Starting orchid seeds

Will07(5)April 23, 2013

I have an orchid (phalaeonopsis) which today caught me by surprise when I noticed the seed pod had finally split open after several months. It happened all of a sudden, one day it was green and the next day I noticed it had turned a little yellow and today it was split right open. I cut off the pod and stuck it into a plastic bag until I figure out what I'm doing.

I know it's a long difficult process but I thought I'd try just for fun! How do i begin? What is the special medium I need to grow it in? i know it has to be completly sterile and in some sort of gel. Also I heard if you have an established orchid you can put the seeds on the roots and they grow? Anyone have any information on that?

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arthurm(Sydney, NSW AUST)

No one is going to spend ages typing out these instructions on an orchid forum. There are sets of complete instructions on the net. Most growers who want to breed with their orchids send the pods to the professionals.

Having said that, i suppose those professionals started off as complete amateurs, so read up and give it a go.

Putting the seed around the roots of a mother plant is an old method where you have to be lucky to get any plants at all.

There are uncertain results with any old stray seed pod, you want to get something that might be better than the parents. Most breeding is done to a plan from a large gene pool. An orchid buddy has done some breeding with some of my orchids. He has about 1000 plants of the particular Genera and I have 300 of the same Genera. Even then it is not often that you will get orchids that are "keepers".

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 4:15AM
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I'd be surprised if your Phalaenopsis had the necessary fungus in its roots to be able to germinate the seeds symbiotically. But you never know! It sure doesn't hurt to try. Maybe when your orchid was in Taiwan (probably) the necessary fungus spores blew in and landed on it.

Personally, I was surprised when the technique worked on my tree...

If you want to increase your chances of getting the necessary helps to order orchids from places like Andy's Orchids and the Santa Barbara Orchid Estate.

I think it's also a good idea to collect and cultivate the live moss that you can sometimes find growing on orchids that you purchase.

Also, try growing miniature orchids on "bonsai" trees...

This increases the amount of surface area that you can sow the seeds on. The trick is selecting a species which has highly textured bark. The more texture the more surface area.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 7:23PM
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