October 2015

Our speaker for October will be Jan Plested.  Jan lives in the area and has attended our meetings in the past.  She hails from Great Britain (charming accent)  where her family still operates an orchid nursery, Plested Orchids.

Her program will be,  A JUNGLE ORCHID TREK THROUGH MALAYSIA. I'm looking forward to an exciting presentation.


 The Harvest Moon heralds the arrival of the fall equinox.

As the seasons change, so do the growth habits of orchids.   Summertime active growth is replaced by a focus on blooming!

There are three primary cues that tell plants that Fall is here:

  1. Reduced light (shorter days)

  2. Reduced temperature (cooler days and even cooler nights), and  

  3. Reduced food (especially less nitrogen)

When we grow orchids indoors it is especially important that we allow our plants to experience these natural cues that Fall has arrived.  Artificial lighting (even a nightlight) can throw off a plant that is sensitive to the length of the day in the same way that indoor heating can throw off a plant that is sensitive to the drop of temperatures.  Taking measures in Fall to allow our plants to experience the change of seasons helps the plant know it is now time to focus on blooming.

Michael Glikbarg from Orchids of Los Osos spoke to FCOS at the September meeting about Odontoglossum and Oncidium Alliance orchids. He brought a number of orchids along and shared information about their culture. He stated that Odontoglossums (Odonts) and Oncidiums prefer a daytime temperature between 65 and 80 °F and a night temperature between 50-65 °F. Oncidiums prefer the higher ends of these ranges while the Odontos prefer the cooler temperatures. Odonts like filtered light at about 1000 to 1500 foot candles while Oncidiums like brighter conditions (150-3500 foot candles). These groups prefer moist, cool air movement with ideal humidity about 55-75% with a minimum of about 40-50%. Increase the humidity when the temperature goes up. Make sure the foliage is dry during the night. Orchids of Los Osos fertilizes twice per month during the growing season using Gro-More 20-20-20 and then once per month during the rest of the year. These orchids should be transplanted every two years. Best time to transplant is when the new growth is 2-3 inches tall and new roots have appeared. Their rots are wiry and need an open planting mix. They use a mixture of ¾ fine fir bark and ¼ coarse perlite.  

Have you found yourself wondering about one or more of your orchids well after the blooms fade?

Here are some ideas to help remember what's what and when:

  1. Take a picture when it is in bloom and attach that picture with the date ( you can laminate it or use clear tape ) to the pot.

  2. Date when you repotted ( best practice is once per year ) and include that with the picture.

  3. Note when it Spiked ( the flower stalk/inflorescence ) and when it Bloomed.

There are of course various ways to do this, and whichever way you choose to save this information, you will be happy to have it as a handy reference.  You can keep the info above by number in a binder or on a pad of paper and simply number the corresponding pots for example.  Once you know how the plant behaved in the past, and what actions you took ( repotting, feeding etc ), you will have a very good idea of what to expect and when.  That will also help you remember what you should be doing for the plant and when so it can reward you!