Besgrow Orchiata is a standalone orchid growing substrate that can be used directly from the bag. Produced from 100% pure New Zealand Pinus radiata bark, it is a unique, stable substrate for potting and re-potting orchids.
Orchiata is a sustainable orchid growing substrate produced from the finest quality, 100% pure New Zealand Pinus radiata bark. Pinus radiata is sourced from renewable, man made forests ensuring availability into the future.
New Zealand Pinus radiata is a hard and stable bark compared to other pine species; however, it needs to be processed from its raw state. Our unique natural process creates a high quality, stable, long lasting, toxin free, consistent growing substrate available in different sizes for your specific growing needs.
Our process allows Orchiata to hold water and nutrients on the outside layer of each chip, as well as creating a slightly rough surface for roots to anchor to. Pathogens do not survive this process, however beneficial micro-organisms remain.
The natural beneficial properties of New Zealand Pinus radiata are enhanced by our exceptional production processes. Specialised, purpose built machinery as well as manual labour is used to create Orchiata. At Pacific Bark the machinery and production systems are top quality allowing us to control the bark manufacturing process to tight specifications.
Our specialised production techniques are unique to our company. The history, experience and technical information collected by Pacific Wide Group over 20plus years has allowed us to refine our process.
We have quality control procedures in place at all stages of processing to ensure Orchiata meets our quality standards. Throughout production great care is taken to ensure only the highest quality Orchiata leaves our factory.
3-6mm, our smallest chip size used mainly for young orchids or orchids seedlings (from flask). AFP 43-50%, WHC 52%
18-25mm, our largest chip size, used for mature orchids and orchids that require a high AFP. AFP 51-55%, WHC 56.8%.
Ray Barkalow – First Rays Orchids
Robert Hamilton – Hawk Hill Nursery
Robert Hamilton – Hawk Hill Nursery (follow up)
Graham Wood - Lehua Orchids
Hadly Cash – Marriott Orchids
Paul Storm – Meke Aloha Orchids
Chuck Acker – Oak Hill Gardens
Jerry Fischer - Orchids Limited
Hawaiian Orchid Masters
Linda C. – Hobbyist
Garry Clark - Besgrow
No; Orchiata is processed through a uniquely managed maturing method, not composted. Maturing removes the outer waxy layer from the material but keeps the inner core hard.Composting causes the whole particle to break down leading to a less structurally sound particle. You can think of our process like wine making. We take the grape and make wine, not vinegar.
What is FCB bark?
Some manufacturers have confused the bark industry by promoting FCB bark. This is termed Fully Composted Bark, however, this material can be variable and may come from dump sites where the composting is uncontrolled.
Are you cutting down forests to produce Orchiata?
No; our raw bark is a by-product of the timber industry in New Zealand. All of the bark that we use is Pinus radiata. Pinus radiata covers 1.8 million hectares of forest in New Zealand. The forests are completely man-made and renewable as they are used for the New Zealand timber industry. We do not use any endemic or non-renewable resources.
How does Orchiata hold moisture?
Through the production process, the waxy, water repellent layer of Pinus radiata is removed, allowing the Orchiata particles to hold onto water. When Orchiata dries it will also rewet well.
What is the best pH and EC level?
The best pH and EC will depend on the type of orchid you are growing as well as the fertiliser regime you use. We provide Orchiata at a start pH of 5.5 – 6.5 through the addition of dolomite. From research, most orchids grow well within this range. The initial EC of Orchiata is < 0.3 mS/cm, however, with fertiliser addition this will slowly increase.Over time the pH will eventually drop and the EC will increase. It is important to check the pH and EC to make sure a balance is maintained and plant management in the pot is correct.
How do you store Orchiata?
While a covered building specially designed for storage is always preferred, we realise that not all growers have these types of facilities. If the rules below are followed, the product should remain pest free and in a high quality state until used.There are eight main features that will preserve the quality of Orchiata while in storage:
- The material should be stored with ample air movement both underneath and around the bags. This will prevent humidity or temperature build up which may encourage fungal and insect growth.
- Store under cover, either in a shed or storage facility or covered with a tarpaulin (still try to allow air to circulate around the bags). This will protect the material and packaging from the elements.
- Store out of direct sunlight so that the packaging is not affected and temperature and humidity are.
- Prevent the material from becoming too wet or dry. Conditions that allow Orchiata to become wet via rain or water pooling will encourage unwanted fungal growth. This may be detrimental to plant growth if kept unchecked. Orchiata that is too dry may create rewetting problems when used.
- Store in cool conditions to keep humidity and temperature low. This will prevent fungal growth and deter insect infestation.
- Store on a concreted area or metal shelves away from contamination such as weeds, flowing water, or animals.
- Use the product as soon as possible. Fresh is best.
- Do not keep in containers that can attract heat and build up tohigh temperatures.
My leaves are growing yellow.
There may be many reasons that cause orchids leaves to go yellow. Some of the main causes may be a disease, a nutrient deficiency including iron or magnesium or high temperatures.
- Check the pH and EC and nutrient status
- If the substrate is too wet, allow it to dry out to reduce causes of disease.
- Check the temperature and light levels, if these are too high then the leaves may be burnt.
The tips of my Cymbidium leaves are turning white.
This generally indicates a magnesium deficiency. Check the pH and EC of the substrate; low pH and high EC are indicators of this deficiency. Apply any fertiliser containing magnesium to help correct the problem. We apply dolomite to Orchiata to initially combat these types of deficiency and increase the pH, although the dolomite will break down over time (see What is dolomite?).
There are insects in the Orchiata.
On leaving the processing site Orchiata does not contain populations of insects. The material is highly processed and insects generally do not live in Orchiata unless it has been stored for a period of time without movement. We carry out regular tests to ensure that there are no insects present in Orchiata material before dispatch.
If you find insects in the Orchiata, whether it is potted plants or bagged material there are a few questions you should ask :
- How was the product stored? Was it stored in an area that could harbour insects?
- Has the material been kept moist for too long without drying out? If the material is kept moist for too long then it is likely that fungus gnats will colonise the media. They feed on growing fungi in moist conditions, it is therefore important to make sure the Orchiata dries out sufficiently between watering.
Does the Orchiata contain weed seeds?
Orchiata is completely weed free on leaving our production facility. Due to the origins of our raw resources, the amount of processing the material goes through and the high temperatures the bark gets to, no seeds could survive to final product stage.
We also have a weed free management system that reduces the possibility of seed contamination. It is important that you follow the correct storage procedure (see How do you store Orchiata?) to ensure no weed seeds enter the substrate after it leaves our production facility.
There is white powder on my Orchiata.
This is dolomite (calcium magnesium) which we apply to Orchiata in the final stages of production. This is beneficial for your plant (see What is dolomite?); if you see this do not wash it out.
What is dolomite?
Dolomite is a natural mineral that contains calcium and magnesium. Research shows dolomite addition to substrates is very beneficial. We add dolomite to Orchiata to:
- Stabilise the substrate by increasing the pH to within a range of 5.5 to 6.5
- Prevent salt accumulation
- Provide the minerals calcium and magnesium, essential for plant growth
The dolomite in Orchiata provides the plant with an initial start up supply of these two minerals. Growers must remember though that after a good length of time (around 9 months), dolomite will have broken down and growers must reapply dolomite or other liming compounds to maintain optimum plant growth.
What are the fungi that we see sometimes when we open a bag?
In certain conditions, fungi may grow on Orchiata. If the product is left in warm moist conditions, it can encourage fungi growth.
Often you will see a fine whitish grey layer of fungi on Orchiata when you open the bag. These are most likely Penicillium or Paecilomyces. These are not detrimental to your plants; they are often beneficial as they help to prevent the colonisation of pathogenic fungi. In most cases, when the material is moved or shifted around the fungi is disturbed and will disappear.
Washing Orchiata to remove fungi is unnecessary and, as a micro-organism, the fungi will likely still be present after washing.
Some Orchiata smells unusual, is the material toxic?
Occasionally due to some certain types of fungi growing or storage conditions, Orchiata may smell strange. Often Orchiata has a strong pine smell which is the natural smell of the bark and can be mistaken for a bad smell; other times it may be a musty smell. Sometimes fungi grow in wetter conditions and this can cause a bad odour. If the material smells unusual try and store the material in an aerated place and let us know about its condition.
Can Orchiata resist against pathogens such as Pythium and Fusarium?
Yes; if the product is not fumigated then the material contains a range of beneficial micro-orgainsms that help prevent the growth of pathogens. As long as the material is irrigated correctly there should be very little incidence of pathogenic problems.
Why is Orchiata better than other types of bark? Local bark is much cheaper and holds more water.
Orchiata, in general, is better than other types of bark products for many reasons. First, New Zealand Pinus radiata is a very thick, much harder and structurally sound material which allows us to form a rounder nugget. Bark from other countries may consist of fir or other pine that is not as hard and may delaminate when it is processed. As other barks are not as structurally hard they do not last very long in the pot and can cause water, nutrient and pathogen problems.
Pinus radiata naturally has a waxy layer that prevents the material taking up water. This is why fresh Pinus radiata bark can have some rewetting issues. We process the Pinus radiata bark so that it holds onto water and nutrients for the plants while maintaining a hard core so it lasts a longer period of time in the pot.
Although local bark may be cheaper, you are likely to have more management issues with this material and lower quality plants.
Why does the bag weight of Orchiata change?
At different times of the year due to weather conditions the moisture content of Orchiata can change. Therefore the weight will change. Orchiata is packed by the litre so you will always receive the same amount of Orchiata.
No, Orchiata does not need to be washed before use; it should be used straight from the bag. Unlike some other bark products, Orchiata:
- Has not been contaminated by soil or other organic matter
- Does not contain high salt
- Does not contain high amounts of bark dust as processing removes this
If you DO wash Orchiata you will wash out the dolomite, which we have added during production as it is beneficial for plant growth. Washing Orchiata will unnecessarily increase labour costs, while destroying one of the key benefits of the product.
Why not steam sterilise?
Orchiata should not be sterilised by any means. Often steam sterilisation of bark substrate is used to kill any potentially pathogenic organisms. However, sterilisation of Orchiata will destroy the beneficial micro-organisms.
When a sterilised substrate is used, it quickly becomes colonised by new organisms from the environment. These new organisms may be beneficial or pathogenic. Since the substrate has no other organisms growing on it, the new colonisers grow very quickly without obstruction. If a pathogenic organism is first to colonise a sterile substrate then it may grow quickly and infect any plants.
By using Orchiata straight from the bag, there will be many beneficial micro-organisms already present in the substrate to prevent pathogenic organisms from growing. It is therefore recommended that Orchiata is not sterilised.
What fertiliser works best?
You can use any fertiliser that is suited to orchids in Orchiata. Although a granular fertiliser is less labour intensive, liquid or foliar feed is common especially for Phalaenopsis type orchids. It is up to the grower what they will use for a fertiliser.
I want drier Orchiata; can the Orchiata be dried more?
No, we will not artificially dry Orchiata as this can cause problems for rewetting and watering. During production water needs to be added as part of the process. Orchiata will still retain some of this moisture after production; between 40% to 45%. This is beneficial as it is important for the plants that the material has good moisture to start with.
If the Orchiata dries, is it difficult to rewet?
No; during the processing of Orchiata the outside waxy water repellent layer has been removed allowing the substrate to take up water easily.
Can you water Orchiata too much?
With Orchiata, the inner core of the bark is still hard so that it will not absorb too much water. It is very hard to over water Orchiata but you must watch for prolonged wetness. It is important that the material is allowed to dry out before re-watering. This will prevent the growth of wet moulds in the pot.
How can you tell when Orchiata is dry enough to rewater?
It is important that you allow Orchiata to dry sufficiently before rewatering. These wet and dry cycles help to control fungi and insect growth which leads to stronger root growth. You can tell when Orchiata has dried sufficiently by either picking up the pot and feeling the weight (a dry pot will be very light compared to a wet pot); or by carefully digging down into the media – the media should be dry for the first 2 – 3cm (in small pots) and 4 – 5 cm in bigger pots.
How often you water the orchid will depend on the orchid type, pot type and time of year.
Does Orchiata accumulate salts and need flushing?
No; Orchiata is not like other bark based substrates. As Pinus Radiata bark is not soft and spongy it does not absorb additional salts. It only holds enough nutrients on the outside layer of the chip for the plant. To check this you can test the EC of the Orchiata over time. There is no need for flushing; just good water and fertiliser management.
Can you re-use Orchiata?
Orchiata lasts a very long time so can easily be used in the next stage potting. You can use the existing substrate when you move up a pot size and simply fill the remaining space with extra Orchiata. However, do not remove the material and then reuse for potting younger plants (e.g. recycling the substrate). This is not recommended as any salts that are in the substrate may be too strong for younger plants. Also if there has been some contamination from disease in the plants, reusing substrates will spread any pathogens. When potting young plants, fresh Orchiata must be used.
Can you plant moss plugs into Orchiata?
Orchiata is a very stable substrate and it is recommended that you do not mix other materials with it for growth. However, many growers begin their plants in Sphagnum moss and then transplant into Orchiata. If you start growth in Sphagnum moss you can plant the plugs into Orchiata saving time and labour but you must only use high quality Sphagnum such as New Zealand Sphagnum moss. This is because Sphagnum such as Chinese moss breaks down very quickly and can contain materials that cause pathogen and water problems. NZ Sphagnum moss is more robust, does not break down and can last as long as the Orchiata.
What size pot and grade should I use for my orchids?
This will depend on the orchid type you are growing and its climate requirements. However most orchids prefer to be restricted in their pot; you must never use pots that are too big. It is also important that the pots that you purchase have appropriate drain holes which allow all water to drain (no pooling). General guidelines are highlighted below; however please contact us if more information is required.
|Orchid Type:||Pot Size:||Orchiata Grade Example:|
|Small Flask Plant||3cm plug or 5cm pot||Precision or Classic|
|Small Plant||7cm pot||Classic or Power|
Can we mix other products like peat moss with Orchiata to increase moisture?
Mixing substrates is definitely not recommended. Inconsistent mixing it can lead to inconsistencies in watering, which may cause wet and dry spots within the pot. Orchiata is a good substrate by itself; if other substrates are used there may be pathogens present which could infect the substrate and cause problems for your plants.