General Growing Tips.
Spring is around the corner. Order your potting supplies early to make sure they are not sold out when it's time to repot. Observe plants (including companion plants like bromeliads) carefully for signs of disease and insects. Avoid having heated or air-conditioned drafts blowing directly on orchids. Don't bring you plants out too early. It is starting to warm but you can expect more orchid threatening cold fronts through March.
Your cattleyas are starting to rouse, even though temperature and light conditions are not yet ideal for growth. Continue to use dilute water soluble fertilizer on your orchids at 1/4 to 1/8 strength. New green root tips are starting to emerge on the unifoliates, marking the beginning of the spring repotting season. Sometimes it is necessary to split open a sheath with a sterile blade to reduce pressure on the emerging buds or to allow accumulated condensation (possibly from fluctuating temperatures) to dissipate.
Stake cymbidium inflorescences that emerge from the mass of foliage on these winter-spring bloomers. Maintain temperatures at 50 to 60F to keep the flowers opening slowly. Dramatically higher temperatures and hot drafts cause bud drop.
Watch for flower buds on dendrobiums like Den. lindleyi, Den. nobile hybrids, Den. superbum (syn. Den. anosmum) and other deciduous species and hybrids. These have longer flowering when exposed to cooler night temperatures as the blooms open and mature. Avoid dousing open flowers when watering. Give slightly more water to these plants (that have been kept reasonably dry prior to flowering) once they begin to bloom. Continue to protect evergreen-type dendrobiums from low temperatures that may cause leaf loss.
Do not permit miltonias and odontoglossums to dry out because this is a critical time for flower-spike development. Stake the spikes. Continue to use a dilute water soluble fertilizer before the flowers begin to appear.
Continue to use a dilute water soluble fertilizer on phalaenopsis. Be careful not to splatter the flowers or they will stain. Phalaenopsis exude a honey-like substance on the developing inflorescence that attracts scale insects. Watch for signs of any problem that can be spot treated before it becomes a major situation. Avoid spraying insecticides on blossoms.
The Catasetinae (catasetums, clowesia, cycnoches and mormodes) have dropped most of their leaves and should be kept dry. Watch for signs of new growth that marks the beginning of the repotting season for the catasetum relatives. Remove the old medium, cut off dried roots and pot in sphagnum moss, bark or ProMix interlayered with the time released fertilizer Dynamite but DO NOT WATER. If you water before the new growth is about 4 inches tall, it will probably rot. Your Ludisia discolor is in bloom this month.
More Monthly Advice
Dr. Martin Motes Notes:
Progress of the Season.
January began warmer and drier than usual and ended cooler and drier. The occasional but voluminous rain that usually is wrung from cold fronts colliding with warmer moister air has not occurred this year. Overall this cool dry weather is beneficial... read more
Orchids in February. Despite the bloom on the avocados and the burgeoning new leaves on the live oaks, February is not spring in South Florida. Danger of freeze continues past mid month and frost can occur still into March. Even if the weather is balmy, it's too early to let down our guard or take down any protection we have mounted against the cold. The trend however is toward the positive as each lengthening day brings extra hours of warming sunshine... read entire article
Culture Article by Sue Bottom:
Why Do You Grow the Orchids You Grow?
Has your taste in orchids changed over time? When you first start growing orchids, you buy
everything in sight. You know what day the Sun Bulb plants are delivered to Home Depot so
you can have first pick. Courtney says there is something about orchid growers...
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 - Neofinetia and Its Hybrids, March 3
Peter T. Lin of Diamond Orchids in southern California will speak about miniature vandaceous species and hybrids, with an emphasis on the charming Neofinetia falcata. Neofinetias are native to Japan and have been grown there for centuries. They are highly treasured and come in many flower forms and leaf forms. It has been used with other vandaceous genera.
Peter is an accredited judge with the American Orchid Society. Due to limited growing space, Peter likes to specialize in miniature orchids, both species and hybrids, and has received numerous AOS awards. He maintains a collection of a thousand or more orchids at his home in Southern California in 3 small greenhouses, outdoors, as well as an offsite greenhouse. Save your shekels, Peter is offering a 10% discount on preorders submitted by February 27 that he'll deliver free of shipping at the meeting.
Plant Clinic at Ace Hardware - March 7
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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