Here at Fernwood, we know that our NZ tree fern products are second to none. But we don’t expect anyone just to take our word for it. We have given a number of orchid growers here in New Zealand the opportunity to try it out, and the feedback we’ve received has been exceptionally positive.

Jacob and Anja Wassink, owners/operators at Phalaenopsis Nurseries in Omokoroa near Tauranga, have been growing Phalaenopsis Orchids commercially since they came to New Zealand from the Netherlands more than 12 years ago. They tried all sorts of products to optimise their operations.

Pumice because of its capillary property, pumice mixed with bark, straight bark, and bark mixed with sphagnum moss. The mix with sphagnum moss, which took them about 6 years to find, seemed perfect. The growers were in no hurry to try anything else, but when Fernwood NZ approached them to try their sustainably harvested tree fern products, Jacob and Anja were willing to give it a go. The couple decided to try out Fernwood NZ tree fern fibre with few hundred plants to get a good indication and 8 months into their trial, they sent us a little update.

The Wassinks are now growing all their Phalaenopsis (Moth) orchids straight into Fernwood NZ tree fern fibre, and they say it has made a big difference to their business. “We’re happy to let you know that a couple of months ago, Anja and I have decided to switch our entire operation from bark to fibre,”

Jacob says. “When we started our trial, we were re-potting our young plants, at 4 months old, into the big pots. We potted several hundred of these plants as an experiment in fern fibre and from the very beginning, they grew faster, bigger, and shinier than the ones potted in the bark.” On top of this, the growers were able to put no less than 30 per cent of the plants planted in fibre in the cooling area after just 8 months. This means that they were able to cool their plants at 12 months old.

The best they ever did before, according to Jacob, was cool about 5 per cent after 15 months. As you can imagine, this has brought a huge benefit to their operations and the bottom line.

“Our latest shipment of flasks was potted straight from the flask into the fibre. Normally, when we de-flask our plants and pot them in bark, they would go back a little and won’t do anything for the first week. This time however, they took off straight away,” Jacob says.

“When watering plants that are in bark, the humidity can be hard to maintain. But the plants growing in tree fern stay moist no matter what. The roots are looking great, the fragrance is much nicer, and it is also great that nothing spills if a pot tips over. It is easy to see that tree fern fibre s is a superior medium.”

The plants at Phalaenopsis Nurseries are looking happy and healthy, and Jacob and Anja have kindly sent us the pictures that accompany this story, so you can see for yourself how well their orchids grow.