Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's day and orchids

Cymbidium Mighty SunsetMother's day is an important marker on the orchid calendar and it's not because of all the gift orchids that appear that day. Mother's day is, in fact, the beginning of two orchid seasons in the Napa Valley.

The first of these is the time to start taking our orchids outside for the summer. The night time low temperature is firmly in the upper half of the 40s and the highs above 70 degrees. No matter how well placed, nothing is better for plants than natural light and good air movement that can be best found outside.

Orchids should be up off the ground and placed where they get no direct sunlight during the middle six hours of the day. The north side of the house where there is no direct sunlight is good if there is open sky above the plants.

Moth orchids (Phaleanopsis) should wait a bit longer to go out. Take them out when the night time temperature is closer to 60 in another month.

NOID Cymbidium backbulb division from last year

The second season is the Cymbidium re-potting time. Cymbidiums can be re-potted until the 4th of July. The 4th of July cutoff is important to observe because they need the rest of the summer to grow in order to bloom in the late fall and spring. This is not a process I get much enjoyment from, it is hard work. But there are some Cymbidiums in the Sonoma collection so I have some to re-pot.

1 comment:

  1. I start bringing my orchids outside, too, at this time of year. Generally, I start with the Cyms and other sun worshippers like Vandas and my one Arachnis. By the end of May, I also bring the Catts and Grams outside. I've never brought my Phals (not that I have more than a handful), Stanhopeas, Pleuros, or Coelogynes outside. The leaves burn too easily, and they wilt in the heat of the dog days.

    I'm also a little afraid to bring my huge Phaius outdoors, although it might like it on the sheltered front porch with direct sun only until about 10 am; mostly I'm afraid rain will get caught in the fans, and rot them from the center on out. That wouldn't be a problem on the porch, though.

    Good luck with your Cyms. They can be a real pain to repot, especially if you have to divide them while you're at it.