Orchid Grower: Sphagnum, Bark Both Have Place As Medium
Westerlay Orchids’ president responds to research Rocket Farms conducted comparing sphagnum peat moss and bark as a growing medium for phalaenopsis orchids.
March 15, 2012
Dear Greenhouse Grower,
As a fellow commercial orchid grower, I enjoyed the video on your website comparing bark and sphagnum moss as phalaenopsis orchid substrates. While I found Rocket Farms’ and Marc Clark’s take to be very interesting, I would like to add our perspective.
Westerlay Orchids grows more than 1 million plants annually in specially formulated orchid bark and a couple hundred thousand in sphagnum moss. We believe great plants can be produced in both.
Great plants have vigor and remain vibrant in customers’ homes. We believe the key to this performance is active roots. We find that our larger phalaenopsis (5-inch) grow better in our greenhouse and perform better in the home when they are in bark because they grow more and better roots. We find plants in larger moss pots do not build up the same active root mass. For our smaller plants (3-inch), moss works well and the plants also develop active, strong roots.
We also like bark because it simplifies home care. Maintaining the orchid is easiest if there is a regular schedule and bark requires weekly watering. (A good five-minute soak works well). This is very easy to remember and is unlikely to lead to dried out or drowned plants.