Monday, December 28, 2015

A tolumnia spike!

A spike! A Spike! I've been watching the new fan grow all summer as well as giving it near daily dunks in water.

The last time I watered it, I noticed the new spike growing! It's the first new spike on the first new fan under my car. I am a proud orchid mama!

Monday, December 21, 2015

First flowers of the season

The first flower on Twinkle opened! It's even more exciting because these flowers came from pseudobulbs that grew under my care. The last time Twinkle was open was when I bought it. These are flowers I can claim responsibility for.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


I've been waiting eagerly for Twinkle's flowers to open for a few weeks. Maybe it will be a nice Christmas present. In the mean time, it still looks like this:

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Mom's orchid

My dendrobium hybrid had been growing very well so I decided that this year was the year I would bring mom's orchid home at Thanksgiving. And so I did.

I pulled it out of the pot to take a look at the root conditions and found myself with two orchids that pulled apart very easily. There were still many viable roots, it just needed new potting medium and a much smaller pot.

Before repotting, they both got a physan bath and are now making themselves comfortable in their new home. They are both incredibly lopsided, but I guess that's just how dendrobiums grow.

I think they produce purple flowers. It's been almost 20 years since I saw it flower and my mom was very excited by it.

Friday, November 13, 2015

New pseudobulb!

I always take a good look at all of my orchids when I'm watering them. This is just to make sure they all look like they're doing well and some times, you find new growth.

Today, on the Pacific Sun Spot, I saw the start of a new pseudobulb! This is an orchid I got in, I think, 2012. It was a division from someone else's plant and it had 3 pseudobulbs. With the new pseudobulb, it will have 6. I am still waiting for it to flower but I hope this just means I am one step closer to seeing actual flowers!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Phalaenopsis spikes

It's fall and the temperatures are changing. There is a drastic enough temperature difference between night and day to make me have nightmares and for phalaenopsis to start spiking.

Both the Home Depot orchid and the Balden's Kaleidoscope had started growing new leaves a while ago but they have paused the leaf growth in favor of spikes!

Home Depot orchid's spike is happily growing along. I'm trying to be careful since they are delicate when they start. I have managed to snap spikes off with the clip because I was too eager to attach them to the stake so they grow up instead of just out.

Balden's Kaleidoscope is also starting to produce a spike. Very exciting. But then, I also spotted...

can you see on the right side of the stem? I think that's a second spike. A SECOND SPIKE!!!!!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Twinkle likes its home!

When I was watering the orchids on Saturday, I noticed that Twinkle had sent up spikes from the pseudobulbs it grew this year! I'm so excited!!! Again, it's that feeling of "IT LIKES ME AND THE HOME I PROVIDE FOR IT!" This is the first flowering under my care.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Growing time

The orchids had been slowly growing so there hadn't been anything exciting to report. However, this week, I noticed that both phals are starting new leaves!

I do need to get around to repotting them though.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Orchids are resilient

A couple of days after pulling the fan off of the paph, I noticed a little green nub had emerged from the old fan.

Both fans that had grown out of that old fan had to be removed due to crown rot so I wasn't sure if it would produce more growth but boy, has it shown me! I am taking care of it correctly so I am glad to see the new growth!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Dendrobium growth!

Before I left on my trip, I spotted the start of a new cane on the dendrobium hybrid. I wondered what it would look like after it go back. Well, it looks like this:

I am very excited!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Crown Rot

I had been away for a couple of weeks. In that time, I had dropped off the orchids that needed more day to day care with one friend and had another friend stop by my house once a week to water the rest.

Sadly, when I got home, I found the paph with a case of crown rot.

I suspect this guy is very susceptible to crown rot since this isn't the first time it has happened. Normally, it doesn't take much. If you get water on the leaves and let it sit in the crown of the leaves, the crown starts to turn brown. It's even more likely if you tend to water at night and don't think anything of it. Cold and wet leads to rot with orchids. This is what I had suspected happened.

I'm a little sad since this was the newest fan and I'm hoping that new fans can still develop. I didn't have to replant or anything, I just twisted that fan off, then I applied a little bit of cinnamon to where the wound was to prevent any sort of fungal growth in the open wound, I don't know if you can see the brown powdery substance at the base there.

If this guy doesn't survive, well, it's been a lesson. I know I can keep a paph alive if I make sure he is regularly watered.

Monday, July 13, 2015

New growths!

I love seeing new growth on my orchids!

A few weeks ago, I cut off the spike from Home Depot Orchid since the spike wasn't looking great. The leaves were also starting to look dehydrated like they weren't getting any water and so I replanted it. This weekend, I spotted a new leaf growth!

Even more exciting is that while the new dendrobium hybrid has dropped most of its flowers, there is a new cane growth! I was very nervous about this one since I had killed the last miniature dendrobium I owned and it dropped a few leaves when I first got it. Plants aren't like animals that can actually attempt to voice their displeasure. When your dog or cat isn't getting what it needs, it lets you know immediately. Plants slowly die off. I had seen signs of new root growth but an even better indicator is if it starts to grow new leaves, canes, pseudobulbs, etc.

What this is telling me is is that I'm doing SOMETHING right! And maybe I'm willing to my eyes to see things but on the other side of that same cane, it looks like there's another green thing poking out. I wonder if that is perhaps another new cane! We shall see!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Yet another rosemary cutting

Cuttings are fun things to play with, but very finicky. Over the last few months, I've stated new cuttings and haven't had much success. Perhaps I didn't change the water enough. Perhaps I potted it up too quickly. There are so many factors.

I started this one a couple of weeks ago. I changed out the water every 2-3 days for fresh water. When the root was half an inch long, I decided to leave it in water for a little longer for longer and more roots. A couple of days later, the root shot out and you see the result of that growth. I'm going to leave it in water for a little longer and hope that more roots develop. Then, I'll plant it in some soil and see what happens.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Find the new pseudobulbs!

I brought the Miltonia home on one of the coldest days of this past winter. Then I proceeded to spend a week away from home in California. When I came back, I saw some of the leaves showed signs of frost bite.

Even though I've kept oncidium type orchids and they're growing happily for me, this was my first one that was specifically a Miltonia. I hoped I was giving it enough water. The roots looked okay, though I always hope it will grow more roots.

Last week while I was watering it, I noticed new growth!

I new that as summer approached, we would enter the new growing season. I was expecting to see some root development first.

But I can't complain about new pseudobulbs! If all goes well, these new pseudobulbs will give me new flowers!
And so it goes, the orchid experiment. As I keep a new type of orchid alive, I allow myself to acquire more. But to be allowed to acquire another Miltonia, this one needs to send up new spikes.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Growing season

Tolumnia Red Berry had been giving me spikes and flowers since I bought it last fall. I had begun to wonder when it would enter into its growing period and give me a new fan of leaves. Imagine my surprise when I saw this new fan developing!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Repotting time

Last week, I cut the spike off of the Home Depot Orchid. The spike wasn't looking like its usual plump green self and one of the leaves was getting a bit splotchy. I'm not sure what is wrong with it but figured that its energy could probably be better off directed towards growth, so off went the spike.

A couple of days ago, while I was fiddling around with the Paph (they sit next to each other on the windowsill), I accidentally knocked him over and he pretty much fell out of the pot. I got him situated but he was mostly half falling out so I decide that on the next watering day, it would be a good time to repot. Look at him, half hanging out there!

What you see sticking out of the pot was most of the roots! The old media went into the trash. Repotting time is also a good time for some beauty maintenance. I ran the roots under the faucet so the roots would turn green. It's much easier to see which roots are still alive that way.

 Anything that wasn't plump and didn't fall anywhere on the spectrum of green or brown/green got cut off.

Next, I filled my watering bucket with water and a couple of drops of Physan 20 Fungicide and plopped the roots in. I also threw the plastic container and stake in for good measure. It doesn't take a lot of physan in the water and it helps to keep algae and fungi away.

While it was having its Physan soak, I wet my sphagmum moss. A lot of people hate (HATE!) finding orchids planted in moss. Moss holds a lot of water and holds onto that water for quite a while. One of the biggest mistakes made my new orchid growers is over watering and having most of the big box store orchids come packed in moss is something that makes a lot of people crazy. The trick with the moss is that you need to let it dry out to a "crispy dry" before you water again and you don't want to pack it in tightly. My Phal Baldan's Kaleidescope is packed in moss and it has been a happy orchid for three years! I also suspect that Home Depot Orchid hasn't been getting as much water is it needed since you can start to see some lines in the leaves. Phalaenopsis orchids can hold water in the stem and leaves and if they start shriveling, then that means they're not getting enough water.

The next part has always been tricky for me: getting the orchid root system back in the pot along with new media. Wetting the roots help to make them a little more flexible. I grabbed the roots I intended to shove back into the pot and stuck them in. If the base of the crown was still too far out of the pot, I would twist the roots down a bit more until he was sitting at an acceptable level. I hold him down with one hand and start adding moss with the other. The moss needs to be squeezed of excess water first. Then, I just try to fill in the gaps. Remember, don't over pack the moss, those roots need air flow!

The purpose of the moss (or any other growing medium for that matter) is two fold. First, it holds the roots down in the pot. Second, it retains moisture to create a humid, but not sopping wet, environment so the roots can slowly take in the water and nutrients it needs.

You can see the pockets of air in the pot and how he's no longer falling out of the pot! I hope he's a happier orchid now!

Friday, June 12, 2015

My new project: a terrarium!

At this month's meeting of the Hollin Hills Orchid Society, we made terrariums!

There is a next of sphagmum moss, then from the bottom up, a layer of horticultural charcoal, perlite, peat moss, and some orchid bark. I've stuck a couple of dendrobium nobiles in along with a leaf from an African violet (those things can root from a leaf!), and some companion filler plants! I need to keep it out of direct sunlight so that I don't boil everything in the glass so it's sitting by one of the south facing windows but slightly away from the window.

It normally takes 2-3 months for terrariums to settle in so I will report back!  As it's settling in, I'm going to keep some plastic wrap on top to really keep the humidity in. If this works out, it is very tempting to make another one (or two or five) with miniature orchids!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Sunburns and leaf growth

The paph isn't the only one with a new leaf. Phal Balden's Kaleidoscope also has a new leaf growth. On phals, it's always exciting to see a new leaf because that usually correlates to a new spike in the future!

Unfortunately, this guy also has a bit of a sunburn.

I keep him in my east window but I guess I had him too close to the window and the light intensity was too much. I've moved that leaf back from the curtain and am being a bit careful with the rest of the plant.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Another new leaf!

The other day, I noticed another leaf developing on this paph! I'm hoping that this is the last leaf before it starts in on either producing a new spike or a new growth. It's slowly giving me confidence that I'm doing something right. I'm not allowed another paph until it flowers again!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Dendrobium growth

I got these two dendrobiums in February from a member of my local orchid society. He had the parent plant for twenty years and it was huge and throwing off keikis left an right. His instructions were to keep the roots moist and I should be good to go. Constantly moist roots meant a sphagmum moss medium to help hold the moisture in. I cut slits in the bottom of plastic cups for drainage and stuck them in small mason jars.

Yesterday, when I went to water them, I noticed that one of them was starting to grow a new cane!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Fading colors

The last couple of weeks, I had been thinking that the flowers on Tolumnia Red Berry were not looking as vibrant as when the flowers opened. I wasn't sure if it was my memory or if it did fade.

The new blooms are opening and now you can really see the color difference.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Oncidium growth & pleated leaves

Twinkle's new pseudobulbs are growing! As it gets warmer and it is actively growing, I have now moved to watering it every 2-3 days. This morning was a watering day. You can see that the pseudobulb is a little wrinkly.

On this one, the pseudobulb is still growing taller. I wonder when it will start to widen and become more bulb like. He's getting watered every other day. That keeps the existing pseudobulbs from becoming a bunch of shriveled pseudobulbs. Unfortunately, I still don't think I'm watering enough since the leaves are still pleating. Once they pleat, I don't think they unpleat.

Friday, May 22, 2015


When I'm well rested, I  automatically wake up, full of energy after five or six hours of sleep. After returning from Taiwan last month, I finally am back at that point.

Like, me the dendrobium has had to do some adjusting. I was afraid it was near death when I first got it since leaves were turning yellow and dropping off. Now, it has settled down. Flowers are open, leaves are still green and on the canes. Whew!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tulomnia keeps going!

The neat thing about the Tolumnia Red Berry is that as flowers on the original spike drop off, it keeps growing side branches and more buds! I found these two new buds this morning when I was putting it back to its place after its morning watering.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Nearly fully bloomed

Nearly all of the buds on this phalaenopsis are open. I really love the contrast of the red veins against the yellow. I didn't think the spike had grown this long, but I guess it has to in order to make room for the flowers to be evenly spaced.

Yes, this is planted fully in moss. Yes, it is possible to do so. I don't have the roots fully packed in the moss and I only water it about once every two weeks to four weeks depending on how quickly it sucks up the water.

Monday, May 11, 2015

South window oncidiums

The oncidiums all live in a south facing window. They apear to be happy there!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Dendrobium Hybrid

A couple of weeks ago, I ordered this dendrobium hybrid from Seattle Orchid's dendrobium sale.

The flower color is lovely but I do have some concerns.

The first pseudobulb has a large slit in it. The leaves are turning yellow and a couple of dropped off. I'm really hoping that it's just a result of adaptation to a new environment. I did re-pot it and the roots looked okay.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Paph is still alive

A while back, I wondered if this was a new leaf or a long existing leaf. I think I have my answer!

That is a leaf that is still growing! I am very excited! Growth may have stunted for a while but the important thing to know is, IT'S NOT DEAD!!! I HAVEN'T KILLED IT! If it flowers again, I'm allowed to buy another one!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

More pseudobulbs for Twinkle!

Can you see it? There's a new pseudobulb growing out of the one closest to the camera! I spotted it a couple of days ago. There was a gap in the leaf and when I looked down, a new pseudobulb!

There were three developed pseudobulbs on Twinkle and all three are developing new pseudobulbs and that means three stalks! Three stalks and it's liking its home enough to keep growing!