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  #1  
Old 12-01-2018, 05:40 PM
Zindaginha Zindaginha is offline
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Second batch of new orchid frenzy buy--more advice for a noob?
Default Second batch of new orchid frenzy buy--more advice for a noob?

Hi, guys!

This is a loooong post. Sorry! I've decided to not cut anything, hope someone reads through it and has advice for me? Thanks a million if you do!

I have mentioned in other threads that I recently became the proud and completely unprepared parent of a den. reflexitepalum, a sophronitis cernua and an eria pannea.

Well, part of the same impulsive gesture that brought those plants into my life include a purchase of five plants from a different on-line vendor, which just arrived today.

These are:

Two dendrobrium lindleyi

Two dendrobium cucumerina

one ascocentrum pussilum (vanda pusila is what the label says)

The dendros are mounted and well-established on cork. The vanda is sitting in a basket filled with large-ish rocks. All seemed in ok condition to my eyes on unpacking.

I gave all the plants a good soak (5 minutes) on unpacking them, just in case? Hope that was ok was the lindleyi, which seem to already be (semi-)dormant!

The lindleyi are positioned under my hallway skylight, where they will get very bright, indirect light for as many hours as the winter season at this lattitude allows and also not be too warm (I was thinking of moving them in the evening to my sheltered porch. This would give them temps closer to 55 degrees in the evenings). I was planning on watering these once a week during their dormancy. Too much or too little?

The dendro cukes are currently hanging about a foot above and to the side of my light garden, so getting indirect light from a single 123watt T5 in 6500k range. I don't think I want to keep them in this spot. Could I move these to where the lindleyi are? There is certainly room.

The vanda is sitting a little to the side, off from the T5 and I plan on moving it immediately underneath in a couple of days or so. Does that sound right?

Other important details about my enviro:

Light garden: I have carnivorous plants under the T5 that spend much of their day enclosed in terrarium jars, but do get taken out for an hour or so most days for air circulation. The ambient humidity is around 47 degrees, getting up to 50 degrees with the humidifiers I have currently. Is this too low?

The light garden is also about four feet from a long (but not very tall) window with an unobstructed eastern view. But I live in a cloudy place, so intensity of daylight varies quite a bit right now. Also, about four feet away from the T5 set-up, I have a 55 watt HO CFL light, also 6500k, that dangles about five feet above the ground (so maybe two feet above the level of the T5 area) and runs for six hours a day for my succulents and butterworts. The T5 runs 14 hours, starting about 2 hours after sunrise, so plants get some kind of light for 16 hours a day. This area tends to be around 72 degrees in the day, 62-68 degrees at night.

Hallway with skylight: The skylight is about 2'X3'. The hallway has no heating vents so is a little cooler and maybe a little more humid than the light garden. I am in cloudy Oregon, so the days are short and dark.
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2018, 07:08 PM
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Orchid Whisperer Orchid Whisperer is offline
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Second batch of new orchid frenzy buy--more advice for a noob? Male
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Hi Zindaginha

First suggestion, I would learn how to care for the plants you have before buying a bunch more. Maybe before buying any more. Otherwise you are setting yourself up for a bunch of frustration.

The humidity readings should be in percent. (If your meter is saying degrees, then your meter has a temperature mode, and you are reading temperature). If you mis-stated, no problem, 47 to 50% is fine for many orchids.

It is hard to say if your light situatiion is enough. Hopefully someone that grows you genera/species can weigh in. My guess is that the light may be low.
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Old 12-01-2018, 07:19 PM
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Roberta Roberta is offline
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Sounds good for the Den lindleyi. The other name for these is Den aggregatum (some say "aggrevatum" because they can be be reluctant bloomers) They do want a fairly dry dormancy, and a chill at night if possible, and the best light that you can give them. Basically, winter abuse is called for...

I don't think the Den cucumerinums need as much drying out as the Den. lindleyi. I can't advise much on those, having not been successful on a couple of attempts.

Ascocentrum pumilum needs humidity - the light garden should be good. It does want fairly bright light, probably where you are putting your Sophronitis would be good.

Beyond that, observe... you will be tweaking conditions for awhile. I like your choices of plants - variety, but all, I think, are pretty adaptable within the range of conditions that you have. I think you did your homework...
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Last edited by Roberta; 12-01-2018 at 08:48 PM..
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Old 12-01-2018, 11:26 PM
Zindaginha Zindaginha is offline
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Second batch of new orchid frenzy buy--more advice for a noob?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchid Whisperer View Post
Hi Zindaginha

First suggestion, I would learn how to care for the plants you have before buying a bunch more. Maybe before buying any more. Otherwise you are setting yourself up for a bunch of frustration.

The humidity readings should be in percent. (If your meter is saying degrees, then your meter has a temperature mode, and you are reading temperature). If you mis-stated, no problem, 47 to 50% is fine for many orchids.

It is hard to say if your light situatiion is enough. Hopefully someone that grows you genera/species can weigh in. My guess is that the light may be low.
Thanks, Orchid Whisperer--yes, I meant percent, not degrees, for humidity. That is very good news to hear that my room is at an adequate moisture level without any tweaking. You are probably right about the light being a little low, but I will wait and see before considering more changes. And you are definitely right about holding off on purchasing any more orchids till I know how I am able to cope with these! I definitely felt a little over confident from carnivorous plant experience. Hopefully, the learning curve isn't too steep with the eight orchids I have now!

---------- Post added at 08:26 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:17 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roberta View Post
Sounds good for the Den lindleyi. The other name for these is Den aggregatum (some say "aggrevatum" because they can be be reluctant bloomers) They do want a fairly dry dormancy, and a chill at night if possible, and the best light that you can give them. Basically, winter abuse is called for...

I don't think the Den cucumerinums need as much drying out as the Den. lindleyi. I can't advise much on those, having not been successful on a couple of attempts.

Ascocentrum pumilum needs humidity - the light garden should be good. It does want fairly bright light, probably where you are putting your Sophronitis would be good.

Beyond that, observe... you will be tweaking conditions for awhile. I like your choices of plants - variety, but all, I think, are pretty adaptable within the range of conditions that you have. I think you did your homework...
Thanks so much, Roberta! I did choose species that seemed to best match my conditions, but even so there's just so much that seems different from orchid care and other plants that, face to face with the real, live plants, I realize that they are just totally alien to me.

I really appreciate you taking the time to write such thoughtful words of advice. No doubt, if I manage to pull this off, these plants will have you to thank for saving their lives!

And to everyone else who has chimed in: thanks, too!
It is really great to know what I've gotten wrong two days into caring for these little gems--hopefully I can make meaningful adjustments and these first rough days will just be a distant memory for me and the plants because I caught my errors (some of them) in time.
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Old 12-02-2018, 02:54 AM
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Roberta Roberta is offline
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Zindaginha - I think you nailed it with your discovery that orchids are different than everything else... Orchids have evolved in ecological niches where they didn't have to compete for light and space (trunks and branches of trees) and also where they were safe from herbivores. In a tree there is not a consistent source of water - it rains and then it stops and the sun comes out, so they had to evolve mechanisms and structures to conserve water. They also had to manage on very minimal nutrients - like the organic matter from detritus above them that dissolves in rain. One of the ways in which they manage that is to grow slowly. (A tomato plant may grow a foot (1/3 m) a day, where an orchid may add one growth a year... fertilizer requirement is proportional)

Because of the huge variations in those niches that orchids occupy (side of tree, horizontal branches, shade for those below the canopy and sun for those above, etc) speciation is very complex. But if you look at the detail of the environments in which different orchid species grow, their requirements start to make sense.
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Old 12-02-2018, 03:10 AM
Zindaginha Zindaginha is offline
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Second batch of new orchid frenzy buy--more advice for a noob?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roberta View Post
Zindaginha - I think you nailed it with your discovery that orchids are different than everything else... Orchids have evolved in ecological niches where they didn't have to compete for light and space (trunks and branches of trees) and also where they were safe from herbivores. In a tree there is not a consistent source of water - it rains and then it stops and the sun comes out, so they had to evolve mechanisms and structures to conserve water. They also had to manage on very minimal nutrients - like the organic matter from detritus above them that dissolves in rain. One of the ways in which they manage that is to grow slowly. (A tomato plant may grow a foot (1/3 m) a day, where an orchid may add one growth a year... fertilizer requirement is proportional)

Because of the huge variations in those niches that orchids occupy (side of tree, horizontal branches, shade for those below the canopy and sun for those above, etc) speciation is very complex. But if you look at the detail of the environments in which different orchid species grow, their requirements start to make sense.
Absolutely! It's a big reason why I'm attracted to them! I grow lithops, carnivores, and Spanish Moss because I am so fascinated by the extreme (purely in my eyes) adaptations. I love the different solutions organisms develop to deal with the challenges they face in the environment: carnivores like orchids evolved in pretty much the same conditions (well, anyway, there are usually orchids where there are carnivores, though obviously not the other way round!), but they employ such different solutions! Sometimes being able to keep such a plant alive and thriving outside of that environment is a matter of luck, but sometimes it requires a lot of effort and observation. Like most people, I killed off a few of the first lithops I got. And then I started to understand them better and they suddenly became super obvious and easy beings to care for (well, there are still challenges here is damp, dark Oregon, of course. I guarantee I haven't killed my last lithops)! Reaching that point (for me, anyway) involved having some really inspiring thoughts about the nature of plants and such. In some ways, this is as much of a reward for "cracking the code" as being able to successfully grow the plants. I look forward to all the new things I will learn from orchids!
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