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!