Orchids forum: whiffle balls and clay pots

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crittergarden
Jan 12, 2014 4:04 PM CST
I don't remember where I posted - many months ago, maybe a year - my whiffle ball and clay pot ideas, so I'm starting over here.

Installing my littlest orchid in a whiffle ball was a disaster. The roots didn't fill in quickly, so the orchid remained wobbly inside the whiffle ball. Trying to dunk water a wobbly orchid was almost catastrophic. I got water in the crown. It survived but has had only one leaf for, like, forever. It's now sitting naked in a glass and I HOLD its roots under running warm water daily. There's a tiny little second leaf nub beginning but nothing, neither leaves or roots, is growing very quickly.

The larger one I put naked into a clay "orchid pot", with the open slits on the side, is happier, but still has never bloomed. It has 6 leaves and many nice healthy looking roots though. But there's a little white mildew on the pot.

I'm going to take them both and put them into some repurposed nets like the ones produce sometimes comes in. I'm hoping to find some black ones. I want them to HANG in my window..... This is my best idea so far on how to do that.

Comments? Suggestions? Mockery? Blinking
I'm all ears! I'm all ears! I'm all ears! I'm all ears! I'm all ears! I'm all ears!

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[Last edited by crittergarden - Jan 12, 2014 4:05 PM (+)]
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Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
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Ursula
Jan 12, 2014 4:44 PM CST

Moderator

A couple of comments perhaps, but definitely no mockery. What!! Mount a Cattleya on a Baseball bat next to it??? Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
Just kidding!! Smiling
I would think the Whiffle ball idea is just as good as the glass ball you see occasionally on sale at orchid shows, planted with that cute little orchid looking so lovely, nestled into some moss. I could imagine that in the long run that little epiphytic orchid chokes inside that (open) ball. Most little species of mine are simply mounted on wood, get watered pretty much daily AND get plenty of air movement at the same time.

Regarding the second one - it would surely help to know the names of the orchids we are talking about here - but the white mildew probably points to little air movement/ perhaps too much water or too little sunshine. I don't see anything wrong with a bare root orchid in a clay pot, I have done it many times. Did the roots attach to the pot? If so, I would leave it alone. Also, is it too small to bloom, did it get enough light, was the temperature correct - so many reasons why it didn't bloom yet for you.
Sometimes I have a silly stubborn "Orchid shyflowery" sitting for years looking cute, but not saying peep. If it is healthy and conditions are fine, it will bloom sooner or later.

Anyone else??
[Last edited by Ursula - Jan 12, 2014 4:45 PM (+)]
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crittergarden
Jan 12, 2014 5:19 PM CST
I decided to "plant" them naked after seeing an international orchid seller do a presentation. She had an orchid with her that was just sitting in one of those stick boxes, attached to it only by its roots. She said that was the best way to keep an orchid healthy. I came home and ditched my spagnum and bark.

For the sake of my wooden furniture, I set the clay pot into a shallow bowl. You are probably right about the air flow. It was to be a temporary place to keep it until I could hang it.

I was looking forward to the roots of the other one filling the whiffle ball, but I nearly killed it by trying to dunk water it before its roots got more than 1" long.

Think the net will work well?
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 12, 2014 5:36 PM CST
Oh, I love someone who invites mockery, Jill! But don't worry none of us will mock you here. We've all made so many plant mistakes . .. Pictures would help a lot, if you don't have the names of your orchids.

You're experiencing the glacial pace of orchid growth, first of all. Even big, healthy orchids grow pretty darned slowly. A traditional gardener who sees a plant go from a 4 inch transplant in spring to a 3ft. by 3ft. flowering delight in fall isn't prepared for the long wait some orchids make you suffer. Some of my orchids put on 3 leaves over the rainy summer, and that was a fantastic growth spurt. Any new growth is a big event.

Some orchids only bloom once a year, like Phalaenopsis. But the flowers last for at least a couple of months usually. If the plant had a setback, though, you may miss out on a whole year's bloom cycle.

I thought the Whiffle ball idea might have worked for a small orchid. (an orchid that would stay small, that is!) Eventually you might need to cut the top off the ball to let the leaves grow. Yes, it would take months to get enough roots to stabilize it. But maybe you could have fastened the plant to the ball so it didn't bounce around in there. A little piece of string, a short shoe lace, a zip tie, piece of plastic coated wire, or a strip of stretchy fabric would work, threaded through the holes and over the roots. Twist ties are too sharp and would cut into the roots. I used some stretchy lace that I had left over from a sewing project and that worked great, too. Doesn't last well in the sun, though.

You want your orchids to attach their roots to the container, so the plants need to be secure at first. That's why clay pots or anything wood (bare, not oiled or treated) work well. Rough surfaces invite the roots to attach. Although I have several that are very fond of their plastic pots, too. Depends upon the type of orchid.

Let's see those puppies! I mean 'chids!
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
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crittergarden
Jan 12, 2014 5:41 PM CST
Jill is critterologist.
People confuse me for her all the time - she's been here longer.
I tried to think of another username but there was nothing else I really liked....

I will see what I can do about pictures......
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jan 12, 2014 6:00 PM CST
Oops, sorry. Regarding the net bags, they might work fine. I'd put some bark or moss in them though.

Whenever I've used them outside, they don't last real well, though. The plastic perishes and they just fall apart. So, depends where you're going to keep them, I guess. Wouldn't want your orchid growing well, and to come out one day and find it on the ground (or the floor), right?
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Ursula
Fair Lawn NJ, zone 6b
Charter ATP Member Spiders! Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Pennsylvania Greenhouse Cactus and Succulents
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Ponds Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey
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Ursula
Jan 12, 2014 6:42 PM CST

Moderator

Now a small Orchid planted into a half a coconut shell - that I really like!! With some holes drilled for drainage.
You mention Sphagnum, Crittergarden, I am happy you ditched it. I used to say that in my ( heavy watering -) hands Sphagnum moss is the Orchid Undertaker's most favorite tool……Personally, I love those cheap mats of coconut fiber, people line wire baskets with that to use as planters. I pull it apart, so it is not so dense and use it instead, many times just to anchor an Orchid until it is attached to whatever.
[Last edited by Ursula - Jan 12, 2014 6:46 PM (+)]
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crittergarden
Jan 12, 2014 8:06 PM CST
I took pictures.
Will take me a long time to get to the library to edit them though.
And I was wrong about the leaves on my larger one - only 4.
SHOW ME YOUR CRITTERS! I have a critter page over at Cubits. http://cubits.org/crittergarden/thread/view/73275/

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