Having quality Plants and growing them in a quality substrate pays off for Allan Watson.

Allan has been one of our product trial growers for the past three years. His commitment started with just a few different genera, to now having 90% of his collection now going in Fernwood Tree Fern Fibre substrate or on a Fernwood Fern slab/Totem.

During the past three years, Allan has produced a number of articles about the progress of his trials with our product. These appear in the news section of the Fernwood Products NZ website and one being published in the American Orchid Society magazine.

During the three years of the trial so far, Allan has achieved three Awards from the Orchid Council of New Zealand for the quality of some of his plants.

  • The first in 2018 was Miltoniopsis Breathless “From Love” which was awarded an HCC/ OCNZ. (Highly Commended Certificate) This plant had been in a bark mix previously and was transferred in to Fernwood Tree Fern Fibre substrate within the 12 month growing cycle the plant presented 3 times with flowers and multi spikes.
  • The second Orchid in Allan’s collection to be awarded was Miltoniopsis Pink Cadillac ‘Toddy’, it was awarded an AM /OCNZ (Award of Merit) although this was awarded some 2 years after the first benefits of the Fernwood Tree Fern Fibre substrate certainly shone through. The flowers on this plant were 104mm in Diameter. The added value of the substrate was certainly providing returns.
  • To test or rather confirm the outcome of the substrate, Allan has re-potted all his Odontoglossum Alliance collection, some 250 plants in to Fernwood Tree Fern Fibre substrate. This being a progressive process allowing for visual monitoring and end results. One of the first to be re-potted after its last flowering was Onc. Holiday Gold ‘Sunrise’ the resulting flower presentation prompted Allan to contact the local Orchid Judging Panel who judged the plant against the Orchid Council of New Zealand Standards and awarded it an AM/OCNZ (Award of Merit)

Allan strongly believes that the plants you purchase need to be of the best quality you can access. To explain Allan says they should be:

  • named
  • strong looking
  • have a reasonable amount of root growth
  • suitable for the environment in which you intend them to grow

He says the substrate you use becomes the foundation for your orchid culture. While Allan’s prime substrate is Fernwood Tree Fern Fibre, he has found one or two plants that for him prefer a bark mix. Nevertheless, with 90% of his collection of 1000 plants in fibre, Allan expects there will always be the odd exception and is tending to reduce or remove any non-fibre substrate plants from his collection.

As orchid growers we tend to build a shade or glass house then we put orchids in it. This seemed to be the norm and Allan admits that what he did in the first instance. Once Allan started to see the value of certain Genera in specific environments producing better than the expected results, Allan opted for a change. This meant building specific growing conditions for a genera, i.e. for Miltoniopsis and Paphiopedilum, an area which maintains a minimum night temperature of 12oC whereas the Odontoglossum Alliance plants in general can take  an much lower night time temperature but like more air movement. Allan is now seeing the end results with the investment made.

Finally we come to the grower.

Allan says it’s like the flip of a coin; you win some you lose some. However as you can see by the photos that the coin has obviously, landed right side up more than once. Allan says that all things need to come together to produce an awardable outcome. This requires constant monitoring and tweaking. Maybe more or less light, change in timeline between fertilisation and watering. Allan supports the saying if you want the same results do the same thing. If you want change or improvement then change what you are doing.

Allan supports Fernwood Products NZ whenever he can. He says he is happy to support any product that produces such positive results. He does this via presentations to various Orchid Societies and Garden Groups and Displays at local shows.  All the plants in this photo are in Fernwood Tree Fern Fibre substrate.

Fernwood Products New Zealand are certainly encouraged by the results Allan is getting and the feedback on growing progress he provides us as well as allowing us access to his collection.