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Thread: growing orchids in air

  1. #1

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    I've seen Vanda orchids grow beautifully in a basket with no potting media in it, so it grows as an epiphyte. Does anybody know if this could be done with Phalaenopsis or any other orchids?

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Hi Owen -

    In theory, you should be able to grow any epiphytic orchid without media. Or, a least, any epiphytic orchid with water storage organs (pseudo-bulbs, canes, succulent leaves). I know I've heard of people growing orchids in coarse gravel, rubber tire chips, and even round glass marbles - none of which are going to do much more that act as a root anchorage. You'd probably have to water very often - maybe a couple of times a day - and supply a suitably moist and breezy environment. But it's do-able.
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    This sounds like aninteresting thing to do... I wanna. Would a Oncidium work better, or a phalenopsis? Would either of them do really well at all?

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    fatboy's Avatar
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    I have Vandas, Paphs, Catts, Oncs and Dendrobium all growing in pots without any media or sometimes just a few big chunks of charcoal and they're all doing fine guys.

    It's humid here so I only water the about once a week, sometimes a lot less, but if you live somewhere dry then they'll probably like to be watered more often. Obviously they dry out really quick with nothing on the roots.

    Troy.

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Don't forget that the charcoal will absorb water and release it again.. kind of like a rock hard sponge. I would agree that most epiphytes can be grown with little to no 'potting mix'. I think the key is high humidity and frequent watering. I used to grow alot of orchids mounted on cork or treefern. In the summer they needed watering every day! A grower out on Long Island used to grow Vanda like Owen describes.. just hanging there with nothing but roots (except maybe a small empty wood basket buried deep in the root ball) and she had a timer that would wet the roots down 3 times a day.

    If you want to grow orchids like this.. keep in mind you need high humidity, good water, a place that makes it easy to water and care for them this way..ie lots of water spray and dripping. AND plants that will not easily get disease if they are watered frequently like this. (the main reason I would not recommend Phals... The risk of crown rot is very high)
    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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