I read you on that quickly. Also, which do you use, 27 or 20, or other?
Again, great post! Thanks!

I use Physan 20 for the moss. I haven't re-applied any but if I did have a problem I would be more incined to use a systemic instead. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to give them a shot of systemic initially...I'll probably do that next time. Also I do have holes drilled in the bottom for drainage and I leave the cover off after I water in the morning so water on the leaves and crown can dry quickly.

If your container is fogging up that much I assume that the outside temp is relatively cool...all the more reason to grow seedlings in a container but I don't know what your conditions are like. It should clear up some during the day?

Pete

Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by Pete » Mon Sep 12, 2011 6:48 pm

Jim - that is a great system that you have going. How long do you leave the seedlings in that environment before moving them into your regular grow area?


I'm thinking about using a modified aquarium method. I would secure egg crate about 8 inches above the bottom of the tank. Fill the aquarium about 6 inches and then put an aquarium heater, set on 80 degrees, in the water. Close up the top, and instant tropical rain forest! Might be a bit too soggy with this method, but still think I am going to try it!

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Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by JimL » Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:02 pm

Sounds like a plan Pete. Let us know how it works out. I'm sill experimenting too.

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Re: De-flasking, humidity solution for compots

Post by Mervin » Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:05 am

I will be recieving my first two flasks ever in a few days time therefore all this information will be very useful !

Thank you for all your contributons.

cheers !
Mervin Quah
Singapore

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