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June 2014 June 2014 Orchid Newsletter
June 01, 2014
10 Quick Orchid Growing Tips
June 2014 Orchidaceae Newsletter
Happy (almost) Summer to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.
It has occurred to me that I should explain to some of my subscribers what the name of this newsletter, "Orchidaceae" means.
Orchidaceae is the (Latin) name for the family of flowering plants known as orchids. Orchidaceae is one of the two largest families of flowering plants, the other being Asteraceae. It is said that there are about 35,000 "kinds" of orchids. Since the cultivation of orchids started in the 19th century, breeders have produced more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars of different kinds of orchids.
Picture of the Month
An interesting Old Drawing of Orchids
This is a drawing of orchids in a very old botanical book. The drawing is by Ernst Haeckel. Shown here are many of the more "famous" orchid types.
The first five of these have to do with watering:
Tip #1: If you have questions about how much to water, lean toward watering less rather than more. Or as a friend of mine (an orchid grower) says: "When in doubt, go drought."
Tip #2: How often to water orchids can be challenging. A good rule of thumb (green thumb) is to water once a week. Try marking it down on your "To Do" calendar. Water more in the summer when it is warmer and less in the winter when it is cooler. One way to evaluate a pot is to pick it up. If it is dry it will feel light, if it damp it will be heavier.
Tip #3: Another great tip with respect to watering orchids is to use temperate tap water. DO NOT USE SOFTENED WATER, it can kill your orchids. If there is a lot of chlorine in your water boil it first and WAIT until it is completely cooled to room temperature to water your orchids. Flush your orchids with water monthly.
Tip #4: Still on the subject of water: While it can be helpful to mist around your orchids to increase humidity, (and I do a lot) misting can result in more problems than benefits if you are not careful. Sometimes misting and the wet foliage can increase the chance of encouraging fungal or bacterial problems.
Tip #5: It is best to water (and mist if you do choose to mist) in the early part of the day. "Whatever you do, do it before noon."
This is a lovely little Chinese Ground Orchid or Bletilla striata. This is a terrestrial species that is easy to grow and very easy to re-bloom.
Tip #6: Orchids like it where there is a slight breeze. Good air movement and (the correct) light are just as important as water and fertilizer for orchids.
Tip #7: Correct light can be critical in getting your orchid to bloom. Find out what your specific orchid needs in terms of light and provide it. Your orchid will reward you! Light and the sun changes seasonally, so arrange the position of your plants accordingly when using natural light for growing your orchids.
Tip #8: It is important to place your orchid in appropriate light for that kind of orchid. And different orchids have different light requirements. A simple tip is that if the leaf is warm to the touch, it is in too much light.
Tip #9: The adage for fertilizing is "Fertilize, weakly, weekly". This really means that you should fertilize orchids relatively frequently but that you should use a very dilute fertilizer solution. The rule of thumb is about one quarter to one half strength of the dilution recommended on the label.
Tip #10: Learn to think of yourself as an orchid inspector. Look at your orchids when you water them. Check them out! Inspecting them every two weeks is key to staying on top of problems before they become REAL problems.
Till next time. Happy Growing!
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