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Old 04-20-2022, 05:58 PM
OrcishOrchids OrcishOrchids is offline

Join Date: May 2019
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tell me your best advice, I'm giving a presentation Female
Question tell me your best advice, I'm giving a presentation

hey everybody! somehow I got labeled as the "orchid person" in my circle of acquaintance, and now I'm the opening act for a master gardener lecturing at my church. I've been asked to give a 15min talk about growing orchids to a group of ladies age 20-70 with little to no experience with plants. it's unpaid volunteer time, so I won't be compensated for anyone else's experience, I just want to set people on the right path if I can.

what do you think would be the most important things to get across? I was thinking of debunking the myth that they are fragile and impossible to grow, and taking a variety of media samples and plants to display, but I'm not sure how to prioritize everything else. I've printed out basic care sheets from the AOS for phals and cattleyas (what is mostly available here)
my husband will be handling pests (an entomologist) and the master gardener will be handling all the other plants.

Last edited by OrcishOrchids; 04-20-2022 at 06:00 PM.. Reason: spelling error
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Old 04-20-2022, 06:18 PM
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Roberta Roberta is offline
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tell me your best advice, I'm giving a presentation Female

How much time will you have? If 45 minutes to an hour, you can give a pretty comprehensive "Orchids 101" talk. I tend to focus mostly on Phalaenopsis, since that's one that pretty much everybody has even if they don't have any other orchids. One little quip that might be helpful is one that I saw first at the SVO booth, but have used often. "Orchids are not cocktails... don't add ice!" Concept of "humid air" around roots rather than "wet", "Once weekly,weakly" on fertilizer ...

Take a look at the "Orchids 101" handout that I and the other Fascination of Orchids co-chair have developed over a bunch of years... It has a southern California spin so many points wouldn't apply, but there's quite a bit that is totally basic,

Another variation on the theme is on my own website Culture Notes that may give you some points to think about.

Rereading your post, you only get 15 minutes. So I'd still focus on Phals, hit the most basic concepts of watering an epiphytic plant (air around roots important), light fertilizing. Appropriate light. That's about all you will have time for...

Orchids teach patience!

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Last edited by Roberta; 04-20-2022 at 06:22 PM..
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Old 04-20-2022, 06:26 PM
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estación seca estación seca is offline
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tell me your best advice, I'm giving a presentation Male

The most important and also difficult thing to get across to general gardeners is the absolute requirement for lots of air at the roots. Almost no general gardeners in the US have ever grown epiphytes. They just don't understand unless it's explained, because it's different from all the other plants they've grown.

The next thing is that orchids come from a huge range of elevations and climates, so different kinds require very different growing conditions. Many are inappropriate for home growing due to inability to give enough light, heat or coolness, or humidity.

The third thing is to pick an orchid for the place they want to grow it, not pick one they like and hope to keep it alive. This means temperatures through the year, humidity and light.
May the bridges I've burned light my way.

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Last edited by estación seca; 04-20-2022 at 06:50 PM..
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Old 04-20-2022, 06:56 PM
Diane56Victor Diane56Victor is offline
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tell me your best advice, I'm giving a presentation Female

Tell them 'no ice'
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Old 04-21-2022, 09:44 AM
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Ray Ray is offline
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tell me your best advice, I'm giving a presentation Male

The biggest myths I hear are derivatives of the same issue - “orchids must dry out between waterings” and “overwatering causes rot”. As has already been pointed out, all such issues are related to potting media that suffocate the roots.

Don’t forget “not soil”.
Ray Barkalow, Orchid Iconoclast
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15min, experience, gardener, master, plants

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