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Orchids in December

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.

Cattleyas. 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.

Dendrobiums. 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.



Oncidiums. 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.

Paphiopedilums. 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.

Phalaenopsis. 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. 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.

Miscellaneous Genera. 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... read more


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SAOS News
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!
Video of Orchid Society Meeting 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.

Beginners - SAOS Keiki Club

Beginners - SAOS Keiki Club

Keiki Club for Orchid Beginners
The Keiki Club is for our beginner orchid growers. We meet monthly from January through October, usually on a Sunday afternoon. Our Keiki Club Get Togethers begin with a short presentation on a timely orchid culture topic and then it’s a free for all when we can discuss any and all thoughts or questions you have about growing orchids. Visitors and guests are always welcome!
Video of Keiki Club Meeting Here's a video of one of our get togethers!

January 18 Keiki Club - Bringing Home New Orchids
The spring orchid show season will begin in the new year so there will be plenty of orchids vying for your attention. We’ll discuss how to select an orchid, as well as what to do with your orchid before it is introduced to your growing area and what to do with it after it is done blooming.
Where:   Kathy and Mark Young's Home
160 West Genung Street, St. Augustine 32086


Orchid Repotting and Plant Clinic at Ace Hardware

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.
Video of Ace Repotting Clinic Here's a video of a repotting clinic!


SAOS Happenings

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.


Orchid Culture
Orchid Culture
General Orchid Culture
The Basics
Repotting Orchids
Orchid Culture by Genus
Water Quality and Fertilizer

Monthly Orchid Checklists and Newsletters
Monthly Orchid Growing Advice
Growing Orchids in St. Augustine Month by Month
Courtney Hackney's Tips
Martin Motes Notes
Sue Bottom Articles

Orchid Pests and Diseases
Orchid Pests and Diseases
Orchid Pests
Orchid Diseases
Other Types of Damage
Orchid Viruses
Orchid Questions and Answers
Questions and Answers
Cultural Tips for New Growers
Tips for New Growers
Seasonal Tips
Your First Orchid
AOS Beginner's Newsletters
Home and Backyard Orchid Growing
My Favorite Orchid

Orchid Photographs

Orchid Photographs
Terry Bottom photographs all the orchids brought to the Show Table each month. There is an interactive form to identify your plant on the show table.
Show Table Orchid Photographs
Orchid Photos Categorized by Alliance
Photo Archive of all SAOS Events
Orchid Videos


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.


St Augustine Orchid Society Site Map
Site Map
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