Herself's Houseplants

Conservation through cultivation

Newly unflasked Paph Fairrienum

I’ve been so happy with the progress from the previous two flasks I thought I’d try another one. This one also came from eBay. These are crosses of Paph. fairrienums they should look like the photo but with slight variations. A large pot of these in bloom should be gorgeous. Estimated time to bloom is two years.

The flask contained about 25 seedlings.

It was an open mouthed flask so it only took a little coaxing to remove them.
I placed the whole group in a shallow container of water with fertilizer.
Because the agar was brown and the seedlings a bit yellowed I added a capful of hydrogen peroxide to the water.
After about 10 minutes the agar softened enough to break out the plants and sort them on to a clean towel.
A bit of rinsing of each plant under the faucet helped removed the remaining agar from the roots.
I dipped each seedling in rooting hormone, then placed it in the terrarium.
The terrarium has a couple of inches of sphagnum moss soaked in fertilized water.
Lastly they get placed in a bright window.
Now we wait. In the meantime, it should make an interesting terrarium to watch.
I’ll slowly leave the cover off the terrarium and let them adapt to the house humidity.
I’ll check each day to be sure the moss is damp but there is no fungus or mold.
When the container gets too crowded I’l moved them to community pots.

Micro water gardens

I’ve been lusting after a small indoor water garden ever since I saw them at a flower show a couple of years back. I have to say growing aquarium plants has been the most challenging for me of all the plants.

The first water garden photos are at about three weeks old, the last two at one year old.

Large glass containers are much easier to find now and much cheaper than they used to be. This one holds about a gallon and a half of water.

The plants you see are from the pet store aquarium dept., nothing special. I also bought a package of bulbs. I added them last week, they should begin to sprout any day now. Small pet stores usually carry a much more interesting selection of plants than do the larger chain stores. The dollar weed that is such a nightmare in your garden also works well in aquariums.

First you need a really clean glass container. I put glass beads at the bottom, what ever stones look best will work. You only need them to weigh down the plants. The stones are about an inch deep. I then added the plants. Add the plants before the water or you’ll be fighting to get them to stay put.

I use filtered tap water. Bottled water turns into an algae nightmare quickly. My water is very hard, the plants don’t seem to mind. Nor does the betta fish.

The fish is just there because I like to watch him. Goldfish eat plants, betta do not.

I placed a fluorescent light onto of the water garden. The plants grew just fine with out it, the fish seems to prefer the light. I found just an hour of dappled sun light is all the plants need to grow. Too much sun grows algae instead of plants.

I add StressZyme and StressCoat 1/2 ml per water change for the fish. and Flourish fertilizer, 1/2 ml per water change for the plants. Any of the liquid fertilizers will do just fine. Avoid the solid fertilizers they turn the water to mud.

I’ve really enjoyed this water garden because it grows in a dark corner of the kitchen where no other plant would survive. I do not have a light on the garden now and haven’t for a long time. I also no longer add any chemicals to the water. I have snails in the garden, they keep everything clean. All I do is top off the water as needed.

Ghost Orchid Flasks (Dendrophylax lindenii)

Ghost orchid 8/29/14

Ghost orchid 8/29/14

Ghost Orchid

image credit

I decided it was time to try something more challenging. So I ordered a couple of flasks of Ghost Orchids ( Dendrophylax lindeii ) on eBay.

The flasks arrived in a few days, everything looks wonderful.

I did have to break the flasks to remove the plants, not a big deal, wrap the flask in a towel and use a hammer.

After removing the orchids, I dropped them into a container of water with fertilizer and rooting hormone while I gently untangled them and removed the agar.

So far so good.

They are currently dispersed across 4 terrariums, worm castings on the bottom, sphagnum moss, then mulch, orchids are resting on the mulch.

For now I’ll keep the light levels low. The largest trick is to keep the humidity close to 100% and keep mold and fungus from killing the seedlings.

I use a light dose of fertilizer with rooting hormone to water my orchids, these included.

I’ve lost two of the ghost orchids to fungus, I’ve dispersed a few that didn’t look good into the carnivorous terrariums.

About a half dozen have grown their baby leaves, these two leaves are temporary and will fall off once the plants get settled.

Deflasked ghost orchid about a week after deflasking

Deflasked ghost orchid about a week after deflasking

Sept 12, 14
I admit to slaughtering most of the ghost orchids, of the half dozen to a dozen remaining most are showing new growth. They are in a large southwest facing window, in a not tightly sealed terrarium and I’m spraying them with water in the morning and evening.