General Growing Tips.
The welcome transition to fall is upon us. Once the temperature and humidity mediate, you’ll notice many of your plants putting on a second growth spurt. Reward them by watering a little more frequently with dilute fertilizer. You can expect the emergence of buds on many orchids from the cattleyas, evergreen dendrobiums and vandas to cycnoches, catasetums and miltonias. Select the ideal spot for the plant and place pendulous bloomers atop an inverted pot. Support the inflorescence as it emerges and open the sheath to prevent the accumulation of moisture around the developing buds.
Despite the shortening days and lowering angle of the sun, you will see a flush of new root tips. Keep water and fertilizer in balance with heat and light. Check plants for potting needs for the last time. Any in dire need should be repotted as there is just enough of the growing season left for plants to establish before the days get short and cold. The spectacular, multiflowered C. bowringiana should be in sheath. Observe the puffy sheath structures often, they may need to be opened at the tip to encourage evaporation of condensation that forms around the buds. C. labiata and its hybrids will begin to flower this month along with the spectacular and fragrant forms of the species C. percivaliana.
Through diligent breeding programs, the cymbidium season gets stretched longer and longer. Cym. ensifolium hybrids will bloom first with the winter blooming standard sized hybrids soon to follow. Stake Inflorescences and move plants to a shadier location to help the flowers develop.
This is the season for the phalaenopsis and canaliculatum type dendrobiums. The long, arching sprays of flat dark red-purple to white or pink saucer-like blossoms provide weeks of satisfaction. Fertilize with low nitrogen fertilizer for the best flowers. Nobile-type hybrids should continue to be maintained on a nitrogen free fertilizer program. You can start to gradually reduce watering frequency on the winter dormant dendrobiums.
Of the three popular pansy orchids Miltonia xbluntii, roezlii and spectabilis, the latter is probably the most showy. The reddish purple flowers of Milt. spectabilis var. moreliana usually appear singly and last for weeks.
Standard green-leaved paphiopedilums begin to show their bloom sheaths this month. Late season heat waves can blast these early sheaths, so provide proper cooling and air circulation.
The bulk of this season's growth is being ripened this month. Begin to watch watering more carefully and reduce feeding proportionately with reduced watering needs.
Phal. hieroglyphica flowers reliably in the autumn. Its fragrant pale yellow flowers are distinctively marked with well defined brown lines on the sepals and petals. Phal. equestris and Phal. lindenii may also show their best now, the former may be everblooming through spring and the latter will arouse curiosity with its attractively striped lip.
This is the principal blooming season for V. sanderiana that is the foundation for large flowered modern vandaceous hybrids. Position plants so the inflorescences will grow out of the leaves toward the light. Help uncooperative types by placing a thin bamboo stick between the emerging inflorescence and the flattened form of the leaves, thereby forcing the raceme outward.
Autumn is typically the end of the growing season for the catasetum relatives. Plants may produce flowers from pseudobulbs with leaves, or in some instances, from bulbs that have already lost their leaves. Watch the undersides of the leaves to control spider mites which seem to find these delicacies just as the foliage reaches its prime or plants are about to bloom. Support the basal racemes of catasetums as they emerge and consider placing the pots on inverted pots to provide room for them to hang freely.
More Monthly Advice
Dr. Martin Motes Notes:
Progress of the Season.
Now that the serious rains of summer have begun, they have washed away most of our problems with Thrips and mites. Now our focus, as usual, is on attention to disease prevention. With the shorting day lengths of August and the typical afternoon thunderstorms, our plants stay wet longer overnight... read more
Orchids in September. September looms as the only truly dismal month in South Florida. Even without the prospect of the unspeakable 'H' word, September disheartens since it is easily the dampest, dullest month in the year. Although more inches of rain fall in June, more hours of rain occur in the often slow, seemingly endless drizzles of September. Frequently a day or two can pass without so much as a solid hour of truly bright... read entire article
Culture Article by Sue Bottom:
Orchid Myths - Urea
I have read and oft repeated that urea fertilizers should be avoided. Leave it to Alan Koch to debunk another orchid myth. Does the form of nitrogen make a difference?
Monthly SAOS Meeting
We normally meet on the first Tuesday of each month at Watson Realty, located at 3505 US 1 South in St. Augustine. The meeting begins with a plant sale at 7 pm followed by a presentation by an orchid expert at 7:15. The meeting closes with a plant raffle and auction where members can expand their collections. It's fun and informative for beginner and experienced growers. Here's a membership form if you want to join. Visitors and guests are always welcome!
Here's a video of one of our meetings!
October 6 Monthly Meeting - Green with Envy: Origins of Green Cattleyas, 7 to 9 pm
Ron Midgett of New Earth Orchids in Santa Fe will be talking about the species used in modern green flowered cattleyas at the October 6 meeting. Ron had his first encounter with orchids about 40 years ago when he saw some “strange” plants in Santa Barbara, California – they were Cymbidiums. The orchid bug bite had hit its target. He started an orchid business in 1990, the New England Orchid Company, to support and extensive breeding pro¬gram. Ron Midgett began growing orchids in 1969 in the orchid rich environment of Southern California. Since then, he has grown orchids in many different regions of the US and in the Caribbean for 3 years. Currently, he lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he continues his orchid breeding with an emphasis on Cattleyas, Paphiopedilums and Oncidiinae.
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September 5 Plant Clinic at Ace Hardware, 9 am to 1 pm
The first Saturday of the month from February through November, Master Gardeners and St. Augustine Orchid Society members will be available to talk with you, answer questions and help you repot orchids. We will be at the Ace Hardware at 3050 US 1 South in St. Augustine from 9 am until 1 pm.
Here's a video of a repotting clinic!
St. Augustine Orchid Society Happenings
Gail Marshall puts together the SAOS Happenings each month so you can easily find all the orchid events around town.
Donate to the SAOS
Your information source for growing orchids in North Florida. The SAOS is a Section 501(c)(3) not for profit organization for the development, improvement, preservation, cultivation and hybridization of orchids. All donations are tax deductible.
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