Monday, February 28, 2011

Orchid estate sale

I went to a sale to sell off the orchid collection of a member of a neighbor orchid society. The announcement said "Come and get some truly bargain plants while supporting a very worthy cause", the restoration of a victorian lath greenhouse in a park.

I bought the best I could find and ended up with 4 for $40. When I un-potted I found almost no live roots. I have 16 backbulb divisions. None of these will bloom for two or more years. If it had not been for the restoration contribution and the length of the drive to get there, I would not have bought any.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Laelia anceps sanderiana

Laelia anceps sanderiana - Flower photo by Richard LindbergThe 2010-2011 blooming season has not been good for Laelia anceps flowers in my collection. There have only been a few that were big enough to bloom. I sold too many last year and most of the rest are still coming back from my aggressive division in 2009.

Laelia anceps sanderiana - Plant photo by Richard LindbergLaelia anceps grows well and blooms well in cultivation. It grows in Mexico and Honduras. It is warm to hot growing and needs a dry winter rest and bright light. If it is dry it can winter outside if there is no hard freeze.

I have been working over the past couple of weeks on getting all of those into bark. They are going to spend this year growing and it will be easier to control moisture level.

A construction project for this spring is for a covered area where Laelia anceps can grow outside and not get rained on. We have a good temperature range in Napa for growing Laelia anceps but our rain pattern is all wrong.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pacific Orchid Exposition

One week from today you will have missed the best shopping at the Pacific Orchid Exposition. 10am on Friday is when I do my shopping. My plan usually includes volunteering at the Plant hotel for the first shift on Friday and get in early. I have already seen everything during ribbon judging on Thursday and so can do my shopping quickly and get to my post before it gets busy.

Last year's entrance display. POE is an amazing show

I am not going this year. I don't have any orchid money and it is very tiring. It is a great event but I have seen it several times and I would rather spend the time working on greenhouse cleanup. There is a lot of work to do. I am going to repair the benches and reconfigure the layout.

I have two of the benches out of the greenhouse and dried out. I have what I believe is all the material I need so I will start on that part today.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Phaleanopsis hybrid rehabilitation

One of the things I found while moving the benches out of the greenhouse for repair was this poor thing, a mounted Phal hybrid. It even has a tag! I can tell from the style of the hook on the mount that it was done several years ago.

The roots are firm and turn green when watered. Even without any leaves, this plant is alive. I am going to see if I can get this plant going again.

I have had some success with Phal rescues. My problem starts afterward. My greenhouse has two light levels; bright and very bright. Phals do not do well, they depend on the shade of other plants and the overhead watering keeps potted Phals in danger of crown rot.

I have a section just for Phal rescue that has become a storage area. It consists of three humidity trays in a covered space that allows some light in. When phals sit on the full trays with their toes in the water they start to grow.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Anacheilium chimborazoense

Anacheilium chimborazoense - Flower photo by Richard LindbergIf I had to name my favorite orchid species it would be Anacheilium chimborazoense. I don't buy plants based on fragrance, but I get all warm and fuzzy when I walk into the greenhouse and the beautiful scent is present. If even a single flower is open, I will know it.

Anacheilium chimborazoense grows from Panama to Ecuador and Venezuela. It is cool to warm growing and is fragrant. Anacheilium chimborazoense - Plant photo by Richard LindbergSince it grows at the top of trees, give it bright light. The genus Anacheilium (Ahl) contains 59 species growing from Mexico through northern South America. These are the cockleshell orchids. They were separated from Encyclia for technical reasons.

I bought the plant at POE seven years ago when I was buying any new Encyclia. Since then I have been taking divisions off the side of the mount and two years ago I removed it from the mount, divided it and remounted one of the divisions. It grows quickly and seems to like my greenhouse.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Oncidium ampliatum

When I bought this Oncidium ampliatum in 2004, the vendor made the point to warn me that this species doesn't like to have its roots disturbed. I did not heed the warning and re-potted from bark to rock.

Oncidium ampliatum - Plant photo by Richard LindbergOncidium ampliatum grows in Central America and northern South America in hot lowland areas. It blooms from the fall into spring.

Over the next two years it declined until it got down to a single pseudobulb, the smallest one that you can see in the popup picture. I potted that last piece in large rock pieces in a 2-inch pot and set it among a group of plants where I thought it would finally die. For some reason, unknown to me, it started to grow.

Two years ago I carefully up-potted, moving the whole rootball and the rocks to a larger pot. This plant is now potted in rock in a 3 1/4-inch platic pot. There are 5 pseudobulbs, three with leaves. I will have to up-pot again but I will wait until I see another new growth.

This has never bloomed and I doubt that it will bloom this year since the side leaves have already died. The spike comes from under the side leaves, usually the longer of the two leaves. That's fine, with this plant, just staying alive is good enough for me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Laelia anceps 'Boulder Valley' HCC/AOS

Laelia anceps 'Boulder Valley' HCC/AOS - Flower photo by Richard LindbergI was working in the greenhouse yesterday. I have some rot going on in my benches. One of the levels on one collapsed last month dumping plants all around. I saw some other shelves ready to go. I have four of these benches and as a start to spring cleaning am going to repair and paint them. Using some creative grouping of plants, I was able to get two of the benches outside where I can work on them.

Laelia anceps 'Boulder Valley' HCC/AOS - Plant photo by Richard LindbergAs I was moving plants I found this Laelia anceps backbulb. It had been forgotten. I had removed it from a potting in sphagnum because it was not doing very well. I set it back in the plastic pot intending to come back and take care of it but got sidetracked. It has been sitting unpotted for a couple of months now.

It seems to be taking care of itself just fine. Those are beautiful, green-tipped roots getting a good start on a new generation. The backbulb on the right is full-sized. The first generation is small which is typical. Its job is to get some new roots established. The newest generation on the left is going to be bigger but still small.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Schomburgkia tibicinis

A little over a year ago I re-potted the Schomburgkia tibicinis from the Sonoma collection. I found that the roots were weak enough to be called a rescue. Only the very newest growth had the start of good roots. I potted it in bark and moved it to a brighter location.

Schomburgkia tibicinis a year ago - Plant photo by Richard LindbergSchomburgkia 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. Schomburgkia contains 12 species of medium to large plants growing in New World tropical areas.

I left very little room in the new pot a year ago. The conventional wisdom is to leave room for two years of growth but the roots needed an even smaller pot than I used. I planned to re-pot now.

The roots are better but still not good enough for a pot big enough for two years. I removed the older pseudobulbs and I will put these two with the best roots back in the same pot to see if we can get a strong plant a year from now.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cattlianthe Molly Tyler

Cattlianthe Molly Tyler - Flower photo by Richard LindbergI had planned to re-pot the Cattlianthe Molly Tyler after it bloomed last year but didn't ever get to it. This year I have to because it has reached the edge of the pot. Right now it goes into the display window for general household enjoyment. A final decision can be made in a few weeks.

Cattlianthe Molly Tyler needs to be divided and re-pottedCattlianthe Molly Tyler is a cross registered by F. Dixon in 1930. It is beautiful, if a bit small by today's standards. The plant is in lava in a 6-inch plastic pot. There are seven pseudobulbs and it stands 18 inches above the pot.

The plant has only one lead. I may decide to divide it. If it were more centered I would back-cut to get another lead started. The roots look good from the top but the lower pot may be full of rot. Right now all I can do is wait until I can see the roots. In an orchid plant, root health is key.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Insect killing on orchids

Formula 409 concentrate, red dye and alcohol

I make my own insect spray. This stuff is good for mealybugs and aphids as well as a first level attack on scale.

I take a quart of alcohol and divide it into two quart bottles and add water so that each is 2/3 full. Then I take a cap full of Formula 409 concentrate that has had some red food coloring added and put that into one of the bottles. I finish off by pouring back and forth between the two bottles until the soap is evenly mixed. This is the mixture I keep in a spray bottle in the greenhouse. The mixture has a pink color to it so I know I am not picking up the wrong sprayer.

This cannot be used on flowers. It is not strong enough for scale, although it will kill the visible insects. For mealybugs and aphids, all that is needed is to rinse the bug bodies off the plant. It is safe for indoor use.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Coelogyne flaccida

Coelogyne flaccida - Flower photo by Richard Lindberg One of the prettiest of the Coelogyne available is Coelogyne flaccida. The flowers are pretty, there are a lot of them and they are fragrant. It does really well in my greenhouse potted in rock. I divide them every two years and they always bloom. I wish the flowers lasted longer.

Coelogyne flaccida - Plant photo by Richard LindbergCoelogyne flaccida grows from northern India through south China in mountain forests in the 3000 to 6000 foot range. It is cold to cool growing and is fragrant. The genus Coelogyne (Coel) contains 100 species found in all of Asia east of India and Indonesia and Fiji.

The literature describes this species as cold to cool growing. As I have been raising the base temperature I supposed that this is a species I would have trouble with but it doesn't seem to be the case.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Laelia purpurata carnea #69 x carnea 'Maria da Gloria'

Laelia purpurata carnea #69 x carnea 'Maria da Gloria' - Flower photo by Richard LindbergSometimes I can actually see eye glazing over when I mention three or more years from backbulb to flower. But the fact is, if I have space, I will eventually have a plant. In September 2008 the plant you see below was a single sprouted backbulb. Now it has four pseudobulbs and good roots. There is a pretty good chance that it will bloom this year.

Laelia purpurata carnea #69 x carnea 'Maria da Gloria' - Plant photo by Richard LindbergLaelia purpurata carnea #69 x carnea 'Maria da Gloria' - Plant photo by Richard LindbergLaelia purpurata grows in Brazil and needs a dry winter rest. It is fragrant, cool to hot growing and needs bright light. It can bloom any time from late spring into fall.

This plant is in rock in a 3 1/2-inch plastic pot. It is the same pot I put in in 2+ years ago. With its short rhizome, I won't need to do anything for a year, maybe two. Even then, I will up-pot it in a 4-inch pot, also in rock.

One of the best features of rock is that it holds almost no water. Over-potting is not really the issue it would be with other media.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another Free Bulbophyllum lobbii backbulb

Bulbophyllum lobbii - Flower photo by Richard LindbergThe free Bulbophyllum lobbii backbulb from last week was very popular. I ended up sending three of these to people who contacted me.

This morning I was getting my two leads ready to mount and made a last-minute decision to cut off one more pseudobulb.

There is one more backbulb you can have if you claim it.

The rules are the same as always: You pay $5.50 postage and it comes Priority Mail. If you have not had a free orchid before, add a comment claiming it and them go to this page to get my direct email address and email me so we can work out the details. Offer ends at 4pm PDT on Thursday the 17th. After that time, anybody who wants it can have it. Continental US only please.

The pseudobulb and leaf are 7 inches long. There are no live roots. It is pretty well hydrated. The flower is large and long-lasting.

This should do well as an indoor plant if you have good light. Not Cattleya level but brighter that for Phals.

Bulbophyllum lobbii grows in Borneo, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines above 2000'. The species is warm to hot growing, fragrant and blooms in spring. The genus Bulbophyllum (Bulb) contains 1500 species found in all tropical areas on earth.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

L Zip 'Short Stack' x Lc Perelli Sunrise

L Zip 'Short Stack' x Lc Perelli Sunrise - Flower photo by Richard LindbergNeeds to be re-pottedMaintenance of an orchid collection is an on-going effort. Even though orchids change slowly, the idea of regular inspection is an important one. Picking up the pot and looking at the plant from all sides.

I don't have good notes on this plant. I know it bloomed in October 2009 because that is the date of a flower picture. I know I re-potted it at some point probably before that. Whatever the history, the pot is full and something needs to be done.

This is what I like to see when a plant comes out of the pot. The roots fill the pot without being wound around. I will be able to remove the medium without too much root trauma. I will clean the roots so that I can see all of them and which pseudobulb each is associated with.

There are 9 pseudobulbs. The oldest is dead-looking and I will cut that off and throw it away. There is a natural division of 4 and 4 for the rest of them. The newest 4 includes two leads. That will become the collection plant. The other 4 will be a backbulb division. Since there are some live roots I will not give it special treatment but pot it up. One of the pseudobulbs will activate an eye and produce a new growth.