Thursday, January 7, 2010

Phalaenopsis compot seedlings 1.5 years later



Back in 2008, I bought my first two orchid compots (community pots)! I wanted to try my hand at raising orchids from compots and the seedlings were so healthy that I just couldn’t resist. I knew I had better start with some cheap and easy hybrids before attempting the more expensive species so I chose two Phal hybrid compots. Both are complex hybrids with 3 or 4 names on the tags:


1. P. (Brother Passat x Brother Lawrence) x P. Cygnus 'Regent'

2. P. (Art Kaala - Yukimai x Grace Palm) x (P. Haur Jin Diamond x Yann Mei Star)


I get dizzy just reading that last one! I don’t even know if the names are right or if the cross pairs are correct as the tags were hand scribbled, so they may as well be regarded as NOID as far as I am concerned. I just wanted to try raising them from such a small size.


Phalaenopsis_seedlings (3)

So this was back in mid 2008. I placed the seedlings (re-potted in 1” - 3” pots) in a shady area and watered them regularly. Since the above photo was taken, many of the pots have been shifted here and there but almost all remained in the same shady area.


Sometimes, I fell behind on the watering and they did dry up but not too many times! For orchid food, I sprayed the seedlings with diluted seaweed extract 1 – 3 times per month. As they grew larger and healthier, I used a growth mix, half a teaspoon to about 5 or 6 liters of water.


As time passed, the weaker ones died off leaving only the strongest plants. Natural selection at work. After about one and a half years, this is how they look like today:


Phalaenopsis_seedlings_update (2)

Quite a number of them have reached flowering size and repotting is long overdue. They would actually be healthier, denser and bigger had I repotted them and paid more attention to them.


Before the above picture was taken, they had actually went through a period of spider mite attack and were sun scorched/burnt when part of the shade was removed. Had to cut off some big affected leaves but they have now stabilized again. They’ve also gone through snail and caterpillar attacks. Thankfully, those pests were quickly taken care of or the seedlings would not have survived the voracious moth caterpillars.


Phalaenopsis_seedlings (4) 

Then a few months after my first batch, I had another two complex hybrids come in. They are:


3. P. Haurjin Diamond Yann Mei Star P. Deventeriana x Sara Lee

4. P. (Salu Princess x Chiayi Spot - Golden Sun x Haurjin Diamond) x P. Luchia Lip


Again, tags all hand scribbled and the brackets are merely guesswork on my part! Hybrid No. 3 I believe actually has 4 names on it. Yes, pretty much NOID really. LOL No matter, raising them from compot size would be a good learning experience. Nearly a year and a half later they have grown much larger as pictured below:



Ignore the foreground plants as they are NOID seedlings sent to me nearly 2 years ago and are now flowering. The compot seedlings are in the middle row in the above picture. They too need to be repotted and fertilized more often but even with minimal care, they are growing well. Slowly but well.


Phalaenopsis_seedlings (7)

In mid 2008, besides the compots, I also bought a few larger phal hybrid seedlings with tongue twister names. All tags hand scribbled with names I cannot pronounce so not worth typing it all out here actually.


Many of them are spiking now and here’s one that is blooming currently:



This I believe, is P. Haur Jin Princess x P. Luchia Lip from what I can make of the nearly illegible handwriting on the tag.


I have also tried raising seedlings out of a flask (P. gigantea x P. bellina) but that will be for another blog entry. :D


Anonymous said...

Oh,my gosh. I wish I can grow orchids like yours. I have tried grow big orchid, but they all die. I dream one day I will be able to grow orchid like you so I can live in heaven.

Anonymous said...

initially i failed but now i am quite good in that and have about 30 orchid plants. But one thing i want to learn is how to germinate orchid and where to find the seeds!!! I have been growing orchids for years but never see any seed on the orchid plant at all!!!

sarawaklens said...

Anon, congrats on your success. They are quite challenging but without spider mites and snails, they're actually easy and will grow into big healthy phals quickly.

H Patty said...

You won't find orchid seed for sale because it is fine as dust and needs to be flasked in a laboratory under sterile conditions. It is very difficult, nearly impossible, to germinate it outside of it's native location (without flasking) for lack of the proper conditions and fungi necessary to feed the protocorms. It is not difficult to learn how to cross pollinate and make your own seed but then it takes about 6 months for the phalaenopsis pods to mature. Before they turn yellow and split open you harvest them and ship them off to a lab that can flask them for you. Once flasked, they will need to be reflasked once the seedlings are getting crowded. You pay per flasking. Once they start getting crowded again in the second flask, then you can transfer them to compots and from there eventually onto individual pots as they get larger. Your last photo is a stunner - congratulations!

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