Monday, August 19, 2013

Cattleya gaskelliana var alba

Cattleya gaskelliana var alba - Flower photo by Richard LindbergCattleya gaskelliana var alba - Flower photo by Richard LindbergCattleya gaskelliana var alba - Plant photo by Richard LindbergThe class I took on orchid care included ten rules of thumb. They are a good start toward having a healty, blooming collection. I can see, however, that I have been neglecting rule number 10. "Become an inspector. Bi-weekly observation is key".

Cattleya gaskelliana grows in Colombia and Venezuela at 2000 to 3000 feet. It is fragrant, cool to warm growing and blooms in fall and winter.

This plant was a seedling I got to add an Cattleya species to the collection. That was thirty months ago. I put it aside and it has sat in the same, dark place all that time.

I have "found" several plants during my search for $5 table plants. I'm not sure that I can look at every plant even once a month, but I will try. I might even make that a working definition of having too many plants.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sphagnum Moss for Orchids

When I started growing orchids I used a fir bark based mix for everything. It was easy to use and worked well. When I got the greenhouse, I started using rocks because I needed the drainage. Now I am using sphagnum moss more and more for Cattleyas and Dendrobiums. I just got another 240-litre bale.

Sphagnum moss in small packages is kind of expensive. That is why I got my first bale. Sphagnum moss keeps well and I figured I had a lifetime supply. Now I am on my fourth bale.

What makes it work for orchids that want to be dry between watering are three things. First, use a clay pot. It gets the moisture level down pretty quickly. Second, let it get very dry between watering, to a point that the surface is hard. Third, pay attention to the rule of thumb number 2. "Whatever you do, do it before noon".

Friday, August 16, 2013

Another NOID Cattleya

Once this Catt has bloomed for awhile, I am going to clean it up, divide it and put it on the $5 table. I can't tell how the plant will divide while it is still in the pot. My guess is two leads and two backbulb divisions, but that is only a guess. I will accept reservations for one of each The $5 division is already taken now but they will have to wait a month before I send it out.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Shipping Orchids using USPS Priority Mail

I was scared to trade or sell orchids for a long time. The only person that I knew who sold orchids did so out of her van. She went to shows and Farmer's Markets but never did mail orders.

One of my issues was getting boxes. Then I found the USPS shopping website. They offer lots of free stuff to help with shipping.

Free USPS Priority Mail Boxes

It makes sense, they may lose some money by giving stuff away, they make it back in efficient package handling using standard size boxes.

USPS Priority Mail Shoe BoxUSPS Priority Mail Shoe BoxI have a stock of 3 or 4 sizes but my favorite is the shoe box. Almost all the plants I want to mail fit in the 14"x8"x5" size and quite often the total is under a pound. The top of plants takes space but is light. Crumpled newspaper keeps the plant from bouncing around.

If you have been putting off trading, explore the USPS website. Not only can you get free boxes, you can print your own postage. Then you can take it to the "Prepaid Drop off" in the post office without waiting in line.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Anacheilium cochleatum var alba

Anacheilium cochleatum var alba - Flower photo by Richard LindbergAnacheilium cochleatum var alba - Flower photo by Richard LindbergAnacheilium cochleatum var alba - Plant photo by Richard LindbergOne of the good side-effects of my summer collection reduction project is looking closely at all my plants. Some plants just don't call attention to themselves, and this was one. It had not bloomed for several years and was growing very slowly.

Anacheilium cochleatum grows from Florida to the north coast of South America. It is a medium sized epiphyte that requires even water and fertilizer throughout the year. 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.

This plant is potted in sphagnum over peanuts in a 3-inch clay pot. There are four pseudobulbs and stands five inches above the pot.

I have marked this one a collection plant and re-potted. It will go into the outside growing area for the summer and I hope it will bloom again. They are very interesting flowers.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Laeliocattleya Coastal Sunrise

Friday, at the NVOS meeting I won this plant at the raffle table. The choice was limited and I was wary of a plant that needs two stakes to hold it up.

Laeliocattleya Coastal Sunrise - Plant photo by Richard LindbergI took it out of the pot the next day and this is what I found. No live roots on the older pseudobulbs and new root growth starting on the sprout.

This plant is now potted in sphagnum over peanuts in a clay pot.It is the cross Laelia anceps x Cattleya Helen Veliz registered by Stewart in 1987. I have decided to make it a collection plant after seeing pictures on the internet.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Phaeanopsis hybrids

I just got a group of Phaeanopsis hybrids. The four plants are quite over grown and have not been re-potted in several years. I have not taken any of them out of the pot but would be willing to bet that there are no live roots. The only roots are the ones outside the pot.

The plant in the picture has red root tips and the leaves have a red tinge. I have not seen the flower but would bet on it being purple. One of the plants still has flowers, the white ones you see here. They are very large and the cascade must have been really something.

Phals make very nice mounts. Once the crown is tipped over it make watering easier, there is no danger of crown rot. I am tempted to put one of these in a teak basket and see what happens. I have a spot with an extra layer of shade cloth where the light might be reduced enough.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Laelia virens

Laelia virens - Plant photo by Richard LindbergThe third plant I got at Santa Barbara Orchid Estate was a Laelia virens. All I really had to see was "grows in Brazil". A collection of just orchids from Brazil would be great.

Laelia virens grows in southeastern Brazil in shady foothill forests. It is cool growing and blooms in winter.

Since it is cool growing I may have a problem finding the right micro-climate, but I will try. It is a strong plant and ought to bloom this year. I am hoping for the best.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Laelia anceps

Laelia anceps  CLA2586Laelia anceps  CLA2586Laelia anceps  CLA2586 - Plant photo by Richard LindbergYou can never have too many Laelia anceps, right? This one jumped into my hand at Santa Barbara Orchid Estate.

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

It is the perfect example of backbulb culture. There is the starting full-sized backbulb put in the pot of rocks. Over three generations it grew, each one larger. I expect the current new growth to be full-size again and probably bloom.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Encyclia diota v atrorubens

Encyclia diota v atrorubens - Flower photo by Richard LindbergEncyclia diota v atrorubens - Flower photo by Richard LindbergEncyclia diota v atrorubens - Plant photo by Richard LindbergWhen I visit Santa Barbara Orchid Estate I know I won't leave empty handed. I decided on a favorite species that I don't have, Encyclia diota. But as I walked toward the nursery, there were table set up with wonderful bargains. I changed my goal to spending less than $100. I bought three plants for $99.90. They didn't have anything for $.10.

Encyclia diota grows in Mexico down to Nicaragua. Needs bright light and a dry winter rest. It is warm to hot growing, is fragrant and blooms in summer. The genus Encyclia (Encycl) contains 240 species that grow throughout all of tropical America and the West Indies. They prefer intermediate conditions and a long, dry winter rest.

This plant is in rock in a 4-inch plastic pot. There are five pseudobulbs and it stands twelve inches above the pot.

You can see here how they pot the "dry between watering" plants. Growing in rock and up-potting by setting the whole pot in a bigger pot. Roots are a bit sheltered from drying and do fine with no medium.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Santa Barbara Orchid Estate

I got back from my trip yesterday. It was really nice and I met a lot of people over the five days. Although it was not primarily an orchid-related trip, I found myself yesterday morning at Santa Barbara Orchid Estate, my favorite grower to visit. I did not leave empty handed. I'll tell you more tomorrow.

Today is for some watering and re-grouping of the $5 table lists. I will send everyone who has a list going an email to confirm where we are. Then Wednesday I will add three new plants to the table.