Green Culture Singapore
Feature Article for October 2005
  Text & Pictures - orchideenjaeger  
  Online on 4 October 2005  


Besides growing epiphytes from flask, in this follow up on the previous article on deflasking an epiphyte, Dendrobium carronii, one will learn the basics of growing terrestrial orchids from flask. In this case, the plant used is Paphiopedilum niveum var. semi-alba.

There are many terrestrial orchids in flasks in the market out there, but the most commonly available ones are those from the slipper orchid family or are jewel orchids. These usually have similar requirements to the plant demonstrated here; whereas there are some that are more fastidious, have specific timings to deflask or have some odd positioning to follow when potted up.

When selecting Paphiopedilum species or hybrids to grow, look for those whose parentage fall within the subgenera Brachypetalum (P. niveum, bellatulum, concolor and godefroyae) or Cochlopetalum (P. liemianum, primulinum, victoria-reginae and victoria-mariae), these are usually warmer growing and can take the heat here. Contrary to popular belief, these 2 subgenera of Paphiopedilums require a bit more sunlight to flower and grow well.


Here are some examples of reusable pots.

Seedlings usually have a high mortality rate, so unless one has time to rewash the pots when the seedlings die, then do one consider investing in such pots.

LHS: These are the commonly found plastic pots with holes at the bottom to ensure proper drainage.

RHS: These are specially designed Rand's Aircone pots. These specially designed pots made in the USA.

This is how the Aircone pots look inside. There is a perforated cone in the centre of the pot to allow better air movement in the core of the roots. These pots are specially designed for growing slipper orchids

The pots are translucent enable the grower to monitor root development.

As these are expensive, they are saved up for use with more different plants.

For those with little money and a lot of time on their hands e.g. students like me, you could simply buy a few tubes of Solo / disposable drinking cups and sit down in a relax position and start making holes into them. The holes are to ensure proper drainage of any water that flows through.

In any case, if plants or seedlings die in such pots, just throw the whole thing away - there is no point recycling the pots

In this demonstration, there are about 10 seedlings so I picked out 10 pots to pot up the seedlings.

LHS: A container (here, I use an old ice-cream tub), to hold water and pesticide

RHS: A small basket to drain the seedlings after washing and soaking

Special potting mix: My special recipe for growing terrestrials that rarely fails to produce results.

Usually made in batches every half a year during school holidays.

Charcoal pieces to be used as crocking material.

This allows excess water to drain better.

Other crocking materials such as small pieces of broken bricks or diatomite can be employed as well.

Lighter for flaming / sterilizing cutting surfaces such as the scissors' blades.

Scissors for cutting away diseased / dead plant parts.

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