I was hunting high & low for this.
Not that they were rare or difficult to purchase.
The catch: It's price.
With due respect this plant is actually expensive (or at least for me)
Easily costing about RM55 when full bloom and in some cases
about RM30 when the flowers were spend.
(A lady in Sg. Buloh nursery was trying to push off her after blooms)
In some places you can still get those spent ones for RM10 per pot or so.
(now I really can't remember - if you were lucky to get them in Orchid Garden in KL)
Sorry about the bad introduction above.
(Consider it my pre-thoughts before the intro)
A friend of mine who loves orchids, presented me 5 of these!!!
(I often mention him when it comes to orchids - he is more like a mentor to me.)
I'm so amazed at his generosity and kindness in sharing his wealth to me.
These were given to him by his neighbour from his work-place.
(Apparently these are use-throw flowers which were used as a decor piece in his work-place)
They are the in thing about orchids.
Very popular around the hotel lobbies or anywhere that are considered luxury & exclusive. And so these were adorned and very much appear to be like a "use & throw-away plant"
Once finished blooming - its discarded and a new batch is purchased from the new month order.
And so the catch:
This plants are meant not to last very long.
The medium is fashioned in such that they don't require watering or at least very minimum watering until they had finish blooming.
Fuss free and once when done finished blooming -its thrown away.
Consider it like cut flowers, only that cut flowers may last a week and prove more expensive if they were purchased regularly on a weekly basis.
Here these flowers can bloom and last for about a month and economically cheaper if compared to cut flowers.
(Of course - some cut flowers are dirt cheap - but they only last a day or two)
Its all about Condition.
How to convert an orchid that suppose to "self-destruct" to a long lasting plant?
Answer: Change the medium.
I thought that it is just an over-exaggeration that the sphagnum moss can cause root rot and they need utmost attention - I was wrong.
The emphasis proves more than true.
Failing to do so, dooms the plant like a time bomb.
Suddenly you realise the plant is dying and that you discover the whole root base is all but rotten. You thought you can save something but it is too late. The plant was dead weeks ago and only showing its sign when you notice the leaves turning yellow.
Another sign is that you might find black circular spots on the leaves.
Sometimes at the under-leaf appearing with different colouration. If you spot these in the nurseries - don't buy them. They are infected with fungus and most likely its too late to safe anything.
Worse - you don't want to infect any other healthy orchid plant in your current collection.
This one cup of sphagnum moss look neat & well maintained.
Tucked & well behaved with nice thick roots filling in the nook & corners.
And to a unsuspecting over-zealous gardener (people like me) it would prove tempting that this plant needs water and you would want to pour a small cup of water to refresh this poor thirsty plant.
But these cups come with a vengeance.
I manage to dismantle 4 of them. All of them except one shows strong root rotting.
The three had roots rotten to the core where only the visible roots which are at the surface had escape the slaughter.
You may not notice anything suspicious by observing the outer rim.
They all are strongly rotting inside.
What appear to be a strong thick white roots going inside is just that..
The rest is a rotting mess.
The Sphagnum moss were compressed like "compressed chipped-wood" and the roots suffocate, finding itself water - it drown in the "pressed carpet" rotting away without any visible signs.
The amount of moss used is unbelievable.
It can easily make up 3-4 cups if a person intend to use it.
Its shows clearly that an organised watering scheme is practised which is controlled until this orchid grew to its matured stage.
(Only to be slaughtered with the tropical watering style - over-watering)
I have managed to fastened 4 of these on a pine branch.
(Earlier I used it for my airplants - this is the last branch available)
Here I used a small portion of Sphagnum moss fastened with coco-mesh and coconut husk. I used to work with fishing line (use it to tie up the orchids with the medium) but somehow it is difficult when it comes to knotting.
They somehow get loose when putting a knot.
And the messy factor of arranging them in looping to strengthen the whole orchid something prove futile when the orchid slops on the wood piece.
A thick binding string (sold in stationary shops) really helped me a lot.
I just have to do one fastening and another for the final loop and the whole thing is so stable and tight.
(The last time I used the fishing line for the miniature dendrobium tying it with coconut husk and over time the husk fell off from the orchid piece)
Eventually these roots will take over and fastened naturally around the coconut husk and the wood piece. By then - the strings will slowly dis-integrate by time..
I was running tight with time.
This was done yesterday at 11.30pm and I manage to finish it only at 2.00am.
However, it was very effective using this binding string as it saved a lot of time.
(I only planned to hang one orchid for that day but got over-zealous and managed to do four)
Looks like I can manage to squeeze the last piece at the bottom. May only able to work at it when it is in the hanging position as the rest of the 4 pieces gave me some tough time balancing the wood using my legs - to hold it up-right.
And lastly, I used cable tie to fasten all the spikes together.
Normally these are trimmed off in the nurseries.
My idea is hoping that at least one of it bears out a kelki
(a baby plant spawning from the flower spike) for me to cherish.
My earlier experience, I realise that the leaves will eventually drop and be replaced by the new but smaller sized ones. This shows that the plant is heavily sprayed with growth hormones and other chemicals, often leads to its destruction.
The other thing is that, I usually fastened these types upside down to make sure there is no chance of crown rot when watering was done. Here I doubt I can manage to do that as its just too messy to work in that direction.
Hopefully the plant picks up itself and let nature takes its course.
Thank you Edward for these lovely Orchids.