General Growing Tips.
August is the hottest month so be prepared to work diligently to ensure sufficient air circulation. Spray water on the floor, benches and outer surface of clay pots one or more times every day during the hottest times. Continue watering and using a dilute fertilizer. The warm temperatures also cause fungal and bacterial problems as well as an increase in insect populations. Observe your plants carefully and spray for both insects and disease when first noticed. It may be necessary to move unsheltered plants into an area protected from torrential rains.
The extreme heat seems to discourage active growth and flowering, but many plants are either developing buds for their autumn flowering or are ripening growths that will power the winter and spring blooming season. The bifoliates and nodosa hybrids seem best able to bloom during the summer temperature extremes. The high temperatures and humidity typical of our summer coupled with tropical storm weather create the potential for black rot. Consider allowing plants to dry harder between waterings. Tie up new growths carefully to promote upright development of the pseudobulbs.
Use high potassium fertilizer in late August. The potassium level should be at 250 to 300 ppm potassium (K) and zero to very low N. Do this only two times at a two week interval. Wait a month then resume your normal fertilizer schedule.
The nobile-type dendrobiums are popular though some growers find them difficult to flower. In order to promote the gradual shift from active growth to the flowering cycle, start withholding nitrogen now. Some growers report using a bloom booster this time of year on winter dormant plants helps prepare them for their dormancy.
Current high temperatures are particularly stressful for phalaenopsis. Excess heat and humidity promote bacterial Pseudomonas infections on the fleshy leaves. Keep light levels subdued, promote sufficient air circulation and do not splash water from one plant onto another. Keep using a dilute (1/4 to 1/8 tsp/gal) fertilizer with every watering to develop the strongest roots and largest leaves prior to the winter flowering season.
Summer growing conditions are ideal for Aerides, Ascocentrum, Rhynchostylis and Vanda hybrids. Feed aggressively and provide high humidity. Try placing a rubber-topped plastic flower tube containing stale beer on a rigid, emerging new root (in the evening and remove in the morning so it doesn't burn). Rather quickly, the root will consume the beer and utilize its carbohydrate content, producing some remarkable growth responses.
More Monthly Advice
Dr. Martin Motes Notes:
Progress of the Season.
July has been exceptionally cool with temperatures rarely topping 90 degrees. This welcome relief to high temperature stress for ourselves and our plants resulted from the over abundant rain we received. With most of our sympodial orchids in full growth mode they are exceptionally vulnerable to fungal infections... read more
Orchids in August. July and August are the two most similar months in South Florida. Most of the advice on watering, disease and pest control in last month's calendar still apply but subtle changes are taking place. Although it may not seem so, as temperatures climb into the low nineties most afternoons, summer is in retreat: each day a little shorter, each night a little longer. With shorter days the importance of watering as early... read more
Culture Article by Sue Bottom:
Calcium and Magnesium
My understanding of what is and what should be in the fertilizers we use for our orchids has
evolved over time. First you learn that the three letters on fertilizer container represent the
percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium present in the fertilizer. Then you get
treated to a missive on the nitrogen forms, the nitrate and ammoniacal nitrogen that are
available to your plant and the urea nitrogen that is not easily used by your orchid...
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 - Species Habitat, Hybrid Culture, September 2
Alan Koch of Gold Country Orchids in Lincoln, California will talk about species habitat and hybrid culture. His talk shows how species grow in the wild and how to apply this information to help you grow your orchids. He’ll talk about how to research plants and how the species used to make hybrids help determine their cultural requirements. He is offering 20% off on preorders.
Alan Koch is the knowledgeable and entertaining owner of Gold Country Orchids where he specializes in miniature and compact Cattleyas. He has been growing orchids since 1969, helped by his degree in plant physiology to breed plants that grow fast with attractive clean growth and plants that flower young. He is recognized as an expert in the Brazilian Cattleya alliance and a trend setter in miniature Cattleya breeding.
Plant Clinic at Ace Hardware - September 6
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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