Orchids forum: Clear or opaque pots?

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Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Feb 6, 2016 4:23 PM CST
I currently have all my Phals in opaque plastic pots with holes drilled for drainage or in clay orchid pots that I had laying around. Which are the better pot, clear or opaque? I've read various posts on other sites that some say clear is better so you can monitor the roots and how the medium is doing as far as how wet or dry it is. Some say it doesn't matter. So I've been debating with myself whether to switch the next time I repot which won't be for awhile with all the flower spikes I have coming up. Any advice would be appreciated.
Chris
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Feb 6, 2016 4:30 PM CST
I have mounted most of my phals on cork. Still have 3 to do, but they are blooming and I don't want to shock them too bad at this time.
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
Feb 6, 2016 4:51 PM CST
The clear pots seem to be industry standard for growers, and I've kept plants in them for quite a while without problems. But I always re-pot into vented clay, cedar baskets, or as Anna says, mount onto cork. It probably depends where you'll be growing your orchids for the majority of the year.

Mine need fast drainage, and quick drying of the roots, because of our high humidity and heavy rains in summer. Anna has hers in her greenhouse for probably half the year, or more ?? Also high humidity.

If you have long dry spells, a plastic pot is going to keep your orchid roots a bit more moist for longer which could be good. I don't think it matters whether the pot is clear or opaque.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Feb 6, 2016 5:04 PM CST
I don't know if you can see my "handiwork"............I know I wasn't paying attention and mounted a couple of them on the smooth side of the cork instead of the rough. Had my head up my posterior, I guess, but they seem to be doing ok. I will pay more attention when I do the next ones. :>) The Vanda is bare-root in one of those wooden slat orchid baskets.



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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
Feb 6, 2016 5:10 PM CST
They look good, Anna. I've taken to mounting my orchids on the inside of the cork, on purpose. Just because I like to be able to see the pretty bark texture of the cork on the other side. Don't worry, the plants will send their roots all around and through it eventually.

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Your Vanda has deluxe accommodations, too. Mine are just hanging on the wire hangers with absolutely nothing around them. Roots waving in the breeze . . . seem to like it fine, though. They get hosed down regularly in warm weather.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Feb 6, 2016 5:14 PM CST
Nice photos Anna, I didn't know you could mount Phals that way but of course I'm just learning all of this. Elaine, I have mine in the greenhouse all year long, at least they've been there since last June when I rescued them. Of course here in Texas we're going to have really low humidity in the summer and high temps. I do have them all sitting on my homemade humidity trays which seems to provide extra humidity at the moment. I may have to do something else this summer though. You're right though I guess it doesn't matter whether the plastic pots are opaque or clear since the main purpose of the clear pots are to monitor the roots. Would the clear pots lend more to the production of Chlorophyll?
Chris
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
Feb 6, 2016 5:20 PM CST
I'm really not sure if Phals produce chlorophyll in their roots, Chris, but they do turn green, don't they. Then again Vanda roots also turn green when you water them but turn back to white as they dry out, so I don't think they photosynthesize much.

Some orchids do, and some don't. Let's hope someone else knows if Phals do or not. @Ursula? @shadytrake

That being said, I don't have a valid basis for comparison because all of my Phals have at least some of their roots up waving around in the light anyway. They just do that.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Anna Z.
Monroe, WI
Charter ATP Member Greenhouse Cat Lover Raises cows Region: Wisconsin
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AnnaZ
Feb 6, 2016 5:47 PM CST
I sure would like to be able to purchase a couple different vandas re: bloom color. I guess that would be the only reason I would want to come to Florida. LOL
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad
Birds Ponds Region: South Carolina Tropicals
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ardesia
Feb 6, 2016 6:15 PM CST
When I win the lottery this is the one I want.
http://www.motesorchids.com/limitededitions/limited-edition-...
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Hibiscus Birds Bromeliad Greenhouse Master Gardener: Florida
Garden Photography Region: United States of America Roses Tropicals Region: Florida Orchids
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hawkarica
Feb 6, 2016 6:46 PM CST
Wow, Alice. That Vanda is beautiful.

Jim
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
Feb 6, 2016 7:11 PM CST

Moderator

Did I hear my name?
Elaine, I would think those green roots on Phals are indeed capable of Photosynthesis. Given a choice between mounting them, potting up in clear pots versus dark pots, I would prefer mounting or clear pots. They always seem to be happier with lots of air roots all over the place?
Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Feb 6, 2016 7:16 PM CST
That is a gorgeous vanda. I just ordered Vanda Steven Scott Young from Motes. All my Vanda's seem to be purple.

I always suggest that beginning orchidists use clear plastic so that they can monitor the heatlth of their plants. By the time you see the damage on the top, the roots are toast.

After gaining proficiency, its a matter of choice. If you are growing in a dry climate and on your window sill, the plastic would be better.

I use terra cotta because my greenhouse is often like a steamy swamp and I want the orchids to dry out faster.

Daisy
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Feb 6, 2016 8:00 PM CST
Thanks for all the suggestions on this. I think I will order some clear pots for repotting at a later time. I understand that they like to have some of the roots up out of the potting mix? Have to make sure I get this all down.
Chris
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
Feb 6, 2016 8:35 PM CST
Thanks, Ursula. We're always learning something on this site, aren't we.

Lovely vanda, Alice and fragrant, too. I agree about winning the lottery first, though. Wow, $60 for a small start of that plant! I'd kill it for sure.

Chris, yes remember these are epiphytes, not terrestrial plants so they don't need or want to have all their roots under ground. Also VERY important when you do re-pot to slant the crowns so water will drain out. See in Anna's picture of her mounted Phal how the leaves are hanging down? That's the way they are designed to grow in nature. Crown rot is almost inevitable if they are planted facing up, like they do in the big box stores.

Mine are all hanging sideways over the edges of their pots, and look like they're crawling out when they stick their roots out every which way. Sometimes they do crawl out, in fact. That's when they get mounted on a piece of cork or tied into a basket.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Feb 11, 2016 5:17 PM CST
Chris, The only place I can keep my Phals alive is in the house where I have a swamp cooler. Gets way too hot and dry in summer, and mostly cold and dry in winter. I can heat the greenhouse, but I can't cool it. I have tried both types of pots, and prefer the clay for two reasons; first the plastic ones degrade and start crumbling, and second the weight of the clay pots keep them from tipping over when the plant starts climbing over the side.
Name: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Hibiscus Birds Bromeliad Greenhouse Master Gardener: Florida
Garden Photography Region: United States of America Roses Tropicals Region: Florida Orchids
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hawkarica
Feb 11, 2016 7:24 PM CST
Carol, are you finally getting some rain?

Jim
Name: Chris Pollock
Copperas Cove, Tx (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Texas Orchids Adeniums Cactus and Succulents Hibiscus
Dog Lover Seed Starter Garden Ideas: Level 1
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chris1948
Feb 11, 2016 7:26 PM CST
Thanks Carol, maybe I'll leave mine in the pots I have them in then. They seem to be doing ok as they are.
Chris
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Feb 11, 2016 8:43 PM CST
Jim, No! We are just coming out of a heat wave. We've had a little over 3" since Oct. When I got up at 6:30 Sat. morning, it was 73 in the house, the orchid shack, and on the porch. High 80s to 90 during the day, and windy/DRY. I'm still going to the Orchid Expo tomorrow...just not worrying about the buying shoes.
Name: Jim Hawk
Odessa, Florida (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Hibiscus Birds Bromeliad Greenhouse Master Gardener: Florida
Garden Photography Region: United States of America Roses Tropicals Region: Florida Orchids
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hawkarica
Feb 12, 2016 7:17 AM CST
Carol, I admire your self control but you might throw the buying shoes into the car just in case. nodding

Jim
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Feb 12, 2016 9:06 PM CST
Ha! I did have a large bill that I received for Christmas. It's gone, but I have 5 new orchids to kill.

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