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Habenaria (various spp)

Discussion in 'Orchid Culture' started by speciosa, Feb 4, 2017.

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  1. speciosa

    speciosa Member

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    Growing a variety of Habenarias on windowsills (species plants) - wondered what people are generally growing them in? Have had my best luck with Sphag and tree fern, but wonder if there's a better option out there. Generally I stick to what works, but have begun to wonder if a soil-less medium with chips or expanded clay might work out better?

    Also, I recently acquired some dormant tubers of a yellow form of rhodocheila - was going to pot them up and keep them relatively dry until I saw new growth - but a friend recommended I wait until April to even set them into a pot in order to keep them coordinated with New York's better growing season.

    Any thoughts out there? Thanks in advance.

    Dave
     
  2. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    As soon as I see new growth on a Habenaria I pot it up. I usually set it in a tray with about 1/2" water for about 10 minutes to get a bit of moisture in the bottom of the medium. Once the growth is up and clear of the top of the medium, I will spray lightly to add moisture avoiding getting any water in the new growth. As the growth continues I will slowly increase watering.

    Grow epiphytes by the calendar works pretty well. Growing terrestrials on one's own time table is a recipe for disaster. I pay attention to the growth on terrestrial to tell me what to do. Right now, I have some habenarias that are dormant, some initiating growth and some in full bloom.
     
  3. speciosa

    speciosa Member

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    Thanks Marni!- these tubers are now just sitting in an empty net pot in a very dry, relatively cool spot in my home. So - I want to be very clear - you would wait until the tubers show some signs of growth before putting them into any medium at all?...I was thinking of placing them on a bed of just-damp (not wet) sphagnum so they don't shrivel completely ...perhaps I should wait...?
     
  4. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Speciosa, I don't think you want to put them damp moss. There is a good likelyhood of mold. Perhaps if the humidity is VERY low, move them somewhere with more humidity. They don't need to be cool or in the light. I have found that if I pot them up before the new growth is just showing I have a good chance of loosing them. There is a bit of old medium adhering to the tuber, but you can still see the tuber. That is just what works for me. Have they started shriveling?
     
  5. speciosa

    speciosa Member

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    Hey Marni - yes, they had shriveled quite a bit, but I took the chance on soaking them (I know, I know...) but they perked up! They are now just sitting on top of what is dry sphagnum...not watered at all, but to my eye, a little softer than sitting bare. If I note any "fuzz" I'll take them out immediately...What do you put yours into when they finally start sprouting? As I mention, I was thinking of some very fluffy peat and perlite based soil-less mix...but have been growing in sphag and tree fern with carnea, myriotricha, and several Cynorkis spp...(REALLY want to succeed with these hard to get plants - BTW - do you segregate these out as xanthochila or do you just keep 'em as rhodochila?)
     
  6. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The good news on Cynorkis is I find them much easier to keep going than Habenaria.

    Yes, I keep xanthocheila as a separate species. Also roeblenii.

    For habenarias I use 2 parts of my basic terrestrial mix (see below) with on part of commercial compost from Home Depot (the purple bag).

    Basic terrestrial mix 2016
    3 parts washed and sifted 1/8-1/4” fir bark (Orchiota #9),
    5 parts pumice or perlite,
    3.5 parts well washed coir (coco peat),
    1.5 parts 1/2” lava rock

    I used to add charcoal to the basic mix, but couldn't get it for a while and didn't notice a difference.
     
  7. speciosa

    speciosa Member

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    Cool! Will give that recipe a whirl...My only concern is the coir (have not had good results with coco chips despite boiling and soaking and more boiling - sometimes through four or five changes of water...). Just got a roeblenii - really hoping for the best for some of these terrestrials...as you know, I've been enjoying getting to know the Cynorkises...
     
  8. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I can't use the coconut chunks either. Gave up on it years ago. This and the coco fiber do work for me. I wash the coir several times in pure water and have had no problems with it.