PROCEDURE

Step 1:

Pop open the flask to aerate it for a day. Reason for doing so is to allow the seedlings to adjust to the external environment before subjecting them to other shock.

Step 2:

Fill the flask to about an inch of water and use the rod to break up the agar.

Some people prefer to wrap the glass flask in sheets of newspaper and give the flask a swift strike with a hammer to shatter it. Bear in mind that there would be glass fragments around and depending on the quality of the glass, some of these fragments are very fine so do exercise caution when handling them.

If the flasks are made of plastic, use a good pair of clean kitchen scissors to cut the narrow part off so the whole chunk of agar tips out easily

Step 3:

Once you can swirl the agar and the seedlings with ease within the flask, tip the contents into a bowl of water.

Pick through the seedlings and rinse off the extra agar.

At this point, some growers prefer to treat the seedlings with some protectants such as fungicides (lime), disinfectants (e.g. 1% bleach solution, Physan™ and DettolT™) and pesticides.

Personally, I do not think that disinfectants and fungicides are important at this stage unless one is rescuing the flask from contamination, then one needs to take the extra step. If there is no contamination, fungicides are not necessary, as fungal infection usually indicates poor air circulation or a poor watering regime.

One that may be essential is an application of a systemic pesticide (warning: this can also read as nerve poison) for 15 min to allow the seedlings to absorb it. Seedlings are highly vulnerable to pests especially if one does not spray pesticides regularly (some times it may not be possible to spray pesticides due to the home environment).

Step 4:

After rinsing and treatment, drain the seedlings.

Just drain them enough so that there is no more water dripping. From this point, you will have to work fast to prevent the seedlings from dehydrating.

If one decides to let the seedlings stay wet for a longer period of time without applying a fungicide, these seedlings will be prone to rot.

Step 5:

Sort the seedlings according to sizes.

Discard those that are rootless and too small to be worth saving.

Those that are too small and do not have properly developed roots may continue growing but they will take a much longer time to grow.

These not only take up time to grow but growing space as well!

Step 6:

Now to tie the seedlings together. I was told that this method resembles sushi-making! Lay flat a piece of preferred mounting substrate and position a seedling on top.

Align the seedling towards the centre of the substrate as one cannot tell where the lead will come out from. Unless there is a lead already forming, align it in such a way that there is space for the lead to grow.

The top of the seedling should protrude out of the substrate and the root-growing area should be about 1/3 from the top of the substrate.

This way, the seedling will eventually grow to the top or near the top of the substrate, making it easier to mount or pot up the seedling.

If the seedlings are big, you can tie them individually but if they are small, then you can consider mounting them in pairs.

Pad the top of the seedling with just enough sphagnum moss.

How much is just enough? - Just enough to cover the roots and the bottom part of the rooting area. Any more than sufficient, the seedling may have basal rot and anything less would cause desiccation. The former rarely happens as sphagnum moss has fungicidal properties.

 

Step 7:

Wrap the seedling with your preferred tying material three rounds and tie a dead knot.Then snip off the excess tying material with a sharp pair of scissors to give the finished product.

Step 8:

One can gather up all the tied seedlings and place them in a more permanent growing environment, such as a plastic basket.

The newly tied seedlings are placed at the front of this basket and I usually just place them in whatever space I have, but bear in mind their light requirements - for the majority of Dendrobium subgenus Spathulata (which includes D. carronii), they require high light. Here I have placed the seedlings together with seedlings of Cattleya violacea var tipo 'Rosa de Luis'.

Step 9:

Just leave the seedlings in the tray placed in a permanent growing area and carry on with your regular watering and fertilizing regime. From experience, I do not find anything unusual by giving these seedlings regular adult plant treatment in terms of watering and fertilizing (foliar feeding) but the humidity level has to be high as these seedlings have not well-developed roots.

If there happened to be any die-offs, be it rot or desiccation, remove and discard that seedling with its mount. This is common with the smaller seedlings which are more venerable to rot and desiccation due to slower root development

After 1 - 2 growth cycles (depending on maturity of the seedlings when unflasked), each lasting between 3-6 months, the seedlings would be big enough to be mounted or potted up individually.

Notice the roots of the seedlings are growing so well that they grew through the fernroot.

Mounting is normally preferred as it enables better air circulation though out the plant and its roots and it dries out easier.

MATURE PLANTS ON MOUNTS

Below are two examples of adult D. carronii that are grown on mounts.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Orchideenjaeger is one of our dedicated moderators of the Green Culture Singapore (GCS) Forum. He is currently doing his undergraduate studies majoring in Pharmacy at the National University of Singapore. Orchideenjaeger is a member of numerous world-reowned discussion forums for orchids, including the Orchid Source Forum and Orchideen-forum.de. His keen interest in plants started since young and now he focuses on the growing of Cattleya orchids. He can be contacted by sending him an email via this link, or private messages through the GCS forum.

 

 
 

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