This weekend the remaining Cattleya schilleriana flask babies moved out of the community pot to single occupancy dwellings. Since I mounted the first few babies several months ago and placed them in the warm vivarium, I wanted to try growing these in intermediate conditions. I mounted the strongest one and hung it in the window, the remaining little ones went into pots. Since schilleriana likes well drained media I placed them in tiny plastic mesh pots for good ventilation, then bark, perilite and vulcanic rocks as media. I will keep these in the nursery a while longer, then they will also move out on the windowsill.
So a whole bunch of the little flask babies I ordered from Equatorial Plants last summer got to move out of the nursery this week. It was a pretty big job, but really fun to see how much the little guys have grown in about 9 months. It is almost like giving birth, well I am sure my dear sister would dispute that statement… well at least I feel proud as a mother fussing about with the little flask babies. The Dendrobium cyanocentrum v.blue babies (image to the left) that I mounted back in January have gone absolutely nuts. They obviously love their new home in the warm vivarium because there are roots and shoot all over the place! Really cool! Then there is the new transplants…. drumroll please. A few got potted, some mounted on EpiWeb, most were placed into the warm vivarium, a couple got to move into the nano vivarium, and a few gets to stay in the nursery mini-greenhouse for a bit longer, but now in their own pots. Even a Phalaenopsis wilsonii is given a lease on life after arriving in really poor state from the beginning and not doing as much as quiver in the nursery. But the roots are still green so we’ll see if moving into the warm vivarium will kick start some action. There are a bunch of the smaller babies left in the community pots but they will need a few more months of maturing before they are ready. You have to be patient when you grow orchids from flasks, but it is very rewarding. I can already imagine 2-3 years from now when they will bloom for the first time. Yes, I said years.
Time for another update on the flask baby project. Yesterday was a big day! The first few teenagers got to move out of the community pots and into a little pot of their own today. Granted, I still placed them in sphagnum moss and keep them in a separate mini-greenhouse in pretty much the same conditions as before but still, this is a big step. It took better part of my sunday afternoon to do it but it was very exciting. Two Cattleya schilleriana, one Phalaenopsis amboinensis, one Paphiopedilum bellatulum and three dendrobium cyanocentrum (blue) got to graduate. I mounted the dendrobiums, two on cork and one directly on the EpiWeb in the nano-orchidarium. The rest of the youngsters got a root-check, and all are looking really good!! The Promenaea rollinsonii have started growing a lot finally. Then I replaced the moss before replanting – consolidating tubs. I also went ahead and deflasked the last two flaks from Ecuagenera (Masdevallia decumana and m. infracta) since one was starting to mould and I was starting to ger a few clear leaves on the plants in the other. They came out fine and looked great! Especially the Masdevallia decumana babies looked big and really healthy (the tub in the back). Very cool!
The flask baby project is progressing nicely… here you see the Phalaenopsis amboinensis babies. The UK kids from Equatorial Plants are growing slowly… oh so slowly. For some you can see clear growth, especially Cattleya schilleriana and D. cyanocentrum. Even Paph. bellatulum and Phal. amboinensis (in the picture) are looking good, some are growing faster than others. Promenaea rollinsonii are not breaking any speed records, but are looking okay. Phal. wilsonii has not moved a single millimeter … they are in pretty sad shape overall and I have now tossed one of the 5 I got (but in all fairness, they were all in pretty bad condition when they arrived). The super tiny Dracula cordobae babies that came from Ecuagenera are doing ok. The bottle came with mold so I had to deflask at once, even though they were sooo small. We will see if they make it – but so far so good. Still in flasks: Masd. infracta, Masd. decumana and they are growing ever so slooow… The two small orchi-pacs I got from Roellke in october, Paph. appletonianum and Phal. pulchra are growing fine (but I think I might loose one of the pulchra’s…).
Today, I had to replant all my orchid flask babies. I learned that the aluminum baking trays I was usng for pots, when put in water on leca do not last… do not know what causes it, but the bottom is entirely “eroded”. Then of course, the moss is wicking up too much water. So now, they are all moved into plastic containers (tupperware) instead. I put a layer of leca in the bottom and then moss. Here you see Dendrobium cyanocentrum orchids and Cattleya schilleriana orchid babies in great shape. You learn something new every day with this project. Added: Learned tonight that aparently aluminum react with coppar, iron and chlorine in the water, concentrated traces collects on the surface of the leca. (thanks letherneck)