deflasking instructions

growing | deflasking | dividing

how to deflask cymbidium ochids

when to deflask
All orchids, whether mericlones or seedlings, begin their life in sterile containers called flasks. These flasks can be whisky bottles, preserving jars; laboratory flasks or purpose made containers. The common aspect with all flasks is that they keep the plants inside in a sterile microclimate. In the laboratory the flasks are kept at a constant temperature under low artificial light levels.

When you purchase your flask or collect it from the laboratory, the plants will have been in the container between 2-9 months. If the plants are very young the flask can be stored for a few months while the plants develop. An ideal position for storage is in the kitchen away from direct sunlight, e.g. on top of the refrigerator.

Do not leave the plants in the flask too long or they will become stressed due to lack of space, nutrition and incorrect pH as the nutrient jelly loses vitality. If you drop the flask or the plants become disturbed in transit, deflask as soon as possible. If the flask becomes contaminated with a fungus (a dark mould that travels quickly in the flask), deflask as soon as possible. A slight contamination due to bacteria (slow moving, bright and shiny "mould") is not as harmful to the plants, but should be watched until the plants are optimum size for deflasking. If roots start to discolour, deflask immediately.

The best time to deflask is in the warmer months, but it can be done at any time providing you can provide high humidity, moderate temperatures of 10o-30oc, heavy shading 80% and fresh air.

items required
Pots - plastic 150mm - any other suitable.
Potting soil - graded 5mm pine bark or fine coconunut husk/perlite - any other suitable.
Labels, fungicide - Fongarid, Previcure, etc.

1. Write or set out the appropriate labels.

2. Fill the pots to within 30mm of the top with the moistened pine bark, press down lightly.

3. Remove the plants from the flask by unscrewing or unclipping the top and shake out the plants. With any of the glass flasks, it is best to wrap the flask in newspaper and break with a hammer.

4. Wash the agar jelly from the roots with a jet of water at moderate pressure from the garden hose. It is not necessary to wash all the agar from the roots, as small pieces will dehydrate and virtually disappear.

5. Separate the plants.

6. Individually position the plants in the pot. Add bark to top up the pot while positioning the plants with the crown of the plant just below bark level. Firm bark slightly. Insert label.

7. Position the pot in selected position and apply fungicide as a drench to the plant and potting soil.

8. Maintain high humidity by frequent light misting. Fertilise regularly. Reapply fungicide after 4-6 weeks.

health indicators
Within 2 weeks in warmer weather the root tips will show a new type of growth - thicker than the flask type. The leaves of the plant may not elongate for up to 3 months. They will, however, turn a greener colour, take on more shine to their top surface and grow wider and increase in substance. Later, the shiny appearance of the leaf surfaces will be the best indicator of the plants well being.

Keen perception of the plant's health and vigour will pay dividends if action is taken straight away to restore the balance in the levels of supply of air, light, water and food.

The main pests that can cause problems are snails, slugs & red spider mites.