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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:15 pm 
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Hello all,

This is my first post; have been reading the forum for a while now though; firstly wanted to say thanks to everyone for all the knowledge and info I have found on the forum which has have helped me get this far, so thought it past time to start adding some posts myself.

I have started on a project to germinate some Phalaenopsis seeds on both homemade and bought medium, more about that later... I have been patiently waiting for 6 months for my seed pods to ripen and finally I have been able to have a go at trying to grow some in flasks.

During the 6 month wait for the pods I have tried out a few stem propagations using bought medium (P1056) with some success, 2 out of 7 worked. For the stem props I used 2 and 1/2 cm test tubes with a bung at the top which has a hole all the way through it. I sealed the end with some cotton and a plaster to allow gas exchange. Of the failures 2 of the 7 got contaminated, the other 3 just didn't grow and went brown and looked dead. I did harvest the Phalaenopsis stem at the end of flowering and I think you can get better results if you use a younger stem.

For the stem propagations I followed Dennis Grieves guide on the Suffolk Orchid Society http://suffolkorchid.co.uk/Stem%20Propagation%20pdf.pdf which is very well written and informative.

Here are some pics of the stem propagation:

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I will be taking the stem baby out into the big world very soon into some sphagnum moss to grow on. Being a stem prop the plant will have the same flower as its parent or is it older brother/sister? Which is probably my favourite Phalaenopsis see pic:

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Will add some more info on my flasking experiments and how they are getting on, have got a sea of green protocorms after two weeks so fingers crossed.

Bye for now,
Paul.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:15 pm 
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That is an adorable baby plant (and a pretty flower to clone, I'd have done so too!), and the achievement is very impressive - how did you manage stem sterilization and keeping the air sterile when sealing the tubes in home conditions?

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:03 pm 
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Hi Lilith,

The test tubes went into the pressure cooker for 15 mins with the bungs loose and plasters on before going into the cooker . The bung was then quickly closed and left for a week to check for contamination. No problems with that stage, I kept them in a sandwich bag to keep the tubes as sterile as possible.

The stems were scrubbed with a toothbrush in a 50 % bleach / distilled water mix for about two mins. I then removed the bract on the stem making sure all of it was removed . They then sat in a 10 % bleach water mix for 10 mins. The ends of the stems were then cut where the bleach had soaked into the stem. They got a final rinse in distilled water that had been through the pressure cooker so that was sterile.

The putting them into the tubes was done in a sandwich bag in my old aquarium glovebox. Used scissor tongs to put the stem in and closed the bung quickly. Tongs passed through a little methane burner to make them sterile.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:50 pm 
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Thanks for posting this information. I may not have the patience to do what you have, but I enjoy reading about what is possible to achieve at home and look forward to hearing how you get on.
I agree with Lilith, it is a lovely looking Phalaenopsis. :romance-hearteyes:

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:32 pm 
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That phal was bought from Mike at boden orchids, http://bodenorchids.co.uk/index.htm he has some very very nice orchids.

You definitely need patience and lots of trial and error. I pollenated 33 phalaenopsis flowers and one tolumnia. I dont know what the success rate other people have had on pollenating phals, woudl be interesting to know, but of those only 6 phals formed pods that grew to 6 months maturity. The one attempt at the Tolumnia produced a seed pod and it was self pollenated with pollen from the same plant.

So for the flasks I have tried two homemade recipes, one banana based and one potato based and also a bought medium.

The recipes I used are as follows:
Banana Based Recipe
    140g Banana puree (I used baby food - Ella's kitchen sachets)
    10g Agar
    15g Sugar
    100mg Tiamin tablet (Vitamin B1)
    800ml De-ionised water (Battery top up water)
    100ml Coconut Water (Shop bought jar)

Potato Based Recipe
    300g liquidised potato with peel left on
    30g Honey
    900ml De-ionised water (Battery top up water)
    100ml Coconut Water (shop bought jar)
    10g Agar
    15g Banana Puree

Well the banana recipe turned out okay, sealed the flasks empty for a week and no contamination. With the potato recipe when it went into the pressure cooker to sterilise the flasks it all boiled over and made a big mess, maybe it is something to do with the thickness of the mixture with the potatoes in it? I did manage to keep a few potato flask but stragely all got contaminated so the potato will no longer take part in this experiment.

I also made up some of the bought medium which was easy to use and make after the potato fiasco. All were left for a week to check for contamination. For both the homemade banana medium and bought medium there was no contamination in any of the jars using my aquarium on its side glove box. I now leave it open at the front, tried gloves and sealing it but it is too difficult to manouver around.

I checked the ph using some test strips and adjusted the ph to 5.8 using citric acid and sodium bicarbonate.

Three and a half weeks ago I opened the first seed pod and using the green pod I cut it open and put some seed into the jars. I used 2 banana flasks and 2 bought medium flasks per pod in case of contamination.

Here are some pics of two flasks - 3 1/2 weeks after flasking.

Banana Recipe Flask with Phalaenopsis Seeds
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Bought Medium Flask with Phalaenopsis Seeds
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As you can see so far so good, might have put a few too many seeds in the flasks!! But both are germinating and looking okay at the moment. I would say that the bought medium flask has protocorns that look greener than the homemade medium at the moment.

I have had a few contaminations so, probably 6 jars out of 30 I would say so far.

The flasks are near two small lamps which I leave on all day and night, both have led bulbs so cheap to run.

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What will be interesting is the crosses, four of the pods have the same parents, pollen from parent A and flower from parent B and pollen from Parent B and flower from parent A. I wonder if the babies will be similar, does it make a difference if the pollen comes from one or the other?

Also have no idea what the babies will look like from these crosses, are there any rules as to what colours are dominant?

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Will update as things progress, not sure yet about re-flasking, probably going to have to do it at some point as I put too much seed in I think...


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:26 pm 
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Wow, what am amazing thread. I have wondered about doing something like this but I lack the conditions that are required. Good luck and fingers crossed for you. I hope that you get some great results.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:28 pm 
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Paul it is very interesting reading your thread so thanks for taking the time to put the info up. I have sometimes thought about trying a few stem props but I never got around to doing it, mainly I think because I do not grow phals particularly well and they are the only orchid that lends itself to stem props with the nodes lined up neatly along the stem.

I have grown catts from seed but that is it.

You asked if it makes any difference, between A x B or B x A. First of all in naming the crosses AxB = BxA with the first letter indicating the seed parent and the second the pollen parent.

As far as looks go then from what I am told (I have no first hand experience) the seed parent is usually more dominant that the pollen, particularly when it comes to size and shape of the flowers. With colour I am not so sure as I think some plants tend to dominate colour more than others. Anyway in just a single cross you are very likely to get many different looking flowers so much so that it is hard to believe that they are the same cross. Somewhere I do have several pics of a single phal cross showing great variation in the flowers. I will look for them.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:31 pm 
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Ref my previous reply all of these flowers came from a single cross. I did not make the cross but bought them as a single flask and flowered them out. You can see how different they are. What I do not know is what the parents are as the cross, as stated when I bought it, should have produced yellow blooms from two yellow parents.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:43 pm 
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Wow Terry, really interesting, can't quite believe that you had so much variance from one seed pod. There is alot of similarity in the colouring but the markings are so different.

Just hope I can get them to flowering size, will be especially interesting seeing the difference between the seed parent and pollen parent.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 5:28 pm 
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This is super interesting. Thanks for sharing. I've triedmthensame but guess jar got contaminated when inserting the seed, also too much condensation - not sure how to get rid of that without contaminating the jars.

Tried the banana one 6 jars. Guess need to keep trying, crossing plants, primary hybrids and species with complex hybrids are my favourite crosses, hope to give them my name one day lol.

Thanks for posting, keeps me interested to try doing it again. can I just ask a few questions please?

Where do you buy your ready media?
Does it arrive in the flask already?
Do you just tip your aquarium on its side and transfer the seeds directly or do you do the bleaching/sterilise before putting the seed in the jar?

Thanks
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:26 pm 
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Some really interesting stuff! I am too lazy and over crowded with phals to create crosses. If I had a really special one it would be cool to make stem props though, thanks for the info :D .

I have no idea how your crosses will bloom out. You have crossed what look to be complex hybrids,anything could happen. Thanks for posting your grown up phals from your flask Criketerry. I love seeing variation between siblings.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:38 am 
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Diogo, I'll try and answer your questions, my info is from what I have learned so far, a very long way from being an expert!

You mention you get condensation, there doesn't seem to be much in my flasks. This might be due to allowing gas exchange? What I did is drill a hole in the centre of the lid, 5mm in diameter. I have then stuck a plaster on the inside and outside of the lid. I found this tip on the internet somewhere, the brand recommened was Nexcare Active 360 plasters manufactured by 3M, got mine from Amazon.co.uk. These go through the pressure cooker and stick real good you can re-use the lids again with the same plasters apparently.

I have also had contamination in my flasks, in fact I am trying to see if catching it early and quickly spooning out the contaminated area will work. I heated a spoon over a flame and quickly opened the lid spooned out the contamination and closed again. No success with that, all develop further contamination. :(

You asked where I got the ready media. I tried Sigma-Aldridge http://www.sigmaaldrich.com but was not able to order from them as you need to be a company.
I have bought some in small quantities from a couple of web sites:
http://www.ratcliffeorchids.co.uk Sells seed sowing kits and media.
http://www.laminarflow.at The website has an english version but the media is in german, can translate using google translate. They were very helpful with my queries.
http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/ajorchids/ On ebay from America I think this is the orchid seedbank project. http://www.orchidseed.com/.

If anyone knows of other places to get media, please let me know.

It comes as a powder, some will have the agar in it. You have to add the water and heat, I just use a cooking pot. I found ebay a great place to source cheap equipment. I got a small weighing scale, scissor tongs, fine tweesers, scalpel handle and pack of blades, (to cut open the pod), and a small meth burner. I also got citric acid and sodium bicarbonate for adjsting pH and some pH strips for saliva & urine for measuring the pH. Actually I havn't needed to adjust the pH in both the bought and homemade media seems to be between 5.6 and 5.8 without adjustment.

So the proceedure of putting the seeds into the flasks....
The flasks are prepared a week in advance, I keep them in sandwich bags after they come out the pressure cooker so that they stay as sterile as possible. The aquarium is turned on its side, and wiped with a 50% bleach and distilled water mix and left for 15 mins or so.

I then prepare the seed pod, scrub it with a 50% bleach water mix with a toothbrush. Then with the scissor tongs dip it in meths and pass it over the burner a couple of times, flame only lasts a few seconds so doesn't burn the pod. With an unopened pod the seeds should be sterile inside. ;)

The flasks are then removed and put into the aquarium at the back, I did about 4 flasks per pod. the scalpel tweesors and scissor tongs sit in a jar of 50% bleach/ water and are passed through the meth burner each time before they are used.

The pod is placed on a bleach wiped saucer and cut in half length ways. using the fine tongs I then take some seed packing and open the flask and shake some seeds into the flask and then close it. I dont put the lid down I hold it in my left hand and then close it as quickly as possible.

I have then kept the remaining seed in an envelope in the fridge inside a jar. What I will try next is sowing where you have to sterilise the seed, I have been able to use sterile seed from a green seed pod up to now.

I have found a really good book that has helped me see Growing Orchids from Seed by Philip Seaton and Margaret Ramsay.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Growing-Orchids-Seed-Philip-Seaton/dp/1842460919/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345541535&sr=8-1

Next time I use it I will take some pics of the aquarium setup and my equipment.


Last edited by crystalorchid on Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:56 am 
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Rakki - yes probably not what an expert would cross, as with most people I started with NOIDs and that was what was in flower, now the hobby has taken hold, well you know how it is.... :roll:

What I want to do is cross some species to make primary hybrids, I am waiting for them to grow... :yawn:

I am trying another experiment with the stems putting them in some wet spagnum moss with water and feed to see if they will grow out side of the test tube. I read somewhere that in some cases people have had keikis from that. Will let you know if that has any success, would be much easier that the test tubes.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:10 am 
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Hi We have ready to use germination mediums for sale on our web site www.kirksorchids.co.uk we also can supply poly lids, we can produce any germination or re-plate medium either for tropical or hardy orchids for example Harvaris, Steele, Anders,BM1, BM2, Hyponex


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:22 pm 
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Hi steve46 - thanks, have just ordered some from you does that include the water? What water do you use? I'm have been using battery top up water, I guess that is just distilled water.

For replating how many protocorns would you transfer to a new flask? I know you might have say 10 plants per flask but would you initially transfer more in the expectation some might die?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:31 pm 
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crystalorchid wrote:
Rakki - yes probably not what an expert would cross, as with most people I started with NOIDs and that was what was in flower, now the hobby has taken hold, well you know how it is.... :roll:


Hahahah yeah we have all been there! I remember crossing two Noids just because I could. I was too lazy to grow the seed and the pod was wasted. The hobby takes hold fast and soon you end up with loads of orchids, and no room to grow out seedlings! This is what stops me hybridising :roll: ...well this and the lazyness and disliking of very tiny seedlings :lol: . I admire your go for it attitude, your going to have a lot of phals when your done :lol: .


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:57 pm 
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Hi crystalorchid, I have just sent you an email, As it is good to talk could you please ring me the number is in the email i will ring you back


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:32 pm 
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Hi Paul,

Thank you for explaining. I will try that again. I have no aquarium need to find something else suitable... lol.


rakki wrote:
I love seeing variation between siblings.


Me too Rakki, it's such fun!!
Have you seen my article on the OSGB journal last week about the variation in hybrids at my visit to I-Hsin orchids in Taiwan?

Such pretty plants and how curious - stem propagation and not cross breeding, even more interesting!

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:58 pm 
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Here is my old glove box if any one is interested
height at back 24 inch
height at front 12inch
width 21 inch
depth 20 inch
arm holes 6 inch diameter
conti board 18mm sealed seams in side with bath sealer is better than a fish tank on side as no air movement when working i can replate about 20 jars at a time it cost around £60 to build


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:01 am 
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Diogo wrote:
rakki wrote:
I love seeing variation between siblings.


Me too Rakki, it's such fun!!
Have you seen my article on the OSGB journal last week about the variation in hybrids at my visit to I-Hsin orchids in Taiwan?



:o ! Is it anywhere online ??? As I can't seem to find it :cry: .


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