Friday, November 30, 2012

Bulbophyllum Kalimpong

Bulbophyllum KalimpongBulbophyllum KalimpongBulbophyllum Kalimpong - Plant photo by Richard LindbergFrom time to time I see a plant that is quite inexpensive if priced on a per-pseudobulb basis. This Bulbophyllum Kalimpong was one of those. I was all like "If I divide this and sell the pieces I get a free orchid". That was two years ago.

It bloomed in June and I was sure that it was Bulbophyllum Kalimpong, the primary hybrid Bulbophyllum guttulatum x Bulbophyllum ornatissimum.

Yesterday I took it apart and here is what I got.

The top row divisions will go in individual pots while the whole bottom row will go in a community pot. These will share an inventory number since I plan for all but one to be sold next spring.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Winter Orchid Maintenance

In past years I have slacked off on my winter maintenance. It is not a new growth time, the greenhouse is too crowded to work in, I would get dirty looks if I tried to work in the kitchen. I had lots of reasons.

This winter I am more willing to do some work. I have the sheltered work area and I have the possibility of having to move the plants from Sonoma before May. I need to use my space efficiently. I am going to address plants overflowing pots and finding duplicates to be sold in spring.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pleurothallis stricta

I potted the Pleurothallis stricta keikis. There were six of those. I left one leaf on the original plant and re-potted it also. Today they go back in the greenhouse in a cool, shaded spot to see what will happen in the next four months while waiting for the start of the selling season on eBay.

Using foam peanuts to reduce pot sizeUsing foam peanuts to reduce pot sizeThese plants are quite small and a bit over-potted in 2-inch pots. A way I learned that reduces pot size and increases drainage is to fill the space with rocks of foam peanuts. For this, use the "bad", non-biodegradable form. The others quickly turn to slime.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pleurothallis stricta

Pleurothallis stricta - Flower photo by Richard LindbergPleurothallis stricta - Flower photo by Richard LindbergIn 2008 I bought a big Pleurothallis stricta to divide. The idea being that I keep a division and sell the rest so I end up with a free plant. At that time the greenhouse was cooler more evenly wet. Since then I have been raising the base temperature and having a much dryer winter.

Pleurothallis stricta grows in Colombia and Ecuador in cloud forests at high elevations. It is cool growing, needs low light and even watering. The genus Pleurothallis contains More than 1000 species growing in all parts of the subtropical and tropical Americas. There are very diverse plants from moss-like plants to large ranging plants of several feet in height.

It is time to sell this off. The greenhouse isn't right for it any more. I don't want to repot and list it on eBay, it is too scruffy looking for that. And winter is upon us and I have had bad results with shipping in cold weather. I think my best choice is to pot the six small plants in sphagnum and put them down low in a place where I can hand water. Hopefully there will be some better looking leaves to go with the roots by then. The plants are healthy enough, they just look rough.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rodriguezia decora

Rodriguezia decora - Flower photo by Richard LindbergRodriguezia decora - Flower photo by Richard LindbergI got this Rodriguezia decora at the SCOS potting party four years ago. It was two pseudobulbs with a 4-inch rhizome. I mounted it and it grew pretty well, the main challenge being the long rhizome. The plant grew away from the mount and off to the side.

Rodriguezia decora - Plant photo by Richard LindbergLast year I gave the main lead away and re-tied the plant to be closer to the bark mount. It is blooming, not the best I have seen, but still there are flowers. Since I removed the lead I am getting new growth from three locations on the plant.

Rodriguezia decora grows in Brazil in cool to warm mountain forests and grasslands. It is fragrant, needs bright light and blooms fall and winter. The genus Rodriguezia (Rdza) contains about 30 species mostly found in Brazil.

This plant is mounted on a 14x7-inch piece of cork bark. There are six pseudobulbs. It will be fine on the mount for a couple more years.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm Sorry, Google

A couple of years ago I got a large Cattleya Gordon Duane Schaber 'Superb'. I didn't have any idea about what the flower looked like and tried to find an identifiable picture but there was only a bunch of pictures of lots of flowers that were not that hybrid and a few that might be. I grumbled about pictures without an "alt=" or a "title=" to identify them and then forgot about it.

Last week I gave one of the divisions to a friend. I thought I would check again to see if a picture of Cattleya Gordon Duane Schaber 'Superb' had been posted. I was shocked to find about 50 of my pictures, none of them Cattleya Gordon Duane Schaber 'Superb' right at the front of the search results. How could this be?

The answer turned out to be easy. The pictures were of flowers of all the plants on the index page that had the link to Cattleya Gordon Duane Schaber 'Superb'. None if the small index pictures had a title.

I have fixed that now. But I wonder how long the incorrect pictures will remain in the search results. Luckily I have a program that generates the website for me so it was fairly easy.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sophronitis cernua

I am happy to see the Sophronitis cernua blooming again this year. I got it in 2009 when I was attempting to fill in some gaps in my collection of commonly available plants from Brazil. I was concerned because it is a "water all year" plant and I am keeping the greenhouse dry in winter. Even so, It is growing well and has five flowers this year instead of only two flowers last year.

Sophronitis cernua grows in Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. It is warm growing and blooms in the spring. Give it bright light and water all year. The genus Sophronitis (S) contains only a few species growing in eastern Brazil and Paraguay. They are used in hybridization for their red color, small size and lower light requirements. They are the "S" in "Slc".

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dendrobium lindleyi

Dendrobium lindleyi - Plant photo by Richard Lindberg

Quite a few orchids need less water in winter. With a Dendrobium lindleyi I have to go much farther than that. This is one of the species that needs a real dry winter rest in order to bloom. I have tried various way to cut back, but the only thing that works is to stop watering completely until in blooms. I am starting that today, moving it where it will get no water at all.

Dendrobium lindleyi - Flower photo by Richard LindbergDendrobium lindleyi grows from India to Vietnam. It is warm to hot growing and needs a dry winter rest. As the flowers mature, the color deepens.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Note From a Blog Reader

Nicolette writes:

Hi Richard,

I am helping to maintain an orchid house and when it comes to repotting I am mostly heart broke about how many good pieces just go to trash. Sad reality is and we stick to it, that even volunteers pay for every plant or single back bulb we wish to take home! However sometimes a little thing just clings to me and would not part and sure as hell it will be happily growing in my greenhouse there after!

As for my backbulbs, I have an Oncidium with "no name " which should hopefully flower soon because I have been growing it for a couple of years now and I am already excite what it will turn out to be. Also I got one of those Chia Lin Catleyas which grows very well just from a tiny little offspring and 2 Phalaenopsis keikies I am excited about right now.

I learned to propagate plants from cuttings as a kid in Germany and kept doing it. Eventually I came across a discarded orchid which then initiated my orchid fever.

A fantastic way of getting backbulbs for me though are the visits with friends or our local Orchid Club meetings and events. I give often babies away myself, that's part of my passion. It is not so much about prestige or AOS awards, it is more about seeing the plants grow what makes my heart melt! In fact my whole yard consists mostly of self grown plants.

My favorites are Vandas, Schomburkias and Dendrobiums, just because those grow best in my yard with the least amount of work so I have more time for some others in the greenhouse. Now that Pholidota you were writing about last seems to be white. I have one big ole Pholidota plant that is more a peach color. Flowers in summer and is totally care free! Don't I just love when a plan works out and my plants flower over and over.

Thank you for the note, Nicolette. The wonderful thing about orchids is that their reputation as being hard to grow is totally wrong. They are very hardy in anything like their native environment.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oncidium nudum

Oncidium nudum - Flower photo by Richard LindbergIt looks as if I am going to get a proper spike from the Oncidium nudum this year. While I never like to count my flowers until the buds open, I am hopeful. This will be real progress for this plant. In the time that I have been taking care of the plant it has had some serious challenges. I thought at one point that it would not make it.

Oncidium nudum - Plant photo by Richard LindbergOncidium nudum grows in northern South America in hot, humid wetlands. It blooms in winter and has an inflorescence that extends almost two feet.

This plant is mounted on a 6 x 14-inch piece of cork bark. There are five intact pseudobulbs and four damaged ones. The damage was from two separate rodent attacks. It seems that this plant is delicious. The rat/squirrel went past many other tender green plants to snack on this one.

Oncidium nudum spike from 2011, short with only a few flowersLast year the plant bloomed but with a short spike going off in an odd direction. After that I moved it to a spot where the base of the plant was a little less shaded.

Not only is the developing spike already longer than last year's, the pseudobulb is more like the proper size for this species.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Got an Extra $1.5M?

The day I knew would come, has come. The Sonoma greenhouse is up for sale. There is more than a greenhouse, of course. It is a horse ranch with a house, a 20 horse barn, an arena and a lot of other horsey features. They had award winning Morgan horses. But the owner is 90 and needs to move to a better situation for her. In my non-expert opinion, a very good deal. A nice horse and orchid establishment for your vacation home in the heart of wine country.

This is a link to a out-of-date website for Sky Ridge Ranch.

The greenhouse is in need of some repair but nothing major. A handy person could take care of it for about $1000. I have put a couple hundred into it but couldn't do more since I don't own it.

Be it four months or a year, I will have to move out. I am OK if it is seven months since the Catts can be outside mid-May. At some point I will be forced to decide what I really want in my collection.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bollopetalum Midnight Blue

Bollopetalum Midnight Blue - Flower photo by Richard LindbergBollopetalum Midnight Blue - Plant photo by Richard LindbergThis plant is sitting on a stepped bench. I could just see the flower stem disappearing under the step above.

Bollopetalum (Blptm) is Bollea x Zygopetelum. Bollopetalum Midnight Blue is the cross Bollea violacea x (Zygopetelum Blackii x Zygopetelum mackayi).

I have had the plant five years. It is potted in a 2-inch pot in pea gravel. It blooms every year but should really have grown more. It needs a change of some sort. I could pot it in bark. The automatic watering is off for the winter. In spring I could decide what to do with it, maybe sell it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

NOID Epidendrum

This rescue was in good condition. There were a few flowers and the plant was fine. I took it to Sonoma to add this nice color to the display. The problem was that each week the plant looked worse and worse. I finally brought it back to Napa because I didn't know what else to do.

It has spent the summer in a bright but wet spot in the Napa greenhouse. I guessed it would not do well but I was wrong. There is lots of new growth and spikes developing. Orchids surprise me all the time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Orchid Backbulbs

Over the past year I have re-potted several large Cattleya hybrids. Some of them were beautiful and showy NOID plants. The result was a lot of backbulb divisions. This has given me the opportunity to try some variations on backbulb culture looking for an answer a couple of questions; ""When is the right moment to pot a sprouted backbulb?", "What is the ideal size of a backbulb division?".

Here is a 4-pseudobulb Cattleya backbulb division. It was potted in clay and sphagnum the same day as it was cut. The oldest is nearest to the camera. It and the next oldest have turned completely brown and are dead. The PB on the right has a sprout and the one on the left has an active eye that looks very likely to sprout soon. We have two over-potted plants.

Watering will be tricky and a lot of sphagnum has been wasted. I would have been better off to sprout in rocks and pot in small pots.