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:-
Keeping the seedlings warm
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