Orchid Culture Questions and Answers
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Orchid Culture - Questions & Answers from This Month
by Sue Bottom, from the St. Augustine Orchid Society Newsletter
Email us with any orchid question, if we can't answer it we'll find someone who can! Send photographs too!
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Dendrobium Growing Every Which Way
Dendrobium Growing Every Which Way

 

Dendrobium Growing Every Which Way

Q. This guy is about 8 years old and 2 feet tall not including the pot. Every year the canes get bigger, so I assume he's happy enough. Last year's cane didn't bloom, so over winter he was moved to a different window and the new cane developed this absurd lean. I recently moved him to my office under an LED grow light and he started a spike. I'm trying to train it upward with a packing peanut, but I think it's a lost cause and a horizontal spray will look a little ridiculous. Stability is fine, I put a rock in the pot years ago and he essentially mounted himself to it. When I repot, I repot him and the rock. I wish the older cane (with leaves) would spike, as it is straight.

A. That is not so crooked! You can try to train the canes to be more upward but you'll have to get longer stakes, then tie at the bottom and up about 4 inches from when they start to lean away from vertical. Don't try to make them vertical all in one step, but bring it in say half an inch every other day or more to gradually make it align with the plant stake. The spike will grow toward the light, if the light is coming in horizontally, the spike will grow horizontally to reach for more light.
  If you grown under the LED light you'll want the light as much above the plant as possible, without it being so close it gets heat damaged. Don't be surprised if that older cane spikes, dendrobiums are some of the few orchids that will rebloom from an older growth. The more light it gets, the more blooms you'll get!
  Carrie sent another pic after she staked the dendrobium and told us "It's working! I can't believe how well it's straightened out!"   (Nov-17)


Phalaenopsis Stem Discolors
 

Phalaenopsis Stem Discolors

Q. I am from the UK and as you can see from the photo have a problem with a stem which starts discoloring just below the firming flower buds. This has happened before and results in it spreading until there's no alternative but to cut it off. I am guilty of possibly not watering often enough. Any thoughts as to the cause and what I can do to prevent it happening in the future?

A. When I have had that on my phals, it turned out to be Fusarium. I figured it out from the Hark Orchideen site. You'll need to drench with one of the heavy duty fungicides labelled for Fusarium, perhaps something like Heritage containing the active ingredient Azoxystrobin. You'll have to see what might be available in the UK.   (Nov-17)


C. bicolor 'Chocolate'
C. bicolor 'Chocolate' keikis
C. bicolor 'Chocolate' keikis

 

Cattleya Sprouting Keikis at Nodes on Pseudobulb

Q. Keith Davis shared this story: I have this very fine C. bicolor brasiliensis 'Chocolate' that I got from Gene Crocker in 2003 as an unbloomed seedling in a 3" pot. It is a large plant now in a 12" clay bulb pan with 18 growths and two tall leads and 8 buds on each stem.
  I noticed an old leafless bulb that was dehydrated and broken over, but not completely detached. I cut it off and was about to toss it when I noticed the 4 keikis and small roots. If you notice carefully, there are 7 nodes, #6 and 7 are very close to the top and separated by about 1/2 inch, the 7th being the joint where the old sheath emerged. Keikis formed on nodes 1, 2, 4, and 7.
  I am thinking that the stress of the bulb being almost severed stimulated hormones to force the keikis to sprout. I wanted an extra division of this plant. Knowing how difficult it is to successfully divide C. bicolor, I was going to wait until a growth went over the side and do one of my no stress over-the-pot divisions. Now, it appears that 4 keikis might well be the next divisions.
  I will place the entire bulb on top of a tray of live Spanish moss and put a tuft of sphagnum moss over the roots of each keiki to help them stay hydrated and elongate enough to later remove each and pot them up.

A. Keith sure can grow cattleyas!   (Nov-17)


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