So I’ve decided that it is time to step up the game and order me some orchid flasks. They’re very difficult to find in Germany… especially the glass kind with 30 or more seedlings. SO I got me small flasks instead and the only orchid species that were available (at the time of my search) was cattleya. That itself was a challenge for me because I don’t own any cattleyas and the one I had unfortunately died.
After I purchase the baby flasks and it finally arrived a couple of day later, I inspected the flasks. It is said that if the agar is shook or if the seedlings are covered with agar, they will need to be repotted immediately. Hence the check. One was okay and the other was not. However, to ensure that seedlings grow strong and healthy, I decided to keep them in for a couple of days and just observe if everything was alright. Otherwise, I will need perform an emergency repotting!
DEFLASKING BABY ORCHIDS
Finally a couple of days gone by… By the looks of things and the little seedlings covered with agar, I had to take them out and repot them. At first glance, every one looks pretty healthy and the bigger ones look very robust. I was very pleased to see them looking well. I did not use any desinfection or alcohol. I did not think it is necessary because they all look very strong and healthy to me. Then its off to preparing a growing area for these tiny babies.
Before removing the seedlings I had already soaked some sphagnam moss and washed some barks with seramis. The mixture I used is these three combined. If I had to estimate maybe 60% bark and seramis and 30% sphagnam moss. I read a lot of articles and many recommended this mixture.
Since I’m a fan of recycling and we had some plastic containers lying around for occasions like this, I washed one of them and proceeded to make holes into the sides. The container has to be closed to maintain humidity so making holes help with air flow and preventing mould build up.
First a good layer of bark and seramis at the bottom followed by sphagnam moss and repeat. Its sort of like making a lasagne.. come to think of it.. And you end up with the last layer with a little more sphagnam moss. Just to over the roots a little, encourage humidity and also to make sure the upper layer remains moist at all times.
The final product looks something like this:
We have a habit of collecting rain water, so I usually use that to water all my orchids. Its PH neutral and has minerals that tap water does not have. I use rainwater to spray the seedlings. I do not water them often, since it is an enclosed space and very water retentive. When I see that the first layer is starting to dry out, then I will spray the seedlings a bit. At the moment, since they are still so young, they are not being fertilized.
I have a lamp specifically for plants. But I don’t use it right now. The seedlings are positioned right next to a southern facing window. So they do get good light when its sunny outside. However, when it is cloudy or rainy, I will use the lights on them. I got it at amazon at a fairly reasonable price. There’s two options with the lights – blue and red. Blue light stimulates flowering and red growth to put it short and simple. Thats why I use red for the seedlings. I usually keep them on for 3 – 6 hours. There’s really no difference to be seen because I’m not consistant with its usage. I hope the seedlings can grow healthy and strong with sunlight whenever possible.
AFTER ONE WEEK
In this photo, the seedlings were in this mixture and container for a week now. I needed to have a closer look to see if they are adapting well and if everything was going well with them. From the looks of it, they are still going strong and the roots look good and thick.
I am very happy with the progress they’ve made. I’ve read that they should stay in this container for at least one year. Its a slow process but I believe a very rewarding one at the same time.