Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Keiki Paste

Keiki is the Hawaiian term for "baby" and that's what a keiki is on an orchid, a baby plant. You're most likely to find keikis on phalaenopsis, dendrobium, and epidendrum orchids but it's not unheard of on other types. They will grow either on an existing stalk or from the base of the plant.

Baby orchids, like human babies, can be a natural occurrence or you can help it along with keiki paste. There are nodes on orchids that are undeveloped. They can turn into new buds or they can turn into new plants. Keiki paste contains hormones that will influence those nodes to become new plants.

I really love my Phal Balden's Kaleidescope (PBK). It has been a very healthy plant and has bloomed pretty consistently. I would love to have another one and be able to share the plant with others. So I chose it to try out the keiki paste.

PBK currently has two healthy flower stalks so I picked a node on each one that was not too far removed from the first flower and applied the paste.

I selected a node and peeled back a bract to expose the node underneath and covered it in keiki paste. You can probably see it more clearly in the second photo. The node is that lighter green dot.

I did this a couple of days ago and I hope to be able to report back on some progress but like most things orchid, it will take a while!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 2016 Update

I thought I'd try something new. It's prime growing season and there are a lot of updates to be done so I made a video and walked you through all of my window sills. I actually made two videos because I forgot about Phal Balden's Kaleidescope. It was sitting on my desk for me to stare at, instead of on its usual spot on the window sill.

So here we go!

And part two!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Unexpected Surprises

In the last week, I noticed some new growths on some of the orchids that I thought perhaps I was actually killing!

This is a mini phal that I had gotten in the HHOS Christmas party swap. I had a mini phal a couple of years ago and it died from lack of watering. When I got it, the roots were packed in moss and didn't look great. I had actually gotten two and the other one is sitting on the boyfriend's window sill. His started growing a couple of new leaves while mine just sat and didn't do much for a while. Then one day, I noticed a new leaf growing and was really excited. This week, I noticed that the original spike (that big one) had grown and extended for new buds on the tip and it branched! You can also see the start of a second new leaf in the picture!

If you take a look at the roots, you can spy a healthy green root in there. I water it every couple of days to give it some time to dry out, but not so much that it's dying from thirst.

The terrarium is a dendrobium nobile and I really didn't think it was doing all that well but there is a new cane with a couple of leaves peeking out! I guess there was some root growth in there and I didn't completely neglect it it's doing okay.

Do you see that little nub? This is actually half of my mom's orchid that I brought home with me at Thanksgiving. I really had my doubts on it. When I repotted it, the original plant was in dirt, which it should not have been, and it split in half. I replanted it in bark but because this half was so off balanced, it kept tipping over. Also, I questioned whether going from dirt to bark was a good idea since it had spent years in dirt, probably getting used to the moist environment. I replanted it a couple of weeks ago into a semi-hydroponic environment with the clay pellets. Now, it can suck up as much water as it wants. The other half is still in bark. It will make for a nice environment

This week, I spotted the nub and I wasn't sure what to make of it or if it was even there before! I will look forward to see what develops here!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Twinkle, it keeps going

I was inspecting Twinkle this morning hoping to see some new root growth and instead, spotted a little pseudobulb! New growth always makes me so excited!

I keep Twinkle in a south facing window and it seems to like it there!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Some not sickly orchids

Last week I told you about the Home Depot Orchid. It's looking a little better but it's probably still too soon to tell. When they get sick, they get sick fast but when things are going well, things move pretty slowly.

In the mean time, I've got some happier pictures to share!

First up is Tolumnia Red Berry. This guy had been growing a new pseudobulb all year and is just starting to flower now! I'll have to remember to be very diligent about watering while he's in bloom. There are scraggly bits of moss tied around its roots but not much. Watering involves dunking him in water for a bit in the morning and letting him dry out for the rest of the day so if he doesn't get watered every couple of days, he will start to dry out and the flowers will wilt faster.

I have another tolumnia. I have no idea on the exact id of this one or even what the flowers look like. I got him from another member of my orchid society. When I got him, he was just one little fan. He has been working on growing a second fan of leaves (the plumper green bunch on the right) last year so it's really exciting to know that he's not actually dead.

The dendrobium hybrid I got last year didn't flower on the new cane but now I have another new cane starting to develop! This is exciting! I hope one day soon, maybe this year or next, he will show me some flowers!

Finally, this is a miniature phalaenopsis that I got at my orchid's society holiday swap. He was too dry so I kept him in a tall glass jar for a bit to increase the humidity in the hopes that if the roots weren't taking in water, maybe the leaves would. If you look in the middle, you can see the new leaf developing!

Finally, Phal Balden's Kaleidoscope is in bloom again and it has two spikes! Can't wait to see them all opened!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Last ditch effort

Home Depot Orchid was the one that kept this madness going. Lately, he has been the one that has been ailing. There was a spike, but the spike only lasted a couple of weeks.

Normally, when the flowers fade, the stem turns brown and dried and shriveled. This is not how it normally looks. If you look down below, one of the leaves turned yellow all of a sudden and the others don't look that good.

The yellow leaf actually fell off while I was taking these pictures. But now, you can see the two topmost leaves. They look dimply. Phalaenopsis leaves shouldn't look dimply. They should be plump and smooth. Also, that yellow green color means that something is off.

The next step is to take this guy out of the pot and have a look at the roots. From above, you can see that there are a couple of viable roots but we need to see what he looks like in the bark.

Home Depot Orchid has some fat and white roots but I think most of those were "above ground". The ones buried in the bark are dried and pretty much dead. From the other side, he looks like this:

He's not fully dead yet so there is still hope! I cut off all the dried and dead parts so you can see the separation of "dead matter" and viable roots:

There's not much of him left but there is hope. That sickly leaf also started to fall off in the process so with a gentle tug, I was also about to separate it from the plant body.

I made it a new home. This container is one of those clear plastic shoeboxes. I filled it with some sphagmum moss. I've never had good luck with the "sphag and bag" method. Sphag and bag involves placing an ailing plant, usually without ANY roots in a plastic bag with either a damp paper towel or a little bit of sphagmum moss. My plant usually ends up grown some fuzzy white moss.

Instead, I'm aiming for a terrarium like environment. The moss is wet so it's got a little bit of moisture. The roots aren't buried but are touching the moss so it can get some moisture.

I've placed it on the window sill but I should probably move it a little bit away since I do have the cover gently sitting on top. I don't want it to get too hot and end up baking to death.

This is a last ditch effort. He will either recover a bit, or we're going to have to say good bye.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

More flowers from Home Depot Orchid!

I'm excited to see Home Depot Orchid flowering again! There are three flowers open now with one more in bud.

However, I'm concerned about its health.

All of the leaves are wrinkly like it's not getting enough water. When I check the roots, I see they're still all fat and green. The top most leaf in the picture was only partially developed and not grown out to size. They're all getting a bit splotchy and not a uniform green color which made me wonder if perhaps it was getting too much sun.

I've moved it away from the window and placed it in the middle of the room. I'm hoping that should help.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Twinkle in bloom!

I am really excited to see my Oncidium Twinkle in bloom! These are the first blooms from new pseudobulbs that grew under my watch! 

Last year, I had yanked off three pseudobulbs because they were developing brown spots that I thought might have been rot and I wasn't sure if I did the right thing. It still had three pseudobulbs and I hoped it would be okay. It's recommended that you leave at least three pseudobulbs on an orchid so that it has enough energy reserves to continue growing and developing. An orchid requires a lot of energy to develop and without three pseudobulbs, you could be waiting years before seeing rapid growth and flowers.

Twinkle is currently sitting on the corner of my desk so I can enjoy the blooms and the fragrance. It's not an overwhelming fragrance but when there is air movement, I can smell it and it makes me happy.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Mushroom progress and harvest

They grow very quickly!

This was the progress after a week! When they started to look dried out, it was time to harvest. I didn't think they were getting any bigger.

It's not much but it was enough for me to add to my scrambled eggs this morning (along with spinach and onions) and I am very happy with the results!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Mushrooms growing

At least, I think they're growing. I noticed today there are some little blobby things that weren't in the picture in the last post!

I followed the instructions on the box which was to cut an X in the plastic packaging and then let it soak in water for about 8 hours. I then spritz it with water every couple of days so that the growing medium doesn't dry out.

I'll keep updating!

Monday, January 4, 2016


For Christmas, one of my friends gave me a Mushroom Mini Farm from Back To The Roots. I had one of these before, well, two. The first one wasn't so successful and nothing grew. The second one languished on my bookshelf and after a couple of months, I found that mushrooms had grown out of it and dried. Not really thinking about it, I threw out the mushrooms. I should have just re-hydrated them.

So now, I bring you iteration 3. I just let it soak over night and it is now it will sit and be sprayed for the next few days. I'll report back on whether anything has grown.