November 2016

Hopefully you have all kept your orchids happy during the summer with the variety of temperature ranges we have seen. Most orchid growers are concerned about what is the best media, fertilizer, amount of light and humidity, and when and how much to water. The answer to these is it depends on your growing conditions. But one thing is certain; your orchids will grow better with high quality water (low mineral content). As you know our water is considered 'hard' which means it has lots of minerals in it that are not necessarily good for our orchids. Some orchid genera will die quickly if you water them with the water right out of your hose. But, higher quality water is FREE during the rainy season. Rain water is generally not 'hard' and I suggest you try to collect and store some in a container with a lid (you will be raising mosquitoes if the container is outside and does not have a tight lid). It is easy to collect a fair amount of water if you have gutters and downspouts on your house, but if you do not have gutters, just put a large container where the water runs off your house valleys and within a short amount of time you should be able to collect a bunch of water. Your orchids will enjoy this water. If you are gowning your orchids outdoors, make sure you place them where the rain can water them directly. But, remember that you can increase the risk of getting a bacterial infection on the blooms (shows as black spots) if they get wet and stay wet over night. So I find it is easier to keep them under cover and water them when needed with rain water that I have collected. If you want some suggestions on what containers to store the water in, let me know. There are lots of less expensive ways to store water then by purchasing rain barrels which I have found to be quite expensive.

I know everyone likes FREE stuff and besides rain water how about a FREE field guide to the Chilean Orchids. According to the October AOS Orchids magazine a group named CORMA and 25 other Chilean corporations have help fund this publication. You can download the entire 239 page document at The text of this publication is in Spanish but the photos are great. You can also order a hard copy of the guide from E.U. Coloma (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Hope to see you are the November meeting. Chris


Important Information Re: Meeting Dates

Our Nov meeting is the usual Nov. 10. There is, however, a change for DECEMBER.

It will be held Dec. 15. Starting time will be 6 PM. We will have our Xmas Potluck and Silent Auction. Mark your calendars. Start getting your donation plants ready for bidding.

Paul Gripp from Santa Barbara Orchid Estate will be presenting Keeping up with Orchids. He will also be supplying the plant table.

Located on five acres of beautiful coastal Santa Barbara, the Orchid Estate is just 500 feet from the Pacific Ocean. SBOE was founded by Robert J. Chrisman and managed by Paul Gripp in 1957. Paul purchased SBOE in 1967, retired in 1986, and currently, his two children, Parry and Alice are owners. They are one of the world's foremost collectors and propagators of orchid species and hybrids, specializing in outdoor temperature tolerant varieties. All around the globe they are known for their lovely grounds and friendly service.

FCOS enjoyed having Jim Kotsybar from Chaotic Exotics speak at the October meeting. He did a retro presentation using real slides instead of a PowerPoint presentation. Eric and Christina fortunately still had their Kodak projector. His slides were great and included a wide variety of different species. He began by talking about the epiphytic life of many orchids and their roots' ability to capture water by the velum (outer cells of the root). He also reminded folks about the difference between sepals and petals and how they look different in a wide variety of orchid genera. He also discussed the different statures of some orchid groups related to their pollinators. Orchids appear to use a wide variety of colors, shapes, and smell to attract pollinators that will pick up pollen at one flower and hopefully transfer it to another flower to complete the reproductive process. Jim showed almost two complete trays of slides so everyone in attendance got a see a wide variety of different species.