The Orchid Forum, for the UK and Europe (previously known as The UK Orchid Forum) • View topic - Calling all Rockwool users..................
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:29 am 
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........if there are any of you left ???

This seems to have fallen out of fashion after being quite popular a few years ago, I rarely see it mentioned now regarding orchids.

I've just re-started using it on a small scale but so far, only for pleuro-type plants (Pleurothallis, Restrepia, Stelis, Lepanthes etc) as they seem to like it.

It would be good to know if others use it, which plants they grow in it and how they use it ?

I've never been sure how tightly to pack it or how often it is watered, I know it should never dry out but do you water every day even though it may still be damp ?

Steve


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:40 pm 
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I believe a lot of Phrag growers use it because it stays nice and wet but aerated and doesn't break down.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:40 am 
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Steve, I use it for all of my cymbidium seedlings straight from flask and for about half of them when they are potted on pre flowering. These plants would typically stay in rockwool for about 4 years from deflasking. After this time I find that the rockwool is breaking down and I either repot in fresh rockwool or bark.
I do not pack it tightly at all. No pressing down, I just tap the side of the pot to settle it in. As for watering I water much less than I do with bark. It holds water well and does not need watering in the same way as bark.
I find it difficult to use to repot mature plants as the cubes do not flow well around and inside s good root ball. Bark does this job better.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:19 pm 
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Hi Kev & Terry !

Thanks for your feedback, reason for asking is that I was looking for an alternative to sphagnum which can age & rot quite badly.
My thinking is that Rockwool has that similar fibrousy texture to moss but hopefully being inert, it won't rot as quickly although I know it can grow its own carpet of moss quite quickly.

I can imagine trying to re-pot a mature, thick-rooted plants like Cyms or Paphs in Rockwool, its so light I would think there would be quite a log-jam of it around the roots and not reaching the bottom of the pot without a helluva lot of poking & prodding?

At the moment, I'm just trying it with a few fine-rooted plants, just received some nifty shallow clear pots to try them with!

Steve


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:12 pm 
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Steve,

It really works best for plants that like a lot of water. Be careful with feed as salts can build up if you don't flush properly.

I'm considering trying a couple of Coelogyne in it but haven't plucked up the courage yet!

Terry,

I'm pretty sure you can get rockwool in different forms than just cubes. I haven't looked in detail yet, but im sure I remember seeing a finer grade of material that might work better for your purposes?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:35 pm 
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Telipogon wrote:
Steve,
It really works best for plants that like a lot of water. Be careful with feed as salts can build up if you don't flush properly.
I'm considering trying a couple of Coelogyne in it but haven't plucked up the courage yet!

Terry,
I'm pretty sure you can get rockwool in different forms than just cubes. I haven't looked in detail yet, but im sure I remember seeing a finer grade of material that might work better for your purposes?

Hi Kev !

Yes, that's why I thought I'd give it a go as I always seem to be watering my restrepias (daily!) so wanted to cut down on the watering hoping the rockwool will stay damp for longer.
I guess rockwool is no different to bark then as bark is always recommended to have a flush trough for the same reason?
I know there are some coelogynes that do seem to like a lot of water, some even sitting in it. I know my ochracea was probably one of those as the bulbs were always shrivelled!
I think the finer rockwool was known as Grodan (a Trade name for the finer rockwool before they branched out into the cubes and slabs).

Steve


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 1:10 pm 
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Grodan...Yes, that's the stuff.

Bark chips do hang on to a bit of nutrient, but nowhere near so much as rockwool. The problem with rockwool for me is that I mostly have to run the gauntlet of hydroponic shops to find it and no matter how many times I say its for growing orchids, nobody believes me!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 3:47 pm 
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Telipogon wrote:
The problem with rockwool for me is that I mostly have to run the gauntlet of hydroponic shops to find it and no matter how many times I say its for growing orchids, nobody believes me!

No, I don't either :shock:
You're obviously a very shifty looking character then Kev ! :lol:
But I know what you mean, think I've already mentioned that the assistant in my local hydroponic asked me "Wot are orchids?" when he asked me what I was growing. :roll:
I'm still waiting for the Police to break down my front-door because I've been told they have heat-sensitive cameras in their helicopters which can pick up the heat from HID lights. :violence-uzi:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:22 pm 
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Most likely.

Yes, I'm waiting for a raid, too. They will be sorely disappointed if they do, though. They'll probably head straight for you though, as I only use CFL lights (and an experimental LED fitting).

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:54 pm 
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To All
Rockwool is simply a medium but people look at it and become afraid as it looks like cottonwool. Fear about the medium puts many people off. Growing is all about the air in the pot and the substrate used. I grow lots of plants in this medium from paph sanderianum ( no paphs grow in rockwool) to odonts to cattleyas to cymbidiums to a few other plants in my collection. If you grow with the eye you will have no problem but if you grow with a computer /orchid books for your info you will struggle
Brian


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:00 pm 
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Brian-G wrote:
To All
Rockwool is simply a medium but people look at it and become afraid as it looks like cottonwool. Fear about the medium puts many people off. Growing is all about the air in the pot and the substrate used. I grow lots of plants in this medium from paph sanderianum ( no paphs grow in rockwool) to odonts to cattleyas to cymbidiums to a few other plants in my collection. If you grow with the eye you will have no problem but if you grow with a computer /orchid books for your info you will struggle
Brian


I couldn't agree more Brian/
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:31 am 
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Brian-G wrote:
If you grow with the eye you will have no problem but if you grow with a computer/orchid books for your info you will struggle
Brian

Agree and I like your thinking Brian but beginners have to start somewhere so computers & books aren't bad for a start, then as you become more experienced & confident, you can stop relying on the books and start moving the goal-posts using your own experiences.

Steve


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:13 am 
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Growing in rockwool requires a different 'eye' to growing in bark.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:41 pm 
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Telipogon wrote:
Growing in rockwool requires a different 'eye' to growing in bark.

To All
Growing with the eye is about what you see when you look at a plant. The medium is irrelevant. Your eye is the key to growing a quality plant. Grow/look/absorb/understand what your plant is telling you. Once you have the intuition orchid growing is the most satisfying hobby one could ever wish for as they will test your brain until the day you die.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:49 pm 
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Never a truer word spoken.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:50 am 
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Brian-G wrote:
The medium is irrelevant.

Rightly or wrongly I've always thought this, the medium just being something a plants anchors itself to in order to stop itself being blown/washed away like Brushwood across a Texas desert, and why I've slowly gone over to Clay Balls and looking more at Rockwool?
But I'll still happily use Bark, just received some Orchiata for the first time after seeing it mentioned here

Steve


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:28 pm 
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Whatever medium one uses is all about suiting the environment and care regime operating where the plant lives. Remember too, there are two types of rockwool cubes - absorbent and non-adsorbent. In fact I mix cubes with bark if I want more moisture retention for certain odontoglossums but have found that sole rockwool gradually excludes air at the roots.
As for orchiata, my view is that it is an over priced rip-off. Orchids just need a medium which admits air to hold them. I use Melcourt bark which is just £19 delivered for 70 ltrs instead of nearly £30 for 40 ltrs plus delivery. But then orchiata has been carted half way around the world and is available only from a single supplier who sets the price, whereas Melcourt is high quality and produced mostly in the UK. Just the latest fad which gives no more culture advantage than anything else - I know people who grow in pebbles or cork very successfully. As for claims that one needs to repot only every 4/5 years just ask yourself....would you leave a plant in the same compost without examining roots and/or nasties for that long?


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