Monday, August 31, 2009

Myoxanthus lonchophyllus

Myoxanthus lonchophyllus - Flower photo by Richard LindbergMyoxanthus lonchophyllus - Plant photo by Richard LindbergAbout a year ago, the family of an orchid grower who had died brought a couple of tables full of plants to the SFOS to give away. I got a specimen Dendrobium kingianum. When the meeting was over there were only a few plants left. They either had no tag or were terrible looking. The plant that this Myoxanthus lonchophyllus is a division of was one of the worst looking of those.

Myoxanthus lonchophyllus grows in mountain rain forests in Brazil above 3000 feet. It is cool to warm growing and should be fed and watered all year. It blooms at any time of the year.

I cleaned it up and made 6 divisions. Then I spread them around the greenhouse to get a sense of the best microclimate for the species. Of those, 2 have died and this one is just barely hanging on. It has grown only one new leaf in a year. But it is blooming.

Today the high temperature will be 79 degrees so I have cleared my schedule to work the full day in the greenhouse. I will find the other three divisions and see which is doing best.

Maxillaria tenuifolia - Flower photo by Richard Lindberg•   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •   •

The poll is running strongly toward breaking the Maxillaria tenuifolia into pieces to go into 4-inch baskets. I will do that and list the first one in about 3 weeks. Thank you for participating.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sophrocattleya Love Knot var coerulea

Sophrocattleya Love Knot var coerulea - Flower photo by Richard LindbergSophrocattleya Love Knot var coerulea - Plant photo by Richard LindbergThis is a very popular cross. It has been renamed from Laeliocattleya (Lc) Sophronitis sincorana x Cattleya walkeriana due to the reclassification of one of its parents.

I got this plant about two years ago. It looked great on top with 15 pseudobulbs. When I got it unpotted it was a different story.

The problem was not dead roots. What set this plant back was that the roots had formed a tight ball. It was way overdue for re-potting.

I like to think that I am pretty good at re-potting. Even if I take my time, use lots of water and my fingers only (no cutting) there is still quite a lot of root damage.

I did what I could and then waited 4 months until I saw some new growth. At that time I divided it into three plants. This is the first of those plants to bloom.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Maxillaria tenuifolia

Maxillaria tenuifolia - Flower photo by Richard LindbergMaxillaria tenuifolia - Plant photo by Richard LindbergMy Maxillaria tenuifolia plant has rotted through the 6-inch basket it was in. I have had the plant for most of the time I have been collecting. With the basket gone I am forced to do something with the plant.

Maxillaria tenuifolia grows in Mexico and northern Central America. It is cool to hot growing and often very fragrant.

Having a specimen plant is nice. It gives a good show of flowers and people are impressed. But the rest of the year it shades other plants and kind of gets in the way.

The Maxillaria tenuifolia in bloom in 2007Dividing the plant into small plants and growing them for a while is possible. I can use space in Sonoma for that. However, there are always small Maxillaria tenuifolia plants on EBay and it might not be worth the effort for a small return. Besides, this cultivar is a very pretty flower but also less fragrant.

The middle ground is another way. I could divide it into good-sized plants. I have a feeling that I could sell those better than small plants. 4-inch baskets are a shippable size and might be attractive to those who want a running start on growing a specimen plant for themselves.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Myrmecophila tibicinis 'H&R' x 'Jean'

Myrmecophila tibicinis 'H&R' x 'Jean' - Plant photo by Richard LindbergI look at backbulbs all the time checking for new growth. I have had this Myrmecophila tibicinis backbulb division for only about 6 weeks so I wasn't really expecting any action just yet. I was looking more because regular inspection is an important part of orchid culture.

Myrmecophila tibicinis grows from Mexico through northern South America. It is warm to hot growing, wants full sun and is fragrant. The plant is big and the spike can be as much as 15 feet long.

Getting new growth is always exciting and on this plant especially. When I got it the pseudobulbs looked good but there were no live roots. I had had neither Myrmecophila nor Schomburgkia before and don't know the culture.

Myrmecophila tibicinis roots starting to growThe plant is in an 8-inch basket. The medium is large pieces of cork broken from used mounts. I tied one of the pseudobulbs to a support wire in one corner of the basket, trying to guess which way the plant would grow.

Now that I see that I guessed right I am going to secure it better and wait a month before taking it down again. The roots need the time to grow and attach to the cork and the basket. If they move during this process it sets them back.

The basket is hanging in the brightest spot I can find in the greenhouse. It is getting Vanda level light. I considered putting it outside, and I may do that next year, but the summer has been quite cool with night temperatures right around 50. Normally we have nights close to 60 at this time of year. The way I read the literature on it, the higher temperature is more important that having full sun.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fear of shipping - Fir Bark

Run strands of paper through the tight spotsAny pot that contains loose media has to be secured for shipping. Even a little bark loose inside the box is not cool.

I start off with strips of shredded paper running across the areas that are too tight to have a strip of tape. Don't wad them up. Lay the strands out individually so that when the are taped down there won't be any gaps big enough for bark to sneak through.

Once that is done I tape the strips down by tearing off a piece of masking tape and fastening that to one side of the pot where it will go across the largest number of paper strips.

Start to cover larger areas of barkI wad up some shredded paper to cover up any areas that will be under the tape and pull the tape tight before fastening it to the opposite side of the pot.

I continue around the pot making sure there is paper over all of the bark. When that is done I trim the strands of paper. This forms a cap on the top of the medium.

What remains is to tape that down so that it is fastened to the pot without gaps. Use more strips of tape to pull it all together. Finally, tape the plant tag to the outside.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back in business

Lycaste aromatica - Plant photo by Richard Lindberg

Lycaste aromatica - Plant photo by Richard LindbergI got little done yesterday beyond fixing the computer and doing scheduled maintenance at Lillian's greenhouse in Sonoma.

The only work I did on my collection was to divide the three Lycaste aromatica plants. All three had decent roots. I made them into 5 divisions of 2 or 3 pseudobulbs and 4 backbulbs.

I put the divisions in bark and plan to sell 3 of them. Packing them will be fun because the leaves fan out so far but they are flexible and will be fine if I don't bend them too far.

The backbulbs look to be in good shape and ought to sprout. I don't really need more Lycaste aromatica plants but I like to learn about specific species. They are not all alike.

I have a friend who is a Cattleya expert and he tapes a tag to the backbulb and puts it in a pile of backbulbs. Then he ignores it until he sees a sprout. I do the same for Catts except I prop them up in a pot.

For more tropical plants I allow them to get some water, more like a backbulb in the wild would get.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I have computer problems today

Lycaste aromatica - Flower photo by Richard LindbergLycaste aromatica - Plant photo by Richard LindbergI had planned a full day or work in the greenhouse, but fixing my computer is first priority for today. I am having major computer problems so I am a guest on another computer without all my tools.

The genus Lycaste (Lyc) contains 52 species of epiphytes, lithophytes and terrestrials growing throughout the West Indies, Central America, Peru and Bolivia.

Lycaste aromatica grows in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras with a scent of cinnamon. It is cool to warm growing along rivers in oak forests.

I have a couple of rescue Lycaste aromatica plants, one of which is pictured above. That is what I started with, rootless and leafless. I can't process new pictures, but it is now ready to divide into two very nice plants.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Orphan Orchids

I wrote about getting orphan plants the other day and it made me remember that I had some orphans of my own. Seeing this orphan bloom yesterday made me decide that I needed to do something about clearing them out of the greenhouse.

I am going to set up an "Orphan" page on the Backbulb.com website. The plants will for the most part be NOID plants but in ok condition, not rescues. They will be free for local pickup or just the shipping cost (usually $5). First come first served and you can have more than one.

This will be for blog readers only. There will be a link in the left column when any plants are available.

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Mark your Calendars! - The SCOS Barbeque and Auction is on September 26, 2009 at Becky and David Jacksons! Don’t miss out on the fun, food, orchids, and other surprises! Details are in the newsletter.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fear of shipping - Packing

Pleurothallis palliolata - Flower photo by Richard LindbergTwo double pages of newspaper taped together. Add a bamboo stick for extra strength.For packing plants in pots I build a tube of newspaper. I want a wrapper for the plant that can be easily handled without worrying about bending leaves or breaking off anything.

Safe and easy handling is the first goal; the second is to keep the plant from shifting in the box. I do this by making the newspaper tube the same height as the box it will be shipped in.

The box I use for even very small plants is what the USPS calls a shoebox. That box is 5 x 8 x 14 so I make the tube 14 inches long.

I start with two folds of newspaper. Mouse over the picture. I put the folded side of one on top and the other on the bottom. I slip one inside the other, move them so the combined height is 14 inches and tape them together.

When the pant is extra heavy I will tape a bamboo stake to the pot for extra support. Mostly I just use the tube. It is plenty strong. If the top of the tube is completely empty I may crumple up a sheet of newspaper inside the tube.

Of course not every plant can be made to go inside a tube. I still wrap it in the newspaper as tightly as possible. The shape is more of a cone but it still provides good support and protection. If the top is large I will add crumpled newspaper. I have tried peanuts but decide that they were probably annoying to the person unpacking.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Orphan orchids

Every orchidist gets free orchids. As soon as your friends know you actually grow orchids (as opposed to using them solely for enhancing the decor) they bring you their used orchids.

But in addition to that, as I gained experience and started to know other orchid growers there was a change for the better. Orchid people sometimes need to downsize or even stop collecting for some reason. In that case they are looking for someone they can trust to keep their plants thriving.

That's how I got this group of plants. They all need to be re-potted but seem to be in fairly good condition.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Laelia anceps backbulbs are sprouting

Laelia anceps ashworthiana - Flower photo by Richard LindbergLaelia anceps ashworthiana - Flower photo by Richard LindbergMy Laelia anceps had grown too large for me to handle so this spring I divided them. Not just into smaller big plants. I took them completely apart.

The leads, mostly two pseudobulbs and a new growth, are doing great and have started sending up spikes. But I also have quite a few (perhaps 50) pots of backbulbs.

I have all of them in tightly packed sphagnum moss. In the wrong growing environment that would be disastrous for Laelias and I have been counseled against doing this.

I believe that I can pull this off because the Sonoma greenhouse is very bright, very warm and all hand watered. I have the pots lined up by the south wall and check them every day. The sphagnum dries pretty quickly and I don't water until the moss is crispy on top.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ascocenda Motes Burning Sands 'Mary Motes' HCC/AOS

Ascocenda Motes Burning Sands 'Mary Motes' HCC/AOS

Ascocenda Motes Burning Sands 'Mary Motes' HCC/AOS has just finished opening its second spike. It is a large plant for an Asconcenda and the flowers are very long lasting.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fear of shipping - Priority Mail

Stickers make any box a Priority Mail boxHaving boxes available is an important first step. After a couple of times of looking in the garage for a box, I learned about the free supplies that the Postal Service has available.

I like Priority mail for shipping orchids. I have never had a delivery problem and I can print my own postage including a delivery confirmation at home. If I get the boxes to the Post Office before 5pm Monday they arrive in my area the next day and across the country on Thursday.

Getting the shipping cost right can be fun. I recently sold a plant for $5 with a $5 shipping charge. When I weighed the box, it was 1 pound 3 ounces and the postage was $8.30. If you add the EBay cost and Paypal fees I was lucky it didn't cost me money to sell the plant. I had to take a deep breath and treat it as a learning experience and a reminder to actually weigh the plant and not just guess.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fear of shipping - Introduction

Starting to make a paper tube around the plantIn late 2005 I went to a nursery going out of business sale and got a bit enthusiastic about the very low cost plants. When I got home I had a hard time getting them all in the greenhouse.

I knew I had to reduce my plant count and cull the collection. I soon decided that EBay was the way to go and set up an account.

I didn't actually list anything on EBay until last year. What held me back was fear of shipping.

Now I get good reviews on how my plants are packed. It turns out that packing is not so hard. All it takes is to gather the components and the courage together and to go for it. The next couple of posts will be about shipping.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Trichoceros parviflorus

Trichoceros parviflorus - Flower photo by Richard LindbergTrichoceros parviflorus - Plant photo by Richard LindbergI first saw this species on the show-and-tell table of the San Francisco Orchid Society. Then I heard more about it at a presentation about orchid sex. It seems that this flower is every young male fly's dream date.

Trichoceros parviflorus grows in Colombia to Bolivia at higher elevations. It is cool to cold growing. The flower really looks like a fly. The genus Trichoceros (Tc) contains 5 species growing in the Andes from Colombia to Bolivia with flowers that resemble insects.

It took a couple of years to find the right spot. Generally speaking, my greenhouse is too warm for it. Getting it in a lower light spot that also gets cooled by the foggers was not easy, but now it blooms every year.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cattleya labiata ('Angerer' x 'Preyran')

Cattleya labiata ('Angerer' x 'Preyran') - Flower photo by Richard LindbergCattleya labiata ('Angerer' x 'Preyran') - Plant photo by Richard LindbergIn 2005 I went on a buying trip that started at the orchid show in San Diego and continued up the coast with a stop in Santa Barbara to finish filling the car with orchids. One of the orchids I got was this very nice Cattleya labiata.

Cattleya labiata grows in Venezuela and Brazil. It is warm to hot growing, blooms in the fall and needs bright light. They do best in a medium that has good drainage and dry between watering. Give them a sort dryer rest after blooming.

The orchid was mounted on a stick and got moved around the greenhouse. It was too wet most of the time and never went through a whole growing season in the same light. It did not do well and hasn't bloomed recently.

Yesterday I decided that a change was necessary. I removed it from the mount, gave it a spa treatment and tucked it into a nice pot of sphagnum moss for the next couple of growing seasons.

NOTE: I am looking for information about or a picture of the parents of this plant.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Epigeneium nakaharaei in bloom

Epigeneium nakaharaei - Flower photo by Richard LindbergEpigeneium nakaharaei - Plant photo by Richard LindbergThe SCOS meeting was Tuesday. I remember taking a walk through the greenhouse looking for plants to take. I missed seeing this plant. Epigeneium nakaharaei grows in Taiwan in the central mountain range. It is cool to warm growing, fragrant and blooms in the fall and winter. It needs bright light.

This is the first bloom for this plant since I got it last fall from the San Francisco opportunity table. The new pseudobulb is still developing, I think. If it is as large as the one next to it, the plant is in the right spot in the greenhouse.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Neofinetia falcata

Neofinetia falcata display at POE

Neofinetia falcata - Flower photo by Richard LindbergActive root growth on my Neofinetia falcataI have a Neofinetia falcata in my collection. For a person who has a "Sure, why not" attitude toward new genera it would be hard NOT to have a Neofinetia falcata. They are very readily available and are on opportunity tables often enough.

Neofinetia falcata grows in Japan, Korea and the Ryukyu Islands. The species grows on deciduous trees and get more light in winter. They are fragrant and tolerate a wide range of temperatures.

I have had my plant for just over two years. I have it mounted on an inverted clay pot covered by a layer of sphagnum. This is not the correct style of using a mound long-strand sphagnum done just-so, but it is good enough for me.

One thing that is interesting is how the roots have changed. When I got it, the roots were long and thin, now they are short and thick. The difference is due mostly to a change in medium and environment. I like the look better now.