Friday, February 27, 2015

New growth!

I'm excited to see that there is new growth on this one. Before I left for my trip, it was just a little bump still in the sheath. When I got back, it had started to peek out from the sheath. So now, all I can do is continue to feed it, give it light, and wait. One day, I will see flowers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Oncidium Twinkle

Oncidium Twinkle (White)

This is Oncidium Twinkle (White), a small little orchid with tiny but fragrant flowers. I got him at the 2014 NCOS Orchid Show. There were many flowers and spikes when I first got him but the flowers are all gone now and so I decided to repot.

Mass of roots

Repotting gives me a chance to check out what it was planted in and see how the roots are doing. Well, that mess of white roots were sticking out of the pot and the roots inside don't look great. However, it looks like there are new white root growths so I'm glad I was able to repot. I think the roots were being choked off by the old potting medium. Hopefully, my fir/bark mix will give it some room to breathe and develop and grow.

I am however, concerned about this pseudobulb.
Weird pseudobulb

I'm not sure what's going on there but I hope it's not rotting. I've consulted an orchid forum so I'm hoping to hear back some opinions on it.

Rosemary, continuing to grow!

It's really exciting for me to see the green growing tip! I was away last week so hoped it didn't dry out too much. I think it did okay.

Friday, February 20, 2015

An oncidium - Onc Catatante "Pacific Sun Spot"

I got this little guy at the same time that I got the Phal Baldan's Kaleidoscope. He came from the NCOS Member Show Table. I'm guessing he was a division off of a larger plant. I was volunteering there that year and one of the other volunteers talked me into getting him. For $3, I had an experiment plant. He started off as 3 pseudo-bulbs. The newest pseudo-bulb is the horizontal one that you see.

Onc Catatante "Pacific Sun Spot"

He's a little sun burned since I had him in the south window when he first arrived and you can see a little bit of accordion pleating in the leaves from the time when I didn't water him for about two weeks. But overall, he's a healthy plant with nice green leaves and fat pseudo-bulbs.

A few days ago, I noticed a bump coming off of the newest pseudo-bulb. It's starting to break out of the husk there and I think that may be the next growth. I'm so excited!!!!

New growth?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rosemary - Weekly Update

I like to see how the rosemary grows week to week. The windows are drafty and it's been really cold here and we haven't seen the sun all that much. However, the rosemary seems to be growing happily along! If it keeps growing like this, I'll be able to take a few cuttings!


Monday, February 16, 2015

New newest - a Miltonia

And by new, I mean that it literally entered my house today. It is freezing cold here and I had popped into a Safeway to warm up. I looked around to see what they had for orchids and found this white NOID Miltonia. The leaves and flowers look good. The roots that I could see look good, so it came home with me, even if it is below freezing right now! I placed the pot in a plastic bag and put a second plastic bag over the leaves and flowers and held it close to my body while walking outside, hoping that it would keep the heat in.

I really want to repot it but there are buds on it and I'm a little afraid to touch it right now so I gave it some water and I'll have to find a good pot for it. The decorative pot it came in is glittery and flimsy.

New NOID Miltonia

Flower close up

Friday, February 13, 2015

The ever blooming phal

After I was able to get the Home Depot Orchid to send up a new spike a couple of years ago, I happily went off to the annual NCOS Orchid Society Show in 2011 and bought another phalaenopsis, P. Baldan's Kaleidoscope. This was also my first (successful) experience with an orchid planted in moss. I asked the vendor about the moss medium since I knew my problem in the past had been over watering and death by drowning and I knew that you can easily drown an orchid planted in moss. The vendor explained that she liked to plant her orchids in moss and she determines whether or not they need watering based on the weight. She recommended that I go home and water the guy so that he is fully soaked and weigh him. Then, just leave him alone and weigh as the moss dries out to get a feel for when I need to water. I went home, weighed him, and labeled the pot with the watered weight.

P. Baldan's Kaleidoscope

Within a couple of months, I could feel when the moss is all dried out and needed a good watering. Orchids are resilient. If they dry out a little bit, it's okay, as long as they're not bone dry for months at a time.

When I bought this guy, he had two spikes that had started to bloom. To my surprise, those blooms lasted for quite a few months and as the flowers dropped and only a couple of flowers remained, he started growing side spikes. This went on for two years. Everyone in all the books and on the internet recommend re-potting an orchid only after it is done with flowering. So I stared at it for two years, admiring the flowers and wondering when I could repot and check out the roots.

Last fall, I went back to the NCOS annual show. I attended the lecture on orchids for beginner's an asked, "When is a good time to repot this orchid since he's been blooming for 2 years". Since the last of the flowers were dying off and I was getting a new spike, it was recommended that it was a good time to repot. The roots looked great! There were no rotting or mushy roots. We were both happy.

The spike has grown and you can see the blooms developing. I do wonder when they flowers will actually open. I did run into some trouble as the spike grew. I staked the tip in the wrong place. I've done this before and basically cut the tip off with the clips. On this one, once I moved the clip a little lower, it developed a side spike off the tip and kept growing.

Original first spike that I broke, looks good from this side

The other side, doesn't look so good here

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Meet Rosemary. I acquired two sprigs from a friend. She had some rosemary bushes outside of her house for a good number of years. I had read online that you can root rosemary sprigs in water so I wanted to give that a try. I enjoy cooking with herbs but I hate paying $3 for a bunch only to toss 99% of it because I only used that one sprig.

The two sprigs both rooted and so I planted them into their individual containers of perlite. Yeah, I was lazy. I should have mixed the perlite in with some soil. At times it got a little dry because there may have been a couple of weeks when I didn't water the guys. Finally after a month or two, I went to replant them in soil. Only one of the sprigs survived and this is it. It's quite exciting because you can see the green growing tips on the plant and it getting bigger. I try to keep the soil moist. If it gets too dry, leaves start to dry up and fall.

I probably didn't use enough fertilizer initially and just used straight water so I'm curious to see what happens when I start using fertilizer consistently on the "weekly weakly" mentality.

As for my friend's rosemary bushes, last year's polar vortex ended up killing them. But it lives on at my house! I have offered her a rosemary plant in return from this plant should she ever want to remember those bushes.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Let's start at the very beginning

I used to have a black thumb. I was convinced that everything I grew would eventually die, you know that story. I grew orchids because my mom had an orchid. She passed away, I inherited all of her plants, and because I was still in school at the time, I left it in the care of family friends who I knew could keep plants alive. She loved that orchid and I really didn't want to kill it. So I tried and I tried with various orchids but no luck. There was no way I was going to take possession of her orchid if I kept killing them!

Four years ago, I moved into my current apartment. This place has 12 ft ceilings and east and south facing windows. Yup, I get lots of natural light, lucky me! The window sills are also deep and great for sitting plants on. I bought my last (or so I thought) orchid from Home Depot. It's one of those NOID phalaenopsis orchids because it's pretty generic and bred to survive the hardy neglect that most people will apply to it. I call it my Home Depot Orchid. If I couldn't keep it alive, I was done. If I could manage to get it to spike again, I could then go and buy another orchid. That was the deal.

I knew with a previous orchid, out of sight, out of mind and I could go months without watering it because I had forgotten about it. It died eventually. That was not going to happen with Home Depot Orchid, especially with all the space on my window sills. So I watered it weekly and sometimes would let it go a little longer. The flowers on the spike eventually shriveled and fell off and then the true test began.

Because it sits on my window sill and my windows aren't exactly the most energy efficient, lo and behold, when the weather started changing and we started to get shifts between day and night time temperatures, a spike developed! I was so excited when I saw that spike. IT LOVES ME! IT REALLY LOVES ME! I'M DOING IT RIGHT!

I staked it out and those new spikes, they're flexible but to a certain extent so I ended up breaking of the tip in my attempt to spike it. Oops. But again, it was happy so it sent up another spike.

Home Depot Orchid

And so, orchid acquisition began.

It's been a couple of years since then and a few spikes have come and gone. Home Depot Orchid has been repotted a couple of times and survived each of those experiences. The roots look good and healthy. This winter, we've had some really wacky day to day temperature fluctuations so there is currently a spike growing. The buds are developing and I can't wait to see them open.

Home Depot Orchid - spike close up