Gateway to Australian and Indonesian Orchids
Web Address: www.stephen-monkhouse-orchids.com
(The Key to Success)
Cultural information by Stephen Monkhouse
The thought of deflasking baby orchids can initially seem daunting.
However by following a few simple steps the task can be completed with success.
STEP 1 .Always purchase flasks from a reputable nursery.
STEP 2. You don’t want weak smallish or poor plants, even if they are cheap because these will almost certainly lead to disappointing results.
STEP 3. For the ultimate result it is best to leave the flasks in the area where they will grow for at least one week before deflasking.
This will allow plants a time to acclimatise to their new environment.
STEP 4. Remember that young plantlets straight from flask require more protection and possibly a little warmer position than mature plants.
Good air movement is important.
STEP 5. Also pick the best times to deflask as middle of winter can result with fungus problems,
cold burning on young leaves and heat is required.
STEP 6. So the best times are Autumn and Spring. I have been able to supply some heating during the winter months with the baby plants growing indoors
under solid roofing and although the growth is slow the plants are very sturdy.
STEP 7. Gently remove the plants from the flask including all the jelly (agar). Various methods can be used depending on the style of flask. Some require the use of a wire hook to loosen the plants and the medium. Filling the flask with warm water and gently shaking the flask will also aid in loosening the agar, or if in a GLASS bottle as per display wrap the bottle in newspaper and hit with a hammer just past the wider part of the bottle.
STEP 8. When the plants have been removed the roots may still be enclosed in the agar medium so it is now necessary to wash the roots of the plants to remove as much of the agar as possible without damaging the roots or plants. Wash the roots in clean warm water, tap water or rain water is suitable. (depending on season)If the plants are growing together in clumps you may choose to plant as a group. They will grow apart as time goes by.
STEP 9. When the roots are free of agar as much as practicable, pot into community pots or individually, taking care not to bury the plants too deeply. You may choose to use a community pot 10-15 plants in a 4” pot or into individual 2” pots.
STEP 10. Water in well with a weak fertilising solution of Peter’s Plant Starter or similar (a fertiliser with a high Phosphorous content for root promotion), and then place in an area with good air circulation but well protected always mindful that you have “babies”.
STEP 11. Should any fungi appear over the ensuing weeks spray with a weak ½ strength solution of an appropriate fungicide.
STEP 12. Only use a high quality clean potting medium, very fine grade orchid bark or a peatmoss or coco-peat
or a combination of vermiculite & perlite medium grade. Watering should be closely monitored to ensure all plants do not dry out.
STEP 13. A regular fertilising program is recommended. We use the Scott’s “Peters Range of Complete Orchid Fertilisers.
This is a soluble fertiliser and should be used at ½ strength weekly.
Peters Plant Starter is used weekly for the first few months and then change to a Hi Nitrogen to ensure good healthy growth continues or a Fish base fertilizer.
STEP 14. Humidity is important in the growing area for young plants.
Always ensure moisture is freely given to the ground areas under benches or around plants to maintain a good moisture content in the air.
Don’t allow small plantlets to dry out!