The Orchid Source - Orchid Forum

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#272624 - 04/20/11 09:16 AM Moss or Bark?
cutebeka Offline
OSF Member

Registered: 04/05/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Boston
Just figured i'd ask this question. Do you prefer Moss or Bark? Is one better than the other? I have one orchid in Moss,I bought it that way and its doing great,the other 3 are in bark which they seem to be doing well too. What is your preference? I seem to have to water the ones in the bark a lil more frequent the one in moss. So i'm guessing Moss holds in more moisture. Is one really better than the other?

I guess since I only have Phal orchids i'll do this poll for Phals. Sorry about that.

Thanks Guys,
Beka
aka Boston
moss vs bark
Only one choice allowed


Votes accepted starting: 04/20/11 09:16 AM
View the results of this poll.


Edited by cutebeka (04/20/11 10:53 AM)

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#272635 - 04/20/11 10:43 AM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: cutebeka]
Spencer Aloysius Offline
Death to Orchids

Registered: 05/15/03
Posts: 567
Loc: Chicago, IL
I think you should indicate the type of orchid for this poll since some orchids needs more water while others need less. Therefore, people will choose moss or bark depending on the type of orchid (or even a different medium like perlite, vermiculite, charcoal, lava rock, hydroton, coco fiber, etc).

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#272636 - 04/20/11 10:52 AM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: Spencer Aloysius]
cutebeka Offline
OSF Member

Registered: 04/05/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Boston
I didn't even think of that oops sorry!! I only have Phals so I guess i'll go with that

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#272677 - 04/20/11 10:07 PM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: cutebeka]
Ed M Offline
OSF Platinum Member

Registered: 06/27/03
Posts: 20930
Loc: Nashville, Tennessee
There is no such thing as one best growing media "for orchids". As indicated, some orchids have particular needs. Also, there are a lot of people who refuse to change their growing methods to suit any particular orchid and so they must use a potting media that kills fewer orchids than others.

That being said, many if not most commercial Phalaenopsis orchid companies use only sphagnum moss because it produces the best results with the fewest problems.
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#272679 - 04/20/11 10:30 PM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: Ed M]
abaxter Offline
OSF Platinum Member

Registered: 07/10/03
Posts: 10213
Loc: KY
About Phals., I generally mount most Phals. upside down
on cork bark with a bit of sphagnum moss for padding.
Species Phals. in particular seem to prefer mounting in
my greenhouse.

As an afterthought, the best thing you can do for yourself
is buy a good general book on orchid culture. I highly
recommend TAYLOR'S GUIDE TO ORCHIDS by Judy White.
It's readily available at just about any good bookstore, is
inexpensive and it's a handy size to take to orchid shows
and greenhouses.


Edited by abaxter (04/20/11 10:33 PM)

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#272693 - 04/21/11 05:45 AM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: abaxter]
cutebeka Offline
OSF Member

Registered: 04/05/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Boston
I do have a book thanks,sorry for all the questions guess i'll stop asking it's probably annoying.

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#272695 - 04/21/11 10:00 AM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: cutebeka]
Rich Offline
emphyein

Registered: 05/09/03
Posts: 20521
Loc: .....once Upon a Time
No don't stop, the questions are fine.
How else are you to learn, (besides killing a few hundred devilgrin )?

That said I use both plus all sorts of other additives, specifically Sponge Rock, Charcoal, tree fern, alifor, cork chucks, (or wine ones BGIL ) all in different ratios and grades depending on the orchid I'm potting up, what works best for the orchid and how the medium allows the orchid to last till the next scheduled watering. Ditto goes for plastic or clay pots or baskets or mounting.

The orchids must fit my schedule and conditions, not the other way around. laugh
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#272697 - 04/21/11 10:10 AM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: Rich]
cutebeka Offline
OSF Member

Registered: 04/05/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Boston
Thanks Rich that made me feel good. I like both so far. 3 of mine came in bark and teh bark is pretty good and 1 came in the moss,the moss does hold the moisture so I don't have to water it as often.

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#272706 - 04/21/11 12:55 PM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: cutebeka]
jojo in minnesota Offline
Good grief!

Registered: 02/13/04
Posts: 13666
Loc: Minnesota
Right about the moss - but moss also holds a LOT of water, even when the top seems dry. Be sure and stick your finger way down in the moss to see how wet it is at the roots. Also - it needs to be repotted almost yearly and I don't know how old your moss it. It deteriorates quickly and can soon smother the roots when it packs itself down. If it smells a bit, it may be time to repot - loosely, not packed in tightly.

I've also found it helpful to have all my phals in the same medium. Once you get started with your addiction, the simpler the better. Dancin
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#272707 - 04/21/11 01:24 PM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: jojo in minnesota]
cutebeka Offline
OSF Member

Registered: 04/05/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Boston
I actually bought some bark for when I do need to repot so once i repot they will all be in the same stuff lol.Thanks for all the hints everyone!

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#272738 - 04/21/11 10:59 PM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: cutebeka]
abaxter Offline
OSF Platinum Member

Registered: 07/10/03
Posts: 10213
Loc: KY
I'm sorry, cutebeka, I didn't mean to discourage you from
asking questions. I suggested a good general culture book
to keep with you for info. and to prevent you from buying
orchids that you don't have the proper growing conditions
to make them thrive. All of us were newbies at one time or
another and wasted $$$$ on plants that were unsuitable for
our conditions. I found when I first began collecting orchids
that carrying TAYLOR'S with me to shows and greenhouses
saved me dollars and disappointment. I know when I
hit shows I need some restraint and common sense to
keep from grabbing every orchid that caught my eye.

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#272754 - 04/22/11 06:23 AM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: abaxter]
Ray Offline
Orchid Iconoclast

Registered: 05/12/03
Posts: 2140
Loc: Buckingham PA
In addition to the fact that different orchids have different needs, when choosing a potting medium, one should also consider how that plant and medium will interact with your light levels, temperatures, humidity, air movement, and even your personal habits - do you like to "mess with" your plants, or pretty much leave them alone? All of those, combined, will determine what is best for a particular plant, and it may not be best for all of your plants.
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Using logic & science
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#272791 - 04/22/11 10:29 PM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: Ray]
e.muehlbauer Offline
OSF Member

Registered: 04/18/10
Posts: 135
Loc: Queens, NY
Too many different mixes and too many plants. I use bark, sphagnum, and CHC. What mix goes to which plant depends on how they do in that mix. Paphs get bark, catts get CHC, various things get sphagnum. But since I grow in my home, no greenhouse, low humidity, its amazing what can work sometimes. I've successfully grown Vanda's in sphagnum in plastic pots. Its what worked for me, under my circumstances.

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#272798 - 04/23/11 05:14 AM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: e.muehlbauer]
Juan Miguel Offline
OSF Platinum Member

Registered: 04/02/05
Posts: 2151
Loc: gran canaria,Espaņa,SPAIN
i don't use bark anymore,i use coconuts chips in two grades or Sphagnum Moss, the moss is really fantastic for Phals and works good with Paph and almost every orchid even with Bulbophyllum than some says is anatema for they

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#272802 - 04/23/11 06:01 AM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: Juan Miguel]
cutebeka Offline
OSF Member

Registered: 04/05/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Boston
I might experiment when I need to repot. I'll do some in moss and some in bark and see which ones do better. It's dry up here right now but in the summer we do get Humid!

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#272803 - 04/23/11 06:20 AM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: cutebeka]
DenMother Offline
OSF Gold Member

Registered: 09/13/10
Posts: 510
Another thing to keep in mind... bark eventually decays to the point where it will stay wet for a long time. When it's new and fresh, bark holds very little water. Over time, it begins to break down and gradually holds more water. Once it has decayed, you have to repot or risk rot. The decay process can proceed quickly (in warm, moist environments) or more slowly, but eventually it happens.

Frankly I find moss a little tricky, to get just the right moisture level (moss can hold a lot of water as noted elsewhere), and in my environment bark breaks down too fast. So I use neither one. And I don't grow a lot of phals, but the few that I do have are all mounted. My growing conditions are humid enough to allow this.

That said, though, the recommendation to use whichever medium you prefer for all the phals is probably best -- either one will work but the watering regime for each is different.

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#273948 - 05/06/11 06:51 PM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: DenMother]
dchung Offline
OSF Member

Registered: 04/10/11
Posts: 46
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Is anyone else growing phals in a condo environment (lower humidity)? I repotted my phal. from the moss it came with to bark and it seems to dry out significantly faster.

With moss the inner regions of the mix would still remain very moist for more than 12 days, whereas the outer layer would dry out within 5-7 days.

With bark, I feel I have to water every 2-3 days. Perhaps I need to dunk the whole pot into a bucket and let it soak? Not sure if I'm going to be able to keep the humidity high enough.

Perhaps I should add a layer of moss on top of the bark?

Anyone have any similar experiences?

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#273987 - 05/07/11 04:42 AM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: dchung]
Chris-MD Offline
fast and loose

Registered: 04/14/04
Posts: 2947
Loc: MD/DC z7
dchung, yes. Because of the lower humidity indoors--and as mentioned above, the repellent nature of fresh bark, you would experience fast drying. As an indoor grower, if I'm not using S/H, I always mix bark and moss together in my own media, roughly equal parts. But it also depends on where you grow your plants. I've always been lucky with having a south facing window for growing no matter where I live (except now) so having that bit of moss in the media is definitely helpful.
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#273993 - 05/07/11 06:47 AM Re: Moss or Bark? [Re: dchung]
briguy Offline
fool

Registered: 09/29/03
Posts: 1751
Loc: no longer in paaaaaaaaawtucket...
i soak my plants for about half an hour
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