Home made Humidifier
This is really easy to make, You require 4 to 6 lightweight building blocks, a large plastic tray to hold a good quantity of water, mine is a home made 4x1 timber box double lined with heavy gauge plastic . Make a tunnel with the blocks, shape the front to allow the hot/warm air from your fan or heater easy access through the blocks. Drill lots of holes nearly all the way through the blocks these will allow the water to penetrate deep into the blocks so that the block becomes saturated. Set up a water drip over the top of the blocks , the warmth created by the heater soaks into the structure releasing humidity long after the heat turns off! Take all necessary safety precautions !!!!!!!!
Growing in a double pot
Tolumnia grown in a double pot, the space between the two pots holds high humidity ideal for rapid root growth.
Stan Watts Mounted Phalaenopsis Seedlings!
The most difficult part of mounting orchids on wood is choosing the right piece. It can be a formal shape; rectangular, square etc. or an irregular shape like a piece of bog wood (used in decorating fish tanks) or driftwood. To use driftwood you need to be fairly close to a beach and if that isn't the case buy a piece of bog wood will be easier but you probably wont be able to chose which piece you like the best unless you visit a pet shop. For the purposes of this article we will be using a piece or pieces of driftwood from the beach. You will also need sphagnum moss, fishing line/strimmer line and your plant to do it the way I've done it. You can, of course, alter the way you do it to suit your own purposes. The very first thing you need to do is find the wood that you will be using. A walk on the beach can be as relaxing a pastime as any and you can get some exercise while you search. It may well take you several walks over a few weeks before you find the driftwood that will be home to your plant. A tip; go to the beach after there have been gales blowing onshore for a few days because that's when you will have the best choice of wood that's been washed ashore. It may be that you don't find the ideal piece so what you can do is collect wood of similar shape and colour and you can glue or fix them all together to make one larger piece. If you use glue make sure it doesn't contain any fungicides that will kill your orchid. Keep in mind the likely size of your plant when it is mature and keep the wood in proportion to the plant. A four foot piece of wood with a five in plant will look ridiculous. Oddly, a large plant on a small bit of wood can be dramatic and beautiful! Once you have your wood you need to clean the wood of any debris such as seaweed and sand etc. Then you need to soak the wood for several weeks in a bucket of fresh water that is changed daily. Once that is done you should then disinfect the wood with any proprietary cleaner such as bleach and scrub the wood thoroughly and wash off the bleach. A spray with a fungicide such as Physan or Murphy's Traditional Copper Fungicide is also recommended to kill any residual mould or spores. When the wood is clean and dry you then have to decide how you're going to display your mounted wood. Hold it up in several positions to find the position that you like the best. When you have decided you will then have to drill a hole for the chain or rope that you will be using. You may decide to use a different method to hang your wood such as an eye and hook. I used fishing line with a 10lb breaking strength because it's less noticeable and doesn't distract the eye. It doesn't have to be 10lb breaking strength as long as it's fit for the job. If the line is only, say, 2lb strength use the line doubled. Fix whatever you have decided to use first to your wood and then take the plant out of its pot. Spread some of the dampened moss over the area where your plant will be. Make it a nice deep bed of moss so your plants roots will have some connection with the moss to keep the roots moist. If you are using one or more Phalaenopsis set them out on the wood to find where you like their final positions. Remember, your plant will be on there a long time and if you get it wrong it may not be so easy to fix once the roots have bonded themselves to the surface of the wood. Cut a length of line. Be VERY careful if using thin fishing line because it will act like a cheese cutting wire and go straight through the plants roots and that could spell disaster. Strimmer line might be better to use since it is thicker. It is also very much more awkward to use. Place your plant onto the bed of moss and then add more moss on top to cover the roots. If it is a Phalaenopsis point it downward in a natural fashion so that water won’t sit in the crown of the plant and possibly lead to it rotting. Then take the length of line you just cut and tie it firmly but gently around the wood and plant. Repeat this as often as necessary to securely fix the plant to the wood. Keep the moss between the line and the roots and that way you'll most likely avoid damaging the roots. I have no doubt that in a few months time the moss will be worthless but the roots will have grown a great deal – this is what I am aiming for. The moss is simply serving as a water reservoir until there are enough roots to support the plant. Great looking displays take a lot of attention to get them to that stage. You will have to spray your newly mounted plant several times a day and you may well wonder why you took this on but it will be worth it in the end. Growing on wood or any other material is more like nature intended and you won’t over water your plant like you most likely did when it was in the pot. You will also have to soak your plant or rinse it very well once a month like you did when it was in the pot to rid it of any build up or fertiliser salts.
Both these articles will be updated on a regular basis!