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Flask Any Tom, Dick or Harry (or Gary) can deflask orchids. Open the lid, tip them out and wash the agar off the roots. The difficult part is keeping them alive after this. In the flask the plants are in a completely sterile environment and when we deflask, they are open to all the elements. Your "little babies" should have a good root system before contemplating extracting them from their little incubator.

I have used a number of methods with varying success. My latest and greatest method is

1) wash them
AND 2) lay on damp newspaper in a polystyrene box.

I have found that the most important element for success is to keep them moist, but not too wet or too dry. You need to keep the newspaper damp and place it in a sheltered section of your shadehouse and wait for the roots to start growing (ie the tips of the roots become green).

From time to time I have sprayed the little "suckers" with Envy as this puts a coating on them and protects them from drying out. At the moment I am not doing this, I believe that this environment allows me to keep them at the right moisture level. When I see the roots growing I pot them into 50mm pots using a mixture of sphagnum moss and perlite. I have found this method to be the most successful way of lessening the attrition rate. Ideally, when you buy a flask look for similar sized plants.

Buying flasks is the most economical way of purchasing orchids. If you don't need that many of a particular cross you can always sell off what is not required at the local show or club meeting. Along with breeding, I find this another interesting facet of my hobby (addiction), growing orchids.

Gary Kopp



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