General Growing Tips.
The heat and humidity of summer are here. When day time temperatures rise above the 90 to 95F range, you’ll see orchid growth start to slow. Water slightly less frequently than during the spring. Orchid plants require lots of fresh air to keep the plant leaves cool. Consider spraying under benches or the planting area to lower temperatures a few degrees. Pests are most active during the warm months. Be vigilant in observing signs of damage and treat quickly if they appear. The bulk of your repotting should be complete.
Cattleyas can be watered and fertilized daily if mounted or every second or third day if in a coarse, freely draining medium. Applying adequate fertilizer is the best way to ensure the best blooming in that the growths your plants are making now are the source of future blooms. Be careful to peel back the flower sheaths so the emerging buds don't rot. Also remove dried cataphylls to eliminate hiding places for scale. Higher temperatures and humidity may lead to fungal or bacterial rot. Watch for signs of pests or diseases and respond quickly.
Growths should be developing strongly now. The leaves of the new growths are best when they are broad and fairly stiff. The color should be a light green to nearly yellow. Cool your plants in the early morning and late evening using a hose or automatic misting system.
It is almost impossible to overwater dendrobiums this time of year, assuming you have them either mounted or in a coarse, mostly inorganic medium. Lots of heat and light call for liberal applications of water and fertilizer.
Many of the intergeneric crosses between odontoglossums and oncidiums (Odontocidium, Wilsonara, Colmanara, etc.) will be blooming now. Take special care to train the spikes for best floral displays. Keep plants under fairly shady conditions. Watch for snails and slugs.
Most, if not all, repotting should be complete by now. Once root growth begins after repotting, you can continue watering with a dilute fertilizer solution every week or so if your phals are in a soilless or coco type mix; the frequency might be every 2 weeks or so if your plants are potted in the more water retentive sphagnum moss. The summer growth phase is the source of energy for next spring's flower spikes. The more leaves the plants grow, the better potential for flower spiking will be realized. Don't let water accumulate in the crowns of plants, or crown rot can occur and quickly kill your plants. If grown outdoors, grow the plants with the pots tilted so rainwater will freely drain from the crown.
Plants will be growing quickly now and really enjoying the hot humid days. Continue giving vandas what they want, light, water, fertilizer and air. Watch for signs of thrips that will mar the flowers and cause girdling on the roots. Respond promptly to any problems found.
More Monthly Advice
Dr. Martin Motes Notes:
Progress of the Season.
This June has been the coolest and most temperate in memory. With temperatures only rarely topping 90 and cooling afternoon rains, we and our orchids have been delighted. The abundant rain, slightly above average, has fallen in heavy showers that were intermittent enough to allow sufficient drying in between. Disease pressure has not been severe and cautious watering early in the day will help maintain the benefits of the extra dry weather we received in May... read more
Orchids in July. Although it mostly passes unnoticed to millions locked in their air-conditioned bubbles, July in South Florida is quite different from June. While the pattern of afternoon showers built from the moisture of the morning's sea breeze persists in July, the thunder-storms are sharper and shorter. The clouds linger less and the foliage dries more quickly. Less quantity of rain falls in July than in June... read more
Culture Article by Sue Bottom:
Orchid Response to Disease Pathogens
The best way to prevent orchid disease is to grow strong healthy plants that are able to
use their natural defense mechanisms to protect themselves. Orchids don’t have an
immunological system like we do. They have a phloem that transports the sugars
produced in the leaves by photosynthesis downward though the plant and a xylem that
transports water and soluble mineral nutrients absorbed from the roots upwards
throughout the plant, but they don’t have a circulatory system carrying leukocytes,
lymphocytes, antibodies and all the rest of our incredible infection fighters. So how does
an orchid protect itself from disease?
Monthly SAOS Meeting Subscribe to Our Newsletter|
We normally meet on the first Tuesday of each month at Watson Realty, located at 3505 US 1 South in St. Augustine. The meeting begins with a plant sale at 7 pm followed by a presentation by an orchid expert at 7:15. The meeting closes with a plant raffle and auction where members can expand their collections. It's fun and informative for beginner and experienced growers. Here's a membership form if you want to join. Visitors and guests are always welcome!
Here's a video of one of our meetings!
Next Monthly Meeting - Water and Fertilizer, August 5
Sue Bottom of the St. Augustine Orchid Society will discuss watering, water quality and fertilizer. We’ll talk about watering your orchids during each season of the year. Bring a sample of the water you use for your orchids to the meeting and we’ll give you a quick analysis of the pH and alkalinity. This info will help you select the best fertilizer for your orchids. Fred Keefer and Sue Bottom will have plants for sale at the meeting and members are invited to bring plants to sell.
Plant Clinic at Ace Hardware - August 2
The first Saturday of the month from February through November, Master Gardeners and St. Augustine Orchid Society members will be available to talk with you, answer questions and help you repot orchids. We will be at the Ace Hardware at 3050 US 1 South in St. Augustine from 9 am until 1 pm.
Here's a video of a repotting clinic!
St. Augustine Orchid Society Happenings
Gail Marshall puts together the SAOS Happenings each month so you can easily find all the orchid events around town.
Donate to the SAOS
Your information source for growing orchids in North Florida. The SAOS is a Section 501(c)(3) not for profit organization for the development, improvement, preservation, cultivation and hybridization of orchids. All donations are tax deductible.
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