Introduction: Sowing Orchid Seeds
I fell in love with Orchids on a trip to Cuba. Then on a trip to Mexico, I got to tour an Orchid Farm. I was amazed at the process of sowing Orchid seeds and decided to try to do it myself.
This is not an instant gratification Instructable. The process is very slow, months if not years before they can be displayed in pots or mounted. If anything, I hope this is an interesting read and Good Luck for those that do try.
Order some Orchid seeds. I found some doing a quick google search. I bought mine from a guy in Thailand that sells them on ebay. They were cheap and free shipping. Orchid seeds are very very tiny almost like dust.
Don't buy too many different types, maybe 1or 2. (I bought way too many.) Each packet will do about 6-8 flasks, so think about how much room you have to place the flasks close to a window for months at a time. I used baby food jars for my flasks but I recommend using a taller jar.
I also ordered some P668 Germination Medium.
Step 2: Day 1
I recieved my P668 Germination Medium in the mail, so I can start the first main step.
I got all of the equipment ready for this step. STERILIZE work area.
P668 Germination Medium
Lots of little jars, 6-8 for every packet of seeds. I used baby food jars, try to find taller jars.
150ml of 100% Coconut water (no additives)
850ml Distilled water
Pot (was very easy to clean off after so don't worry about wrecking the pot)
I brought the distilled water and coconut water to a boil. I know the directions said 1 liter of distilled water, but I read that Orchid seeds love coconut water, so I used some.
Added the P668 powder and boiled for 5 min, stirring constantly.
Also I tried to do a pH sample of the media after. The media is so dark you can't get an accurate reading, but it looks close to where it should be. Also the package said "No pH adjustment" so I took it for its word.
Sterilize the jars and lids.
Pour the hot medium into the jars. Atleast 1" full if not a bit fuller. That's why taller jars are a must, because when these start to grow, they will need the room to grow up.
Place a lid on top. Don't tighten the jar you don't want these to seal. It is ok if they do seal, you will just be breaking the seal later.
Place a piece of Tin Foil over the jar and cover the jar with it.
Place them in the pressure cooker. (Not on the bottom, make sure you have a spacer)
Once the pressure cooker started to whistle I let it boil for 25 min.
When everything cooled down and I was able to open the pressure cooker. I moved them over to a pre-warmed plate so the flasks won't crack.
(CAUTION: These bottles are SUPER HOT!!)
When the jars have cooled, tighten the lids. If any of the jars are sealed, break the seal and then thighten the lid.
DO NOT open the jars completely. The P668 has agar in it and if one spec of bacteria gets on it, the jar is contaminated.
Put a rubber band around the bottle and let the media in the jars solidify.
Once the the media has solidified, I moved them to a location with light, but not direct light.
And there they will sit for a week or more, to see if there was any contamination before I sow the seeds on top.
Pictures of contamination. This is what you don't wanna see.
I built my Glove Box.
Step 9: A Week Later
Medication syringes (I found them at any drug store or grocery store for $2 each)
3% Peroxide - 500 ml size (I also found a pump bottle one which turned out to be very handy)
1: I made a cup of sugar water. 10 parts water to one part sugar.
2: I labeled each syringe with a number that matched the seed type I was using, so I knew which one was which.
3: I sprinkled the seeds into a very small spoon and added the sugar water to each spoon.
4: I carefully stirred the water and seeds with the tip of the syringe and then sucked up the sugar water and seeds into the syringe. (One packet of seeds for every syringe.)
5: I let the seeds sit in the sugar water for more then 12 hours. This part is activating the seeds.
The next day, I got everything set up to get the seeds into the flasks.
Things you will need:
Syringes that you did yesterday with seeds and sugar water and an empty one.
Coffee Filters (cut into 2 ply little squares)
Plating Spoon (or something similar)
Flasks with media (rubber bands removed)
1: I made a mixture of 1 part bleach to 9 parts distilled water with one drop of dish soap. Filled a pump bottle and also a measuring cup with the bleach solution.
2: Boil all the tools (not the syringes with the seeds in them) for 10 min. I also boiled a pot of distilled water to sterilize it. Sterilized the inside of the glove box with bleach and water. Basically sterilize EVERYTHING that is going into the glove box.
1: I used 2 little pieces of coffee filter and pushed out the sugar water.
2: I cleaned out the glove box (lid, gloves, EVERYTHING) with 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.
1: I also sprayed everything that went into the box with a 1 to 9 bleach to water mix. In the measuring cup I have peroxide in that, not water.
2: I gave one last quick spray and then closed the lid on the glove box and let it sit for ten minutes.
DO NOT open the lid.
Inside the Glove Box, I sucked 1 ml of peroxide into each syringe.
I let them sit for 30 minutes, every 5 min I would shake the syringes around to stir up the seeds.
1: I plunged out most of the peroxide, using the same technique as the sugar water.
2: I carefully took of the tin foil of one of the flasks, careful not to rip the tin foil.
3: I dripped a few drops of the seeds onto the media.
4: Tighten the lid and put the tin foil back on. I used 5 flasks per syringe.
5: Also break apart the syringe and scoop out the seeds left in it. Use a drip of peroxide to get it off the spoon onto the media.
1: Remove the jars from the glove box. Make sure they are tightened and put the rubber bands around them again.
2: We placed the jars by a lamp for 24 hours. The light will cause the peroxide to break down into water.
Well that's it, all you have to do now is put the flasks in a bright area with no direct sunlight, wait and hope there is no contamination.
They will sit in these jars for atleast a year.
This is about 3 months after. Those little green specs, yes hundereds of them, are Protocorms.
3 years ago
Thanks a lot for the formula but it is liquid. wanted to know if I have to add more stuffs as agar.
Can you give me the quantity in ml instead of "cups" mesurement. It will help me a lot.
And if I understand well, you don't sterilize the flasks in the pressure cooker?
Thanks for your update.
3 years ago on Step 7
Thanks for sharing your experience.
My first trial failed and all pots were contaminated.
Had to wait more than 5 months to get new seeds.
I tried a second time and took more precautions but the flasks seems to be contaminated too.
My dream is to see green spots in the flasks without the molds.
Question 3 years ago
What size jar did you use and what type of lid, 1 or 2 piece?
Answer 3 years ago
Just out of curiosity, are you asking now because you have Phalaenopsis seedpods that are about ready open?
Question 3 years ago on Step 15
Did you only put one seed per flask or can more than one seed per flask be used?
Answer 3 years ago
Each flask can hold many seeds, but they should all come from the same pod, so you know how the parentage of the orchids.
Question 3 years ago
can you give me the person from whom you bought these orchid seeds
3 years ago
Can u post an update? I’d like to see how they’re doing now.
4 years ago
OMG what a process, I had no idea when I bought seeds, I think I'll leave it up to Mother Nature and post my seeds on e-bay.
6 years ago
WOW, I have to say, you really must love Orchids. That is a lot of things to do to start them off. Sadly we buy ours pretty much grown and yet to keep even one alive for any long length of time. And we still have no idea what we are doing wrong.
Reply 4 years ago
It's been two years since you posted, so you probably won't see this. Also, I apologize for waking up a dormant post but I think I could provide some valuable information.
If you are buy one of the common varieties sold at most places such as: https://curransflowers.imgix.net/images/itemVariat... (this is not my site neither do I know the owners) they usually come flowering from the store. They are grown on a commercial scale in which the plant soil is pumped full with nutrients. First thing to do when you bring them home is to change the soil for fresh orchid soil. This soil usually consist of a bunch of bark/wood and little earth. This makes sure that the plant won't burn out within a few weeks/months.
Furthermore, consider that these orchids normally are growing on trees and such, they barely get nutrients or water. They are perfectly fine if you forget to water them for a few weeks and barely if ever need any additional nutrition added to the water.
When you were able to keep orchids alive, it might be that the plant does not produce flowers for a long time. It actually means that you are taking care of the plant too well. This might sound strange but orchids only flower after the plant was stressed. So stop watering for a while, then after some weeks give it a nice shower with room temperature water until water literally is running out of the bottom of the pot. After that give some water on a weekly basis. The plant should start forming flowers within the next weeks.
Oh and for this kind of orchids, use see through pots the root system needs light.
Question 5 years ago on Introduction
Where can I buy orchid medium that will deliver oversea?
6 years ago
I fail once!
6 years ago
6 years ago
this is pretty epic, and not in the over used sense of the word. I hope you have great success with this project, and I look forward to seeing a future instructable about what to do after they get too big for the jars!