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Orchids Simplified: An Indoor Gardening Guide
By Blondie at 2007-07-02 00:14
<p>From back cover: “Includes over one hundred color photographs and step-by-step instructions to master the art of growing orchids at home.”</p>

How I grow Pleurothallid Orchids
By Restrepia at 2007-06-19 17:40
How I grow Pleurothallid Orchids.

At this present time I am growing in two orchid cases (Exo Terra) and have another two planned for the future to set up. I have made no physical adjustments to these enclosures and would recommend that beginners do not replace the top mesh with glass. The reason for not making this adjustment is that the mesh supplies the exchange of new air coming in and stale air going out of the enclosed case. Remember that your ultimate goal will be to provide high humidity however; high humidity with stale air will be the perfect breeding ground for bacterial and fungi.

My small growing case is 18" x 18" x 18" (W x D x H) and I grow all of my leaf cuttings, keikis and divisions within this case. I have added capillary matting to the base of the growing case to soak up excess water which also helps with maintaining humidity. The plants growing in pots are situated on a wire shelf to prevent plants from taking up the water from the capillary matting. Plants that are mounted are hung on the side of the glass enclosure with suction caps. Placed on the top mesh of the growing case are two small refrigeration fans running 24/7. I use refrigeration fans as they are generally more powerful, reliable and waterproof as opposed to PC fans. These two fans supply plenty of air movement inside the growing case. Placed inside the growing case is an automatic mister nozzle that is controlled by a timer to supply a fine mist of RO water over the plants and within the case, this keeps humidity between 70 – 99%. In the summer the mister comes on at 8:00am for 30 seconds and then every two hours for 30 seconds up to midday. From midday it comes on every hour for 30 seconds up to 4:00pm and one last mist for 30 seconds at 6.00pm. In the winter the misting interval times are significantly reduced.

Media preparation for home orchid flasking. Part 2... Replating Media
By Phalguy at 2007-06-06 20:21
Media preparation for home orchid flasking.
A step by step guide to replating media preparation.

Part II

Replating Media Preparation

This method is based on Lottes and Thomas asymbiotic germination technique and the homeflasking method I found on the net. I will post an article about sowing seeds from a green pod in a few weeks ! Hope you like it ! This media is used for REPLATING flasking !

Phalguy






Media preparation for homemade flasking !
By Phalguy at 2007-06-01 17:48
Media preparation for home orchid flasking.
A step by step guide to mother flasking.

Part I

Mother Flasking

This method is based on Lottes and Thomas asymbiotic germination technique and the homeflasking method I found on the net. I will post an article about sowing seeds from a green pod in a few weeks ! Hope you like it ! This media is use for mother flasking ! I`m using another medium for replating.

Phalguy




Setting up A Custom Orchid Tank
By Ross at 2007-05-01 22:32
This Article documents the thought process involved in designing and setting up a large custom Orchid environment. After following a lot of threads on this and other related boards, I decided to construct my own custom tank (or, as it turned out, having it constructed for me.)

Objectives for the new Orchid Tank
  • Need a tank large enough to house an expanding collection of, mainly, miniature species orchids. These will be low-light, high humidity/moisture species.
  • Most of the plants will be mounted and hanging, as in stick or cork mounts.
  • Need an environment that allows low maintenance for the plants. This means I want to be able to ignore plants for at least a week at a time. Occasional fertilizing is understood, but daily is not going to make it.
  • Must have an environment where excess moisture drains away by itself, misting is taken care of regularly, light is not a problem, there will be places for lower wetness plants and higher wetness plants, and air movement is controlled over 24 hour period.
  • I desire to use 48” T5 fixtures as the only source of light. Lights will be timer-controlled.
  • Locating tank in basement where ambient temps are approx. 62 degrees F at night and 67 degrees F day during winter months will moderate temperature. Temperatures during summer months will be approx 65-70 degrees F at night and 75-80’s during the day. Cool to Intermediate growers are the best choices. A few spp on the edge of being warm-growers are also a possibility.
  • Tank should be easy to care for by non-orchid grower for periods of up to a month or more. My caretaker, while I am away, is not an orchid specialist.
  • Esthetics is NOT the primary issue – casual visitors will not see this tank. The tank is for hobby purposes and function is more important than esthetics. Quality of construction is important in order to eliminate future problems such as warping, separating of seams, etc.

Cattleya
By Marty at 2007-03-27 13:17

Why I use semi-hydroponics
By growinhydro at 2007-03-18 00:46
I have been growing orchids for 7 years now…well killing them at first, but really becoming successful within these last 4 to 5 years. My success wasn’t a result of the months of researching their culture, high tech fertilizers, or the eventual investment in a greenhouse. The secret was in a little clay pellet.

Orchids were always a passing interest for me. They flirted with me every time I went to a Lowes or Home Depot, and even at the grocery store; I know you’ve heard this story before…

It wasn’t till I bought my first orchid, a striking yellow Oncidium calling herself ‘Sweet Sugar’. I took her home not having a clue how to care for her, but having inherited my parent’s green thumb, I had a good idea. The flowers lasted for weeks and I was starting to want to try the other types. I brought home a few Phalaenopsis in bloom and put them with ‘Sweet Sugar’. Well to my surprise, within a week, the leaves on the phalaenopsis were shriveling, the flowers were falling off, and it was very obvious I didn’t know what I was doing. Intrigued as to why I could not grow them, I bought book after book on orchid culture, thus beginning my obsession. After about a month of reading online and off, I felt confident I could do this. I had learned that Phalaenopsis do not like a full southern exposure and quickly cook, and I was desperate for redemption.

As the months passed I collected orchid after orchid, some looking scragglier than others, and I acquired quite a collection; one that I couldn’t re-bloom. Darling wife says she wants her living room back…time for a greenhouse you say?

Ok, with greenhouse built and orchids loaded, I started seeing improvements in foliage, no more pleating of the leaves due to low humidity, and better over all growth. And with some education on nutrition, I was beginning to understand what these orchids needed; eventually being rewarded with flowers.

Where do those clay pellets come into play? I’ll tell you. As the months passed I was having varying success. Good with the more common Phalaenopsis, Oncidium, and Dendrobium, but I was drawn to the more exotic; so many wonderful varieties. Why couldn’t I grow them? So I bought bunches of them, I had a greenhouse now mind you, I am an orchid grower now. Well… Struggling with failure I stumbled across a new culture for growing orchids. It was called Semi-hydroponics.

Pests and Diseases
By Waldorbigbill at 2007-02-08 14:13
ugs create a host of problems and can seriously damage a collection if left untreated. Scales, mealybugs, aphids and mites are the most common orchid pests. You will find that bugs are attracted to certain genera. For instance, mealybugs like phalaenopsis and bifoliate cattleyas, while scale prefers cattleyas and cymbidiums. Aphids are attracted to the buds and flowers of dendrobiums and oncidiums, but they do not discriminate between orchid genera. Spider mites will show up when there is a lack of humidity especially on dendrobiums, oncidiums and cymbidiums.
Always keep a close eye out for bug damage. They like to hide under leaves and sheathing and, if left untreated, they will quickly spread through your collection. By removing old sheathing once it becomes loose, it will be easier to recognize the early signs of an insect problem. Scale depletes chlorophyll leaving yellow spots on the foliage. They also love to feast on the tender eyes at the base of the pseudobulbs. Aphids will leave a sticky residue on the foliage below where they are eating. Spider mites can be identified by the silvery scarring they leave under the leaves. The good news is that most orchid pests are easily exterminated. Home and garden sprays will provide a long list of bugs they will kill. We recommend spraying the plant, then manually cleaning it as much as you can with a Q-tip or toothbrush, followed by another treatment of spray. Follow up treatments after five to seven days may be necessary to fully eliminate the problem.
Schultz, Bayer and Ortho all carry a good line of sprays that are available at any garden center, hardware store or home improvement warehouse. For a less toxic approach, we recommend using denatured alcohol, neem oil or insecticidal soap. Remember to always be extra careful of what you spray, especially on the flowers, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent plant and flower damage.

The Orchid Etiquette Advisory
By Rick Barry at 2007-02-04 21:16

f you are interested in viewing and perhaps purchasing superior plants of any orchid genus, particularly the best clones, you must look to private collections and beyond the 'Employees Only' signs at commercial growers. Some of the best clones ever produced are in the possession of hobbyists and commercial breeders and are not offered in the retail market. The sales of such high-end plants are usually conducted privately. Most often the exchange takes place directly with a breeder or collector who may offer a division of one of his breeding plants or perhaps some other select plants that will never become generally available. Access to view or purchase such plants is usually granted only by arrangement with the owner.

True orchid connoisseurs differ in substantial ways from typical hobbyists. While the average hobbyist may on occasion receive an AOS award for one of his plants, the true connoisseur expects to receive awards on a regular basis. Such awarded plants become the basis for one's reputation as a grower, and perhaps as a breeder. Some of these plants come at considerable expense, depending upon the rarity of the plant, the specific awards it has received, and its potential as a stud plant. The owner of an exceptional plant holds the same sort of regard for it that an art collector might for a Van Gogh or a Matisse. Like fine art, some orchid plants, the rarest and most valuable of all, disappear into the private collections of wealthy collectors, never to be seen in public. Other select plants are confined to the breeding bench, where they remain in bloom only long enough to be pollinated to produce the next generation of seedlings. The opportunity to view (and possibly even purchase) such plants is not granted lightly, and should always be viewed as a rare opportunity, as well as an honor.

***
Should one receive special access to plants unavailable to the general public, one must abide by some rules of behavior which are frequently overlooked in common practice.

Keep in mind at all times that you are a visitor. Watch your manners. Try to be as self-effacing as possible. You may consider yourself knowledgeable about orchids (as no doubt you've really learned a lot in the last 6 months), but your host may rightfully feels he knows more. After all, if you had any reputation in orchid culture he'd already have known of it. The receipt of a blue ribbon or a show trophy, or even an AOS award, doesn't grant you peer status with growers whose reputations have been earned over decades of experience. If you're a beginner, act like it.

Hydroponics-A Simplified Method of Growing Orchids
By orchidannie at 2007-02-03 20:38
HYDROPONICS
A SIMPLIFIED METHOD OF GROWING ORCHIDS


he word hydroponics means working or moving water. This can be accomplished with a pump in a water reservoir or more supply by using an aggregate that has capillary action with a small reservoir of water.

Most orchid growers visualize orchids growing in hydroponics to be sitting in water. They believe that orchids and hydroponics do not mix. There is nothing further from the truth. Orchids need moisture, oxygen, nutrients and light. The first three of these components can be supplied to orchids growing in hydroponics in just the exact proportions that they need with more control than any other growing method.
When the orchid grower pots an orchid in most conventional growing mediums that medium is the best it is ever going to be. The medium will start to break down, decompose, with each passing day. Growing orchids in an inert fixed medium will provide that root zone with a healthier environment without the presence of decomposing matter, bacteria and mold.
Using a hydroponic growing kit with a high fired terra cotta medium is an ideal hydroponic method. The terra cotta growing medium has capillary action and will provide even and consistent moisture to the root zone. This hydropinic growing kit consists of two pots. A culture or grow pot and an outer pot to hold the nutrient solution. It also has a float devise to monitor the depth of the water in the outer pot. The culture pot is of special design. It has slits all around the lower portion of the pot with a concave bottom so that only the lower outer portion of the pot makes contact with the nutrient solution. Orchids growing in any hydroponic system must be allowed to go dry before the water is replenished. This will allow maximum oxygen to the roots.

Confessions of an Orchid Addict
By cneos at 2007-02-03 00:29
y name is Joanna and I’m an Orchid Addict. It’s been almost twenty years since I got my first orchid fix … and less than a week since I had my last. Oops – take that back, I’m going to a favorite orchid nursery this weekend where I know there will be something that I won’t be able to resist. One of those will be my (next to) last.

What’s the attraction about orchids? Is it their beauty? Rainbow of colors? The romance or mystery that they inspire? Their unusual forms or flower sizes that range from pin-head to dinner plate? For every Orchid Addict, there’s a different lure. For this OA, it’s all of these plus, living in New Hampshire, it’s a way to enjoy an illusion of the tropics all year long.

My first orchid – a very robust plant in a 10” plastic pot – came from Shaw’s Supermarket early in 1988 as an anniversary, Valentine’s Day or birthday gift. Cymbidium Peter Pan ‘Greensleeves’ HCC/AOS carried five inflorescences, each bearing a dozen or more delicate-looking, fragrant flowers.

I was so impressed with Peter Pan that I began reading everything I could find about caring for orchids. That summer, up went a Janco 14’ x 14’ free-standing greenhouse into which we moved patio tomatoes, several houseplants that had outgrown their places in the living room and Peter Pan (now bearing eight new flower spikes). Everything was perfect until December 16 (1988) when it was 16 degrees F outside. The greenhouse glass was so frosted that I couldn’t read the four-inch tall numbers on the thermometer hanging inside. Everything solid in view outside – trees, shrubs, clothes-line – had a fine coating of ice that glittered like diamonds in the morning sunlight. So did every plant in the greenhouse where the propane heater had failed, plummeting the temperature down to 22! Peter Pan was literally frozen in its pot!

We restored the heat and as things gradually warmed up, we watched as all of our treasured plants turned black and died – except for Peter Pan – it only lost its new flower spikes. If an orchid can survive a night in the tundra, it can handle anything that a fledgling OA can dish out. We still have divisions of our original Peter Pan in our collection.
How should you choose an Orchid? Many of us buy plants in bloom for ‘instant gratification.’ Paph. Mint Imperial was just too irresistible. Whatever your craving, any plant that you bring into your collection should ALWAYS be free from disease, have no pests, and have the genetic ability to grow strongly under average conditions.

An OA will buy plants sight-unseen if she’s patient, willing to take a risk and prepared for the unexpected. A few years ago, a show vendor had several dozen seedlings of a complex Paphiopedilum for sale. The seedlings of [(Makuli x curtisii) x Maudiae ‘The Queen’] x Maudiae ‘Napa Valley’ were in bud, but none had open flowers. I bought two. Now, no two seedlings from the same seed pod have flowers that look exactly alike, but imagine my surprise when ‘The Fluke’ opened with two perfectly formed dorsal sepals! (Subsequent blooms of ‘The Fluke’ have been normal.

Work station and accessories
By terrestrial_man at 2007-02-01 03:23
hen I first started growing plants inside I was living in a trailer and had a metal shelf with lights and grew a number of house plants. The plants loved the warmth of the kitchen they were in and the west facing shaded window proved to be the ideal place for them. While I was low-budget at the time I did not have any nice accessories, such as a watering can or even a spray bottle to water the plants. It was just the old soak them in the sink routine! It seemed that my major accessories were an old beat up cardboard box and newspapers that I used whenever I had to repot any of the plants. Didn't even have labels or a thermometer! Definitely low-budget!
While the plants that I now grow center more around orchids, I have found that it is necessary to have a spot where I can keep different soil mixes, pots, assorted tools, containers, and gadgets that I have grown used to having around to make it easier for me as I divide and repot plants. The focus of this work station is a very basic desk and accompanying large stackable Rubbermaid totes.
The desk offers a surface area where I can place shallow trays or plastic dishpans that I use to repot a plant in or to make up a new batch of mix. The three drawers serve to hold both my reference books and small supplies and gadgets in a very convenient location to my potting surface. In the foot-well of the desk rests small bags of the ingredients I use in my mixes, as well as small plastic storage boxes with mounting bark, wire, and bits and pieces of stuff that seemed to fit nowhere else!
In looking over the stuff of caring for my plants I consider the following to be the most important apart from the ingredients that make up the mixes:

GUATEMALA ADVENTURE
By orchidsusa at 2007-01-31 20:25
GUATEMALA, AUGUST 10-17, 2002
FELLOW PLANT ADVENTURERS WANTED!!!

even travelers plus three Guatemalan plant experts who included Jeronimo Lancerio – Bromeliads, Romeo Soto – Movie producer and environmentalist and Jorge Pontaz – Landscape architect, agronomist and greenhouse owner. Plus the lucky seven – Anne and David Joffe of Sanibel Island, Florida, owners of She Sells Sea Shells, a world renowned seashell business. Professor Barry Wilson, PhD. – Orchid Hobbyist, Matt Richards – Horticulturist and Orchid propagator, Steve Beam – a director of the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens and landscape architect, Scott Joffe – Orchid Grower and co-organizer of the trip, and myself, Steve Guiness – Plant collector, grower, floriculturist and co-organizer of the trip..
Our mission and objective was to explore and rescue fallen and distressed plants and remove plants that are in areas about to be cleared for farming and other projects. With permits and permission from the government of Guatemala and all legal and required paperwork for export, we set out.
Most of the group arrived Saturday August 10th except for Matt. After flying from Ohio to Los Angeles without stopping in Dallas due to inclement weather, he arrived in Guatemala City Sunday morning August 11th. This gave him one hour to shower and leave with the rest of us. We were finally ready to head off on our adventure!

Sunday August 11
Off on our plant adventure! We headed East towards Teculatan in the Motagua valley in the shadow of the Sierra de Las Minas mountains to the farm of a friend where we were allowed to search his property for plants. We had a delicious wood fire grilled barbecue chicken lunch with all the fixings. On the farm the vegetation is dry-subtropical and thorny with temperature in the range of 24-26 degrees Celsius (76-78 Fahrenheit). Orchid species in the area were Oncidiums and Encyclias. We also found a huge Cyrtopdium Punctatum growing on a rock in shallow soil as a Lithophyte. The common name of this orchid is Cow's Horn because of the large horn like pseudobulbs.
(see #1).

Monday August 12
On the drive to Cerro San Gil near the town of Dona Maria, there was a fallen tree. We received permission from the land owner to remove plants from. This area is lower and more humid than the previous day. We saved many plants from the fallen tree including Brassavola Nodosa (Lady of the Night), Encyclia Adenocarpum, Encyclia Nematocaulum and Schomburgkias.
Next we proceeded to Cerro San Gil. On the drive to the park, Matt spotted some large Catasetums in flower and we had to stop and take pictures, they were too nice not to. (see photo # 2-3)
Cerro San Gil is a private ecological reserve funded by United States aid and Fundaeco, a Guatemalan non-profit foundation. It is the largest remnant of tropical rain forest remaining in Guatemala. It is located near the Caribbean Sea between Rio Dolce and Puerto Barrios and covers 3348 acres. Romeo told us that we were the first group to ever be allowed to collect in the area which is very hot and humid with an annual rain fall over 3,600 mm. per year and temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit). The rescues were limited but we did find one Encyclia Cochleata.
The jungle here was great; a pristine tropical area untouched with over 340 species of birds and an untold number of Aroids, Begonias, Ferns and many different species of tropical trees. Barry, Steve Beam, Jeronimo, Ana Silvia, Jorge and Romeo decided to spend the night at the request of the two Biology students that were stationed there. There is a primitive biological station located on the trail and they stayed there. Arrangements were made to pick the up the next morning at the Rio Carboneras.
The rest of us headed to Rio Dulce for a hot shower, nice dinner and comfortable bed at the Mansion Del Rio!

The Cattleya "Cut-Divide-and-Conquer" Multiplier Method
By Slipperhead at 2007-01-31 00:14
"Chat" Chatfield was 96-years old when my wife and I met him at a small orchid show in southern California in 1990. He told us all about his orchids and invited me over to see his greenhouse and help with some repotting. I stopped by his place that following weekend and went home that evening with sore fingers after helping to divide and repot about 50 specimen-sized orchids! I also took home three healthy, newly-potted Cattleya divisions for my efforts! That was the beginning of my orchid indoctrination and addiction!!! Over the next few years, Mr. Chatfield taught me everything I would need to know about growing orchids. Orchid-growing fads come and go, but the basics he taught me have never changed!
One of his many lessons involved a handy method of dividing plants when your Cattleya has 7 or more pseudobulbs or is nearing the edge of its pot. This can be especially helpful for those plants that seem to prefer to grow in a straight line and only have one blooming lead at a time. Also, this method gives your back bulb divisions a head start with a new lead prior to repotting instead of repotting the back bulbs with NO leads and lots of stress!
Here’s what you do...
Start with a plant that has at least 7 growths of any size. Count 3 or 4 growths from the lead growth and make a cut all the way through the rhizome with a clean cutting tool. Do not disturb the plant in any other way!
Write the current date on an old plant stick from one of your dead plants and place the stick all the way through the cut as shown. The purpose of the stick is to simply identify the location and date of the cut, not to keep the cut from healing itself.
Return the plant back to its shelf and continue loving care; nothing different than before.
With luck, you'll get an extra growth or TWO fairly quickly from dormant eyes located on the back bulbs. If the plant is not in active growth, you probably won’t see results until it returns to life so BE PATIENT!!! This method works almost every time on a healthy plant!

Growing Orchids is Easy
By Wendy at 2007-01-28 15:59
Basic Types: Phalaenopsis, Paphiopedilum, Cattleya, Oncidium, Dendrobium

Temperature:
Warm…80-90f days, 65-70f nights
Intermediate…70-80f days, 55-65f nights
Cool…60-70f days, 50-55f nights

Most of the basic types of orchids can be grown successfully in the home environment. Microclimates can be created or found naturally in the home for those that want to try more difficult plants. i.e.: cooler areas next to some windows/basements or warmer areas over radiators or in sunrooms etc.

Light
Any window but a north facing one will do for most orchids. A south facing window may need some shading (sheer curtains/blinds) as direct sunlight will burn. Some morning/late afternoon sun is beneficial. Dark green leaves is an indicator of not enough light. Leaves should be light green in colour.
Fluorescent light is a good supplemental light source. Tubes (banks or 2 or 4) or compact fluorescents are okay
HID lights are a good quality light source. They come in High Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide. Costly to run.

Watering & Fertilizer
Good quality tap water or rain water is best. R/O is also a good choice. Fertilizer such as 20/20/20 should be used at ¼ strength every second watering. Pots should be flushed THOROUGHLY every other watering to flush out excess fertilizer salts. A buildup of salts will destroy root growth on plants and eventually the plant itself. When the plant is in dormancy it should receive less water and no fertilizer.

 
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