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Home remedies for ailing orchids
By camille1585 at 2008-11-30 14:11
et’s admit it, most of us have been faced with a pest/disease problem at one point or another, despite the best care and attention we give our orchids. Do the words crown rot, mealies, scale or rot sound familiar to you? When I first started with orchids two and a half years ago, I naively thought that I would never have any problems with my orchids since they were indoors. Boy was I wrong! I have had minor problems like small spots of rot, and bigger problems, like a large scale mealy bug invasion. Reaching for the bottle of commercial chemicals products will usually get the job done, but why use those when there are plenty of useful, less harmful (to us at least) things in our own homes? There are many home remedies that can help the overly anxious orchid addicts rid their much loved orchids of pests and rot issues.

What's In A Name?
By ronaldhanko at 2008-11-26 02:00
mean, of course, "What's in an Orchid name ?"

I've noticed in the short time that I've been a member of the Orchid Board the confusion that beginners have with orchid names. The information they find on the tags that come with their orchids is a complete puzzle to them. I can sympathize. I remember the confusion I felt at the totally incomprehensible names and abbreviations I found. I was so confused that I threw away the tags that came with the first orchids I owned, not knowing how important they were. Not only did I consider their plastic ugliness a detraction from the flowers, but the information on them was meaningless to me.

Knowing the names of your orchids makes you seem more knowledgeable, but knowing the name can also get you a wealth of information about culture and care. Without a name a plant can't be entered for judging at an orchid show and ordinarily won't be considered for AOS awards - no name, no fame! Without a name no one else can envy you enough to find the orchid you have for themselves. It's in the hope that the following information will help beginners sort out the names of their plants and understand better the importance of these admittedly complicated names that this article is written. Don't throw your tags away; learn to read them.

Build a Shade House on a Budget
By Kona's Gold at 2008-11-21 22:44
rchids seem intimidating to grow for most beginners. But take it from this beginner (for the second time) they are easy to grow. The thing you need to watch out for is over/under watering and over fertilizing those are the main killers of plants of any kind. Another consideration is where to grow them. Some grow in windows, some under lights, some on their porches/lanais, some in green houses (if they have the area and money) and some like me a shade house. I have the warm weather here so year round shade house growing is the ticket. Of course even in more temperate climates it will work for late spring to early fall or into winter in south Texas/Florida or where you can maintain a good humidity say 45-55%.

Shade Houses can very simple lean-to’s to elaborate setups with concrete floors with wood or metal framing. Depending on the intensity of the Sun in your area the shade cloth can be anywhere between 30-70% here in Hawaii I use a 50% cloth with great results. I am using a metal frame made from 1 inch EMT conduit and fittings I got from ACE Hardware see list on bottom of page to find the parts on the web that they sell for Shade/Tents made for the EMT so any size you want can be assembled Mine for example is 8 by 10 feet and can be expanded at any time with little cost. I stretch the cloth over the pipe and hold it in place with plastic wire ties (zip-ties) see photos.
I built benches that are 6.5 by 2 feet out of treated pine (redwood was way too expensive here) that are at waist height (see photos and drawings) so there is no bending to exam plants.

A GOOD PHOTO BLOOMS FOREVER
By ronaldhanko at 2008-11-17 22:29
ave you seen a photo of an orchid that made you say, "I wish I'd taken that"? Have you ever wished for photos of your own orchids that were not just average, but showed these exquisite flowers to their best advantage, photos that would remind you of your orchids when they were not blooming? Perhaps you've had such thoughts but have you somehow gotten the idea that really good photos are beyond your capabilities or financial resources? In this article I want to dispel some myths about orchid photography by way of showing that good pictures can be taken by anyone with a minimum of expense and expertise.
Good photographs of the orchids we grow are a record of the blooms and plants that provides a memory of their loveliness and of our success as growers. Good photographs give the grower and photographer an opportunity to show his or her success far beyond the local orchid society and visiting friends, and can even give the additional thrill of being published. I can remember the thrill of having my first photo published and remember as well the owners of orchids that had just been awarded hanging breathlessly over my shoulder to make sure that their plant was properly photographed, hoping that “their photo” would be published in color in one of the American Orchid Society (AOS) publications or the AOS annual calender. A good photograph can even be the only memory of a plant that has departed to orchid heaven.

Brazil Nuts, Rats, Bees, Orchids and Goosebumps
By Geoffrey Frost at 2008-11-12 13:44

few weeks ago I saw an episode of Nature on PBS that told a fascinating and astounding story about orchids, bees, rats, and Brazil nuts and their intricate ecosystem. Thinking about what I saw and learned on that show absolutely gives me goosebumps, even now.

Let me tell you about the Brazil nut tree – Bertholletia excelsa. In the Amazon jungle countries of Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador, the Brazil nut trees grow to heights of 200+ feet, producing nuts that many of us enjoy and that provide a substantial source of income for the people of these countries.

In fact, export sales of Brazil nuts are In fact, export sales of Brazil nuts are second only to those of rubber, adding $44 million annually to South American economies. We Americans chow down on $17 million of them every year. These amazing trees can live from 500 – 800 years and don’t start producing until they’re 10 to 30 years old! (And we thought orchids were slow!) The nuts are contained in a pod the size of a large grapefruit. When ripe, these pods fall like cannon balls from heights of 150 feet or more and reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Look out below! Anything hit by one is quickly done in!

Amazingly, the pod is the proverbial “tough nut to crack” and doesn’t break open from this fall. For many years no one knew how the pods were opened so that the nuts could escape and start new trees. Recently scientists conducted an experiment to find out, thinking that it was some kind of animal with a powerful jaw that could crack them open. They cut some pods open, attached magnets to the seeds (15 to 25 per pod arranged like orange slices), and resealed them. Then they traced the little magnets with a big one. To their great surprise, they discovered that a large (rabbit-sized – up to 10 lbs.) rat called an agouti (of the genus Dasyprocta), with chisel sharp front teeth, was the sole pod opener! Since virtually all Brazil nut production comes from wild forest trees and wild harvesting, the agouti is essential in dispersing seeds to start new trees. Although cultivated Brazil nut plantations are being tried, they don’t do very well because of a dearth of pollinator bees.

Brazil nut trees have large, tough, complexly coiled, yellow flowers with a heavy hood. These flowers can be pollinated only by an insect that is strong enough to lift the hood and that has a tongue long enough to negotiate the complex coils. Pollination is accomplished exclusively by a specific type of Euglossine or
“orchid bee”, and only the female bee can do this. The males have other things to do. These bees are found almost exclusively in the wild, where they live solitary lives, with no hives that can be moved to plantations for pollination purposes. Hence the problems with getting plantation trees pollinated.

"Training" Catteya's to improve form and save space
By ckollmer at 2008-10-25 13:33
live in Southeastern PA and grow my plants indoors during the colder months. Because I have a manageable collection (my wife would argue about the term "managable"), I have adopted a few techniques that just about anyone can use to help save growing space and improve the growing form of your plants. Specifically I am referring to the cattleya alliance, but this could be applicable to other orchids with sympodial growth habit.

Materials needed: Raffia (from Michaels or other hobby store) [or coated wire if you prefer]; Bamboo skewers (from grocery store) [or bamboo or metal stake]; sterile (ie, new) razor blades or razor knife

When new growths are about 1/3-1/2 developed, I soak a length of raffia in soapy water or a weak physan solution (physan is a great surfactent); once softened up I will tie a knot around a stout pseudobulb adjacent to the new growth. I then loop the raffia around the emerging growth, tie a simple overhand knot (like tying your shoelace) and very slowly and carefully pull the raffia tighter until the emerging growth starts to straighted to a more verticle position. You need to be careful here - if the growth is too young, or if you pull too tight, you could break the growth. If you do this when you first obtain your plants, eventually you will end up with most of your p'bulbs and leaves rather perfectly upright. The limiting factor is the underlying growth habit of your plant, determined by its genetics. For example, I love the blooms of LC Marie's Song 'CTM 217'. However, the foliage is very sloppy and tends to "flop" over. For plants like this there is little you can do. But for plants with an inherently better growth habit, "training" new growths produces a neater looking plant and avoids having pseudobulbs sticking out at odd angles. You will be amazed at how much more growing space can be liberated by "training" plants like this. If you don't have a stout p'bulb to anchor your raffia, or if an existing mature p'bulb is not in the position you need, insert a bamboo skewer (or a more substantial stake if needed), tie a double overhand knot at the desired height, and use this as your "anchor" to pull the new growth into the desired direction. If, after the raffia dries out, you find that the knot you tied to the stake is loose and slides down, simply secure it in place with a bit of masking tape.

Guidelines for Growing Paphiopedilum Species of Subgenus Parvisepalum
By slipperfreak at 2008-10-10 04:21
My favorite part of orchid growing, which would then also be my favorite part of botany and horticulture as well, is the group of Paphiopedilum species known as the Parvisepalums. Many refer to these as the "Chinese" Paphs, or simply as "Parvis".

Orchid Conservation - Habitat Loss
By PainterArt at 2008-07-03 16:28
The Orchid Conservation Coalition has started a new initiative to document and bring stories of orchid habitat loss, preservation and restoration to the orchid growing community and the public. The first seven orchid conservation stories can be seen at: http://www.orchidconservationcoalition.org/hl/index.html


Phragmipedium besseae
By slipperfreak at 2007-10-22 04:28

Importing Orchids and other houseplants into Canada.
By Rudi KROON at 2007-10-07 20:17
It may be of interest to Canadians to know that it is legal to import Orchid plants for your own use into Canada. They should be raised in the continental U.S. There is a limit of 50 plants. They should be part of your luggage. No phytosanitary certificate is required.

Here's how I created my vivarium out of an aquarium.
By Henke at 2007-10-01 20:54
This is how I converted an old aquarium to be a house for some orchids. The dimension of the cabinet is 140×55×70 cm.

Phragmipedium schlimii
By slipperfreak at 2007-09-03 05:11

Gastrochilus somai
By Ross at 2007-09-02 22:27

Indoor Orchid Growing
By justatypn at 2007-08-29 23:50
There are up to 35,000 species available, they actually comprise the largest family of flowering plants on earth. In fact, one seventh of all plants are orchids. Over the past few years some have been grown commercially on a large scale for what we call at the Depot “potted plant” market. They are forced grown to a saleable blooming size and in most cases the easiest to grow for the novice grower. When buying orchids; buy for your growing conditions and area.
One advantage of growing indoors is that you get to see your orchid’s everyday as well as being able to see their environmental condition. Unfortunately, as the old proverb goes, "orchids tell you what they want, but by the time you listen to what they are trying to tell you, they are dead". Hopefully with this verbiage indoor growing will help prevent this old proverb from becoming a reality.
In order to successfully cultivate them, you must meet their requirements for light, temperature and humidity. But if you provide the proper environment, you'll be rewarded with fabulous blooms.

Orchid Fever: A Horticultural Tale of Love, Lust, and Lunacy
By Blondie at 2007-08-08 02:43
<p>A fun, non-fiction book about the crazy (wonderful) world of orchids.</p>

 
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