New Zealand Tree Fern Fiber
NZ Tree Fern Fiber is a relatively new potting media in the orchid industry. It consists of shredded particles from tree ferns that are grown in managed plantations and sustainably harvested.
This new style of tree fern fiber is quite long-lasting and is used by itself, not mixed with perlite/sponge rock or charcoal. NZ Tree Fern Fiber distributes water evenly throughout the pot and among the roots of your orchid. Phals love it, along with cymbidiums, encyclias and oncidiums. I suspect it is a great media for orchids that are being grown in the home as it manages water within a pot better than traditional bark mixes in that low humidity situation.
This is NOT the traditional tree fern product historically used in the orchid industry - this is a new media sustainably harvested in New Zealand and was featured in an article in the October 2020 AOS Orchids magazine. The manufacturer tells us that we can expect this media to last five years in the pot.
How to Use NZTFF
Water your orchid the day before you expect to repot to be sure it is well hydrated. DO NOT SOAK THE TREE FERN FIBER – you need to be using it straight from the bag in its dry state.
Next, remove enough fiber from your bag to fill the pot(s) you are using for your orchid(s). Sort the fiber, setting aside the larger clumps of matted fibers, until you have enough of the fluffy bits and small twigs to fill your pot(s).
Remove your orchid from the pot, clean it up by removing all old media, dead roots, dead growths, etc. Wash out the old pot (if you are repotting to the same container). Now select a few of those larger clumps of matted fibers that you sat aside, and stuff them in the bottom of the pot. Use these clumps in place of foam peanuts, gravel, or other types of media – the TFF clumps help with water management within the pot.
Then start working the fluffy bits between and around your orchid’s roots. Once you have the root ball pretty well encased in TFF, push the plant into the pot. Add more TFF around the orchid, firmly pushing with your gloved fingers (the TFF twigs can hurt if they get under your fingernails!) or a dibble until all voids are filled and the plant sits securely in the pot. No need to really jam in the fiber, just a firm pressure will do.
Now, take the pot to the sink and flush tepid water through the pot – this application of water causes all those fluffy bits and twigs to lock together to hold that orchid steady in the pot. Drain and place your orchid back into its growing environment.
As the fiber dries it becomes lighter in color – that change in color, along with the weight of the pot tells you when it is time to rewater your orchid(s).
Have you been using this product? Tell us about your experience with NZTFF – inquiring minds want to know!