General Growing Tips.
Winter's cool days and nights have already affected most collections; if all plants are not already indoors, they soon may be. Concerning daylight intensity and its duration, the seasonal change must be obvious by now. Don’t allow daytime temperatures to rise too high before ventilating the growing area. Fresh air is important for healthy plants and their owners. Just remember that if the grower can be reasonably comfortable with the temperature and humidity conditions in the growing area, the plants are likely to be satisfied too.
Plants are responding to the shorter, cooler days and less intense sun by slowing and ripening their growth so reduce your frequency of watering as the plants dry out more slowly and have a lesser need for fertilizer. Cattleya skinneri should be pushing its buds up into dried sheaths for a January flowering; do not cut the sheaths off or open them. Cattleya trianiae and its hybrids ought to be blooming for several months beginning now. Many Sophronitis hybrids typically flower this season. Laelia anceps, the Christmas orchid, will have well defined buds just waiting for nature’s signal to open.
Generalizations are hard within this very diverse group. The winter resting deciduous dendrobiums of the Dendrobium (Nobiles and Seminobiles) and Callista sections (email us if you're not sure) can be kept dry and cool this month. Shoot for minimum temperatures of 40 F. Nobile type dendrobiums may show some swollen nodes on their leafless pseudobulbs and flowers may appear by the month’s end. Your other dendrobiums will also be resting up this month though not dormant. You’ll water these half as often as you did in the summer. Shoot for minimum temperatures of 45 to 55 F and 55 to 60 F for the biggibum types.
The mule-ear oncidium, Oncidium splendidum, and the popular thin-leaved type, Oncidium maculatum, should be producing Inflorescences. Stake the oncidium inflorescence as it grows upward, but do not allow the tip to droop as you would for a phalaenopsis.
Some of the mottled leaved species like Paphiopedilum fairrieanum and sukhakulii bloom now. Keep their potting medium moist and avoid getting water in the pouch.
Groom and stake each phalaenopsis spike. Avoid excess plant movement while the buds are developing or the buds may blast (wither). High humidity in a closed house can lead to flower spotting caused by Botrytis; provide supplementary air circulation with fans and/or increase temperatures above 60 F.
Vandas are starting to rest now. You can gradually reduce your watering to every other day and cut back on fertilizer. Ascocentrum aurantiacum may have some beautiful orange to yellow flowers in bloom by the end of the month.
The Catasetinae (catasetums, clowesia, cycnoches and mormodes) are going dormant now and their leaves have been yellowing and dropping. Once the leaves yellow, restrict watering until the spring growth is a few inches tall. The jewel orchid Ludisia discolor will begin to develop Inflorescences soon. Clean the foliage now befoere the inflorescence grow.
More Monthly Advice
Dr. Martin Motes Notes:
Progress of the Season.
The massive cold fronts that have blanketed the continent with snow have slowly strolled into Florida warming their flanks on the Gulf and Atlantic. This pattern bodes well for a mild winter for us, as the rest of the country suffers... read more
Orchids in December. December marks the beginning of the serious dry season in South Florida. While this additional dryness provides relief from the autumnal rains that can bring so many fungal problems, December is also the month of shortest day lengths. This contracted period of light, on the contrary, reduces severely the drying potential for our plants. Nature thus both gives and takes away from us in December. We must... read entire article
Culture Article by Sue Bottom:
Breeding Improved Species
In nature, pollinators decide which flowers in a species produce seeds and the environment selects for those seeds that germinate, grow and flower best. Unusual colored flowers or clones that bloom at a different time are ignored by pollinators and so any new gene or unusual form is not propagated by Mother Nature...
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 - Growing Orchids in St. Augustine, January 6
St. Augustine Orchid Society members have teamed up to give a presentation on how each grows orchids in St. Augustine, using a variety of growing areas including greenhouses, lanais, fences, porches, trees, you name it! We’ll talk about each presenter’s growing areas during the warm growing months and winter resting season along with lessons learned about growing orchids in St. Augustine. Members are invited to bring plants to sell.
Plant Clinic at Ace Hardware - February 7
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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