Lou Sneary Blue Moon Potting Media

jbw1984January 14, 2014


I just received a Lou Sneary "Blue Moon" vanda from Norm's.

Although I'm impressed--I had not bought a plant over the Internet before this and would never have expected to receive a living plant at the end of the process--the flowers are looking a little bit worn out and I think the spike is not going to last long.

So, my question is, can this kind of plant do well in high quality sphag moss? It is potted in bark and pebbles right now, and that is the recommendation i'm getting reading other internet sites. I like sphag moss because I am sometimes gone for more than 3 days at once and it retains moisture. I know not to overwater, but I don't want to shove the plant into something that will be suboptimal.

This post was edited by jbw1984 on Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 23:37

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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

I have one of the parents of this hybrid, Neofinetia falcata growing underpotted in a bark and pebble mix.

I think you can grow almost anything in spag provided you make adjustments so that it dries at appropriate intervals.

Perhaps try something like a mesh pot.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 12:01AM
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shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b

Generally speaking, Vanda's demand the warmest temperate of all orchids. And they like the most light. They are typically grown in a hanging basket with no potting material. Water every day. Typical fertilize routine.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 7:32AM
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SM this is a Neostylis. Please don't treat like a vanda. They need less light. Between cattleya and ascocentrum light. They can also tolerate potting in many parts of he country, unlike Vandas.

JBW, I think in your area an ideal medium is very airy. In high zones such as yours it's often recommended to use potting medium that resist breakdown in tropical like climes., such as aliflor or as SM noted, nothing at all. However, SoCal has the drying Santa Ana winds to contend with so I think very coarse bark is appropriate. With charcoal added. I would play with either a basket (normal for z11) or clay pot (to help protect against the drier weather but into itself still porous). I'm not sure which would be more appropriate down there. Hopefully a CA/AZ/NV will chime in to be more specific.

Neostylis is a cool little plant; I adore mine. Unlike most orchids it directly tells you when it is receiving the right amount of light: the leaves begin turning a splotchy purple. When I first saw it I had to do a double take because it looked like it had a fungal infection.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 8:11AM
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shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b

terp, According to R.F. Orchids, the premiere global vandaceous grower, They recommend Neostylis culture to be the same as other vandas. With one exception that is to provide them a little less light than other vandas.

Also, they indicated that those growing them in northern climes potting them is sometimes done. Otherwise in places like So. Cal., no potting material.

good luck

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 12:43PM
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Hello Folks
I have a Neofintia falcata wich I keep "potted" in the Japanese sphagmun "ball" technique. Meaning that the plant kind of sits atop a big ball or sphag and doesn't really sit in the pot itself, except for the few roots that grow down into the sphag and pot.

Since the Neo has gotten bigger, I've put an upside down net pot in the bottom of the regular pot and mounded the ball of sphag over the net pot for good air circulation and drainage.

When I got my Lou Sneary 'Blue Bird' last February, I set it up the same way - perched on sphagnum. I kept it and Neo outside all summer - both get strong, but not direct sun in summer. I feed heavily in summer. I allow more direct sun indoors for the winter since the light is not as strong in autumn/winter, and reduce feeding.

This scheme seems to have worked, as Lou Sneary 'Blue Bird' now has spikes!

Good luck ~
ML in WMass

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 1:38PM
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SM I'm well aware of who Robert Fuchs is. And I will still encourage you to research further the experience of others rather than relying on culture sheets. Just google culture neostylis and you will understand.

Neostylis can be grown on a windowsill as mine currently is, Vandas cannot. They regularly cited as needing 2000-3000 FCs of light, and grow well with Catts. Can't grow Vandas in that. The Neofinetia in the parentage prevets them from successfully growing under full vanda culture. It's common sense when you know the parents in the hybrid.

This post was edited by terpguy on Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 14:53

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 2:48PM
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shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b

That is consistent with what they told me at RF. No culture sheets. Northern climes with pots, southern areas basket and no medium.

ML I like your method of a big ball or spag under the plant. I think you are in tune with your orchid.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 4:37PM
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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

Part of the adventure of orchid growing is to try and grow something difficult in your climate zone, so here, you try and find some "Vandas" that are "cold" tolerant. Neofinetia falcata certainly is and Vanda coerulea is though difficult to grow. Rhynchostylis coelestis is supposed to be though the jury is out because I have not got the species to flower.
Here in Cymbidium heaven you do not see all that many "Vandas" at orchid shows, though if you do, you are likely to find an influence of the above-mentioned orchids in the breeding.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 6:42PM
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Rf orchids saying vandas are great cattleya companions? C'mon now, you know better than that. A global premier vanda expert wouldn't be caught dead saying that. They would know their culture is drastically different

This post was edited by terpguy on Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 19:29

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 7:24PM
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shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b

terp, why are you dragging the catt in? I said nothing of cats? C'mon now....read more carefully....apparently you believe you know more on the subject than R.F Orchids. And they tell me down in Homestead that they look to you for any and all issues about every possible orchid. So therefore you have all the answers. I'm convinced....

This post was edited by shavedmonkey on Wed, Jan 15, 14 at 23:40

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 11:32PM
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westoh Z6

FWIW: I can bloom neo crosses and ascos under my artificial lights, always had issue with true vandas though. As much as anything because of the growth habit (tall, tall tall...) and the inability to get good quality light to all parts of the plant. I'm trying a vanda amesiana and a Paki cross (both very small vandas) currently, seems to be doing OK but not thriving. Come on spring!

I got several small vanda type crosses and species from C&H this spring that were potted in cypress bark, still are potted in bark, although I've transferred a few to mesh baskets with phal type bark. They seem to be doing pretty well, a small Darwinara cross has bloomed a couple of times since spring.

I grow them either mounted, bare-root in baskets or potted in medium sized bark in mesh baskets currently, all are under artificial lights currently. Mounts and bare-root are my oldest and seem to be my best bloomers, but that could be age.

Just had to throw my 2 cents into the ring on this part... Personally, I keep my vanda types in pretty close light to my mini-catts, maybe a little more when possible. But then I struggle to obtain maximum light at times, even in the summer (trees) on an east patio.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 7:04AM
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shavedmonkey (Harvey in South Fl.)Z10b

Bob, I admire your efforts. Growing vandas so far north. I've often thought that if I lived in colder climates would I still grow orchids. I guess I got it easy.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 8:37AM
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