Dendrobium cuthbersonii in chilled water

orchidnickJune 27, 2010

2 month ago I got a couple of D cuthbersonii from Golden Gate Orchids. They each had a couple of flowers which they eventually lost. One is developing a new flower which is a good sign, both have lost a couple of leaves and neither is showing any signs of growth. The good news is they are still alive, the bad news is that I don't see any new growth yet.

They are in a tray of RO water bumped up to a ppm of 170 to 200 with fertilizer. They are in a cool greenhouse with plenty of air circulation. Today I put the finishing touches on a small refrigeration system which will chill the water they are sitting in.

From Ebay I got a 'Coca Cola Fridge', a small cooling box suitable for a small load of drinks. It cost $20 oplus $10 for transportation. A plastic bottle sits in there and is fed by a hose attached to an aquarium pump, the smallest they have. The water overflows into another pipe and is returned to the tray the plants sit in. The 2 pipes prevent proper closure of the fridge door so the opening is wrapped with Aluminum foil from the kitchen.

There is constant circulation and the end result is that the water in the tray should be substantially cooler than the water the rest of the plants sit in and get watered with. I will check temperatures tomorrow. I remember reading somewhere that these plants like to have their roots bathed in cold water, any comments would be appreciated.


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xmpraedicta(3b Saskatoon)

Love reading about your innovations. Looking forward to hearing the results! You really like those dend. cuthbertsoniis, don't you!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 11:47PM
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The little fridge dropped the water temp by about 15 degrees. Tepid water in the room was 75F during the heat of the day. The water in the cuthbersonii tray was 60F.

I have killed every cuthbersonii I have had so far, we'll see how these guys do.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 12:19AM
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Nick, do I understand you right. You have the plants sitting in water???
If so then take them out. They do not like WET feet. Keep in mind that these gems grow on mossy branches that may be drenched during the day but that the water still drains off.
How cool is your Cool G/H? And where are you in CA. I am in Santa Maria and about 10 miles east of the Pacific Ocean. Our area get almost daily breezes at least during the afternoon.
I have had a couple of Den. cuths for a few years and I have mine growing in small baskets-what they came in-one has not been repotted at all-the other I put into home grown osmunda root.
My plants have both new growth and new flower buds developing.
I use R/O water. Can't recall when I last fertilized them, maybe a year or so ago?? But they get shade during this time of year and less so during winter when the trees drop their leaves. I may or may not water them every day but I definitely give them a squirt of water when I spray my mosses, etc. which is roughly every three to four hours. But it depends on the day. If it is overcast and cool then nothing. On a nice warm and relatively light breeze day as this then for sure.
Your system sounds like it would be great for growing Disa.
Check out the link to see the general weather for my area. You may want to click the California link at the top of the page and see if you can locate your area for comparison.
I tend to think that Den. cuths are probably lost more to kindness than to neglect.
I am presuming that the plants you got from Tom are in bark? And congrats on the purchases. Golden Gate has excellent cultivars available. Been meaning to order some myself but got sidetracked by some personal issues.

Here is a link that might be useful: Climate Zone general info on Santa Maria CA

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 8:14PM
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I'm in the LA area, immediately north of Long Beach so definitely inland. Gets pretty hot. We exceeded 80F recently, the swamp cooler keeps it around 76 or so. I plant to add another layer of 30% Aluminet on top of what I have to further keep the heat down. Right now I have 50% shade cloth 1 foot above plastic which blocks 13%.

I have had all the rain forest plants in trays of water for over a month by now and am getting very good growth rates. The cutherbersoni are not growing but one is forming a new flower. I will take one out and leave the other so there will be a comparison, so far they seem to do OK. I watch them very closely. Use RO water but have a low dose of fertilizer added all the time. I believe that this is what Marnie Turkel does.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 2:09AM
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looks like you are about 5 to 10 degrees F warmer than us up here.
On the evaporative cooler (swamp cooler). How about piping in the chilled water into the cooler's reservoir and cool down the air with chilled water. Also your humidity levels should be up to at least 60% to 70%.
You may also run a drip system where tubing is inserted into the pot and cold water is allowed to drip through the substrate or even have timed rain cycles where the plant is inundated with coolish water throughout the day but not kept constantly wet.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 5:38PM
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All good ideas but I have to do it one step at a time. I have ordered a 30% layer of Aluminet which will be placed 1' above the existing roof. This should lower the temp somewhat.

This weekend I plan to install a sprinkler system to water the gravel floor 3 or 4 times a day. Should give some humidity. I know that's a poor man's humidity but I have not decided on a good fogger yet. I have a humidistat from the past but need to find a fogger. The humidifyer I had before was not satisfactory. It made dropplets too large and eventually everything got moist.

Any suggestions for a good fogger?

Between the Aluminet, the fogger and the moistinig down of the gravel the situation should be improved just in time for the extreeme heat of July, Aug and Sept.

There is a fairly large amount of water in the swamper, chilling that would require a real refrigerator but I like the idea.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 7:11PM
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Any suggestions for a good fogger?
Instead of a regular fogger I would opt for a water timer
with a section of hose that is capped by a fine mist fogger nozzle
there are more expensive timers that can run several cycles to turn on the mist during the day.

There is a fairly large amount of water in the swamper, chilling that would require a real refrigerator but I like the idea.
Nix the refrigerator idea and use a low budget freezer instead such as
To give you some more ideas check this link
Growing Disa

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 8:27PM
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You are a man of my heart! Lots of good ideas. I really like the Disa freezer tray, I used to grow them with varying degree of success until I just got out of it. Excellent idea that could be applied to high altitude rain forest plants. My little 'Coco Cola' fridge does not chill as much as I had hoped for.

I ordered a nozzle and will play with it. Sounds good but I need to see if my demand pump which only delivers 3 gpm develops enough pressure to work the 12 gpm nozzle. That would be the only way to deliver RO water with my existing set up. Another way would be to place a submersible sump pump inside the reservoir, hook the electricity to the humidistat, I have greater hope for something like that working as these sump pumps really put out. I envision multiple of these spray nozzles going on as the humidity drops below 7o% and bathing the plants in RO mist. I don't want to use city water for the humidity apparatus as that would defeat the whole purpose of the RO system.

For all the rest of the plants the nozzle system hooked to city water sounds like a good idea also. Right now I'm too busy with all the projects but maybe I will get into Dias again, possibly next year.

Lots of good ideas, thank you for the effort.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 9:39PM
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Thanks Nick,
I am a Den. cuth LOVER!! These are great little orchids and are relatively carefree for me. They are outside all year long even with the occasional drops into the low 30sF.
Definitely want to get some of Tom's plants once I get my budget back in order.
Do keep us informed on how your plants are doing! Keep an image log too!!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 8:30PM
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One has turned the corner, getting a new leaf and a new flower! What an achievement! The other one is just sitting there. If this were an Oncidium or a Catt, this would be taken for granted and ignored.

Reminds me of my daughter and her 4 kids. The toilet training of the first one was a major event with every milestone recorded and photographed. Stars and other incentives were handed out freely and each success applauded. The 4th one is in the process of training himself. He has discovered the kiddy pot and is using it, calling for help when he is finished. Other than helping him off he is basically being ignored. What a difference.

I'll keep you posted. Today was 90F in my backyard and humidity not measurable. Aluminet and fog nozzels are on the way.


    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 9:33PM
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