Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Journal March 7, 2017 - Deflasking orchids

If you have patience and are not in a hurry purchasing a hobby flask is one way of obtaining orchids inexpensively.  Of course, you are going to get about twenty-five plants all the same, so it is even better if you can share the cost with a few other growers. 

With that said, I recently purchased two hobby flasks and intend to invest some time in growing the plants to flowering size, with the goal of selling them at one of the orchid society meetings sometime in the future.

After receiving the flask I removed them from the vessel and removed the agar while also separating the plants by rinsing them under tepid water in the sink.  I was fortunate in that the plants separated easily without breaking off any of the fragile roots.  In the flask that I received there were about thirty plants, so the cost per plant was slightly over a dollar.

 The lab recommended planting in long fibered sphagnum moss and keeping the humidity high for the first few weeks.

Not wanting to waste a single plant, my assistant with tiny fingers was assigned the job of planting the small plants,

The variation in the size of the plants in the flask was a surprise.

It was recommended that the plantlets be kept in high humidity for the first few weeks, then to gradually acclimate them to more normal growing conditions.  Spraying the inside of the dome, not the plants, will keep the humidity at an acceptable level.  Feeding, if at all, should be very light, about quarter strength.

At some point,  I want to hybridize orchids, so I am attempting to germinate Phalaenopsis seeds.  I have already cross-pollinated a few flowers but while the seed pods mature I am trying to germinate some seeds I purchased on eBay.

The seeds are very tiny and difficult to work,  they are best sterilized in a syringe and placed in the vessel using the syringe. 

After planting the seeds I thought it best to use a microscope to check the detritus before I discarded it.  As it turned out, there were more seeds in the detritus than I has planted, so I sterilized the whole mess and placed it on media in a vessel.

It is a matter of finding a procedure that works best for you and your conditions.

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