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Author Topic: Bottom watering Pleiones  (Read 1861 times)

Alex

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Bottom watering Pleiones
« on: March 03, 2013, 10:20:34 AM »
Hi all,

I am totally convinced of the benefits of bottom-watering for all my plants (I'm counting plunging as a sort of bottom-watering here...) except Pleiones. It provides constant moisture, keeps the neck of the plant fairly dry and not least is *much* less labour-intensive. Recently, I have been wondering whether Pleiones might be amenable to this approach as well? I have grown the geophytic types like this (scopulorum, yunnanensis) for a few years with I think great results, but about the others I'm not so sure. Does anyone have any comments? Would the more epiphytic Pleiones like constant moisture of this type, or do they maybe appreciate wet-dry cycles for some reason (perhaps mimicking frequent cloudbursts in habitat?). Any comments very welcome.....

Cheers,

Alex
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 10:22:05 AM by Alex »

Maren

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Re: Bottom watering Pleiones
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 10:24:34 AM »
Hello Alex,

I have a selection of pleiones growing in my 'office', a glorified shed with a see-through roof, where I store my pleione pseudobulbs during the winter. They are mainly P. praecox and its hybrids and those special treasures I want to keep at home so that I can look at them without having to travel 12 miles to my nursery.

The pleiones are potted in plastic pots, bowls or seed trays and they sit in large plastic gravel trays (without gravel) right underneath the roof. It is quite impossible to water them with a decent sized watering can, therefore I just pour water into the tray from a 2 litre jug and let the plants help themselves. Once poured, the plants sit in a few millimeters of water, which is soon taken up by the compost. Depending on the season, I do this once or several times a week.

I add fertiliser at every other watering, using rainwater whenever I can, but sometimes I run out and have to use tap water, which in our area is very hard and chalky.

When it comes to re-potting, I give the trays a good clean, because at the end of the growing season they are covered in chalk / fertiliser deposit and the odd grain of dust, I imagine.

This regime works well for me, but I have to keep a very close eye to check (by lifting the receptacle) that every plant gets watered and none get too much.
Maren in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom - Zone 8

http://www.heritageorchids.co.uk/

Alex

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Re: Bottom watering Pleiones
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 10:48:33 AM »
Thanks very much for that, Maren - that sounds like exactly what I was wondering about. So, just to clarify, they never get overhead water? And how do they do compared to their more traditionally-grown counterparts at your nursery? Do you find bulbs reach a comparable size and are they cleaner looking (fewer brown spots)?

It also sounds like these bottom watered plants comprise the more unusual types, and species which are considered more difficult - is that right?

Sorry for all the questions, but I'm glad to have found someone that's tried it and don't want to miss the chance to get some info!

Cheers,

Alex

Maren

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Re: Bottom watering Pleiones
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2013, 11:54:45 AM »
Now that you mention it, yes the bulbs tend to be cleaner. But they don't multiply any better than the ones watered conventionally. They only get overhead water if the pots have become too dry / light. That usually applies to the very small pots e.g. 7 x 7 cm. Then they get a dribble from a very small watering can. I have to stand on a stool to reach them and usually hit my head against the roof. ;D

There are many other factors to consider like summer temperatures, and light levels. The ones I have chosen to grow this way are mainly autumn/winter flowering pleiones that need a bit more warmth like P. praecox and its hybrids like Barcena, x lagenaria, Sangay, Slender Loris, Tarawera, Tsingtau. I also have a few P. maculata hybrids in there, like P. Liz Shan, Riah Shan etc, which are kept in the warmer end. All grow equally well. Pure P. maculata are kept in my kitchen for warmth.

The only other and rather crucial point to mention is that plants must be re-potted every year. If they are not, the compost will shrink and form a solid mass in the pot, and it no longer reaches the bottom of the pot, where it would soak up the water. Been there, got the t-shirt...
 ;) ;) ;)
« Last Edit: March 04, 2013, 11:58:36 AM by Maren »
Maren in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom - Zone 8

http://www.heritageorchids.co.uk/

Alex

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Re: Bottom watering Pleiones
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2013, 10:15:51 PM »
Thanks very much, Maren. I guess the praecox/maculata types are as epiphytic as any, so if bottom watering suits these then it would potentially suit most or all of the others too. I am going to put it to the test this year.....I wonder if it could even help me grow those that currently don't like me (forrestii) better?

Cheers,

Alex

Maren

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Re: Bottom watering Pleiones
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2013, 05:23:56 AM »
Hi Alex,

A friend of mine grows his maculata in pond bowls (the ones with holes in the sides). He dunks the bowls until all bubbles disappear and puts them back on the staging. I have tried that and failed, probably didn't dunk often enough.
I've since reverted back to ordinary bowls. I potted them in late December and watered them with with an addition of a few drops of Superthrive. They took off with gusto, never seen such immediate and sustained response, leaves are now 12cm tall.
 
I suggest you don't put all you eggs in one basket. And you still need to check that your plants are getting enough/not too much water.

Good luck. :) :) :)
Maren in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom - Zone 8

http://www.heritageorchids.co.uk/

Alex

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Re: Bottom watering Pleiones
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2013, 11:20:40 AM »
Thanks again, Maren.

Your maculata sound like they're doing well. In previous seasons, mine have also had good leaves at this time, but this year they and all the other Autumn/Einter flowered are only just starting to grow leaves. Flowers were *much* later in all cases too, praecox in January!! I grow them on the same heated propagator bases as ever, I wonder what's going on? I do hope it's not sinister :-\

Maren

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Re: Bottom watering Pleiones
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2013, 12:54:37 PM »
Hi Alex,
give them some breakfast. The ones I have that didn't get the superthrive are only just showing leaftips.
 :) :) :)
Maren in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom - Zone 8

http://www.heritageorchids.co.uk/

Alex

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Re: Bottom watering Pleiones
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2013, 04:18:02 PM »
Ahh, I see, only the Superthrive-assisted bulbs are taking off. I'll give mine something, maybe not Superthrive but something with nutritional value anyway.

Cheers,

Alex

 


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