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Why not grow orchids?


Matt in SD

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My Dendrobium Star King 'Irvine' is putting on a great show this month. It's one of my hardiest Dendrobiums. I keep it indoors in my sunroom year-round, where temps can dip to the low 40s F. in the winter or to more than 100 degs F. in summer. Has a great fragrance during the day too.

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  • 2 months later...

A pair of Leptotes bicolor in late afternoon backlight.  Small plants that put out an outsize performance of blossoms every spring.  Best appreciated if you can find a high spot for them because the flowers are pendant.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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First time blooming for me this Encyclia citrina.  It's rather interesting with the downward facing leaves and pendant flower.  I'm looking forward to seeing it when it's completely open as well as smelling it, they are supposed to be quite fragrant.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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On 4/24/2020 at 10:42 AM, Tracy said:

I'm looking forward to seeing it when it's completely open as well as smelling it, they are supposed to be quite fragrant.

It hasn't disappointed in appearance or smell.  Encyclia citrina is a winner!

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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23 minutes ago, doberso said:

I find them difficult to grow. But I am talking about actual landscape placement, not grown in green houses or pots and then winterized. I love orchids, but out of all the plant families I have in my garden, I have had the worst luck with them. Ones that I do get to take mounted or in prep'ed soil seldom flower. When I went on Mardy Darians garden tour I asked him about this. He has an amazing collection but admitted how hard they can be. So that made me feel better.

All mine are grown outdoors without the benefit of a greenhouse.  We have cats that nibble on indoor plants so its no safe haven inside.  Having some humidity helps reduce the watering frequency, so here in Southern California, living near the ocean opens up a lot more species for outdoor growth.  I have been advised that if an orchid is growing well but not flowering it may not be getting enough sunlight.  In some cases increasing light exposure has helped and in others I have failed.  I've been growing Epidendrum falcatum and actually split my original plant 3 times now.  It grows but never has flowered.  I have given each split a different exposure in an attempt to flower but still unsuccessfully for 6 or 7 years now.  Sometimes you struggle with plants that others call "easy grows" and other times you find a winner that is a "difficult or challenging grow".  Keep trying.  Cymbidiums can be a bit easier too.  Phaleonopsis are some of the most common indoor varieties, but I have found can be challenging outdoors here in California.  There is a certain natural selection as I have some Phaleonopsis that just keep blooming every summer all summer long and survive the winter.

Another Encyclia springtime bloomer, Encyclia vitallina with prolific buds and a colorful autumn color.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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38 minutes ago, Tracy said:

All mine are grown outdoors without the benefit of a greenhouse.  We have cats that nibble on indoor plants so its no safe haven inside.  Having some humidity helps reduce the watering frequency, so here in Southern California, living near the ocean opens up a lot more species for outdoor growth.  I have been advised that if an orchid is growing well but not flowering it may not be getting enough sunlight.  In some cases increasing light exposure has helped and in others I have failed.  I've been growing Epidendrum falcatum and actually split my original plant 3 times now.  It grows but never has flowered.  I have given each split a different exposure in an attempt to flower but still unsuccessfully for 6 or 7 years now.  Sometimes you struggle with plants that others call "easy grows" and other times you find a winner that is a "difficult or challenging grow".  Keep trying.  Cymbidiums can be a bit easier too.  Phaleonopsis are some of the most common indoor varieties, but I have found can be challenging outdoors here in California.  There is a certain natural selection as I have some Phaleonopsis that just keep blooming every summer all summer long and survive the winter.

Another Encyclia springtime bloomer, Encyclia vitallina with prolific buds and a colorful autumn color.

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Yep.. couldn't agree more Tracy.. A lot of challenges getting stubborn orchids to flower can be directly linked to issues involving light and / or water..  how much they get of each at certain times of the year,  say while actively growing, vs. what conditions they're getting when resting, yes.. many orchids have a season when they rest / don't grow much, if at all... Water them at the wrong time, and they might respond adversely.. Same w/ lighting conditions. Like you said, the trick is starting out w/ something relatively easy, then working your way toward growing something more challenging..

That said, it is true, just like Cacti, or pretty much anything else.. there are certain things that take what they require to grow and/or flower to such an extreme that they're best left either to well experienced growers, or admired in habitat only.. Aside from that, there's more than enough out there that can be grown and do well ..especially when you take the time to do your homework.. Sometimes that will require very focused study..   Always worth the time spent doing the research..

Edited by Silas_Sancona
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  • 2 weeks later...

In bloom this week: Maxillaria tenuifolia, one of my favorites for its coconut scent. Unlike some orchids, the fragrance is strong all day! Grows without much attention in my unheated sunroom!

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17 hours ago, Hillizard said:

Maxillaria tenuifolia, one of my favorites for its coconut scent. Unlike some orchids, the fragrance is strong all day! Grows without much attention in my unheated sunroom!

Interesting to me in that I have never noticed the smell on mine.  Perhaps because it is outdoors and hung low on a palm, but I'll have to go outside and check later.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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I was at the Little Big Econ State Forest earlier today doing some hiking and saw some Epidendrum magnoliae.  Surprisingly, I didn't see any Encyclia tampensis despite the presence of bromeliad species indicating it should be warm enough there for the latter species.

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I planted this orchid in this tabebuia tree last year and it has done really well.  I wasn't sure whether it would ever bloom until recently.  I'm guessing it is a Dendrobium species.  Does anyone know exactly which species(or hybrid) it is?

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Paphiopedilum druryi, acquired in 1997.  This orchid has been through a lot of adversity over the years but has never given up entirely.  It bloomed for me for a few years, 2010 almost killed it and I have had occasional rot issues, but here it is tonight.

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On 5/25/2020 at 4:09 PM, palmsOrl said:

I planted this orchid in this tabebuia tree last year and it has done really well.  I wasn't sure whether it would ever bloom until recently.  I'm guessing it is a Dendrobium species.  Does anyone know exactly which species(or hybrid) it is?

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Been racking my brain trying to figure out this one, lol.. Def. a Dendrobium, one of the cane -forming types.. but curious if the lip opened more, or stays like it is at this point when you took the pictures..  That's the biggest thing throwing me off zeroing in on a better identification.. If he's around, @epiphyte might chime in w/ additional thoughts. Part of me thinks " Perhaps something w/ D. nobile in the mix " ..but easily could be way off.. 

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7 minutes ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Def. a Dendrobium, one of the cane -forming types.. but curious if the lip opened more, or stays like it is at this point when you took the pictures.. 

Reminiscent of Dendrobium moschatum but a little larger flower and more pink tones with  the golden tones than my D moschatum.  Oops missed the deep dark color on the throat of D moschatum which this one doesn't have either.

 

On 5/25/2020 at 4:09 PM, palmsOrl said:

I wasn't sure whether it would ever bloom until recently.  I'm guessing it is a Dendrobium species.  Does anyone know exactly which species(or hybrid) it is?

Is it fragrant?

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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17 minutes ago, Tracy said:

Reminiscent of Dendrobium moschatum but a little larger flower and more pink tones with  the golden tones than my D moschatum.  Oops missed the deep dark color on the throat of D moschatum which this one doesn't have either.

 

Is it fragrant?

D. moschatum, as maybe part of a cross? did cross my mind. See there are some pictures of the sp. w/ flowers that have some pinkish tones in then online also also, but all have the two distinct dark spots on the back of throat, as you mention..  Hrmm..:interesting:

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28 minutes ago, Tracy said:

Reminiscent of Dendrobium moschatum but a little larger flower and more pink tones with  the golden tones than my D moschatum.  Oops missed the deep dark color on the throat of D moschatum which this one doesn't have either.

 

Is it fragrant?

Thank you for looking into it Tracy and Silas.  I will check later today for fragrance.

The flowers are short lived as they were already folding up yesterday.  There is another inflorescence on another cane that should be opened by today.

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23 hours ago, palmsOrl said:

The flowers are short lived as they were already folding up yesterday.

That is a characteristic that is consistent with D moschatum.  Mine has bloomed for a few years, but I do remember that it was very shortlived when they did bloom.  On the opposite end of the scale for duration of bloom is the Encyclia vitelliana I posted on 5/04 which is still holding vibrant flowers which are even deeper in color now.  A couple of the flowers are now more blood red (like the orange variety).  It is fun to watch how colors change, you can compare the shots earlier of the Encyclia vitelliana with the one below which are over 3 weeks apart.  The hybrid below (Beallara Ysabella 'Lunar Eclipse') opens with a good deal of white on the flower petals which turn purple over time. 

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Vanda's tend to be tough for me to grow.  I may have let previous one's dry out too much in the summer or get too wet in the coolest parts of winter, but this Vanda cristata has been a winner for me.  Anyone have any other Vanda suggestions for a garden on the lower edge of the temperate climate zone region?

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15 hours ago, John hovancsek said:

A couple of orchids in the garden and a few new ones

Nice flowers, species?

33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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22 hours ago, Tracy said:

Nice flowers, species?

The yellow one on the tree is a dendrobium red one no clue and the new are bulbaphyllum 

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As we approach summer I always look forward to the large and prolific blooms of my Sobralia orchids.  Sobralia macrantha is the first to start the season for me.  I need to either repot this one or try putting it into the ground, but I haven't decided which to do.

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I encountered a couple of pleasant surprises in the garden today.  Firstly, this lilliputian orchid species I have acquired two years ago actually survived and regrew.  I thought I had lost it like 6 months or so ago at least, as all of it turned gray and dried up.  Nonetheless, I left the small cork bark mount sitting in the sphagnum moss filled hanging clay pot upside down and there were clearly a couple living growing points left (or maybe even seeds?).

I cannot for the life of me remember what the Latin name for this orchid is, just that it cost me $50, it is native to South Korea and Japan and based on my research a couple years ago when I bought it, I believe it to be the most cold hardy epiphytic orchid species in the world.  This is partly why I bought it and it is supposedly not a heat tolerant species but I guess this is not the case.  It must be getting its needs met so I will leave it put for now and someday may grow it in one of those glass globe terrariums with the circular opening on one side.  This is how I grew it to start, a method which worked quite well.

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I also discovered that my Florida native Epidendrum magnoliae, which has just been gradually dwindling away over the past few years, is still alive so I am really going to try to revive it and develop it into a healthy plant.  I think I need to mimic its conditions in habitat as closely as possible.

From what I have observed, Epidendrum magnoliae likes mostly shape or dappled sunlight and a subtropical climate but not the tropical climate of the southern part of Florida.  It also prefers areas of high humidity and I think I would have success mounting my plant on a living tree branch it can run its roots tightly along.  The dead branch I had been using is just not the same and it never really attached itself.  

So for now, I am glueing the little plant to a piece of pine bark and this piece of bark will sit horizontally in a hanging clay orchid pot until I figure out which potted small tree might be suitable.

20200616_182703.jpg

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This somewhat unruly specimen is Maxillaria crassifolia, an orchid species native to the swamps and forests of deep South Florida (as well as other tropical areas).  I purchased this plant on eBay about five years ago and it has taken everything nature could throw at it here, though it has never bloomed.

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My Encyclia tampensis is doing well, though no blooms yet this year.  This Florida native species is locally common in the southern half of the Florida Peninsula.

I wasn't sure where to plant it last year so I stuck it into the pictured wire basket in-between two Phalaenopsis hybrids sitting on a bed of sphagnum moss.

All three orchids have grown and the Phalaenopsis have both flowered so that must be the perfect spot for these orchids.

20200616_182754.jpg

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Finally, here is Vanilla planifolia, a plant which I had creeping along the ground in heavy shade mostly covered up by the detritus under a large tree.  Thus, I was surprised to see how much "plant" had actually grown when I fished it out from under the leaf litter.

I will probably plant it in a larger pot with sandy, less mucky soil and wind it around a nice, narrow wooden trellis.

20200616_182923.jpg

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2 hours ago, palmsOrl said:

I encountered a couple of pleasant surprises in the garden today.  Firstly, this lilliputian orchid species I have acquired two years ago actually survived and regrew.  I thought I had lost it like 6 months or so ago at least, as all of it turned gray and dried up.  Nonetheless, I left the small cork bark mount sitting in the sphagnum moss filled hanging clay pot upside down and there were clearly a couple living growing points left (or maybe even seeds?).

I cannot for the life of me remember what the Latin name for this orchid is, just that it cost me $50, it is native to South Korea and Japan and based on my research a couple years ago when I bought it, I believe it to be the most cold hardy epiphytic orchid species in the world.  This is partly why I bought it and it is supposedly not a heat tolerant species but I guess this is not the case.  It must be getting its needs met so I will leave it put for now and someday may grow it in one of those glass globe terrariums with the circular opening on one side.  This is how I grew it to start, a method which worked quite well.

20200616_182737.jpg

20200616_182745.jpg

Okay, this species is Cleisostoma scolopendrifolium.

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My clamshell or cockleshell orchid [Prosthechea cochleata (formerly Encyclia cochleata)] is a very common species with long-lasting flowers. Mine lives year-round in my sunroom and has no scent, but it's trouble-free and a dependable bloomer. I suspect most growers in SoCal have no problem growing this one outdoors!

Encylia1.png

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  • 3 weeks later...

Another Encyclia, species is steinbachii this time. 

20200707-BH3I0456.jpg

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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3 hours ago, Tracy said:

Another Encyclia, species is steinbachii this time. 

20200707-BH3I0456.jpg

This would totally take me for an E. tampensis just giving the flowers a glance, but then I noticed the green rather than the brown coloration of the sepals and petals found in tampensis.

Lovely specimen Tracy.

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Came across this interesting story today. Thought i might share it here for all of us who enjoy ( or are obsessed, lol ) with Orchids..   

While the article relates to one of the most well known members of the Genus, implications could be applied across the entire group. Regardless, Thelymitra, aka " Sun Orchids " are one of the rarest groups of Orchids in cultivation due in part to requiring specific soil conditions, and generally being considered challenging to propagate. Looks like those dedicated to studying them might have solved the germination problem which benefits both those hoping to reintroduce species impacted by human development / over collection back into habitat, but also anyone and everyone who has had a long desire to cultivate these spectacular Australian natives.. Pretty much at the top of my list as well.. Know of only a couple people working with them here in the states atm.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/orchid-fever-as-10-year-quest-finally-unlocks-queen-of-sheba-s-secret-20200521-p54vb6.html
 

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Not sure about the identity of this one, but it may be Oncidium 'Volcano Hula Halau.'  It's a 'cast iron' orchid for me in my sunroom, handles neglect well and blooms regularly every year.  

Oncidium2020.png

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Large flowers on this Rhyncholaeliocattleya Shinfong Gold Gem 'Golden Jewel'

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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1 hour ago, John hovancsek said:

My new favorite orchids

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:greenthumb:  Coryanthes macrantha. and Encyclia prismatocarpa  ...Two excellent orchids indeed!   You notice any scent on the Coryanthes?

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8 hours ago, Silas_Sancona said:

Encyclia prismatocarpa 

Even when Encyclia prismatocarpa isn't in bloom, they have the nice big green pseudo-bulbs.  I'm growing a couple of them in pots which are overgrown.  When I find a spot, I'll try trimming off one of the ones overhanging the pot and mounting it on something (stick or another plant).  They also hold the flowers for an extended period so you can really enjoy them.

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33.0782 North -117.305 West  at 72 feet elevation

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2 minutes ago, Tracy said:

Even when Encyclia prismatocarpa isn't in bloom, they have the nice big green pseudo-bulbs.  I'm growing a couple of them in pots which are overgrown.  When I find a spot, I'll try trimming off one of the ones overhanging the pot and mounting it on something (stick or another plant).  They also hold the flowers for an extended period so you can really enjoy them.

Can't remember which show/sale i'd seen it displayed but encountered a huge specimen that had 20 flower stalks on it, all in full bloom.. Absolutely stunning.  One of those Orchids i plan on trying on Lava Rock..

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