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  #1  
Old 10-23-2020, 01:44 PM
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Default Thoughts on growing Tolumnia

Tolumnia have always been one of my favorites... little plant, big bang of flowers. I've unfortunately spent the last twenty years experimenting so much with them that I have frequent failure to thrive. And scale are attracted to them like flies to honey.

This time, I'm bound and determined to (1) quit experimenting and stick with a mount for aminimum of two years, and more if growing well; (2) start a regime of systemics for scale, which I've never, ever done with anything before. Isopropyl alcohol just ain't cutting it; and (3) grow and bloom healthy Tolumnia year after year, instead of slowly killing them off after three or so years.

I read and read and read some more recently. Basically it's all the same schtick, regardless of where I read. One question I have keeps coming up. This is from Travaldo's blog, but it's repeated all over the place in similar verbiage:
To stimulate flowering, Tolumnia needs a clearly defined period of rest. It is necessary for the period from November to February, and is that the orchids contain much drier than usual, and do not fertilize. Watering the orchid growing in the substrate, it is necessary to replace it with light spraying and perform this procedure no more often than once in 3-4 weeks. For orchids on blocks, the irrigation frequency is reduced to one time in 10-15 days. After the appearance of peduncles, the rest period ends and the watering of the orchid resumes in the usual volume.
Seriously? I can understand the withholding fertilizer, but frequency of watering one time in 10-15 days? I simply cannot imagine doing that. Last year I auto-misted them twice daily, and still they dry out very rapidly. Does ANYONE follow a similar regime with that long a space in between irrigating?

Second question... not having used a systemic program on anything prior... how often is "enough" for preventative maintenance. I understand the once infected and weekly for three weeks. But preventative? Twice a year, once each time? Three times a year, once each time? Quarterly? Guidance please.

---------- Post added at 11:44 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:41 AM ----------

PS RH runs about 60-68%, a fan on in the area 24/7, and temps average 65-68F during day, down to 62F nights.
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Old 10-23-2020, 02:05 PM
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I'm also interested in other people's experience on whether or not all of that is true for flowering. My tolumnia that I've only had since the beginning of this year started flowering about a month ago and is still in flower now. It seemed random to me because there wasn't any real temperature change in the house and I definitely haven't changed its watering or fertilizing schedule. I'm growing in a mixture of bark and leca and squirt it maybe every other day and fertilize each time
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Old 10-23-2020, 02:46 PM
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My understanding with Tols is they only need a 5F change from day to night, which isn't much. When I've had them and not scaley, the temps didn't seem to make much of a difference bloomingwise.
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Old 10-23-2020, 03:02 PM
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Here's some anecdotal info, related to my "epiphyte tree":
  • Plants are on bare driftwood; no moss.
  • They are out in the hot, direct sun starting in mid April and are still there. When I see the predicted overnight temps will go below 50°.
  • They are watered with plain water at least once a day.
  • They are fed every week or so (laziness dependent) at 100 ppm N with K-Lite.
  • When they are brought in for the winter, they are in a north-facing window at about 60°-65°F, and are watered 2-3 times a week; fed about every 3 weeks.
They bloom more-or-less randomly throughout the summer. The more mature the plant (bigger & more fans), the more blossoms, spikes and frequency of blooming.

I have Tolumnia Jairak Flyer 'Red Mask' that I got from Tezula in late June/early July. It is a big plant (6" leaves) and threw a spike in September. When the flowers faded, the spike branched and is now in bloom again. Plus, two more spikes have emerged within the last few weeks.
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  #5  
Old 10-23-2020, 03:13 PM
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Okay, that makes sense. I just can't imagine watering a mounted Tolumnia every 10-15 days, and I see that advice all over the place. Just doesn't make sense.

Out of laziness, I want to use my MistKing. So I think if I back it off to one time a day in winter, I should be fine. The damned thing is too complicated for me to set up different patterns for each day of the week. For some reason, I really struggle with the programming set-up on it. It's worse than my Honeywell thermometer.
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Old 10-23-2020, 05:48 PM
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Having killed some nobile-type Dendrobiums following similar advice (like "no water from Halloween to Valentine's Day) I learned that such instructions leave out some really important information - like does the plant have another source of water?? Maybe in a greenhouse with consistent 80% humidity going to 100% overnight, it would work. In the real world, not so much... I strongly suspect that natural evening cooling (you don't heat that growing area to daytime temps overnight) is sufficient temperature variation, and you naturally water less in winter, or else water the same with lower humidity due to heating, so you get more drying out. So with no extra work at all, just doing what is reasonable generally, you'll get the effect you want. Mounted plants naturally dry out in a few hours no matter what you do, so that alone will help.

In fact, I learned from visiting Andy's Orchids growing areas, that for mounted plants, even most of those that have "dry winter rest" prescribed for them, don't need special handing... everything with a particular set of temperature needs gets watered the same, far too many plants to separate out the "dry rest" ones, and they thrive anyway. (Nighttime cooling happens naturally)
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:36 PM
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Extremely helpful insights Roberta. Gracias.
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Old 10-24-2020, 01:31 AM
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Just in case you didn't read this...

Daryl Venable on Tolumnia - DVOS September 2018
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Old 10-24-2020, 08:10 AM
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I do not treat mine differently. Small bark, clay pots, water 2x a week, cat level light. Sometimes I go a few days over because I'm too busy to water. Almost everybody's blooming.

As to the systemic: I think it was ES who told us about soaking the whole plant in water to drown any scale. You could use Azamax, or Neem, just a thought.
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Old 10-24-2020, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estación seca View Post
Just in case you didn't read this...

Daryl Venable on Tolumnia - DVOS September 2018
Actually, I had. Then completely forgot about some of those wise words from Daryl. This was a very timely read for me again. Gonna go find some panty hose, re-set my mister, move a fan closer. Thank you so much for the reminder ES!

I thought my mind was wacky twenty years ago... obviously age hasn't improved it.

---------- Post added at 08:33 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:26 AM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dollythehun View Post
I do not treat mine differently. Small bark, clay pots, water 2x a week, cat level light. Sometimes I go a few days over because I'm too busy to water. Almost everybody's blooming.

As to the systemic: I think it was ES who told us about soaking the whole plant in water to drown any scale. You could use Azamax, or Neem, just a thought.
I tried that a couple of years back after you spoke of it. For me, it just didn't work in my culture or climate or whatever. You just have the magic touch with them Dolly, and obviously I don't. Someday...

The systemic... I tried Neem oil a year or so ago. The rubbing alcohol certainly isn't working long term. I'm going for some big guns this time. Just ordered three new ones, gonna try to do it well this time. (I know, I know) Meanwhile, the infected ones live in another part of the house. Sick of it. I'll cure them or kill them. At this point, either way works.
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