Keeping Your Seedlings Alive

       Some tip that may increase the chances of their survival


              Over recent months, I have done a number of de-flasking demos in

              response to member's requests. These have usually been received well

              by the members and I am pleased to be of assistance where I can. But

              It seems to me, that the problems of seedling survival are only beginning

              at de-flasking. Inside the flask, the seedlings are in a relatively safe

              environment, but the moment they are de-flasked, they are thrust into

              the big wide world, and must learn to cope with all the vagaries that

              life can throw at them.


              I have been reasonably successful in keeping seedlings alive from the

              de-flasking point onwards mainly due to a relatively few factors.

                        These factor are:-

                                                       Using Envy

                                                       Keeping the seedlings warm

                                                       Not overwatering

                                                       The use of fungicides where necessary



               Envy is a product that puts a coating on the plants that helps them stop

               drying out. If you can imagine a coating of thin plastic on the plant,

               you are well on the way to understanding how this works.


               Keeping the seedlings warm is probably the most important point in

               keeping them alive.

               Just how to achieve this end, is up to the individual. I grow mine in a

               heated hot house. Not everybody has or wants a hot house. But you must

               take some measures to keep the seedlings warm. This may mean using a

               heating pad underneath the plants. If you go this way be sure that there

               is a thermostat attached to the unit and that it is set so that the seedlings

               do not get overheated. Before the orchids are put in place, find the correct

               temperature by trial and error using a temp. gauge. If you have neither

               of the above conveniences, you could try growing them in a warm spot in

               your house. Beware the cat and dog. They will happily knock over your

               small orchids without a second thought.

               Should you be unable to grow them in the house, I can only suggest that

               you grow them where you can and keep them out of any cold winds and rain.


               Which brings me to the water factor. The best way to encourage fungal or

               bacterial invasions, is to keep them cold and wet. You must take great care

               not to overwater these tiny plants, for fungal infections can move extremely   

               quickly. Obviously, you must water them at some time or another but try to

               do it in such a manner as to allow that part of the seedlings above the mix, to

               dry out reasonably quickly. 


               Ok. So you did all of the above and they still fungled on you. The fallback

               position is fungicide. Use it sparingly and with great care. Read the label.

               Before using it, clear any seedlings contaminated with fungus out of the   

               compot. They are dead. Even fungicide cannot revive them.


               A word of caution. You may well do all of the above and still loose the lot.

               It happens. (It happens to me) For whatever reason, it seems that some

               seedlings when de-flasked, are determined to die. Rest easy in the knowledge

               that you did the best you could.

               And when you have success…eureka.  Happy growing


                                                                                              Tony Watkinson