General Growing Tips.
Winter's cool days and nights have already affected most collections; if all plants are not already indoors, they soon may be. Concerning daylight intensity and its duration, the seasonal change must be obvious by now. Don’t allow daytime temperatures to rise too high before ventilating the growing area. Fresh air is important for healthy plants and their owners. Just remember that if the grower can be reasonably comfortable with the temperature and humidity conditions in the growing area, the plants are likely to be satisfied too.
Plants are responding to the shorter, cooler days and less intense sun by slowing and ripening their growth so reduce your frequency of watering as the plants dry out more slowly and have a lesser need for fertilizer. Cattleya skinneri should be pushing its buds up into dried sheaths for a January flowering; do not cut the sheaths off or open them. Cattleya trianiae and its hybrids ought to be blooming for several months beginning now. Many Sophronitis hybrids typically flower this season. Laelia anceps, the Christmas orchid, will have well defined buds just waiting for nature’s signal to open.
Generalizations are hard within this very diverse group. The winter resting deciduous dendrobiums of the Dendrobium (Nobiles and Seminobiles) and Callista sections (email us if you're not sure) can be kept dry and cool this month. Shoot for minimum temperatures of 40 F. Nobile type dendrobiums may show some swollen nodes on their leafless pseudobulbs and flowers may appear by the month’s end. Your other dendrobiums will also be resting up this month though not dormant. You’ll water these half as often as you did in the summer. Shoot for minimum temperatures of 45 to 55 F and 55 to 60 F for the biggibum types.
The mule-ear oncidium, Oncidium splendidum, and the popular thin-leaved type, Oncidium maculatum, should be producing Inflorescences. Stake the oncidium inflorescence as it grows upward, but do not allow the tip to droop as you would for a phalaenopsis.
Some of the mottled leaved species like Paphiopedilum fairrieanum and sukhakulii bloom now. Keep their potting medium moist and avoid getting water in the pouch.
Groom and stake each phalaenopsis spike. Avoid excess plant movement while the buds are developing or the buds may blast (wither). High humidity in a closed house can lead to flower spotting caused by Botrytis; provide supplementary air circulation with fans and/or increase temperatures above 60 F.
Vandas are starting to rest now. You can gradually reduce your watering to every other day and cut back on fertilizer. Ascocentrum aurantiacum may have some beautiful orange to yellow flowers in bloom by the end of the month.
The Catasetinae (catasetums, clowesia, cycnoches and mormodes) are going dormant now and their leaves have been yellowing and dropping. Once the leaves yellow, restrict watering until the spring growth is a few inches tall. The jewel orchid Ludisia discolor will begin to develop Inflorescences soon. Clean the foliage now before the inflorescence grow.
More Monthly Advice
Dr. Courtney Hackney Tips:
Twenty Years of Tips
After 20 years, I am putting down my pen (or keyboard), at least when it comes to the monthly column. I do plan to write the occasional column when something new comes along or there is a new problem to solve... read more
Dr. Martin Motes Notes:
Progress of the Season.
An exceptionally dry, warm November has concluded with an exceptionally wet patch of weather. So much rain so close together is a pattern that our orchids are not used to at this time of the year... read more
Orchids in December. December marks the beginning of the serious dry season in South Florida. While this additional dryness provides relief from the autumnal rains that can bring so many fungal problems, December is also the month of shortest day lengths... read more
Culture Article by Sue Bottom:
Growing Phalaenopsis - What Can Go Wrong.
Phalaenopsis are easy to care for and they bloom and bloom, some for more than three months at a time. They enjoy bright shady conditions and a somewhat water retentive growing medium. They are sensitive to the cold so they’ll need a winter home indoors...
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 - Janauary 7, 7 pm
Thanh Nguyen of Springwater Orchids in Melbourne will talk to us about paphiopedilums at the January meeting. Thanh works as an engineer by day, and has been collecting and growing orchids for over 25 years. His orchid business began in 2001, selling orchids on the internet and at orchid shows.
Although he grows and sells many types of orchids, his forte has always been the genus paphiopedilum. His paph passion is reflected in his award winning plants and ongoing paph breeding program.
Plant Clinic at Ace Hardware - February 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!
St. Augustine Orchid Society Happenings
Membership Chair 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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