General Growing Tips.
We usually receive our first cold snap around Halloween, so if you are growing outdoors, this is the time for you to make your winter preparations. Check your winter structure, test fire your heaters and start cleaning your plants. The shortening day length and cooler nights initiate all sorts of changes in your orchids. Your plants require less water and fertilizer now. Observe the rate at which your plants dry out after watering and make adjustments, gradually adding days in between your normally watering cycle. Consider removing shading from the greenhouse to allow more light during the winter months.
Many fall blooming cattleyas are getting ready to bloom and buds are swelling in their sheaths. C. labiata, C. bowringiana and the fall blooming form of C. skinneri, and their hybrids typically have double sheaths. Sophronitis coccinea enjoys a peak flowering season this month. Some of its hybrids should also be blooming, particularly those with summer-fall flowering parents. While the plants are usually small, the show of color makes them conspicuous. Also blooming now is Enc. cochleata, Epi. ciliare and Epi. pseudepidendrum.
It seems that the big change in day to night temperatures can cause moisture to accumulate between the inner and outer sheaths causing buds to rot. Watch these orchids carefully and be sure there is lots of air movement around these orchids. If you observe any moisture accumulating, carefully open the outer sheath and allow air movement into the space between sheaths. That usually solves the problem.
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.
Paphs and phrags really seem to love the cool nights too. Mature growths, especially in the multifloral paphs will prepare to flower. Usually development of new growths is the first sign that a flower spike will soon emerge.
Phalaenopsis require a significant day to night temperature change to initiate spikes. It usually takes a couple of weeks of these conditions to get phals to put their energy into growing spikes instead of leaves. Phals will be fine on a porch or in a greenhouse even after nights are in the upper 50s F as long as the day temperature rises above 80 F. Once daytime high temperatures are below 78-80 F, phals need to be kept no lower than 60 F at night.
Autumn marks the end of the vanda growing season. Vandas are known as heat-loving orchids, but seem to bloom better in the fall and winter as long as temperatures do not get below 60 F and there is enough light. Colors are always brighter when nights are a little cooler. This is especially true for any vanda or ascocenda with Vanda coerulea in the parentage.
You should be seeing flowers on catasetums and their relatives now. Handle catasetums with care when the blooms are open because a minor jarring of the plant can cause the flowers to eject their pollen-carrying anther caps, resulting in a much shortened flower life. This interesting and unique method of natural pollen dissemination is always a stimulating topic of conversation for those seeing it occur for the first time.
More Monthly Advice
Dr. Martin Motes Notes:
Progress of the Season.
Autumn, like much else this year, is arriving a few weeks late. The weak cold fronts that typically push through the entire peninsula in late September have stalled mid way leaving the south much drier than normal and the north a good deal wetter. The Rhy. gigantea will definitely not be blooming for Xmas and those Phals will most likely be late as well... read more
Orchids in October. October is a month of change in South Florida. If the Romans had lived here where we do, they would have named this month for their two faced god Janus. Usually around the middle of the month, and certainly by the end of the month, the first strong cold front pushes into South Florida bringing to a close the monolithic heat and damp of summer and ushering in weather as most of the continent knows it... read entire article
Culture Article by Sue Bottom:
What Is an Orchid Species?
The first time I was asked the question “what is a species?”, I mumbled something
You may intuitively know what a species is, but putting a definition next to the word is easier said than done.
A traditional definition of species is a population of similar individuals that interbreed but are reproductively isolated from other populations...
Monthly SAOS Meeting Subscribe to Our Newsletter|
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!
Next Monthly Meeting - Talk to the Professsor, November 4
Crowd favorite Courtney Hackney of Hackneau's Art and Orchids Orchids will answer any questions you may have on how to grow your orchids at the November 4 meeting. Courtney is our Go-To Guy for answering the tough questions. Now it’s your turn. All those questions you’ve wondered about and been afraid to ask, this is your chance. This should be a great learning experience!
Courtney is the Director of Coastal Biology at the UNF where he teaches and conducts research in tidal wetlands. He has a lifelong love of orchids and has grown them for almost 40 years. He has written an article about cattleya hybrids and hybridizers for the ‘Orchid Digest’ as well as the book ‘American Cattleyas’. He writes a monthly ‘Growing Tips’ column that appears in orchid society newsletters around the Southeast including the SAOS. Oh yeah, and he’s the guy that always walks away with the Members Choice award for his show table plants.
Plant Clinic at Ace Hardware - November 1
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!
Officers and Directors for 2015 - The following candidates have been nominated for 2015 and if approved at the November 4 meeting, will be installed at the December Christmas auction:
- Bob Schimmel, President
- Sue Bottom, Vice President - Programs
- Linda Stewart, Vice President - Membership
- Yvonne Schimmel, Vice President - Publicity
- Bill Gourley, Treasurer
- Janis Croft, Secretary
- Dianne Batchelder, Director
- Mary Colee, Director
- Lola Stark, Director
Changes to Bylaws -
We have some proposed changes to the bylaws that include changing the title of the First Vice President to Vice President - Programs, the Second Vice President to Vice President - Publicity and adding a third Vice President - Membership position. Changes to the Bylaws will be voted on at the November 4 meeting.
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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