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Mediterranean terrestrial orchid growing area

Discussion in 'Growing Areas' started by pcolman, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. pcolman

    pcolman Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I've wanted to grow various genera of mediterranean climate terrestrial orchids for years, though there were obstacles. By mediterranean I mean the climate type, not just the Mediterranean itself.

    Med_climate.png
    The species I'm interested in have some characteristics in common: Dry summer dormancy, cool moist winters, and very high light requirements (to full sun). Those requirements aren't really compatible with the rest of my plants. So I had to make a small growing area just for them.

    First step was the plant stand. Normally I'd just build it myself, but I would have saved less than $100 and I figure it would have taken me at least 12 hours, so I just had it made. It's a foot square and 26" tall. The light is the same one I've used several more of in the rest of my growing area, a Migro 100+. This time I got it with a 60 degree lens since I'm covering a small area, and in fact I'm going to try it with a 45 degree lens once I get my hands on one because it's still more light spread than I need. It's more than capable of equivalent light to full sun. As with my other lights I got it with a 95CRI 4000K LED COB. I ordered both the light and the plant stand and didn't get either until this month. This was just in time as some of the dormant plants started coming out of dormancy this month, which I wasn't expecting until next month.

    I built a frame for the light and fan from 1" black anodized aluminum extrusions. It's attached to the plant stand via four 1/4-20 bolts. I drilled 4 holes into the extrusion and installed for 2 insert nuts into each of the back legs of the stand, so it's easy to remove the frame from the plant stand and it isn't noticeable as long as the side of the plant stand faces the wall.

    The fan is a Noctua 1200 rpm case fan with anti-vibration pads on the corners, which is enough to keep it snugly in place without any fasteners once the aluminum extrusion are tightened up next to it. Its noise level is only 18 decibels, so it's basically inaudible unless there's complete silence. It provides nice gentle air movement.

    The humidity tray for runoff I had to sort of make myself. I couldn't find any that were square of the right size, so I bought 13.5" square black melamine tray and black egg crate. I cut it to slightly large than the size needed, then sanded it down until it fit snugly. I glued two more 4x4 cell pieces of egg crate under the center of the egg create for support, and put black silicone tape at the corners in case the egg crate ever moves out of place, though that doesn't appear likely.

    I have Ophrys, Anacamptis, Serapias, Diuris, and Thelymitra species. 5 have come out of dormancy and I've started watering lightly. The rest are still covered by plastic wrap to keep from getting wet during watering. All are in 70-80% fine perlite (mostly 80%) and good quality buffered coco peat. The European genera have about 1% lime added to the mix.

    Fertilizer regimen will be the same as for my Disa uniflora, very little, once or twice a month. Hopefullly they will do well.

    Note: The light is as low as it will go at about 10% intensity, otherwise it would entirely blow out highlights in the photos.

    Med_orchid_area_01.jpg
    Med_orchid_area_02.jpg Med_orchid_area_05.jpg
    Med_orchid_area_03.jpg Med_orchid_area_04.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
    J E, rico and Foozil like this.
  2. pcolman

    pcolman Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I forgot to mention one thing. As is this setup is too top heavy for my liking and tends to want to tip backwards if pushed, so I attached 10 lbs of weight to the bottom of the lower shelf. It's black and only an inch or so above floor level, so it isn't something you'd notice unless you knew to look for it.
     
  3. RustyExotics

    RustyExotics Nicholas - It's a terrestrial thing

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    I've wanted to do the same, but with Australian terrestrials specifically. You'll have to keep us all updated. This is exciting!
     
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  4. spiro K.

    spiro K. Active Member

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    VERY nice!
    Keep an eye out for the Sept. issue of ORCHIDS magazine .!
     
  5. naoki

    naoki Well-Known Member

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    Looking great! Just for your info, most constant current drivers for LEDs can reduce the AC/DC conversion efficiency when you are heavily "dimming" it down.
     
  6. pcolman

    pcolman Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I don't think dimming will be an issue for these. Part of the reason I needed a separate area was that their light requirements meant most of my other plants would fry.
     
  7. Darby Gaines

    Darby Gaines New Member

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    Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but did anything come of this? I live in an actual Mediterranean climate and made an attempt a couple of years ago at growing a Serapias outdoors in my garden from a tuber bought off of ebay.

    It grew well and flowered the first season, but just that once. It barely sprouted the second year and never flowered again. I tried to replicate its dry summer dormancy (which shouldn't be difficult to do here) but with no luck.

    Anyone have tips on these things?
     
  8. Roberta

    Roberta Member

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    What medium are you using? I have had some success with Mediterranean terrestrials with a mostly-inorganic mix (about 80-90% pumice, the balance a well-drained potting soil like cactus mix, give or take... I'm not precise) I prefer pumice to perlite because it is a bit heavier - you don't want the dry pots tipping over in a breeze. I'll start watering around October, once nights cool off somewhat. then water lightly until I see new growth, increase it while the plants are growing, then taper off and stop when they die back in the late spring. They need high light (a challenge for me since in winter most of my yard gets very little sun... I found one spot that at least gets some)
     
  9. J E

    J E New Member

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    Very nice good luck and keep it up
     
  10. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Roberta, what size pumice are you using? I use pumice that is about 1/4" to 1/3" in my fine bark mix and some terrestrial mixes. When I sift the pumice I get in bulk this is what is left after I have sifted out the fines which are more in the 1/8" size. I'm trying to figure out if I can find a use for the 1/8".
     
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  11. Darby Gaines

    Darby Gaines New Member

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    This was a couple of years ago and I kept poor (IE, no) records, but my memory is that yeah I did do a mix of cactus-type soil and perlite, but I can't remember the ratio now. I'm certainly willing to try again, though, as long as it's possible to get them to come back for more than one season.

    Do you have a source for these plants other than ebay?
     
  12. Roberta

    Roberta Member

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    My other source is myorchids.de ... but I have a friend who has the necessary import permit, who adds my order to his. I have been very happy with the ones that I got on eBay from the gal in Greece, who makes a point of mentioning that she propagates what she sells from her own plants.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020 at 10:39 PM
  13. Roberta

    Roberta Member

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    I just got a new batch, 3/16" on Amazon, and that's the size that I have used in the past. It's pretty clean (there's some dust at the bottom, but most of it is what it says it is. So 1/8" isn't that far off, should work. I don't think the exact size is particularly critical.
     
  14. Roberta

    Roberta Member

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    One more little note... I have been repotting (or it's more like checking to see what's going on) each summer. No harm in putting them back into the same pot even with the old medium at least for the second year (it's mostly inorganic, nothing is broken down) but then it's possible to assess what to expect (and what might need replacing - if there is no tuber there will be no plant). Also, the tubers have a tendency to work their way to the bottom of the pot, repotting lets one reposition them. I suspect that behavior is a search for water. I know that if I don't repot my Pterostylis curta, they'll be growing out of the drain holes the next year, the most robust tubers are at the bottom.
     
  15. RustyExotics

    RustyExotics Nicholas - It's a terrestrial thing

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    I'm curious about your experience with the guy from myorchids.de. I ordered from him this year, and it took him nearly 2 months to ship the plants. Since then, they've been sitting motionless in the post office in Germany for over two weeks, and I'm officially pissed (although that's not really his fault). Communication has been awful with him, and I was wondering if this was normal...
     
  16. Roberta

    Roberta Member

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    These are not normal times... I have tubers in a group order that has been hanging up all month... supposedly they were delivered to USPS July 4, but didn't show up as having actually arrived in the US until a couple of days ago (now in customs) And we paid for shipping with DHL rather than just going the postal route. So still a work in progress. In prior years he has been very responsive. (Shipping doesn't happen until tubers are completely dormant no matter when you order, that part not necessarily unusual) The person who actually placed the order has had some communication with him, but not much... Have Dr. Beyrle put a trace on the order if you haven't already gone that route.

    Why shipments from Greece seem to happen just fine, not a clue... my friend got an order in 10 days after ordering on eBay, I have one in the works that is moving quite normally.
     
  17. RustyExotics

    RustyExotics Nicholas - It's a terrestrial thing

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    Mine is through DHL, too, so perhaps I might be stuck in the same boat... We tracked the package, but haven't gotten anywhere from that. My hatred for USPS is endless and eternal, so I wouldn't be amazed if the package was actually in the US sitting in the back of some USPS warehouse... I might have to make some calls and figure out what they plan on screwing up this time... Do you think the tubers will still be alright in your order? I assumed that since everything is hopefully dormant, the package would be fine, but we'll see.

    I got a Thai package a few weeks back, and there were nearly no issues with that, for the most part. You are correct, these are odd times, and different countries are dealing with it differently...
     
  18. Roberta

    Roberta Member

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    The tubers will probably be OK... most won't be coming out of dormancy for another couple of months. At least that's what I'm hoping... my order included a couple of Pterostylis that I'm somewhat worried about because they tend to wake up sooner. Have been promised a refund for anything that doesn't make it... but I would really like to get them.
     
  19. RustyExotics

    RustyExotics Nicholas - It's a terrestrial thing

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    Yes, I'm worried about those, too. I'm most concerned about the Habenaria, though... Well, I hope your package arrived soon and that everything is okay! Fingers crossed that mine will do the same.
     
  20. Roberta

    Roberta Member

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    Mine is still out there too... it cleared customs yesterday... still not showing a delivery date. So it's finally in the US... in the tender hands of USPS.