Orchid Culture - Orchids in St. Augustine Month by Month

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Monthly Checklist for growing orchids, includes liberal amounts of information from Robert M. Scully's month by month checklists originally published in the AOS Bulletin and book Growing Orchids, and Ned Nash and James Rose's checklists published in the AOS Bulletin and archived on the AOS website.
Growing Orchids in January


Plants will continue to manufacture food during the winter, albeit at a reduced rate. Everything will occur at a slower pace until spring arrives so the need for water and fertilizer is reduced. Indoor growers: pull you orchid away from the window if its leaves are touching the exterior glass. Outdoor growers: keep an eye on the minimum projected temperatures, such as the hourly forecasts by zip code from Wunderground... continue reading
Growing Orchids in February


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... continue reading
Growing Orchids in March


Signs of spring abound with an abundance of emerging flower spikes and buds. The flush of spring growth will follow soon so plan your repotting program which should begin in earnest this month. The best time to repot is right before the new roots start growing so the plants will reestablish quickly. Watch for signs of mites, particularly on thin leaved orchids like the catasetinae and grammatophyllums, and treat any problems promptly...continue reading
Growing Orchids in April


This is one of the most exciting months of the year, filled with an abundance of flower spikes emerging. It's the beginning of the long growing season, enabling us to provide our plants with the foundation for maximum flower production in the next flowering season. Increase water and fertilizer as the days lengthen and warm to yield floral dividends in the months beyond. Consider adding an additional 30% shadecloth to protect plants from the intense summer sun and heat...continue reading
Growing Orchids in May


Summer is right around the corner. Now is the time to maximize growth and develop the plant strength and food reserves needed for good flower production. Larger plants typically produce bigger and better flowers than smaller ones so resist the urge to divide your plants just for the sake of having more plants. Sterilize your clay or plastic pots before reusing them. Do not reuse potting mix or drainage material... continue reading
Growing Orchids in June


Spring's mild days are gone. The late spring-early summer growing conditions induce vigorous vegetative activity. Orchids repotted earlier should be showing abundant root development and new growth. With the sun higher and more intense for more hours each day, higher day and night temperatures, excellent air circulation and a fresh growing medium, orchids will consume more food for high quality flowers next season. If you switched to nighttime watering during spring, it is time to resume morning watering so the leaves will be dry by evening... continue reading
Growing Orchids in July


The heat and humidity of summer are here. When day time temperatures rise above the 90 to 95F range, you’ll see orchid growth start to slow. Water slightly less frequently than during the spring. Orchid plants require lots of fresh air to keep the plant leaves cool. Consider spraying under benches or the planting area to lower temperatures a few degrees. Pests are most active during the warm months. Be vigilant in observing signs of damage and treat quickly if they appear. The bulk of your repotting should be complete... continue reading
Growing Orchids in August


August is the hottest month so be prepared to work diligently to ensure sufficient air circulation. Spray water on the floor, benches and outer surface of clay pots one or more times every day during the hottest times. Continue watering and using a dilute fertilizer. The warm temperatures also cause fungal and bacterial problems as well as an increase in insect populations. Observe your plants carefully and spray for both insects and disease when first noticed. It may be necessary to move unsheltered plants into an area protected from torrential rains... continue reading
Growing Orchids in September


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... continue reading
Growing Orchids in October


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. With the shortening days and cooler temperatures, 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... continue reading
Growing Orchids in November


Short days and cold nights necessitate adjustments for both plants and growers. Reduce water and fertilizer gradually until you reach your winter target, about half that of the summer levels. Don't fertilize winter dormant orchids and most dendrobiums after Thanksgiving. Prepare your plants for their winter home. Inspect them, remove dead leaves and sheaths with a sterile tool, spray for pests if necessary. Protect them when temperatures are projected to drop below their winter minimum acceptable temperature. Consider removing shading from the greenhouse to allow more light during the winter months...continue reading
Growing Orchids in December


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... continue reading