SPHAGNUM MOSS: New Zealand Type

Culture Orchid Doctor

by Robert M. [Bert] Hamilton (Compiler)

Originally published in The Orchid Doctor in 1980 and 1988

Posted by Sys Admin over 6 years ago.

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Has been used by an orchid firm in the Los Angeles area for years, especially for Phalaenopsis; good for Phalaenopsis whi ch likes a higher temperature from 65 to 85 dF and fertilizer, such as 18-18-18 or 20-20-20 which kills the moss; city water from the tap checks out at? -- 8.5 (300 parts per million solute) the same water after being squeezed from N.Z. moss is a more acidic pH 5.5. OD87-155

If packed too tightly in the pot the plant can be damaged, so prepare it so it does not pack by first wetting it for five minutes in a solution with 5-5-3 fertilizer (one squirt of a-: dropper to one liter water) with an added drop of Superthrive, then tear it into half-inch bits and squeeze it almost dry, so it puffs up and can be tossed into the pot without pressing down; this way the roots do not drown. OIE87Jy-4

In N.Z. it is used to grow cattleyas; it is quicker, cleaner, lighter than bark, good for shipping plants in pot;in winter keep it on the dry side and avoid cold draughts; organic fertilizers form a black sludge over the top; use Peter's All Purpose. NZ87-6; in Japan cattleyas are grown in it. A86-372 ; under certain conditions it stays too wet. A87-796

It allows air to penetrate to the roots after watering; it does not break down; plants can be potted in smaller pots; under a microscope the fibers look like little bloated footballs.OIE86Nov-6; sources, OIE87Jan; OA86-204

It is collected under government permit; it differs according to its grading; it is separated from dust,broken pieces, sticks and leaves; use only the clean grade; as the air spaces fill up in the root zone the plant growth will slow down. OIE87-Mar-17

Plants grown in it: some recent listings: Cataseturn Grace Dunn. OIE87Mar-3; Cymbidiums, for four to six months. OA87-93

Wet it in a solution of Orchid Exotica (5-5-3) at one eye-dropper squirt to a liter of water, plus one single drop of Superthrive for five minutes; then tear it into small pieces and squeeze it dry so the mass puffs up and is ready for use; water next day. OIE87July-4

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More The Orchid Doctor Articles under the Heading Sphagnum Moss

Sphagnum Moss Comments
SPHAGNUM MOSS: A Blessing to Many Growers Good for transplanting seedlings; live sphagnum is hard to get, milled sphagnum is easier to get and as satisfactory; place it one-half inch on top of seedling bark before planting seedlings, then place pots in a plastic bag; do not sterilize moss before using; algae on the moss seems to have no effect on the roots underneath. A66-643+; OD79-186 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: As Growing Medium It is usually of excellent quality anywhere, but in North America some is harvested almost dead; moss from New Zealand is the best yet, lasts longer than any other; watering it is critical and should not be overdone, yet it should not dry out. F86-13 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: As Potting Material Usually live material is used either wholly or as a top dressing, so a constant supply is needed; it requires careful watering and fertilizing; it is a rare carrier of sporotrichosis, a fungus disease that affects humans. A87-53 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: As Potting Media It is the best; use it coarse, the dried packaged type; use it alone or mix it at one cup redwood bark, 1/4 cup perlite plus enough moss to fill a five or six inch pot; the secret is to avoid too tight or too loose packing. OD69-156 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: As Potting Medium It is excellent for use in South Florida, but one must repot every year because it decomposes but when mixed with tree fern or cork bark chips the aeration is improved. F81-17 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: As Source of Sporotrichosis A lymphatic disease caused by a fungus; for full details and treatment refer to OIE86Mar-19; refer also to SPOROTRICHOSIS; see also AU85-19 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: Canadian Type It is usually received dry and brown but after a few weeks of reverse osmosis water it sprouts and becomes alive and green; New Zealand moss, kiln dried, will not recover. OD87-41 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: Effects of Fertilizers on It The moss is soon killed by fertilizers and chemicals used on it. OR82-12 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: Harmed by Fungicides The live kind is sensitive, so apply with great caution. AU76-75 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: How to Use It Miltoniopsis, phalaenopsi8 seedlings can be grown in sheet moss, but use 4 inch or smaller pots because in larger pots the moss stays wet too long; for larger pots it can be mixed 50/50 with styrofoam peanuts. OIE85Mar-3; for paphiopedilums and phalaenopsis. OIE86Jan-3 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: How to Water It Chlorine in the tap water kills it unless the water stands in a pail for 12 hours before use; tap water and well water may contain bicarbonates of magnesium, or of calcium, the latter being the one which precipitates on the inside of kettles, and they both raise the pH to alkaline levels which kill the moss; rain-water is not harmful to it. A75-808 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: In Potting Mixes Growers used to place it on top of paphiopedilum media; green live sphagnum indicated the paphs. were adequately watered; if it dried, conditions were too dry; a good idea but it should not be applied to phalaenopsis. A73-807 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: Killed by Fertilizers Use them at one-quarter regular strength and the sphagnum will continue to grow. AU76-75 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: Live As potting medium it is a success with phalaenopsis, cymbidium back-bulbs, paphiopedilum back growths; where it can be collected; refer to A76-724Cultivation in live moss requires a good water supply which is obtainable with a reverse osmosis apparatus with four cylinders, also 1. a filter to remove dirt; 2. also to remove the finest insolubles; 3. activated charcoal to remove chloride and chlorine,4. reverse osmosis process where one-third of the water enters the storage tanks with the impurities reduced from 600ppm to 20ppm; the machine costs nearly $2000. OD87-40 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: Source of Fungicidal Extract Other plants may depend on it for antibiotics; British growers have long used it; some difficult terrestrials do well in it; paphiopedilums are sometimes grown in it; odontoglossums do well in it under lights. A67-545 0
SPHAGNUM MOSS: To Grow it Yourself Put some wet peat moss under the sphagnum so that its roots can derive some moisture and nourishment for growing. OIE88Jan-ll 0

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